Time Thief (The Anomaly Trilogy)

By: Anna Hackett


For Karl

Thank you for always believing in me

Chapter One

She’d been a thief a long time but bank robbery was a new low.

Bay North stood in line at the Concord Downing Bank and surreptitiously scratched under her wig. The damn thing itched like crazy.

She ran a hand down the pencil skirt of her cheap, gray business suit. It was a challenge trying to blend in with the Denver lunch crowd waiting to bank checks and open new accounts.

The suit, the foreign makeup and brown wig were her attempt at a chic disguise. She swallowed a snort. She wouldn’t know chic if it slammed her in the head with a pair of designer heels. Out of necessity, she usually wore clothes she could run in.

Things might have been different if she hadn’t been born a freak.

Her chest constricted. She fought to keep her hands relaxed, to not curl them into tight little fists.

Things weren’t different. She breathed out. Imagined the rush of emotions bleeding away like a spent wave.

Casually, Bay cast a glance around the bank. The foyer was all marble, mahogany and old-world brass fixtures. Located in an historic building in downtown Denver, Concord Downing catered to the city’s wealthiest clients.

Behind the row of tellers, a door led downstairs to the vault. She didn’t let her gaze linger but she noted every aspect of the heavy, reinforced entry.

A quick glance at her Rolex knockoff. In exactly one minute, two of the bank staff would open the dual combination lock. Then, another minute after that, the time lock door on the vault beyond would open.

Then she’d show that murdering bastard Gabriel Leven that she could give as good as she got. She’d steal one of his most prized treasures—the Scarlet Lady.

An antique ruby necklace of incalculable value.

Come on, come on. She tapped one cheap pump against the floor and watched the door out of the corner of her eye. Funny how time moved like cold honey when you were waiting. Even funnier since time was her commodity.

Movement. Two bank employees were heading for the door. Show time.

She gave the room another slow scan. Everything looked as it should. White-collar workers going about their business between chicken wraps and lattes.

One big man’s shoulders strained against his ill-fitting suit. He looked like he wanted to shred his too-tight jacket. Not far from him, another muscle-bound jock stood against a pillar, his jacket not even managing to hide the bulge of whatever he had holstered at his side.

A skitter of unease rippled up Bay’s spine.

What the hell was muscle doing pretending to fit into the bank crowd?

Swallowing hard, she looked directly at the door. The bank staff held keycards up to the scanners. The reinforced metal swung open and beyond she had the impression of a featureless corridor.

But from a night spent plying an off-duty bank guard with Wild Turkey and Coke, she knew that inside lay an impregnable vault housing safe deposit boxes for the rich and seriously rich. Protected by four armed guards.

None of that mattered. In another forty seconds the time lock door would open and she’d be home free.

She eyed the suits again. Were they watching her? Or were her nerves just strung too tight?

It didn’t matter if they were Leven’s men. She wasn’t leaving this bank without his strand of big, fat rubies in her hand. She planned to dig a knife deep by taking something he treasured. And destroying it.

Twenty seconds to go.

Twenty. Nineteen. Eighteen.

Her gaze swept over the spacious foyer with its gleaming marble and hushed atmosphere. Then it snagged on a man.

A tall, lean man who watched her with an intensity that made her blood freeze. Oh God, he’d found her.

Seventeen. Sixteen. Fifteen.

He stood in the middle of the cavernous space, not even pretending to blend in. His hands were by his side, but she sensed coiled readiness. Like a gunslinger waiting to draw.

Fourteen. Thirteen. Twelve.

His gray gaze locked on her. A handsome face battered by life. He’d been after her for months and he never gave up.

He was a hunter. And she was the hunted.

Eleven. Ten. Nine.

She cast a frantic glance at the doorway to the vault.

Hurry up! She wanted to shout the words but she held her breath until her lungs burned. She looked back at Leven’s hunter.

Eight. Seven. Six.