Home > Heist Society (Heist Society #1)(15)

Heist Society (Heist Society #1)(15)
Author: Ally Carter

It is an occupational hazard that anyone who has spent her life learning how to lie eventually becomes bad at telling the truth; in that moment, Kat didn’t have a clue what to say. I can’t do this without you sounded trite. What they were doing was too big for a simple Please.

“Hale, I—”

“You know what? Never mind. Ether way, I’m in, Kat.” He seemed utterly resolved as he slipped on his sunglasses. “I’m all in.”

She watched him climb the stairs to the plane, heard him call over his shoulder, “Besides, I do make excellent arm candy.”

Kat wanted to agree. She tried to say thank you. But all she managed to do was worry about who—or what—might be waiting on the ground in Italy.

11 Days Until Deadline

Chapter 8

No way. Kat heard the words in her head before she thought to say them aloud. No, Hale. No. Just . . . no. Kat shook the sleep out of her head and tried to think clearly about the situation. After all, she was in Italy. With a smart and handsome boy. Standing on a private jet. The world lay quite literally at her feet, and yet, all Katarina Bishop could do was watch the door ease open, revealing a private airstrip, one of the most beautiful valleys in the world, and a young woman with long flowing hair and a cocked hip.

All she could say was, “No way.”

It is fairly safe to assume that all thieves (or anyone who has spent much of their life in the dark) will have a sixth sense that allows them to hear more, process more quickly. And yet Kat wondered why the sight of that particular girl made the little hairs on her neck stand on end.

“Hello, Kitty Kat.”

Oh yeah. That was it.

“Can I talk to you?” Kat grabbed at Hale, but even though she was very catlike on her feet, Hale was much sturdier on his. He moved past her and down the stairs just as the girl leveled her gaze at him and said, “Hey, handsome.”

When he hugged the girl, her long legs left the ground, and Kat wanted to point out that it was far too cold for such a short skirt. She longed to note that high heels were a very bad idea in a city full of cobblestone. But Kat just stood frozen at the top of the stairs, not moving until the girl said, “Oh, come on, Kitty, don’t you have a hug for your cousin?”

Families are strange things—living things—in more ways than one. And family businesses . . . well, there was no limit to the oddness.

Walking through the narrow streets of the small town Arturo Taccone called home, Kat had to wonder for the millionth time if it was that way in all family businesses. Was there a shoe store in Seattle that had been handed down through generations only to spawn two teenage girls who couldn’t be left alone together? Was there—at this very moment—a restaurant in Rio where two cousins were crossing their arms and refusing to work the same shift?

Or perhaps these feelings were reserved for the family businesses where people are occasionally shot. Or imprisoned. But Kat would never know. She only had one family, after all, and nothing whatsoever to compare it to.

“Hale,” Gabrielle whined as she draped her arm through his, “Kat’s not being very nice to me.”

“Kat,” Hale said as if enjoying playing grown-up, “hug your cousin.”

But Kat never forced affection. And unlike Gabrielle, she adamantly refused to whine. Maybe she’d lost those abilities when she lost her mother; or maybe, like bad reflexes and a steadfast relationship with the truth, those skills were slowly being bred out of her family. Whatever the case, she managed to say, “It’s good to see you, Gabrielle. I thought you were in Monte Carlo. The Eurotrash circuit.”

“And I thought you were in study hall. Guess we were both mistaken.”

Kat studied her cousin and wondered how it was possible that she was only a year older—not even that. Nine months. And yet she looked nine years more mature. She was taller, curvier, and just in general more. As she pressed against Hale, she held his arm tightly, leaving Kat to walk beside them like a third wheel down streets that were barely wide enough for two.

“So, where’s Alfred?” Gabrielle asked.

“You mean Marcus?” Hale corrected.

“Whatever.” The girl dismissed her mistake with a wave, and Kat thought it was too bad that her head hadn’t filled out quite as completely as her bra. But then her cousin said, “Happy birthday,” and a package of photos suddenly vanished from her hand and appeared in Hale’s jacket pocket.

The pass was smooth. Effortless. The practiced move of a seasoned pro, a member of the family.

“How’s your mom?” Kat asked her.

“Engaged.” Gabrielle gave an exasperated sigh. “Again.”

“Oh,” Hale said. “Congratulations.”

“You could say that. He’s a count. I think. Or maybe a duke.” She turned to Hale. “Which one’s better?”

Before he could answer, they came to a low stone wall. Beyond it, vineyards stretched out across the Sabina Valley. A river sliced through the fertile land while sheep grazed on a distant hill. Italy was one of the most beautiful places on earth, and yet Kat was unable to tear her eyes away from the photos in Hale’s hands. Images of a massive compound near a beautiful lake. Hale leaned against the wall, flipping through the photos that zoomed in closer and closer to the compound. Soon Kat was staring at the walls and lines that, until then, she’d only seen modeled in blueprints.

“This is as close as you got to the house?” Hale asked Gabrielle.

She chomped her gum. “You mean to the fortress? Seriously nice picking, guys.”

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