Home > Danger Rising (Red Stone Security #20)

Danger Rising (Red Stone Security #20)
Author: Katie Reus

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

 

Lana froze at the sound of the mansion’s alarm going off, inwardly cursing even as she planned her escape. She’d disabled the cameras remotely before breaking in and she was supposed to have had twelve minutes in this office.

Hell, maybe the cameras were still disabled and something else had gone wrong. Couldn’t worry about it now.

She grabbed the cash from the safe she’d cracked, shoved it into her backpack along with the other paperwork inside. It wasn’t what she’d come for, but screw it. Jeremy Cashe deserved everything she took from him, the corrupt bastard. She’d take everything she could until she got back what he’d stolen from her.

As she stepped away from the wall safe, she swiped the laptop on his desk and tucked it into the waterproof sleeve of her backpack before she hoisted it on.

Footsteps pounded in the distance, coming up the stairs, it sounded like. Gloves and mask firmly in place, she eased out through the French doors onto the patio.

Lightning forked across the sky, illuminating the big, lush yard and Atlantic Ocean beyond it. She pressed her back against the wall as she scanned below for security.

There’d been a skeleton crew here tonight while Cashe was at some benefit, and he’d been planning to go to his “love nest” afterward. Tonight had been perfect for her to hit his main residence.

She heard the door to his office bang open behind her, knew there was no more time. She hurried to the thick rope she’d already tied to the side of the stone balustrade.

Hoisting herself over, she unhooked it, looked below, then rappelled down in seconds. As the soles of her boots hit the pavement of the patio, a voice from above shouted.

“Stop!”

Oh okay, yeah, just let me stop. So not happening. Leaving the rope behind whipping in the wind, she sprinted across the lawn as more lightning fractured across the sky and the first raindrops hit her in the face. She spotted two heavily built figures in the distance, across the pool. They were heading her way fast. Thunder rumbled overhead, the sound nearly deafening.

Dirt and grass erupted a foot away from her—they were shooting! The wind was so loud she hadn’t heard the gunfire—or maybe they were using silencers.

Adrenaline surged through her as another flash of lightning erupted overhead. Rain was slamming into her face as she continued to run, making it difficult to see. At least that meant her pursuers were dealing with the same visibility issues.

Suddenly an explosion sounded behind her. Instinct, born of training since she was fourteen, ensured she didn’t turn around.

There were multiple shouts of alarm as she continued sprinting to the water.

She was almost to the dock. Almost to freedom. She reached into her back pocket, pulled her goggles out in preparation.

The lights on the docks winked out suddenly. She nearly stumbled, but kept going. She glanced behind her, saw everything was dark around the pool and the house itself. The power must have gone out, she realized as she hit the dock, still running. That was what that explosion had been, a transformer blowing.

The rain was so thick she couldn’t see the men chasing her, but she could hear the pounding of their feet in the distance.

Heart racing, she turned back around and shoved her goggles onto her face even as she dove off the end of the dock.

The shock of the chilly water punched through her, but she didn’t slow down as she swam under the dock, backtracking underneath it. Treading water, she unhooked the handheld underwater jet from the dock’s column. Divers used them and she’d been practicing with hers for this very night. Rain poured down around her, but the dock gave her cover as she felt around for the on switch. It was so damn dark and the choppy water wasn’t making this any easier.

“Where is he?” a male voice said from somewhere above her. Not directly on top of her at least, but moving.

And they thought she was a man? That was something. Her face mask and all-black clothing had likely helped with that.

“Quiet,” another male voice ordered, the footsteps moving away, toward the far end of the dock. She’d already backtracked so they were likely looking out into the water—or trying to. The rain was still too thick to see much.

Where was the stupid switch— There! She turned the switch on and the small propellor engine flared to life.

“What the hell!”

She dove back underwater as another rumble of thunder shook everything, guiding the handheld jet propulsion in the murky waters. Lightning flashed overhead, giving her minimal light as she steered downward until she skimmed the sandy ocean floor. She couldn’t see for shit, but her goggles helped a little—at least she wasn’t getting salt water in her eyes.

Navigation was difficult, but she knew the general direction to go—away from the damn house.

A bullet whizzed past her, but she gripped the device tight, her lungs feeling the burn as she held her breath.

Inwardly, she began counting, using the focus to ignore the wild shifts in the current and the men who wanted to kill her.

After two minutes it was too much and she surfaced. She sucked in air as she breached through the waves. Instead of immediately diving back down, she slowed her speed and scanned her surroundings. Rain pelted her goggles, but she knew where she was, about four mansions down from Cashe’s house.

Lana couldn’t even see his house anymore and she couldn’t see the men who’d been chasing her, which was good, but she still wasn’t far enough away. They could easily follow her in a boat.

But at least she was still close to the shore, would be able to use the land as a guide to the little boat she’d left tied up a few more houses down.

After adjusting her goggles, she turned the speed back up and let the machine pull her through the water. It went five miles per hour, which wasn’t much, but it was enough to do the job—to put distance between her and Cashe’s residence fast.

The wind-driven waves were too much, slowing her down as she tried not to choke, so she dove back underwater and held her breath.

She did this three more times, going up to grab air before diving right back down, before she reached her boat.

She’d tied it up at the end of a dock, of someone currently on vacation. Lights flared on, illuminating the house beyond.

Her adrenaline spiked until she realized it was the power flickering back on.

Ignoring it, she dumped the propulsion pack in the boat, then slung her backpack over the gunwale before she crawled inside.

Breathing rapidly, she scrambled to the back, tugged on the cord, once, twice—the engine flared to life.

Heart still hammering against her chest, she shoved the goggles onto her head as she steered the dinghy away from the dock. The rain had eased but the wind hadn’t.

Waves lapped over the sides, making her question the decision to use such a small craft. But this had been the only one small enough to keep hidden and not draw any attention from nosy neighbors.

She buzzed along, but dread still ate at her gut because she wasn’t out of danger yet. Thunder boomed overhead, shaking the dock she passed by.

Instinctively, she hunkered down, but it wouldn’t protect her if lightning hit her boat. Gritting her teeth, she guided the boat into the canal. She was so close to her escape she could taste it.

A loud roar sounded behind her.

Blood rushing in her ears, she barely felt the sting of the rain hitting her cheeks as she turned around.

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