Home > Going Rogue (Also Known As #2)

Going Rogue (Also Known As #2)
Author: Robin Benway

Chapter 1

“Roux?”

Nothing.

“Roux?”

Still nothing.

“Roux!”

“Ssshh! I’m thinking!”

I glanced up from my lock and key to see my best friend, Roux, frowning at a tiny magnetic chessboard. “How long does it take to move one chess piece?” I asked her. “You’ve been sitting there for nearly an hour.”

“Did anyone ever ask Catherine the Great how long it took her to take over her husband’s army?” Roux asked, her eyes never leaving the board. “Or Elizabeth the First how long it took her to do … whatever she did? No. So sssshh.”

“But they were royalty. You—”

“I dare you to finish that sentence. Really. I dare you.”

I sighed and sat back in my desk, restless and ready to leave. We had been at an SAT prep class for most of the afternoon (Roux’s absentee parents had forced her to register because they read about it in New York magazine’s “What’s Right Right Now” issue while stuck on a plane to Milan; I enrolled because Roux threatened to end our friendship if I didn’t), but Roux was in no hurry to leave. We were in some lecture hall at NYU, where the one bright spot was the central air-conditioning. Manhattan had been engulfed in a late-August heat wave for nearly a week, and I was pretty sure that our prep class had a few stragglers that just wanted to escape the heat and had no interest in learning about analogies and test-taking secrets.

Roux was still bent over her chessboard, muttering to herself. Angelo, a family friend and pretty much my surrogate uncle, had taught Roux the rules of chess last spring, and they had been engaged in a summer-long game that seemed never ending. He refused to play online, though, which meant Roux had to keep the game going on her travel chess set.

“Roux seems to be quite good at scheming and masterminding,” Angelo had commented soon after their game started.

“And this surprises you how?” I replied.

“Touché.”

But Roux also had a soft, mushy side, and she was one of the most trustworthy people I knew. “You’re like a Cad-bury egg,” I had once tried to explain to her. “You’ve got this hard shell, but inside you’re all sweet and mushy and gooey.”

She waited a few seconds before socking me in the shoulder.

“Ow!”

“Can a Cadbury egg do that? That’s what I thought.”

Despite her prickly personality, we’d been friends from the moment we met last year. And she was one of only two people who knew my most secret of secrets, that Angelo, my parents, and I all worked as spies for a secret organization known as the Collective.

I guess you could describe the Collective as a sort of rogue, secretive Robin Hood organization. We try to right wrongs, return money to retirement accounts, expose the bad guys for who they are without ever revealing ourselves. This time last year, I was in Reykjavík with my parents, exposing a human trafficking ring. We’ve been all over the world, but after a near disaster last fall, we now call Manhattan home.

At least for now.

“Wait a minute,” Roux said, sitting up straight with an evil grin spreading across her face. “Waaaait a minute. Oh, you’re dead, Angelo. God save the queen because here she comes.” She expertly moved one of her pieces, keeping one finger on top of the figure until she was sure, then let go with a triumphant cry.

“He’s going to weep when he sees that genius move I just made!” she crowed. “You can tell him I said that.”

“Can’t wait,” I said. “Can we go now?” I gestured toward the lock in front of me. It was complicated, and I had made exactly zero progress on trying to pick it. “This is frustrating me and I want to throw it out the window.”

Roux peered down at the monstrosity. “What the hell is that?”

I sighed. “Annoying locks are annoying. I can’t crack it at all, but Angelo told me that I had to try and figure it out while he was gone.”

“He’s so irritating that way.” Roux nodded in sympathy. “When’s he coming back?”

“Dunno.” I flicked at the lock with my fingernail, but it refused to unlock itself. “He’s been gone almost two months, though. Too long.”

“I know, right? Do you know what it’s like to have to play travel chess with someone out of the country?” Roux sighed in what I’m sure she thought was solidarity. “But c’mon, you’re the best lock picker and safecracker that I know. You can do it. Rah, rah, rah and oh, screw it. I can’t fake enthusiasm in this heat. I need to save my energy.”

I glanced at her. “How many safecrackers do you know?”

She shrugged. “Hundreds, for all I know. You spies are a sneaky bunch.”

She had a point.

“C’mon, let’s go,” I said. “I’ll try to figure this out later.”

“So where is our assassin friend, anyway?” Roux asked as we got our bags together.

“For the millionth time,” I said with a sigh, “Angelo is not an assassin. He handles documents and currency. End of.”

“Suuuure he’s not an assassin,” Roux said. “You just can’t tell me because you’d be compromising my safety.” She gave me a huge, exaggerated wink and then nudged me in the ribs. “I get it.”

But I was telling her the truth about Angelo. He wasn’t an assassin; he handled the paper trail: phony passports and birth certificates, drivers’ licenses, and Social Security cards. Whatever documents my family needed, he provided.

Hot Series
» Vampire Academy Series read online
» Crossfire Series read online
» Fifty Shades trilogy read online
» Kate Daniels Series read online
» Black Dagger Brotherhood Series read online
» Cassandra Palmer Series read online
» Rosemary Beach Series read online
» Sea Breeze Series read online
» Too Far Series read online
» Shatter Me Series read online
» Thoughtless Series read online
» Marriage to a Billionaire Series read online
Most Popular
» Drawn into Love (Fluke My Life #4)
» Nightchaser (Endeavor #1)
» Right Where I Want You
» Tangled Like Us (Like Us #4)
» Be the Girl
» Playing for Keeps (Heartbreaker Bay #7)
» If I Only Knew
» Vengeance Road (Torpedo Ink #2)
» 99 Percent Mine
» Free (Chaos #6)
» Work in Progress (Red Lipstick Coalition #3
» Moonlight Scandals (de Vincent #3)