Once a Thief

Once a Thief by Kay Hooper

Book: Once a Thief by Kay Hooper Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kay Hooper
Tags: Fiction
unimportant things.
    “How fast can you run?”
    He blinked. “What?”
    “Run. The mile, for instance. How fast can you run the mile?”
    “About average, I suppose.”
    She smiled. It suddenly made him
extremely
nervous. “That’s good,” she said.
    Warily, he asked, “Why is that good?”
    “I was state champ in college.”
     
    Morgan had told herself at least a hundred times that there was nothing she could do to get her necklace back. Max had told her via phone, with his usual courtesy but with emphasis, that there were enough people after Quinn’s hide without her involvement.
    Well, she knew that.
    But. She wanted her necklace back. She had swallowed her pride and explained to Wolfe—with as few details as possible—how Quinn had stolen it from her. Rather surprisingly, Wolfe hadn’t given her a hard time about it; he had simply asked Max’s police inspector friend Keane Tyler to keep an eye out for the necklace. Without going into much detail as to how the necklace came to be “lost.” But if Quinn had sold the thing (the only reason Morgan could think of for him to have taken it—other than sheer devilry, which was admittedly just as likely), it had yet to surface at any fence or pawnshop.
    She wanted it back.
    That was why, she told herself. That was why she was sticking her nose in where it really didn’t belong despite Max’s warning and her own common sense. Because she wanted her necklace back.
Not
because she had any desire at all to meet up with that devious thief again.
    He was still in the city, she knew that. Still too close by for comfort. At least twice in the last few days, she was absolutely positive he had been in the museum, lost among the crowd of visitors, and close enough to touch.
    What she didn’t know was whether he’d been casing the joint—keeping an eye on the progress of preparations for the
Mysteries Past
exhibit—or had been hanging around playing invisible merely to annoy her.
    He was capable of either motive. Dammit.
    She had no idea what his face looked like, and though she caught herself studying several tall strangers with an intentness that had resulted in two indecent propositions and three requests for a date, she was reasonably sure she hadn’t actually seen him.
    Reasonably sure.
    But ever since her last encounter with him, she’d been looking for him. And not just in the museum here. She averaged spending at least a couple of hours every night in her car, parked outside some other museum or jewelry store—any likely target—waiting to see if he would show up. Trying to sense him.
    It was dumb and reckless and she knew it . . . but she couldn’t help herself.
    By Tuesday she was short on sleep and not in the best of moods, so when Keane Tyler called her to report no luck in turning up the necklace Quinn had stolen from her, she vented her feelings in what was a fairly minor explosion.
    Keane listened in silence, then said sympathetically, “Well, if it makes you feel any better, Morgan, from all I’ve heard, Quinn can be a real devil. Not evil the way some thieves genuinely are, but more than sharp enough to cut himself.”
    Morgan frowned. “What do you mean?”
    “I mean he’s smart, off-the-chart smart. Wouldn’t surprise me to find out the guy was literally a genius. And men like that need challenges, need to push themselves harder than most of us ever will. They find what they need in their work, usually. His work happens to be thievery. So it’s not really surprising that he’s too good to leave any kind of a trail we might use to find him.”
    “You almost sound like you admire him.”
    “I almost do.” Keane laughed under his breath. “Look, I deal with the scum of the earth most days. Killers, drug pushers, pedophiles. And, yeah, thieves who don’t think twice about killing in the course of a robbery. But a thief like Quinn? He’s way down on my priority list of bad guys. He never uses weapons, has never hurt anyone in the course

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