Touched by a Thief(3)

By: Jana Mercy


That alone should have told her something was wrong with the scenario, but she’d been too blind to see beyond the shared laughter, the steamy sex, the intense light in Ian’s blue eyes when he looked at her—like there was no one else in the world he’d rather be looking at, like everything else paled in comparison to her.

Fool.

She pushed her body all the harder, expending her burning energy in the only constructive means at her disposal. Exercise.

“Our sources suggest you could penetrate Kincaid’s inner circle and retrieve the missing item.” He paused dramatically. “Your record would be expunged in exchange.”

Penetrate an illegal arms dealer’s inner circle and steal from him? Insane, but she’d be lying if she didn’t admit adventure stirred her blood. Or maybe it was the thought of escaping her not so gilded cage. Escaping being trapped with her thoughts of Ian. “What item?”

He hesitated, watched her closely for a reaction. “The Degassi Diamond.”

A diamond? Gerard had a diamond the government was willing to exchange her freedom for? Interesting.

As a thief, Monty took pride in knowing jewelry. During the past eight years she’d possessed millions of dollars worth of jewels, knew all the world’s most precious stones. Not once had she heard of the Degassi Diamond.

Gerard transported and sold guns, not diamonds, although she supposed it was possible he got paid with African conflict diamonds from time to time. But what would the U.S. government want with an African conflict diamond?

Something wasn’t right.

She held her gaze steady, not letting on that he’d piqued her curiosity about both the diamond and why Gerard, and the United States, would want the jewel.

Of course, the word “freedom” whet her tongue the moment he uttered it, just as the bastard had known it would. Otherwise he wouldn’t be telling her the slightest detail.

They knew they were making an offer she couldn’t refuse.

Freedom. How sweet that word, that thought. But she knew better than to appear too eager or to accept a deal without knowing the risks. She’d already served a hundred-and-twenty-one days too many of her overly harsh twenty year sentence and would no doubt make a deal with the devil to be free. Even if that freedom came at a steep price.

Stealing from Gerard. He’d no doubt killed for less.

“Kincaid has made inquiries regarding your release, made arrangements for your early release that we’ll honor if you agree to what we’re asking.”

Gerard had made inquiries? A sliver of emotion bubbled in her chest. She’d thought the world had forgotten her, that no one gave a damn that she’d dropped off the face of the earth. And they, whoever they were, wanted her to steal from the man who had arranged her release?

“Never heard of the Degassi.” Absently she stroked her finger over her bare throat, knowing the suit’s gaze followed her motions, knowing he was still trying to figure out why a man like Gerard would go to so much trouble to free a woman like her when he was often seen with famous actresses and models.

“Nonetheless it exists and Kincaid has stolen it. We want you to steal it back.”

The government wanted her to steal jewelry. An ironic smile played on her lips. Wasn’t that the exact reason they’d locked her in this hellhole?

“If I don’t?” But they both knew she would. It’s what she did best, what she loved, what she’d given up four years of Marine special ops training and missions for, what embodied who she was: a jewel thief, although she liked to think of herself more as a modern day Robin Hood, taking from the rich and giving to the poor.

“If you don’t?” This time it was the suit who shrugged. “You’ll spend the next twenty years of your life rotting in this cell with no hope of early parole.”





Chapter Two





Two hours of mission briefing later, doors clanged, sounds echoed, other prisoners whooped and hollered while two heavily armed guards escorted Monty through the cursed halls of the women’s penitentiary.

Freedom. With each step the thud of her heart beat stronger. Thanks to Gerard’s desire to be between her legs and his padding the pockets of some high up officials, the government planned to pardon her transgressions. Just like that.