A Thief Consumed (International Thief Book Two)

Lola Parks has waited twelve years for revenge against the man who destroyed her family and compelled her into a nomadic life as a master thief, constantly evading Interpol. When she breaks into Claude Marquis’ wine cellar to steal a crate of extremely valuable wine—the last of her family’s legacy—Lola stumbles across highly classified information that could get a national leader, and Lola herself, killed.

Dimitri Tobias forced himself apart from Lola for more than a year, terrified he would lead Jack Barnes, a British crime boss who wants Lola dead, to her doorstep. But when Interpol approaches Dimitri with new evidence about Lola’s crimes, and suspected terrorists blow up her Paris flower shop, Dimitri realizes Lola needs him now more than ever.

The problem? It’s going to take a lot more than the threat of prison or the wrath of terrorists to scare Lola back into Dimitri’s arms.

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A Thief Consumed - Chapter One, Scene One

Asingle night. A rare blue diamond. And an exquisite rush of adrenaline that only stealing something so unique and priceless can provide.

I opened the double doors and pulled the infrared goggles down over my eyes. My heart beat wildly, echoing inside my head. I peered inside the room at the crisscrossing beams of azure light—lasers that separated me from a single diamond worth nearly fifty million euros. Blood coursed through my veins. My heart pounded with the excitement at the thought of what lay inside the hidden safe on the other side of the room.

Not bad for one evening’s work—ifI successfully retrieved the treasure and escaped without being caught.

That was a big “if.”

I was dressed in fitted black stretch pants and a shirt that hugged my body. My hair was secured in a tight braid, smoothed to perfection and tucked beneath a black hood. I wouldn’t chance even one piece of clothing or a single strand of hair crossing into a beam of light and setting off the alarm.

I took in a deep breath, let it out slowly, swallowed hard, and got to work.

I stepped over the first beam. Ducked under a second and third. Contorted my body around the fourth. I was careful to make sure I treated each beam of light with the respect it deserved, performing a delicate blend of yoga and tai chi to navigate the minefield of protection.

I made it past all twenty-four beams without tripping the alarm. By the time I stood in front of a painting of yellow and red poppies, my pulse had calmed to somewhere in the sixties, still above my normal heart rate, but acceptable given the circumstances. What had started as a rush of adrenaline—a surge of electricity through every vein and artery—had slowed to a calm sense of purpose. I was a professional, and in the end, stealing this particular object, however precious and valuable, was just another job to accomplish. Another job that would lead me closer to the one thing I coveted above all else: freedom.

I stared at the painting through a waterfall of blue light that protected not only the painting, but also the contents of the safe behind it. The painting itself was worth a tidy sum, but that wasn’t what I was after. Not today, anyway.

I knelt to the floor. With a gloved hand, I felt for the control panel that I knew existed, but was impossible to see. I closed my eyes and pressed firmly into the hardwood floor with my fingers until a piece of wood gave way. I lifted it to reveal the controls.

One step closer.

I pulled a tool kit and wire cutters from my backpack. I pried open a hidden compartment inside the panel and pulled out four colored wires. Using the cutters, I pierced the white-coated wire. The laser beams streaming in front of the painting and the hidden safe vanished. Then I cut the yellow one. The beams behind me went dark, leaving me with a safe path out of the room.

I tucked the remaining wires back inside the compartment and pressed the wood back into the floor.

After returning my tools to my pack, I carefully lifted the painting off of its hook and set it gently on the floor to lean against the wall. On the wall where it had hung was a safe—as I knew there would be.

The face of the safe featured an electronic display with a lightning cord port below it. I pulled out my phone and a cord that would connect it to the lightning port, and I plugged it in.

An app, custom-programmed for this very job, ran until it found the combination of numbers I needed. I entered the code into the keypad. A soft tone sounded, followed by a click.

The safe opened.

I smiled. The muscles tightened around my heart. I was so close. I reached into the safe, wrapped my hand around the velvet pouch where the diamond rested safe and snug, and pulled it out.

A siren blared. The lights came on, overwhelming the sensitive goggles and blinding me. I cursed as my heart nearly leapt from my chest.

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