Read an Excerpt
Riana Ruben signalled to Celeste, the classically beautiful blonde woman beside her before sneaking away from the museum tour. Once out of earshot, she pulled the vibrating cell phone from her pocket and pressed her left index finger on the screen. The LCD panel blinked as it read her fingerprint.
“Welcome Agent Ruben.”
The small screen lit up seconds later and Daphnia appeared. Her beautiful caramel skin was scrunched up in a mask of displeasure. “Tell me you’ve found Ms. Waters’ gem.”
“Yes, we have, D. We should be acquiring Waters’ jewel tonight and return should be no later than a week from then.”
Daphnia said nothing for a few moments. Riana knew Daphnia was reading information off the gigantic computer screen she kept to her left. No doubt Daphnia was double-checking the information from Interpol, the FBI, the PIA—the Preternatural Intelligence Agency— and Ms. Waters.
“You’re sure we got the right stone?”
“I’m positive.” Riana pressed a few buttons on the right hand of the screen, pulling up some of the files she had been working on and emailed them to Daphnia.
“We double checked last night. It’s definitely Ms. Water’s gem. I almost can’t believe that they stole the old broad’s rock only to sell it to a museum.”
“The museum’s board of directors has no idea it has a stolen artefact. The curator purchased it knowing it was stolen and fabricated the provenances for the big guys when Waters refused to sell it. Waters wants it returned without police involvement, and he has refused to give it back.”
“Good thing she called us, huh?”
Daphnia smirked. “Good thing the right people know we’re the Robin Hoods of the gem world.”
Riana smiled to herself as she thought about the gifts that made the women of Greedy Girls, Inc. different from every other gemstone bounty hunters. Unlike most hunters, the ladies of Greedy Girls, Inc. were mutants. Riana was a mutant with the ability to shape-shift into any type of feline whether house cat or, her favourite, panther.
The ability had saved her life on several occasions.
“Yeah. Everything in order?” Riana asked.
Daphnia compared the files Riana had sent. After a few seconds Daphnia smiled. The icy fire of amusement in her topaz eyes made Riana uneasy for just a moment. Its presence reminded Riana of just how cold and calculating her boss could be.
Rather than unnerving Riana, Daphnia’s cool exterior impressed her. Daphnia was the sole owner of Greedy Girls, Inc., a discreet firm that specialised in the retrieval of stolen pieces of jewellery. She was the best of the best in their field. Riana couldn’t help admiring her.
“Yes, everything is order. I’ll be damned. It really is Waters’ stone.” The last few words were spoken with awe. Daphnia obviously hadn’t really believed the curator would be stupid enough to put the stolen Waters’ gem on display. The woman and her gemstone collection were, after all, world famous.
“Dismissed,” Daphnia said curtly without looking.
Celeste barely glanced at Riana when she returned to the tour group. “Everything set to go?” she threw over her shoulder.
“The Garland Garnet is a historical gem that was once a part of the most infamous of the queen’s pieces of jewellery,” the tour guide said as she led the way through the long aisle to the famous stone. It was once Queen Cleopatra’s favourite necklace. “The Garland Garnet has a history as long as time. There is an ancient myth that the garnet once belonged to the Egyptian goddess Isis. From there on it passed through the hands of almost every great queen the history books have known. It is unique for its size and colour. The Garland Garnet weighs over one hundred and twenty two carats and its signature colour is a combination of red and purple.”
Riana stared at the perfectly crafted gem. It was inside a cold glass case that made the deep, blood red colour of the stone all the more shocking.
The tour guide swept one slim arm in front of the stone’s glass pane, highlighting the beauty of the infamous rock. “The Garland Garnet is better known as the ‘’. Every queen who has had it has had great luck with the opposite sex. The stone was rumoured to be owned by the six times married movie star, Winifred Waters.”
Riana stared at the gemstone. She glanced at Celeste to find that the blonde was riveted by the jewel. Riana didn’t blame her. The stone was absolutely breathtakingly gorgeous.
It was their first official tour. She and Celeste had taken their own tours late at night after the museum had closed, so this was the first time she’d heard the tour guide speak about the rock’s legendary past. “Now’s there a rock I need. I had the shittiest blind date last night,” she muttered to herself. The members of her tour group immediately burst into laughter. Apparently she hadn’t muttered the words quietly enough.
The sad part was she was telling the truth. Last night had been horrible. It had been her first and only blind date, as far as she was concerned. Riana had figured since she was studying abroad, the men might be different.
She should have known things weren’t going to get well. Annemarie was a fellow classmate and member of Greedy Girls, Inc. Riana trusted her colleague and friend implicitly. So, when Annemarie had described her cousin to be a knight in shining armour, Riana had figured that when you threw in the British accent, the man had to be absolutely perfect. She had been seriously wrong.
She shuddered and pushed aside thoughts of her horrendous date and turned to the woman beside her. At that moment, the guide signalled for the group to move forward and onto to the next museum piece. Riana and Celeste stayed behind. As far as they were concerned, the tour was over. They saw what they’d come to see. After a quick glance confirmed the two women were alone, Riana asked softly, “What do you think, Celeste?”
“I think we both need that rock,” Celeste responded just as quietly.
“Yes, definitely tonight. The plan is in order and we have everything according to clockwork.” Celeste glanced at her watch. “The guards should be changing right...now.”
At that exact moment a second guard came to great the large, uniformed man that stood beside the entrance. Celeste turned and gave her a bold grin. “Definitely tonight.”