Spider's Trap(Elemental Assassin,book 13)(61) by Jennifer Estep
But the shadow kept approaching, slowly sharpening into a distinct, familiar figure—a tall, muscular man.
I sighed, stood up, leaned against the closest tree, and tucked my knife back up my sleeve. I waited until the shadow had moved past me, then scuffed my feet through the leaves, making enough noise to attract his attention.
“You want to tell me what you’re doing here?” I drawled.
Owen whipped around.
* * *
We stared at each other for several seconds. Me calm and unruffled, Owen tense and wound up. Like me, he was dressed in black from head to toe and geared up for a night of skulking. He had his phone clutched in one hand and his blacksmith hammer raised high in the other.
He let out a breath and lowered the weapon to his side. “You could have just called out to me.”
“I would have, if I’d known you were going to be creeping through the woods.” I crossed my arms over my chest. “What are you doing here?”
“You mean how did I find you when you thought that you had snuck off without telling anyone what you were up to? Silvio helped me with that.” Owen held up his phone, the light illuminating his face. “While you were taking out the trash today at the restaurant, Silvio installed a new app on your phone, one that lets him track where it and you currently are to within fifty feet.”
“You guys bugged me?”
Owen nodded, not the least bit apologetic, and brought the phone up to his ear. “Hey, Silvio. I found her, right where you said she would be. I’ll take it from here. Thanks, man.”
Silvio murmured something back, and Owen ended the call and slid the phone into his pants pocket.
My eyes narrowed. “And why did you and Silvio decide to track my phone tonight? I told everyone that I was going home and staying put.”
“It was Finn’s idea. All three of us knew as soon as Mallory came into the restaurant that you were going to help Lorelei. Finn had to wine and dine some big new client, and Silvio said he was looking into some stuff for you. So I decided to come and back you up.”
“But how did you know for sure that I would be out here? I didn’t even know myself until a couple of hours ago.”
“Finn kept talking about what a soft touch you are. That somebody spins you a sob story, and you go rushing off all by your lonesome to help them.” A faint grin curved Owen’s lips. “Finn said that it’s your own little spider’s trap that you fall into every single time.”
“I am not a soft touch,” I growled.
“What Finn was trying to say was that it was obvious at the Pork Pit that you somehow feel responsible for what’s happening to Lorelei. And we all know that when you feel responsible for something, you’ll do anything to make it right,” Owen finished in a soft voice. “That’s one of the things I admire most about you.”
Frustration surged through me, and I ground my teeth together. I hadn’t called anyone because I hadn’t wanted any of my friends involved in this—none of them. Because Raymond Pike was a dangerous enemy, and it was my responsibility to take care of him. Not theirs.
“You need to leave,” I growled again. “Right now. Pike could be here any second.”
“You know that’s not going to happen. I’m here, and I’m staying.” Owen reached out and took my hand in his. “What’s going on, Gin? Something’s up. I can tell. What happened with you and Lorelei? Why are you so interested in Pike?”
He gave my fingers a gentle, knowing squeeze. Care, concern, and understanding shimmered in his violet eyes, melting the last of my defenses.
I sighed. “Because Pike has the wrong person. He thinks that Lorelei killed their father, but she didn’t—I did.”
He nodded. “I figured it might be something like that. But how did you even meet Lorelei’s father? Was he one of your jobs as the Spider?”
“Not one of my jobs, one of Fletcher’s.”
His features sharpened with understanding. “Finn said that his dad knew Mallory. That Fletcher was the one who introduced Finn to her, back when Finn was first starting out at his bank. What else did Fletcher do for Mallory?”
I shook my head. “Not here. Let’s get into position, and I’ll tell you all about it.”
* * *
I led Owen over to my hiding spot, which gave us the best view of the mansion and grounds. We hunkered down inside the tree line, and I used my night-vision goggles and binoculars to make sure that the coast was still clear.
A car drove up to the mansion, but a quick look revealed that Jack Corbin was behind the wheel. Lorelei must have called him over for added protection, since he was her second-in-command. Corbin steered his car into the garage attached to the far side of the house. A few seconds later, the door slid shut, hiding him and the vehicle from view.
While I finished my scan, I told Owen everything that had happened that day in the woods. How Renaldo Pike had torn the cabin apart, how Lorelei and I had tried to run away from him, how I’d eventually killed him.
Owen let out a low whistle. “He really did all those horrible things to his own wife and daughter?”
I nodded. “And a lot of other people too. Fletcher showed me some crime-scene photos of Renaldo’s victims. Business rivals, mostly. They weren’t pretty. He scratched them up with nails, then used his mace to smash in their skulls.”
I shrugged. “I never saw her again after that day. Fletcher told me that he’d given her a new identity and she’d gone to live with her grandmother. I was happy that she was safe, but I eventually put her out of my mind. I didn’t recognize or really remember her until a few days ago. And now here we are.”
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