Spider's Trap(Elemental Assassin,book 13)(76) by Jennifer Estep
“What do you want with him?”
She flinched at the venom in my voice. Her smile faded, and she pushed her milkshake aside.
“Well, I don’t know anything about anyone named Raymond Pike,” she said, picking up her phone from the counter. “But this guy is staying at the Peach Blossom. He’s in a penthouse suite that’s rented out to some private investment group.”
The Peach Blossom was one of Ashland’s many luxury apartment buildings, down the street from the Delta Queen.
Jade pulled up an image on her phone, then turned the screen around so I could see it. Black hair, blue eyes, smug smirk. The photo was grainy, as if it had been taken with another, cheaper phone, but it was still sharp enough to let me make out Pike sitting at a table, eating breakfast and reading a newspaper, as if he hadn’t murdered three people last night and almost succeeded in doing the same to Owen.
“That’s my guy. How did you find him?”
“One of my guys works as a doorman at the Peach Blossom,” she said. “Cleaning, delivering food, and the like. After I got Silvio’s message last night, I passed it along to all my folks and told them to keep their eyes peeled. My guy served this man a late breakfast about ninety minutes ago.”
“Does your guy have access to the apartment building’s security footage? Who comes and goes?” I wasn’t satisfied with just getting Pike. Not after what he’d done to Owen. Now I was going to take down everyone who’d helped him.
“Of course,” Jade said. “What are you looking for?”
“A right-hand man.”
She frowned, not understanding my cryptic words. “Okay . . . but I’m telling you the truth. Your guy is there.”
“Oh, I believe you, but there are a few other things I need to confirm. Looking at the security footage for the past few days will help me with that. So can you get it for me or not?” I asked.
“Sure. I can have my guy send it to your phone.”
I waved Silvio over, and Jade stopped texting long enough to show him the photo of Pike. The vampire nodded, then told the cluster of folks still waiting that the person in question had been found and the reward had been claimed. Disappointed groans rose from the crowd, making some of the customers stare curiously in that direction, but everyone gave me curt nods and left the restaurant in a somewhat orderly and almost respectful fashion.
“Congratulations,” I said. “You’ve just earned yourself one million smackeroos.”
Jade beamed at me for several seconds, but her expression quickly melted into a wary look. “Just like that? You’re actually going to honor the deal just based on my word and a cell-phone photo?”
“Sure.” I shrugged. “Of course, if I were to find out that you or your guy were lying to me, well, that wouldn’t work out so well for the two of you.”
She flinched again.
“But you’re much too smart for that,” I continued in a soft, silky voice. “Aren’t you, Jade?”
She nodded, her expression tense. “You’d better fucking believe it.”
“Good. Then Silvio will see about getting you your money.”
I slid off my stool and untied the strings of my blue work apron, pulling it up and over my head. I hung it on a hook sticking out from the back wall, then pulled out my phone and texted Lorelei, telling her that I knew where Pike was and asking if it was time to put our plan into motion.
She hit me back a second later. All set on my end. Come on over.
I slid the phone back into my pocket, more than ready to rock ’n’ roll.
“What are you going to do?” Jade asked, eyeing the long sleeves of my black T-shirt like she expected me to flash one of my knives at her.
I grinned. “Nothing much. Just making sure that Raymond Pike has everything he needs for his last night in Ashland.”
* * *
“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Jack Corbin asked. “Leaving town like this? So . . . suddenly?”
It was an hour later, and I was in the library in Lorelei’s mansion, watching her pack up a laptop, a tablet, and some other gear. Mallory was off in another room, gathering up her own things, which consisted of boxes filled with all sorts of jewelry, most of it crusted with impressive diamonds. At least she was consistent that way.
“I mean, what happened last night was horrible,” Corbin continued. “The guards dying, Pike storming into the mansion, him attacking me and you and Mallory. But I can hire more guards, increase your security. He won’t get past me again, Lorelei. I promise you that.”
After we’d rushed Owen to Jo-Jo’s last night, Bria and Xavier had returned to the mansion. They’d taken Corbin to an Air elemental the police had on call, and the healer had fished all of Pike’s nails out of Corbin’s back and stitched up his wounds. Corbin had been lucky—very lucky—that the nails hadn’t hit anything vital.
Then again, I didn’t believe in such good luck.
Lorelei slipped her laptop into a bag, careful not to look at him. “I appreciate your concern, Jack. Really, I do. But there’s no stopping Raymond or his metal magic. I always knew that it would come to this. That Raymond would find me one day and that I would have to run. Besides, Gin thinks this is for the best. Right, Gin?”
“Right,” I drawled.
Corbin ran a hand through his dark brown hair, then started pacing back and forth in front of Lorelei’s desk. “But why do you have to leave today? You haven’t given me any time to prepare. If I’d known this was what you wanted, I would have made the arrangements for you and Mallory.”
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