Ally Carter · 60 pages
Rating: (12.3K votes)
“You're late." Kat said as soon as Hale put the phone to his ear. She wasn't the kind of girl to wait for hello.
"What can I say? Macey McHenry has been throwing herself at me..."
"See, that's the kind of thing that would make me jealous if she weren't way out of your league."
"You know, if I had feelings, that might have hurt them.”
“What are they after?” Kat asked.
“Hard to say,” Hale said; again, he eyed the room.
“Who is that?” Macey asked.
“The reason I wasn’t flirting with you,” Hale told her.”
“Wordlessly, she slipped off her shoes. Gently, she placed a palm on the floor, shifted to stand, but that was when Macey felt another hand pressing down on hers.Hard. Too Hard.
"Just what do you think you're doing ?" Hale hissed in her ear. His fingers burned into her skin. And Macey knew if she was going to take out the gunman, she was first going to have to neutralize the boy beside her.
"Why don't you let me go and I'll show you," she said with only a modicum of flirt in her voice.
"Why don't you put your fancy shoes back on and sit there like a good little girl?"
"First of all, I'm good at a lot of things. Taking orders from bored billionaires isn't one of them. Second of all, he's alone, and I can take him," Macey said.
"No!" Hale said. "You don't know anything about this guy."
"I know he's left handed and has an old injury to his right knee---probably a torn ACL at some point but the details don't matter. And the way he keeps his finger purposefully away from the safety of that gun means he's never fired it. And he doesn't want to."
"You're kinda scary.”
“I’m sorry if I’m not flirting with you. I’m kind of spoken for.”
“Why don’t I know You?”
“Does anyone ever really know someone else?”
“You think your cute,” she told him.
“You think your gorgeous. But I’m the one guy here who knows better.”
“So I’m not gorgeous?” Macey challenged.
“Of course you are,” He started away, turned back at the last minute. “But I’m the guy who figured out that’s not all you are.”
“Hey I bruise," Hale said. "Also, you are freakishly strong.”
“Cammie's going to be mad she missed this," Macey said to fill the silence.
"Excuse me?" Hale asked.
"Nothing." She shook her head. "I just... I have a friend who really likes air vents. And dumbwaiter shafts. And laundry chutes. Of course, the last time I was in a laundry chute, Cammie and I fell about a dozen stories..."
"Well, that sounds like fun."
"It was either that or get kidnapped by terrorists, so I guess we got of easy.”
“Macey couldn't decide whether to be intrigued that Hale was walking around with a state-of-the-art covert communications device or be jealous because she'd been caught without one of her own.”
“What is it?" When Kat's voice finally came into Hale's ear, it was cold and steady and even. All tease was gone. If she was angry at him for standing her up, she didn't show it. she just said, "Tell me what's going on."
"Party crashers," Hale whispered. He watched Macey watching him. "Five, and they brought toys."
"Guns?" Kat guessed.
"Big ones," Hale said.
"You know this is what you get for doing a favor for your mother."
"I know," Hale admitted.
"What are they after?" Kat asked.
"Hard to say," Hale said; again, he eyed the room.
"Who is that?" Macey asked.
"The reason I wasn't flirting with you,"Hale told her.”
“How nice for you. Now I want you to promise me that if I move, you won't do something stupid." Macey was just starting to protest when Hale stopped and brought his hand to his ear. "Besides, there's someone who wants to talk to you." He held out the extra earbud, whispering softly in the too quiet room. "It goes in your ear and---"
But before he could finish, Macey rolled her eyes and placed the bud in her ear. "This is peacock," she whispered.
She watched Hale's eyes go wide as she heard a very familiar voice say, "You're not getting extra credit for this. Now"---Macey's teacher took a long, easy breath---"whats going on in there?”
“As soon as she was close, she whispered, "you've got to get out of here."
"No, you've got to get out of here," he told her. "Go downstairs. Go now."
"No," she countered. "You go."
"Why?" he asked.
"You tell me first."
But before they could say another word, the last elevator slid slowly open and two men in masks rushed out. From the opposite side of the of the ballroom, shots rang out, rapid fire, piercing the ceiling, plaster falling onto the dance floor like snow.
And then Hale and Macey whispered in unison, "Because of that.”
“That's cool." Hale nodded, unfazed. "But just so you know, that"---he pointed to the piece of metal peeking out from behind the stage---"is a Hurst 5,000 PSI hydraulic spreader-cutter, more commonly know as the Jaws of Life."
"So I'm not a normal boy.”
“What kind of plan B?" Hale asked. He was almost holding his breath when a voice answered, "My kind." Macey tried to read the look on his face then, but it was gone in a flash. It had been a simple moment of peace and joy and pure happiness. That voice made Hale happy. It kept him calm. It was his backup and his conscience. Macey couldn't help herself, she envied him.”
“Quietly, Macey went through her options. Even though the masked men were asking for cell phones, the gunmen were making so much noise that she was sure someone had already called 911. The obvious exits were blocked, and the elevators had no doubt been disabled. The men moved with confidence and order, but they weren’t trying to be quiet. There was nothing covert at all about this operation.
Unlike the boy beside her.”
“She watched him stop to pat the mayor on the back. He stumbled a little in the crowd, and his left hand disappeared ever so briefly inside the mayor’s tuxedo pocket. It was over in a flash, a blink, a second. And Macey was quite certain she was the only person in the entire room to have seen it, but that was just as well. At least, Macey had seen enough. And at last, the boy made sense."
— Double Crossed by Ally Carter”
“When his phone rang, he had to dig through his pocket to find it, and his fingers brushed against a pair of tiny earbuds he and Kat had last used in Monte Carlo. Hale smiled a little, realizing he hadn’t worn the tux in ages. It was just one of many ways his life had change in the years since a girl named Katarina Bishop crawled into his window and into his life."
— Double Crossed by Ally Carter”
“Macey was just starting to argue when Abby asked, "What can you tell me about the gunmen?"
"They're amateurs," Hale said at the exact same time Macey told her teacher, "They're pros.”
“When the woman took the earbud, he didn't ask another question. She was a woman on a mission as she placed the tiny device in her ear and said, "This is Special Agent Abby Cameron. Let me talk to Macey McHenry.”
“When Hale's hand disappeared inside his tuxedo jacket, Macey wasn't exactly sure what he'd find inside the pocket. It could have been another phone or a breath mint. Really, nothing would have surprised her. Well nothing except...
"Is that an earbud?" she whispered. He smiled. "Are you on comms?"
"Shhh," he told her softly.”
“Hale looked at Macey, who added, "Seven minutes since shots fired."
"Kat what's the emergency response tie in Midtown Manhattan?"
"Not long enough if they want a clean exit," she told him.
Macey hadn't heard Kat's words, but she looked at Hale like she'd read his mind.”
“But in the end she merely shrugged, knowing at the very least it would be interesting. Knowing, in her gut, it might just be the beginning.”
“There you are," Hale told his mother when he found her.
"Oh, darling, do you know Michael Calloway? His mother is the event chair. We've just been arguing over whether he is going to let me outbid him for this gorgeous antique clock," Mrs. Hale said, but her son didn't care.
"Sorry," Hale told the man in the tux with the small bits of sweat gathering at his brow. "I need her," he said, pulling his mother from the table and toward the bank of elevators on the far sie of the room, the ones that appeared to be operational.
"Mom, I need you to come with me,"
"But, darling," the woman protested, "its Swiss!"
The elevator dinged and Hale pushed her inside it. "Sorry, Dad will meet you downstairs.”
“So I’m not gorgeous?” Macey challenged. “Of course you are.” He started away, turned back at the last minute. “But I’m the guy who figured out that’s not all you are.”
“You think you’re cute,” she told him. “You think you’re gorgeous. But I’m the one guy here who knows better.”
“I seem to be at a disadvantage,” she told him. “Don’t feel bad.” He grinned. “Most people are.”
“There are few problems a Gallagher Girl can face that cannot be improved by a job. A task. A target.”
“How much does your life have to suck to want the Apocalypse?”
“Forgive me,’ he said a moment later. ‘You’re right. I put you at risk. It was too dangerous a task for a—’ ‘For a woman, you mean?’ she said, jerking her head back, ﬂicking her still wet hair from her shoulder with a sudden movement. ‘Is that what you were going to say? Are you playing the gentleman all of a sudden? I may have to squat to piss, but my coat is lined with wolf skin, not coney fur! Don’t call me a coward, because you don’t know me!”
“Nature, at its strongest, shaved off mountaintops or threw houses into the air, but it couldn't was away pain. Everything had limitations.”
“And he has to live like this on the edge of destruction, alone, with nobody at all to understand or pity him”
“Evidence is the debris of a careless mind.”
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