What's The Inspiration?
I fell in love with the idea of opposites attract. In this case, a detective and a thief. I didn't want it to be like anything I've read before so I added a little twist on the concept of a 'love triangle'
Part of Chapter One
Around midnight, the air conditioner turned off, followed shortly by the lights. I called out for an update over the radio. Silent. Something’s not right.
“Emergency lights should have turned on by now.” Tristan stated.
“I agree, but we should maintain our post.”
“I’ll be quick as a bunny.” He grinned. “Floor plans showed emergency stairs for security are nearby. Should be a breeze to get down to the basement, check out the breaker panel, then return.”
“Then you stay here, and I’ll go.” The thought of staying here, alone, was unnerving.
“I’m faster.” He stated. “Fifteen minutes, twenty tops.”
“Make it quick, Tristan.” My eyes darted around the shadows of the room. “I have a bad feeling.”
I nodded. Tristan’s green gaze studied me.
“I’ll be extra quick, Darcie.”
Would a thief be stupid enough to try and steal The Eye on the first night? Or am I just being paranoid? Tristan left me in the dark, the only light coming from the base of various displays because they are on a circuit separate from the main building. Being the only one in the room, I could hear every little sound — like a lock sliding into place on the door.
“Tristan?” I called. Stupid, he only just left. I pulled out my phone to use the flashlight feature and swung it around the room, trying to find the source of the soft footsteps I heard while staying close to the fake eye. “Show yourself.”
“What do I have here?” A deep velvety voice purred.
A man stepped into the light of my flashlight. I couldn’t see his face. I lowered the light to his chest. I still couldn’t get a good enough view of him. He continued to step closer until he was only a couple of feet away. I could see his blue eyes staring at me through a black mask that covered half his face.
“A female security guard? No.” He shook his head. “You don’t look like museum security.”
“You’re pretty bold for a mere thief.” I countered, standing my ground.
“Mere thief?” He chuckled. “Allow me to introduce myself.” He then bent at the waist, bowing while maintaining eye contact. “I am Le Corbeau, jewel thief extraordinaire.”
“Never heard of you.” Then, keeping the light trained on him, I reached for the handcuffs I kept in my back pocket while on duty. “But thank you for identifying yourself, thief — now I can arrest you.”
“Arrest me?” He laughed, the sound rich and decadent. “I haven’t stolen anything.”
“But you did break into the museum. Local police can still charge you for that.”
Keeping his distance, the thief walked to the other side of the display case I’d held at my back. I could see his face more clearly with the light from the display case. He didn’t wear just any mask, but one that looked very bird-like. Possibly a crow. His stunning blue eyes watched me with every step he took. Those eyes are going to haunt my dreams, especially when his lips quirked into a teasing smile. Focus Darcie!
“You are not going to steal The Eye.”
He looked down at the display. “I wouldn’t want a fake anyway.”
“Fake?” I choked out. How does he know that?
“The Eye has a dark streak through it that moves when you do.” He looked up at me. “A simple trick of the light, but it’s a unique feature of its cut.”
Interesting. I looked down at the fake. It certainly looks real. How common is that little fact? Le Corbeau took that moment to step closer to me. Lights came back on. Closing my eyes to the sudden brightness was a rookie mistake. I felt the thief’s hand brush my neck. Shit. Training kicked in. I grabbed his wrist and swept my foot at his ankles. He fell to the ground. The momentum took me with him. His wrist still in my grip, I twisted his arm back and placed my knee into his back to keep him face down.
“You will not be taking The Eye.” I told him firmly.
This thief had the gall to laugh. Then, with his free hand, he pushed himself up, knocking me off. I fell onto my back. I was not about to let him escape. Le Corbeau was halfway standing when I tackled him back to the ground. Straddling his chest, I held his wrists above his head, handcuffs still in my back pocket. I reached for them again.
“As much as I appreciate a beautiful woman straddling me.” He used his body to flip our position. “I prefer you this way.”
I glared up at the grinning blue-eyed thief. With my hands pinned above my head, he unbuttoned my blouse just enough to get a good look at The Eye. Double shit! I squirmed, trying to flip us back, but the man outweighed me. My brain raced through every training exercise to find the one that would best help my current situation. His fingers traced the chain to the back of my neck. I wiggled one leg up, placing my foot on his chest and pushed him back with all my strength. I successfully pushed him far enough back that he was forced to let go of my wrists. I turned on my stomach and crawled away before scrambling to my feet. For the third time this night, I reached for the cuffs.
“Looking for these?” He teased, my cuffs dangling from his fingers.
How? I felt for my back pocket. The cuffs I’d brought were no longer there. I glared at the silver bracelets he dangled.
“You can use those to cuff yourself.” I retorted.
He laughed, far too amused. Banging at the door told me Tristan was back. Relief flooded my system. This man hadn’t used any weapons but was still dangerous, and I needed help. Pulling the gun I kept at my side — only used for extreme situations — the thief’s smile faded, and he slowly put up his hands.
“Use those cuffs.” I ordered.
He let go of something he had in his other hand. It hit the floor; thick smoke emanated out, filling the space around us. I couldn’t see a thing. The door slammed open. When Tristan called out for me, I lowered my gun, not wanting to shoot any fellow Holst Security members. I felt the weapon get taken from me then my wrists got handcuffed behind my back.
“Better luck next time, Kitten.” Le Corbeau whispered in my ear, then kissed my cheek.
“Thief!” I shouted. As the smoke cleared, I could see my partner and a couple of extra men but no blue-eyed thief. “Where did he go?”
“Who?” Tristan lowered his gun, taking in my appearance. “What happened?”
“Le Corbeau, the thief who came for The Eye.”
He freed my wrists. Immediately I felt around my neck.
“Shit! Search this museum. Find the thief. Don’t let him get away with The Eye!”
No one moved.
“Now!” I ordered.
The men turned and ran out of the room. I snagged Tristan’s radio, giving the same order. I will not let this thief waltz right out of here. He couldn’t have gotten far. Tristan was staring at the fake gemstone, not understanding my order. He disliked my explanation even more. I should have told him about the adjustment at the beginning.
I texted the boss. He came to the museum in the morning to manage the client and the curator. The man is a smooth political talker. With the signed amendment of the contract that I had Mr. Bridington sign the night prior, he could talk his way out of any legal action. But, unfortunately, the boss had my hide for letting a thief get close enough to steal The Eye from around my neck.
I promised him I’d find The Eye and this thief. He gave me two weeks to find some lead, or he’ll hand the problem to local authorities. Tristan offered to drive me home, but I drove to the museum last night and wasn’t about to leave my car behind. Once home, I stripped out of my clothes, desperately needing a shower. A business card floated to the ground. It displayed a black crow holding onto a gem in its beak — Le Corbeau. Resisting the urge to crumple the card, I took it to my home office and pinned it to the corkboard wall.
“I will hunt you down and put you behind bars.”