Home > Heist Society (Heist Society #1)(10)

Heist Society (Heist Society #1)(10)
Author: Ally Carter

Hale’s hair was sticking up at strange angles, but even as Kat said, “Nice pants,” she knew there was nothing funny about the situation.

“Kat, tell me you weren’t alone with Arturo Taccone.”

“I’m fine.”

“You’re fine?” Hale snapped. “I’m telling you, Kat. Uncle Eddie says this guy means business, and Uncle Eddie—”

“Ought to know. I know.”

“This isn’t a game, Kat.”

“Do I look like I’m playing, Hale?”

Hale kicked at the fallen covers, and to Kat he looked like a man who was scared and a little boy who hadn’t gotten his way. Both. After a long silence, he said, “Well, did you at least tell him he’s after the wrong guy?”

“Of course I did, but he wasn’t exactly in the mood to take my word for it.”

“Kat, you’ve got to—”

“What?” Kat cut in. “Hale, what am I supposed to do? My dad doesn’t have the paintings. There’s no way this Taccone guy is ever going to believe he doesn’t have the paintings, so what? Should I tell my father to go into hiding so he’ll have a nice head start when the biggest goons money can buy start chasing him in two weeks? I don’t know about you, but the fact that he’s got an Interpol surveillance detail watching him twenty-four-seven feels pretty good to me right now!”

“This guy really wants his paintings back.”

“So we’re going to give him his paintings back.”

“Great plan. Except we don’t have the paintings.”

“We will,” Kat said as she stood and started for the door. “Just as soon as we steal them.”

13 Days Until Deadline

Chapter 6

An odd thing tends to happen on the cusp of winter. Ask any better-than-average thief and he’ll tell you that the best time to pull a con is when the weather should be changing—but isn’t. People feel lucky. Marks get careless. They look at the sky and know the snow is up there somewhere, and so they think about how they’ve already cheated Mother Nature. Perhaps they could get away with much, much more.

If Kat had any doubt about this theory, all she had to do was glance around Madison Square Park as she and Hale strolled down Fifth Avenue. The sun was warm but the wind was cool, and children played without their hats and scarves. Nannies chatted beside expensive strollers, while businesspeople took the long way home. And that was when she saw him.

Kat would not have described him as handsome. She’d been raised by Bobby Bishop, after all, and had spent entirely too much time around Hale. Handsome isn’t a synonym for attractive; and while the man walking through the square wasn’t the former, he certainly was the latter.

His hair, for example, was slick and gelled. His suit was the kind of expensive that would be out of style far too soon, and his watch was the only thing about him that was as shiny as his teeth. And yet, for the purposes of Kat’s world, he was—put simply—perfect.

“Oh boy,” Kat heard herself mutter as the man traipsed forward, his gaze glued to his cell phone, and ran right into a bumbling old man in a long trench coat and mismatched socks.

“Oh boy,” Hale echoed.

“Are you okay?” Kat overheard the slick man ask. The old man nodded but gripped the lapels of the other man’s expensive suit, steadying himself.

As the two men parted ways, one stopped after only a single step. But the perfect man—the perfect mark—kept walking. He was well out of earshot by the time Kat waved at the rumpled vagrant and said, “Hello, Uncle Eddie.”

If Kat had stayed at Colgan long enough, a teacher might have eventually told her what her family had been saying for generations: It’s okay to break the rules, but only sometimes, and only if you know them very, very well. So maybe that was why, among the world’s great thieves, Uncle Eddie and Uncle Eddie alone was allowed the luxury of a permanent address.

Stepping inside the old Brooklyn brownstone, Kat felt the sun disappear behind a heavy wooden door, blocking out a neighborhood that had spent the last sixty years morphing from trendy to shady and back again. But inside, nothing ever changed. The hallway was always dim. The air always smelled like the Old Country, or what she’d been told the Old Country smelled like: cabbage and carrots and things simmering for long hours over slow heat in cast-iron pots that would outlive them all.

It was, in a word, home, and yet Kat didn’t dare say so.

Uncle Eddie shuffled down the narrow hallway, stopping only long enough to pull the slick man’s wallet from his pocket and toss it onto a pile of nearly identical loot that sat unopened. Forgotten.

“You’ve been keeping busy.” Kat chose one of the wallets and thumbed through the contents: one I.D., four credit cards, and nine hundred dollars in cash that hadn’t been touched. “Uncle Eddie, there’s a lot of money in—”

“Take off your shoes if you’re coming in,” her great-uncle barked as he continued down the narrow hall. Hale kicked off his Italian loafers, but Kat was already hurrying behind her uncle, trailing him into the heart of the house.

“You’re picking pockets?” Kat asked once they reached the kitchen.

Her uncle stood quietly at the ancient stove that dominated the far wall.

“Tell me you’re being careful,” Kat went on. “It’s not like the old days, Uncle Eddie. Now every street corner has an ATM, and every ATM has a camera, and—”

But she might as well have been speaking to a deaf man. Uncle Eddie pulled two porcelain bowls from the shelf above the stove and began ladling soup. He handed one bowl to Hale and one to Kat and pointed them toward a long wooden table surrounded by mismatched chairs. Hale sat and ate as if he hadn’t had a decent meal in weeks, but Kat stayed standing.

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