Tangled Threads (Elemental Assassin) by Jennifer Estep - Romance>FantasyThe fourth book in the “outstanding” (Romantic Times) Elemental Assassin fantasy series featuring Gin Blaco, who by day is a waitress at a Tennessee BBQ joint, and by night is a tough female assassin.
I’d rather face a dozen lethal assassins any night than deal with something as tricky, convoluted, and fragile as my feelings.
But here I am. Gin Blanco, the semi-retired assassin known as the Spider. Hovering outside sexy businessman Owen Grayson’s front door like a nervous teenage girl. One thing I like about Owen: he doesn’t shy away from my past—or my present. And right now I have a bull’s-eye on my forehead. Cold-blooded Fire elemental Mab Monroe has hired one of the smartest assassins in the business to trap me. Elektra LaFleur is skilled and efficient, with deadly electrical elemental magic as potent as my own Ice and Stone powers. Which means there’s a fifty-fifty chance one of us won’t survive this battle. I intend to kill LaFleur—or die trying—because Mab wants the assassin to take out my baby sister, Detective Bria Coolidge, too. The only problem is, Bria has no idea I’m her long-lost sibling . . . or that I’m the murderer she’s been chasing through Ashland for weeks. And what Bria doesn’t know just might get us both dead. . . .
"Are you going to kill this guy? Or are we just going to sit here all night?"
"Patience, Finn," I murmured. "We've been in the car for only an hour."
"Longest hour of my life," he muttered.
I arched an eyebrow and looked over at Finnegan Lane, my partner in crime for the night. Most nights, actually. Just after ten o'clock a few days before Christmas, and we sat in the darkened front of Finn's black Cadillac Escalade. An hour ago, Finn had parked the car in a secluded, out-of-the-way alley overlooking the docks that fronted the Aneirin River. We'd been sitting here, and Finn had been grousing ever since.
Finn shifted in his seat, and my gray eyes flicked over him. The wool fabric of his thick coat outlined his broad shoulders, while a black watchman's cap covered his walnut-colored hair. His eyes were a bright green even in the semidarkness, and the shadows did little to hide the square handsomeness of his face.
Most women would be glad to be in such close quarters with Finnegan Lane. With his easy smile and natural charm, Finn would have already had the majority of them in the backseat, pants off, legs up, steam covering the windows as the car rocked back and forth.
Good thing I wasn't most women.
"Come on, Gin," Finn whined again. "Go stick a couple of your knives in that guy and leave your rune for Mab to find so we can get out of here."
I stared out the car window. Across the street, bathed in the golden glow of a streetlight, the guy in question continued to unload wooden crates from the small tugboat that he'd pulled up to the dock forty-five minutes ago. Even from this distance, I could hear the warped, weathered boards creak under his weight as the river rushed on by beneath them.
The man was a dwarf--short, squat, stocky, sturdy--and dressed in black clothes practically identical to the ones that Finn and I were wearing. Jeans, boots, sweater, jacket. The sorts of anonymous clothes you wore to go skulking about late at night, especially in this rough Southtown neighborhood, and most especially when you didn't want anyone else to see what you were up to.
Or when you were planning on killing someone, like I was tonight. Most nights, actually.
I rubbed my thumb over the hilt of the silverstone knife that I held in my lap. The metal glinted dully in the darkness of the car, and the weight of the weapon felt cold and comforting to me. The knife rested lightly on the spider rune scar embedded in my palm.
It would be easy enough to give in to Finn's whining. To slip out of the car, cross the street, creep up behind the dwarf, cut his throat, and shove his body off the dock and into the cold river below. I probably wouldn't even get that much blood on my clothes, if I got the angles just right.
Because that's what assassins did. That's what I did. Me. Gin Blanco. The assassin known as the Spider, one of the best around.
But I didn't get out of the car and get on with things like Finn wanted me to. Instead, I sighed. "He hardly seems worth the trouble. He's a flunkie, just like all the others that I've killed these past two weeks. Mab will hire someone else to take his place before they even dredge his body out of the river."
"Hey, you were the one who decided to declare war on Mab Monroe," Finn pointed out. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that you were rather eager to kill your way up to the top of the food chain until you got to her. You said it would be fun."
"That was six hits ago. Now I'd just like to kill Mab and give everyone in Ashland an early Christmas present, myself included." My turn to grouse.
But Finn was right. A few weeks ago, a series of events...