Home > Devilish Game (Shadow Guild: The Rebel #4)(11)

Devilish Game (Shadow Guild: The Rebel #4)(11)
Author: Linsey Hall

Carrow’s foot nudged mine under the table, and I looked at her in time to see her mouth the word four?

I turned to Anton. “You’ve abducted four? All from Guild City?”

“Yes. All in the last three days.”

Why hadn’t Carrow or I heard about the first two? Perhaps they had no friends or contacts, but still . . .

“You truly know nothing about the one who has ordered these jobs? How do you communicate?” I asked.

“Through the network, of course.”

Damn. I’d been worried about that. The network was a magical system of communications between members of the criminal underworld. It was comprised primarily of mercenaries and kingpins who would do any job for hire, and anonymity was guaranteed. Most people didn’t want to be known for their criminal activity, and the network made it possible for politicians and other upstanding citizens to hire the services of those who worked outside of the law.

Essentially, anyone could be behind this.

“The messages appeared on my desk, as you well know,” Anton said. “No signature, just a job and the down payment, along with the transport charms for my men.”

“How do you choose who to kidnap?” I asked.

“The request is always for a supernatural with a particular talent, but it doesn’t matter who exactly.”

“But why from Guild City?”

Anton shrugged. “It’s convenient for me. Full of all kinds of Magica, and I have a contact there who finds me what I need. I tell him what magical talent the client requires—he finds the person and gives me a name. Then my man retrieves the target.”

“Like a talent scout for evil,” Carrow muttered.

It was so neat and tidy. “Who is your contact in Guild City?”

“A mage in Hellebore Alley. Christoph Venderklein.”

I wasn’t familiar with the name, but I would find him. “What types of supernaturals have you acquired so far?”

“A lion shifter, a fire mage, a seer, and a witch, but the client never said why they wanted those talents.”

There had to be a pattern there. “Do you have any more of those transport charms?”

“No, I gave the last one to my man just a few hours ago.”

Across the table, Carrow stiffened.

“Does that mean another job is going to take place?”

“At least one more, yes.”

“When?”

He glanced at the large, ornate clock hung high on the wall. “Around now, in fact.”

“Where?” I demanded.

“Why, outside of the Witches’ Guild in your fair city. The client wanted another powerful witch.”

Another?

I could feel Carrow vibrating to demand answers, to dart away from the table. Fear and worry radiated off her like an aura. She was friends with the witches, I recalled, and Beth’s abduction had hit her hard. “Any witch in particular?”

“No, just one with a skill for spells.”

“Thank you for the game, we need to go.” Carrow stood, swept her chips into her little handbag, then turned and strode toward the doors. The guards darted off the walls, moving to intercept her.

I met Anton’s gaze. “Forget these questions immediately.”

He nodded, and I lunged upright, sweeping my chips off the table, and moving toward her. The guards were nearly to Carrow now, clearly having been ordered to stop anyone who left too abruptly. A quick, unexpected exit from a card game was always suspicious.

I felt my hold on Anton snap, and glanced back. He looked at the table, then at us.

Shit.

We’d left too abruptly, right in the middle of a hand, with a good bit of our money still in the middle of the table. No one in their right mind would do that. Confusion flickered in his eyes.

He didn’t remember me tampering with his mind, but he knew something was up. This was all too strange to be normal. He waved a hand at the guards, his voice cracking like a whip. “Stop them.”

The guards lunged for Carrow, and she swung out at the first, delivering a devastating punch to his face. The blow was assisted by her magical dress, and his head snapped back, and blood flew from his mouth. He landed hard on the ground, skidding backward.

A second guard attempted to punch her in the stomach, but his fist bounced off the silk of the dress and he shrieked, the bones in his hand shattering. Carrow kicked him in the gut with her stilettos and whirled on another guard. She had always been a good fighter, but the dress made her phenomenal.

I drew two daggers from the ether and hurled them at the guards nearest her. The blades found their marks in the chests of the men, who slammed to the ground like redwoods.

Anton’s chair scraped as he rose, but I paid him no mind. He was powerful because of his cunning, not because of his brawn or magic, and Carrow needed me.

I sprinted to her, dragging one of the guards away and snapping his neck. Killing him went too far—in the back of my head, I knew it—but I couldn’t stop myself. She was threatened, and all I could see was red.

Apparently, it didn’t matter if we shared the mate bond. I’d be driven to protect her no matter what.

The fight was over in seconds, the guards landing on the ground like refuse when we were done with them. I spun around, spotting Anton speaking into his comms charm.

Well, shit.

I couldn’t kill him, though. It would put a target on my back. Worse, it would put a target on Carrow’s. It was one thing to wreak havoc on a rival’s turf . . . it was entirely another to kill the rival. The network didn’t stand for that.

“Come on.” I grabbed her hand and we ran for it. We just had to make it to the outside of the building. If we could get onto the main gaming floor, which was only ten meters away, Anton’s guards would be less likely to use magic against us. They wouldn't want to scare the humans who were spilling their money into Anton’s pockets.

Carrow and I raced out into the main part of the casino, joining the throng that milled around the tables. Guards moved away from the walls, converging on us.

I caught sight of Mac behind the bar at the same time Carrow did. Her face had returned to normal, and she gestured for us to head her way.

“Come on.” Carrow pulled me toward her, and we darted between the tables.

As we ran, Carrow yanked a cell phone from her bag and frantically dialed a number. She raised the phone to her ear and spoke quickly. “Eve, the kidnappers are going for someone else at the Witches’ Guild. You have to tell them.”

A guard neared us, and I let go of Carrow’s hand, putting myself between her and the bastard. His brow twisted with anger as he raised a fist, but I was faster, punching him hard in the face. He reeled backward, collapsing on a spinning Roulette table. The people standing around the thing shouted and jeered, but we kept moving.

Two more guards tried to intercept us, but we laid them out with punches.

Finally, we reached the bar.

“This way!” Mac led us through a door into a service hallway that was far more austere than the casino itself. “There’s an exit this way.”

She raced down the hall, and we sprinted after her. Guards spilled into the hall behind us, and Carrow turned around, taking off her Fae silver bracelet and hurling it at them. The jewelry clattered to the ground in front of them, exploding in a blast of silver smoke that slammed into my back.

I nearly stumbled, but the guards were thrown backward. Smoke filled the hall behind us, temporarily covering our retreat.

We reached the door a moment later, and Mac threw herself against it, pressing on the bar to open it.

The thing stayed shut.

“Shit!” She pushed harder. “It was open when I came.”

Damn it. “They’ve locked the place down.” I turned, searching the hall that stretched down to our left.

A figure appeared, tall and familiar.

That bastard Atticus. I recognized him from my network contacts. He advertised his work as a form of security. I knew who to go to if I ever wanted something ‘liberated’ from a vault.

His gaze moved to Carrow. “You really weren’t here for the poker.”

“No, do you know a way out of here?”

He raised a brow. “I do, but you’ve interrupted my job with this little alarm situation.”

His job? Clearly the bastard was up to something.

“A thousand apologies,” Carrow said. “We’re trying to save some people’s lives, so you’re going to need to get over it and help us.”

Atticus gave a wry grin. “This way.”

I didn’t want to trust the bastard, but Carrow grabbed my arm and yanked me forward. We sprinted after him, following him into an even smaller service hall and an empty office. A window was propped open with a magical charm that glowed bright green.

“Quick,” Atticus said. “The charm is about to give out. The casino’s security is weakening it.”

“Thank you.” Carrow hurried to the window and scrambled out.

Mac gave Atticus a quick up and down as she passed. “I’m Macbeth O’Connell. You’re ever in London, stop by the Haunted Hound.”

Atticus smiled. “I just might.”

She nodded, then climbed out the window.

I met Atticus’s gaze as I passed. “Thank you. Are you following?”

He shook his head. “This is perfect for me. They’ll be so busy trying to find you that they won’t notice me slipping into the back.”

I didn’t know what was in the back, and I certainly wasn’t going to ask. “Best of luck.”

He nodded, then disappeared back into the building. I followed Mac and Carrow out into the breezy Monaco night.

Carrow dug into her pocket and withdrew a transport charm. She hurled it to the ground. A poof of silvery dust exploded upward, and she reached for our hands. Mac and I grabbed hold of her.

As we stepped into the transport charm, I prayed we weren’t too late.

8

Carrow

The ether spun me through space. My stomach heaved, a byproduct of the ride and the nerves that raced through me.

   
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