Home > Heist Society (Heist Society #1)(4)

Heist Society (Heist Society #1)(4)
Author: Ally Carter

“Hale,” Kat sighed. “The headmaster’s car? Really? That’s not too clichéd for you?”

“What can I say?” He shrugged. “I’m an old-fashioned guy. Besides, it’s a classic for a reason.” He leaned against the window. “It’s good to see you, Kat.”

Kat didn’t know what to say. It’s good to see you too? Thanks for getting me kicked out? Is it possible you’ve gotten even hotter? I think I might have missed you?

So instead she settled on, “Did my father put you up to this?”

Hale exhaled a quick laugh and shook his head. “He hasn’t returned my calls since Barcelona.” He leaned closer and whispered, “I think he might still be mad at me.”

“Yeah, well, that makes two of us.”

“Hey,” Hale snapped. “We all agreed that that monkey seemed perfectly well trained at the time.”

Kat simply shook her head. “You got me kicked out, Hale.”

He grinned and gave a slow bow. “You’re welcome.”

“You trashed the headmaster’s car.”

“W. W. Hale the Fourth bought that car for Headmaster Franklin, or didn’t they mention that? Granted, it was to make up for a fire that W. W. Hale the Fifth allegedly started in the eighth grade—before they suggested that all current and future W. W. Hales continue their educations elsewhere—which worked out just as well since I’m at the Knightsbury Institute now.”

“I’ve never heard of it.”

“My father got a letter just last week telling him that I have become a model student.”

“Congratulations,” Kat said, doubting it.

“Yeah, well, I’m the only student.” He grinned a very Hale-like grin. “Of course, the downside of attending a fictional school is that our lacrosse team sucks. Anyway, if the Colgan School wanted to be technical about it, I trashed my car.”

She studied W. W. Hale the Fifth. He looked older than sixteen, with messy light brown hair and golden skin, and a first name that, despite two years of effort, Kat had never learned.

“I doubt they’d see it that way, Wesley ?” she guessed.

Hale smiled. “Not. Even. Close.”

So far Kat had been through all the Wa’s she could think of, but Hale hadn’t admitted to being Walter or Ward or Washington. He’d firmly denied both Warren and Waverly. Watson had prompted him to do a very bad Sherlock Holmes impersonation throughout a good portion of a train ride to Edinburgh, Scotland. And Wayne seemed so wrong that she hadn’t even tried.

Hale was Hale. And not knowing what the W’s stood for had become a constant reminder to Kat that, in life, there are some things that can be given but never stolen.

Of course, that didn’t stop her from trying.

“So, how long before you broke into the student records office?” Hale asked. “A week?” Kat felt her cheeks go red. “But you didn’t find anything on me, did you?” He raised an eyebrow. “Kat,” he sighed her name. “That is so sweet. And innocent. Naive looks good on you.”

“Don’t get used to it.”

He shook his head. “Oh, I won’t.”

The whisperlike purr of the engine filled the car as it snaked through the countryside.

“Why’d you do it, Hale?”

“You don’t belong in that place.”

“Why’d you do it?” she asked again, her patience wearing thin. “I’m not joking, Hale.”

“Neither am I, Kat.”

“You’ve got—”

“A job for you,” Hale said. “And only you,” he added before she could protest.

The hills were growing steeper. Leaves scattered in the wind, and in the distance, the sun glistened off a lake. But Kat didn’t take her eyes off Hale as she said, “I don’t want a job.”

“You’ll want this one.”

“I’m out of the family business. Or haven’t you heard?”

“Fine.” Hale crossed his arms and sank deeper into the seat. He leaned his head back and closed his eyes. Kat could have sworn he was already half asleep when he asked, “But are you out of the family?”

Chapter 3

Of all the houses the Hale family owned, W. W. Hale the Fifth’s favorite wasn’t the penthouse on Park Avenue (too pretentious), or the flat in Hong Kong (too noisy), or even the mansion on Martha’s Vineyard (entirely too much sand). No, the youngest Hale was only truly fond of the old, six-hundred-acre estate in rural New York. At least, that was the only place where Kat had ever heard him say . . .

“We’re home.”

The foyer was two stories tall and stretched in front of them for at least thirty feet. Hale walked ahead of her, hurrying past the Monet in the hall as if that would keep her from noticing it—or stealing it. He gestured toward the stairs. “Marcus put you in the blue room. You can go upstairs if you want. Or we can go out to the veranda and have Marcus bring you something to eat. Are you hungry? I didn’t even ask. Do you want—”

“I want you to tell me what’s going on.”

After hours of watching the New England countryside roll by, and listening to Hale snore, Kat was finished with plotting and strategizing how to get her boarding school life back. She was out of options, so she called upon every thief’s oldest and most trusted method for getting what she wants: Ask nicely.

“Please, Hale.”

But he didn’t answer. He was too busy walking down the main hall, guiding Kat into a dim room that she had never seen before. Moonlight cascaded through the windows that lined one wall. There were bookshelves and leather sofas, brandy decanters and the stale smell of old cigars and even older money. There was no doubt in Kat’s mind that it was an important room. For important men. And yet Kat brushed past Hale without a second thought . . . until she saw the painting.

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