Tangled Threads - (Elemental Assassin, #4) Page 0,1
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 had led me to officially declare war on Mab, and now I was dealing with the fallout—and the tedious boredom of it all.
Mab Monroe was the Fire elemental who ran the southern metropolis of Ashland like it was her own personal kingdom. To most folks, Mab was a paragon of virtue who used her magic, business connections, and money to fund worthwhile charity projects throughout the city. But those of us who strolled through the shady side of life knew Mab for what she really was—the head of a moblike empire that included everything from gambling and drugs to prostitution and kidnappings. Murder, extortion, torture, blackmail, beatings. Mab ordered all that and more, practically on a daily basis. But the Fire elemental was so wealthy, so powerful, so strong in her magic that no one dared to stand up to her.
I had a special reason to hate Mab—she’d murdered my mother and older sister when I was thirteen. And she’d been planning on doing the same thing to me and my baby sister, Bria. But first, Mab had captured and tortured me that fateful night so long ago. Which is how I’d ended up with a pair of matching scars on my hands.
I put my knife down long enough to rub first one scar, then the other with my fingers. A small circle surrounded by eight thin rays was branded into each of my palms. A spider rune. The symbol for patience. My assassin name.
And one that Mab Monroe was now seeing everywhere she went.
For the past two weeks, I’d been stalking Mab’s men, getting a feel for her operation, seeing exactly what kinds of illegal pies she had her sticky fingers in. And along the way, I’d picked off some of her minions when I caught them doing things that they shouldn’t, hurting people that they shouldn’t. A twist of my knife, a slash of my blade, and Mab had one less soldier in her little army of terror.
Killing her men hadn’t been hard, not for me. I’d spent the last seventeen years of my life being an assassin, being the Spider, until I’d retired a few months ago. Certain skills you just never forgot.
Normally, though, when I killed someone I left nothing behind. No fingerprints, no weapon, no DNA. But with Mab’s men, I’d purposefully drawn the image of my spider rune at every scene, close to every body I left behind. Taunting her. Letting Mab know exactly who was responsible for messing up her plans and that I was determined to pick her empire apart one body at a time, if I had to.
Which is why Finn and I were now sitting in the dark down by the docks in this dangerous Southtown neighborhood. Finn had gotten a tip from one of his sources that Mab had a shipment of drugs or some other illegal paraphernalia coming into Ashland tonight. As the Spider, I’d decided to come down here and see what I could do to foul up Mab’s plans once more, thumb my nose at her, and generally piss her off.
“Come on, Gin,” Finn cut into my musings. “Make a move already. The guy’s alone. We would have seen his partner by now, if he’d had one.”
I looked at the dwarf. He’d finished unloading the boxes from the tugboat and was now busy hauling them over to a van parked at the end of the dock.
“I know,” I said. “But something about this just doesn’t seem right.”
“Yeah,” Finn muttered. “The fact that I can’t feel my feet anymore and you won’t let me turn on the heater.”
“Drink your coffee, then. It’ll make you feel better. It always does.”
For the first time tonight, a grin spread across Finn’s face. “Why, I think that’s an excellent idea.”
Finn reached down and grabbed a large metal thermos from the floorboard in the backseat. He cracked open the top, and the caffeine