What the hell was that?
Eve gently pulled Jedi behind her so that she could stare into the dark.
“What’s going on?” he whispered.
She gestured for him to stay put as she crept toward the alley behind them. It could just be vermin scurrying. A hobo finding a spot for a bed or a drink.
Or something much more lethal.
Since her life hung in the balance, she wanted to assess the threat before she casually dismissed it.
Making sure to cling to the shadows, she skimmed them until she was at the opening and could peer in without being seen.
At first glance, it looked empty.
Until she saw something out of place. Most would never have seen it, but most people weren’t part Andarion. They didn’t have her heightened vision or hearing that she’d inherited from her grandmother.
Indeed, humans passed off her darker complexion and tall, athletic build as Hyshian and she let them. The only hint she had of her Andarion genes was her black hair that she kept in warrior braids and the paleness of her blue eyes that were almost silver in color. But again, people just assumed it was a human color since she lacked the traditional Andarion fangs.
That was fine by her.
She liked catching others unawares.
But she didn’t want anyone sneaking up on her . . .
Slowly, carefully, she crept toward the outline of a boot, while making sure to stay attentive to the shadows around her where an accomplice might be lurking.
Eve pulled the light out of her pocket and used it to illuminate the alley.
Only trash and filth littered the forgotten area. Until the beam reached the boot. She followed that up a long, long leg that was wrapped in a black League uniform.
A uniform she’d seen not long ago . . .
“Holy fuck!” Jedi’s low, unexpected voice made her jump.
“Damn It, Jed! You scared the shit out of me! Make some noise when you move!” How anyone so tall could be so quiet, she’d never understand.
Of course, his ability to move like a ghost was exactly why she’d hired him, but at the moment . . .
It only made her want to shoot him.
“Sorry. I didn’t know what you were doing and I was worried.” He took the light from her and shined it on the face of the very man who’d saved her. “That’s an assassin, right?”
Jedi turned around and scanned the street and alley. “Is he alone?”
“Think so. Black suits usually only work solo.” That was what made them so incredibly lethal.
“Is he First Rank?”
She shook her head. She’d never seen an assassin that high-ranking, but Jinx was close. Only one rank below. “Second.”
Eve gestured at his uniform. “Third has black skull-and-dagger stitching only. First would have red stitching like our friend, but with a crown over the sword hilt. That makes this guy a Second Rank Commander.”
“Fuck me. Let’s go.”
That would be the intelligent thing to do. No doubt, anyone else wouldn’t hesitate to run.
But she wasn’t normal and most days her intelligence hid like a skittish virgin at a raunchy bachelor party.
Besides, she owed Jinx for what he’d done. She wasn’t about to pay him back by leaving him here in the gutter.
“Hold the light.”
Jedi laughed. “Hold the light? Are you out of your minsid mind? I saw this movie. It ended badly for the idiot with the light and wasn’t any better for the one who went off into the dark.”
“Would you stop? If he was going to attack, we’d already be dead. Now let me make sure he’s still breathing.”
“We’re not that lucky and if he is dead, good. Make sure you don’t leave your prints on his body.”
Rolling her eyes, she groaned at him, then moved cautiously toward Jinx. After the way he’d gone for her throat in the bar, she didn’t want to risk what he might do if she grabbed him while he was injured and delirious.
In pain, he might not be in control of himself and the last thing she wanted was to be in his line of fire if he thought she was the one who’d harmed him.
Slowly, she knelt down by his side. “Hey, buddy? You–” Her voice broke off as she saw the blood that soaked his uniform. The bruises on his face.
This wasn’t a prank or a ruse.
Someone had gotten the drop on him.
How, she had no idea.
Nor did she know why. But the one thing about assassins, they didn’t survive like this.
A wounded assassin was a dead assassin. And it was obvious that his attacker had believed him dead or else he or she would still be here.
Which meant they were in danger.
Looking around more closely, she saw the streaks of blood on the ground that led away from Jinx to . . . She arched her brow as she finally saw another body that had fallen under some garbage.
Yeah, that was messy.
Apparently, the two of them had gone at each other, no-holds barred.
After very successfully killing his “friend,” Jinx had crawled to the wall. By the looks of the bloodstains, he’d been trying to stand and hold himself up against the brick wall before he’d collapsed and passed out.
Blood was all over the place.
The two of them had fought like demons.
Which made sense.
You tangled with an assassin, you were bound to have a really bad night.
So who would be that stupid?
Curious and cautious, she went over to the other body and then pulled up short as she pulled the garbage away from it.
Are you minsid kidding me?
“What is it?”
Eve stared in disbelief. “Another assassin.”
Oh yeah. “Unless he’s some species that can live without a head . . . or regenerate a new one, affirmative.” Jinx had made a massive mess of the guy whose head was two feet away from his huge body.
The look of terror frozen on his face would probably give her nightmares for the next week.
Awesome. Just awesome.
Not that she’d blame Jinx since it was obvious the assassin had been trying to kill him.
Eve had never heard of two League assassins fighting like this.
She frowned as she realized this guy, unlike Jinx, had a name on his uniform. “Sniper.”
Jed ducked. “Where?”
She snorted at his automatic response. “Not coming at us. On the ground, here.”
“He wasn’t very good at his job.”
She wouldn’t say that. Given his rank, he must have been damn good at it.
Jinx had just been better.