The catch had been so close, so damned close. Orin had practically had his hands on the kid.
She wasn’t the most expensive kid in the neighborhood, but that’s because she lived next door to dragons and down the road from pixies, harpies, and centaurs. She was, however, the priciest kid per ounce and risk factor, at least in this city.
The amount of time he was having to spend on her, though, this damn thing was turning out to be the lowest hourly rate he’d pulled in over a decade. And what was worse? Now he had base calling, breathing down his throat, telling him to come in. And he’d almost had his hands on her.
Olin packed his gear into his car and headed back to base, grumbling to himself the whole time. This kid would be pure gold, but every minute spent away from the hunt was one more minute that he risked somebody else grabbing her. His team weren’t the only ones interested in her, and it wasn’t just for the payday, either.
He’d caught one of the religious creeps around the kid the other day, and driven the bastard off with a stick and a few well-placed threats. The church guys were the worst, the spooks nearly as bad. Olin didn’t want to think about what would happen if either of those got their hands on this particular target. All that power, all that potential, but she was still in a tiny, fragile package.
Fragile, but either supremely lucky, or surrounded by the best secret-ops team of weirdos he’d ever seen. Every opportunity he’d had had somehow glitched out or gotten ruined, often by the most obnoxious, irritating series of coincidences. It was almost as if…
Olin stopped the car. “Fuck,” he muttered. He hadn’t dealt with those little shits in decades. “Fuck, fuck…” He picked up his phone. Dead. Turned over the car engine. Dead.
He turned to his gear bag, wondering if there was a bounty on gremlins.
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