Spider's Trap(Elemental Assassin,book 13)(80) by Jennifer Estep
His mouth twisted. Looked like we agreed on one thing.
“So I had my guys do a little digging into his finances. And guess what? Corbin has received several large cash deposits over the past week. Not to mention the fact that the security cameras at the Peach Blossom caught him going in and out of your penthouse several times. You only get that much money and take those kinds of meetings on the sly when you sell someone out. Besides, I saw him on the road. He was driving that black sedan you were in.”
A muscle ticked in Pike’s jaw. This wasn’t going at all how he’d imagined it.
“Now, one of the things I admire about Lorelei is her creative problem solving,” I said. “She really is very clever about getting other people to do her dirty work, myself included. It was her idea to get Corbin to tell you all about her supposed plan to leave Ashland. We gave him all the juicy details, including our route and which van she was supposedly going to be in, which Corbin oh-so-obligingly passed on to you. And what do you know? You totally bought it, and here we are.”
“Where is she?” Pike growled, looking around the garden. “Where is that bitch?”
“If I were you, sugar, I’d be more concerned about me right now.”
“You? You think I’m scared of you?” This time, he was the one who laughed. “Oh, I know all about you. Gin Blanco, the Spider. Ooh. Just saying your name gives me chills.” He gave a fake shudder with his shoulders.
“It should, since you walked right into my trap.”
He laughed again. “Trap? What trap? All I see is you, with one knife and no one to help you.”
“I don’t need anyone to help me with you. All I needed was this lovely little garden spot.”
Pike frowned, his brows knitting in confusion again. His gaze flicked back and forth between me and the white picket fences, flowerbeds, and glass mosaic. His eyes glowed bright blue for a second. Realization dawned on his face.
“No metal,” he growled.
I stabbed my knife at him. “Ding-ding-ding. We have a winner. Did you really think that I would just let you kidnap me and take me any old place you wanted? Your ambush on the road, bombing the van, thinking that I was Lorelei and grabbing me, marching me all the way back here. I planned it all, with every single thing designed to drive you into the gardens. So far, everything’s gone off without a hitch.”
“Not everything.” He sneered. “What about your friends? My giants should be done shooting them to death by now.”
I tilted my head to the side. “Funny. I don’t hear anything. Do you?”
Pike listened, but the crack-crack-crack of gunfire had stopped, and the only sound was the soft slapping of our footsteps as we kept circling each other.
“Do you know what the one good thing about being the head of the Ashland underworld is?” I asked.
He glared at me.
“Everyone more or less reports to me now. I figured that you might try to hire some local muscle to help you this time around, especially since you’d already offed Smith, your previous stooge. So I put the word out and offered a very generous payday to anyone who came forward with information about you. Those giants you thought were on your payroll? They’re really on mine.”
Pike’s mouth dropped open. “But—but they were firing at your friends! I saw them!”
“Your smuggler sister has access to all kinds of interesting things. Fake ammunition is one of them. Those giants you thought you hired? They were shooting blanks. Just like you’re doing, sugar.”
Shock flashed across Pike’s face, along with more than a little embarrassment. His cheeks flushed a mottled red, although it was nothing compared with the rage sparking in his eyes.
“You bitch,” he growled. “You think you can put one over on me? No fucking way.”
“Not just me,” I purred, stabbing my knife off to the side. “Look. The rest of our garden party has finally arrived.”
Pike glanced over at the entrance, his mouth dropping open again.
My friends were here.
Finn, Bria, Xavier, Sophia, Jo-Jo, Silvio, and Owen stood in a loose semicircle, all of them armed with elemental Ice guns. Mallory was with them too, wearing the same sort of black clothes as the rest of us, along with her usual array of diamonds. She looked like a cat burglar who’d just lifted the biggest score of her life.
Mallory had her Ice gun trained on Corbin, who looked utterly miserable. Cuts and bruises marred his face, and his eyes were dull and dim. He’d bet on the wrong side, and he knew how badly he’d lost.
And then there was Lorelei.
She left my friends behind, heading for the center of the garden where Pike and I stood. She too was carrying an Ice gun, with a couple more holstered to her thighs and a brace of knives circling her waist. After this was all over with, I’d have to tell her how much I approved of her wardrobe choices.
Pike cursed and backpedaled so that he could keep both of us in sight at the same time.
Lorelei stopped beside me and smirked at him. “Hello, Raymond. You wanted to see me?”
Pike looked back and forth between us before focusing on his sister. “You think you’re so smart, with your schemes and your new friends and your pet assassin. But you know what? You’re still the same weak, whiny little bitch you always were, too afraid to face me by yourself.”
Ice magic rolled off Lorelei’s body, and her fingers tightened around her gun. “Weak? I was never weak. I was the one who got hit over and over again. I was the one who got beaten by our father for every little thing he thought I did wrong. I was the one he tortured, right along with my mother. You? All you ever did was pucker up and kiss his ass. You were too afraid of him not to. I’d say that makes you the weak, whiny little bitch. Not me.”
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