Alyssa D'Yaragen is just an elf trying to make ends meet. Thankfully, working as a freelance thief—a runner by the street name Lysistrata—pays more than she would make in a month selling cell phones to retropunks at her antique shop. Though she's low-tech, she has an advantage over her fellow larcenists. She has magic.
Logan Turner, a techie and fellow runner, offers to bring her in on a high-paying run stealing data from megacorporation Americorp. She accepts, partially for the payout, mostly for the challenge. Things get complicated, though, when her ex-boyfriend Tristan McCullough shows up with apologies—and, infuriatingly, the perfect recon opportunity for the Americorp job. Adding more fuel to the bad-decision fire is the mysterious Seraphina Dubhan, and Alyssa finds herself falling hard for the enigmatic elf.
But when Alyssa suddenly becomes the target of mystical attacks, things stop being about the money and become all about survival. With others caught in the crossfire, she needs to find and stop the attacker before the Americorp job is ruined and she—or one of her friends—pays the ultimate price.
The runner froze, then slowly turned toward me. I could tell by the build that he was a man, although slender, wide in the shoulders but thin at the waist. He was dressed much the same way I was―black hat, black jacket, black pants with lots of pockets, black boots―though his clothes tended toward a thick utility fabric rather than leather. His eyes were wide, though he visibly relaxed when he saw that I was another thief and not some security guard or hapless employee.
He gave me a once-over and then turned back to the case.
"What does it look like I'm doing?"
I bared my teeth at his back. "It looks like you're in my way."
"Oh, I don't think so. I got here first, babe."
"You heard me. Took your time getting in here, didn't you? And I even left the door open." He tsked, fiddling with the lock on the display case. I stepped up to his side and glanced down at it. It was a classic key lock, and seemed far too simple for a case like this, unless the owner really didn't care about the net worth of the contents.
The statue I needed to steal stood about two feet tall, made of white marble. The shape itself was some abstract thing, all twisting forms, looking like a person or a tree or who-knows-what depending on how you wanted to interpret it. I wrinkled my nose, and looked back down at the runner's attempts to pick the lock.
"Not used to classic locks, huh?" I sniped. "You want me to help you out with that, or should I just wait 'til you give up?"
He cast a scathing look in my direction and, after a few more seconds of trying feebly to pick the lock, dropped his hands to his sides with a sigh. Then he pulled a gloved fist back, aimed toward the cabinet door.
He smashed his fist through the glass, grabbing the statue and pulling it free of the shards still hanging from the top of the door. I heard a soft click, and cursed.
"You stupid glitch. You just set off a silent alarm!"
He shrugged, looking unconcerned, and hefted the statue in his hands. "No problem, babe. I'll be gone before security can get here. Will you?"