Chasing Alex Ch. 03

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Chase looked up as a knock sounded at his office door. He’d been staring blankly at the screensaver on his computer for the last two hours, unable to concentrate on any work while his mind was consumed with images of Alex on that damn couch. Her soft skin, warm lips, and mesmerising eyes were all he could think about. The chemistry between them was undeniable; the kind of static, heated attraction he hadn’t felt for anyone in a long time. He was sure it was to do with this cat and mouse game they’d been playing, but there was something else that he just couldn’t put his finger on.

Sleeping with her had not been part of the plan. And he was the kind of man who always stuck to the plan. So why the fuck could he not seem to maintain an ounce of control when it came to Alexandra Fontaine?

The door flew open and within seconds Spencer was towering over his desk, a grim expression marring his already harsh features. “They’re gone.”

Chase let out an exasperated sigh. “The Tesla?”

Spencer nodded. “Gabe called it.”

Damn. Chase had placed his bet on the motorcycle, as had Spencer.

“That’ll be one hundred bucks each, thanks lads.” Gabe gloated as he sauntered into the room, a bag of crisps in hand. “So we proceed with Plan B.”

There had been a moment that afternoon, somewhere in between Chase spotting Alex’s gorgeous figure splayed out on a sun lounger, and him falling backwards into the swimming pool, that something had caught his eye hiding beneath a towel. He hadn’t been sure at first, but he’d messaged Gabe to check it out and, sure enough, Alex had tucked her phone away on the lounger beside her, trying to conceal it from view.

“You’re sure it’s properly tapped?” he asked. Gabe had only had limited time to hack into the phone before returning to their holiday home.

Gabe stopped munching on a mouthful of crisps to raise an insulted eyebrow. “Are you questioning my ability to install basic malware onto an iPhone?”

“I’m questioning how effectively you were able to install it in under half an hour.”

“Well, trust me, it’s effective. The program I’ve installed will allow us to access her incoming and outgoing calls and messages. Plus I’ve installed a tracker so even if she doesn’t make contact with anyone we’ll still be able to follow her movement.”

“This is all provided she actually goes back to collect the damn phone,” Spencer said with little enthusiasm.

He wasn’t wrong to doubt the plan. They were relying heavily on Alex going back to the club when she likely had a stash of backup phones. But Chase just had a gut feeling she needed that phone in particular.

He shook his head. “If it wasn’t valuable, she wouldn’t have tried to hide it.”

Spencer shrugged. “Say she does go back for it. What makes you think that this woman, a woman who has been able to out-smart you at every opportunity so far, won’t suspect that you’ve meddled with her phone?”

Chase smiled knowingly. “Because she’s brilliant, cocky, and truly believes she’s smarter than all of us. She’s too arrogant to see this coming.”

“Sounds like someone else I know.” Spencer muttered. “And if she does see it coming?”

“If she does, then we go to Plan C,” Chase glanced toward Gabe.

“There’s also a small tracking device in the tall one’s stiletto. I secured it to one of the straps while I was cuffing her ankles.” He smiled affectionately then, as if reminiscing on a fond moment. “It’s unnoticeable unless you know what you’re looking for.”

“Well, let’s hope she keeps her shoes on then.” Spencer said, unimpressed.

“It was the best we could do in such little time.” Chase sighed. “It was unlikely that she was going to tell me where the necklace was anyway; now she may well lead us there.” It was mostly the truth. He could have forced her to tell him the necklace’s location while he had her on that couch. So why he’d agreed to wait until morning, he wasn’t quite sure; it was like he’d felt the need to get away from her, to regain some sense of control over his emotions.

“If I’d been in charge of interrogating them we wouldn’t have needed plans B and C,” Spencer grumbled. “It’s going to be a lot harder following them unnoticed than what it would have been to get the information out of them.”

Chase had to bite his tongue at that remark, but he couldn’t control the glare he sent in Spencer’s direction. He knew his friend was right. Spencer was the best at what he did. Despite the amount of one-word answers and grunts he gave, there was an intelligence in that man that he hid well under his gruff exterior. He knew how to read people, whether to play on their emotions or if they’d need a few blows before giving him what he wanted.

“The girl is her weakness and you wasted that opportunity.”

When Chase sent his friend another deathly glare, Spencer just shrugged. “You don’t keep me around to be nice. I’ll always tell you exactly how it is.”

He was right, of course. Chase valued both of his friends for their honesty and their loyalty. They didn’t work for him; they had their anadolu yakası escort own lines of work, but the three of them had always had each other’s backs and he could always count on them to deliver the hard truths when he needed them the most.

Gabe glanced at his phone. “They’ve just arrived at the club. Your move, Chase.”

* * * * *

“Did we really need to go back for your phone?” Leila drawled, placing her now sneakered feet onto the dash and reclining the passenger seat back as far as it would go. “You have about six others in storage you could have used.”

Alex fastened her seatbelt and started the engine. They’d made a quick stop at their hotel so they could change – or in her case actually put some clothes on – and to collect their belongings, before trading the Tesla in for a Ford Focus. There had been much debate over the car choice; as usual Leila had wanted something with a bit of power, whereas Alex was thinking practicality. Cars with power drew attention, and they needed to lay low until they were well and truly out of Barcelona.

Their last stop had been to the club where all of this mess had started. It was much more crowded than when they’d been there earlier in the day, with the vibe less chill and more dance. Thankfully, whoever had stumbled upon the phone she’d left on the sun lounger outside had been decent enough to hand it in to the bar staff and it was exactly how she’d left it.

“Yes, we did. This one has photos that haven’t yet uploaded to the cloud.” The internet connection at some of these places was an absolute joke. “And although it isn’t our main priority right now, I do hope to continue this job once we’re clear of bloody Chase Bradbury.” She spat his name out as if it left a bitter taste in her mouth.

As she keyed her passcode into the iPhone, she frowned.

“What is it?” Leila asked.

She shook her head. “Nothing, just loading a bit slower than usual.” She connected the phone to the charging dock in the car. “Let’s go.”

“Where are we going exactly?” Leila queried as she scanned through station after station before stopping on a Billie Eilish song.

“We need to find a hotel for the night.”

* * * * *

The Monument Hotel was only ten minutes away, had room vacancies, and a valet. It was also five star, which meant they could spend one night in luxury before their continued getaway. As Alex pulled up into the hotel drive, Leila let out a low whistle.

“If I knew we were going high end tonight, I would have dressed for the occasion.”

Alex chuckled softly. “Darling, even Kim Kardashian wears sweatpants and sneakers from time to time.”

She handed the keys to the valet and walked with Leila to the entrance, both of them pulling their small carry-on cases behind them. They always packed light; one casual outfit, one formal outfit, one pair of heels, and one of flats, plus the essentials like pyjamas and underwear. Anything else they bought on the road and disposed of later. When you were constantly on the move you couldn’t afford to have to lug large cases around with you.

“Bienvenido, senoras,” the concierge welcomed them warmly as they approached the desk.

“Buena noches, senor,” Alex handed him one of her many credit cards. “A double suite for the night, please.”

He glanced at the name on the credit card and typed away on his keyboard, before handing it back to her with the room key. “Thank you, Miss Holloway. Your room is located on level 4, and Matias will bring you your luggage.” He nodded to the young man who had just approached. “Enjoy your stay with us.”

As they made their way down the hallway on level 4, Leila took in every single detail of the neo-gothic style hotel, and Alex watched her awed expression with an amused smile. She always enjoyed the look on the girl’s face when they booked in anywhere high end. It was almost as though she couldn’t believe she was truly in a place as beautiful as this. There was, however, always a hint of discomfort in her expression, as if she didn’t feel like she truly belonged there. Alex, on the other hand, felt an entirely different discomfort in these kinds of places; for her it was a stark reminder of her childhood. She shook the unwanted memories from her mind and powered ahead towards their door number.

When they entered the suite, the two of them all but fell onto their beds with an audible sigh. “What a day,” Leila groaned.

Alex rolled onto her side to face her young friend who was sprawled awkwardly across the mattress. “Okay, time for debrief.”

Leila’s head rolled to its side to give her a half-shocked, half-furious expression. “You’re joking right? After the day we’ve had?”

Alex didn’t answer, but threw her an expression that told her she was deadly serious. She should know the drill by now.

Leila sighed dramatically. “No rest for the wicked,” she muttered under her breath before sitting up and giving Alex her full focus. “Okay. Counteract move one. The waitress interception. It was a quick ataşehir escort response to an unexpected situation and I think it worked… effectively.” She paused, waiting for Alex’s input.

“Agreed.” Alex nodded. “It was innovative, clever, and responsive. However,” her lips curled slightly, “You need to work on that god awful Spanish accent.”

“Noted,” Leila cringed, then continued. “Counteract move two. Pretending to be a maid. Again, an unexpected situation, and I believe I did the best that I could, but Gabe saw right through me and at the end of the day,” she shrugged, “a gun beats hand to hand combat.”

“Of course. But the lesson here is that if you decide to take on a foreign disguise, be sure to know at least the basics of the language.”

Leila rolled her eyes, but didn’t argue. “Counteract move three. The getaway. I swiped two sets of keys, picked the locks of two windows and two sets of handcuffs, and successfully got us the hell out of there. So I’d say I freaking nailed that one.” She smiled triumphantly and fell back into a lying position on the bed.

Alex nodded. “I agree, a well executed escape.” She hesitated. Something had been irking her since they’d climbed out of that window. “Tell me, how did you get the keys from Gabe?”

Leila laughed menacingly and stretched her long legs into the air so her body made a perfect ‘L’ shape. “They were hanging from his back pocket, it was almost too easy.”

Alex sat up, her forehead creasing.

“What is it?”

It was too easy. Alex shook her head and smiled, “You’re getting craftier by the day.” Her eyes glanced over Leila’s bare arms. “He didn’t touch you did he?”

“No,” she raised an eyebrow suggestively, “though, I don’t think I would have minded if he did.”


The girl laughed, her brown eyes twinkling. “What, so you’re the only one who gets to have fun on the job?”

“It’s not a matter of having fun.” Alex’s tone turned serious. “It’s important to know how to separate your emotion from the job. Getting personal with someone as a way of distracting them is more difficult than it looks.” Especially with a man like Chase who seemed to throw her off guard just by being in her presence. She could hardly think straight when he was near her, the bastard was almost as cunning and manipulative as she was. Almost.

“Relax,” Leila rolled her eyes. “I wouldn’t know what to do with a guy even if I had one. This profession doesn’t exactly allow for a love life.”

Alex’s heart dropped at that comment. She’d given up her own dating prospects years ago, but she had never really thought about the loss of a personal life for Leila. Alex had entered this world at the age of 17, just old enough to have experienced first love, loss, and heartbreak. While Leila had faced a lot of hardship in her youth, she’d only been 13 when Alex offered her a new life working beside her.

“Plus I don’t exactly ooze sexiness like you do,” Leila motioned to herself with discontent.

It was both amusing and tragic that she failed to realise she’d grown into a beautiful woman who made heads turn; and Alex felt mostly to blame for that. She’d grown into a tall, dark haired bombshell and she didn’t even notice the way male gazes turned to her when she walked. She’d never admit it, but it was part of the reason Alex had kept her out of the heists for so long. 19 or not, Leila was still like a baby sister to her.

“You ooze plenty of sexy; you just haven’t had the experience to channel it, which is a good thing. We use our heads to get what we want, not our bodies.”

Leila snorted, “Was it your head that got you what you wanted tonight, A?”

Alex ditched a pillow at the girl, hitting her square in the nose. “Do as I say, not as I do.”

“Slag,” Leila winked at her as she rolled off the bed.

“Bitch,” Alex retorted with a laugh. “Go grab a shower, I’ll order us some room service.”

She waited until Leila had closed herself into the bathroom before pulling her mobile from her handbag. It was time to make some calls.

* * * * *

“They’ve checked into the Monument Hotel,” Gabe glanced up from his phone and took one of the three glasses of whiskey that Spencer was awkwardly trying to place on their table. “You know, Spence, there are wait staff who are much more capable of carrying those drinks than you.”

Spencer grunted and handed a glass to Chase before taking a seat. “I can carry my own damn drinks.”

“The Monument?” Chase took a long sip from his glass, “She has expensive taste.”

Gabe laughed. “Well, with 1.5 million dollars, plus a ten million dollar necklace, do you really think she’d be worried about savings right now?”

Chase glared at his friend. “Don’t remind me.”

“It’s only five minutes from here,” Spence took a large gulp of whiskey. “If we drink these quickly…”

“We wait,” Chase cut him off. “They’re clearly staying the night. Let’s see if she makes any calls.”

The three men leaned back into their seats, and Chase enjoyed the familiar burn ümraniye escort of the whiskey as it coursed down his throat and started to dull his senses. He’d gone into this prepared to do anything to get that necklace back, but his mind became clouded whenever he was around Alex.

Gabe was watching him, and as if reading his mind, he spoke low. “What exactly are your plans for Alex once we get the necklace?”

“I’ll worry about that when it comes to it.” He honestly didn’t even want to think about that scenario. He couldn’t just let her go, but then, the thought of dishing out any kind of punishment didn’t sit well with him either.

“No one has ever stolen from Chase Bradbury and escaped unharmed.”

“This is different.”

Gabe scoffed. “Why? Because she’s a woman or because she’s fuckable?”

Chase landed his glass back on the table with more force than necessary. “Careful.”

Gabe leaned forward and gave him a sincere look. “I’m just saying. You barely know anything about her. Where she grew up, who she works for, if she’s married, if she’s killed anyone. She’s dangerous territory.” He knocked back the rest of his drink. “You want to sleep with her, fine. But we all know if it was anyone else you would have forced the location of the necklace out of them last night instead of continuing this ridiculous chase.”

“Enough.” Chase threw his attention to Spencer, his anger bubbling. “Anything you’d like to add while we’re getting everything out in the open?”

Spencer grunted, “It’s not hard to tell she’s been a con artist for years. She may have even been born into the industry. You can’t trust someone who lies for a living.”

Chase started to respond, but Gabe was suddenly beside them pointing to his phone. “She’s making a call.”

The three of them moved swiftly to a private adjacent room, away from the din of the bar.

“Who is she calling?” Chase queried, as Gabe placed the phone on speaker so they could all listen in.

“It’s a travel agent. Looks like they do luxury train rides.”

“Booking herself a holiday with your money, is she?” Spencer snorted.

Chase hushed him as the call was answered.

“Palace Tours, how may I help you?” The receptionist was British, and much too bubbly for this time of night.

“I need two tickets for the Barcelona to Porto signature journey tour leaving tomorrow morning.” Alex’s voice was as silky smooth as ever, with a polite but authoritative tone that implied high status to anyone on the receiving end.

“Certainly, ma’am, is that the 5 day tour?”

“Yes, I’d like to book in for myself and my husband.”

Chase ignored the told-you-so look Gabe gave him and tried his hardest not to clench his jaw at the word husband. They listened in as Alex provided two false names, one male and one female, and gave credit card details for payment.

“Thank you, ma’am. Your train leaves at 10am tomorrow. Please bring your identification to the station to collect your tickets.”

The call ended and Spencer cleared his throat. “Husband, hey?”

Chase scowled. “For all we know, it’s a cover. She told us she had a brother and that was false.”

Gabe was still looking at his phone. “She’s just sent a text to someone.” He handed the phone to Chase to read.

Al Andalus train station. 9.45am tomorrow. Bring the necklace and items from safety box 45.

Chase nodded. “Like I said, it’s a cover. Whoever he is, he clearly works for her, and he’s bringing the necklace to her.”

Gabe looked skeptical. “What’s the plan?”

“Get me a ticket.”

“Just one?” Spencer frowned.

Gabe’s face already showed an understanding. “You want us to find the other girl.”

Chase nodded. “She hasn’t booked her a ticket. There’s clearly a reason they’re going separate ways. I won’t be fooled again.”

* * * * *

“Where are we going?” Leila glanced up at Alex from the passenger seat of the car. She’d barely said a word to her during breakfast, and had only spoken to tell her that they were leaving at 9am and to have her things packed. It wasn’t unusual for Alex to only provide the essential details, but she’d been even more vague than normal, and it was starting to make her feel a little uneasy.

Alex took the exit towards Barcelona El-Prat. “Your job here is done. I’m dropping you off to the airport so you can head home.”

Home? Leila shook her head in confusion. In the 6 years she’d been with Alex they hadn’t once parted ways. And now she was going home? She didn’t even know where home was. They never stayed in one place for more than a few months at a time. “What?”

Alex gave her a pointed look. “Home, to Kalamunda.”

Kalamunda. The penny dropped. Kalamunda was the youth shelter she’d been dropped off at when she was 12 years old. The kind of place that promoted itself as a supportive and safe environment for vulnerable young people, but was really just an overcrowded and under-funded space that attracted both victims and perpetrators of domestic violence and addiction. It was where she’d met Alex; the turning point in her life. They’d sworn they would never go back to that horrendous place, and they’d since used the name as their code word to indicate danger. Shit. The fact that Alex was talking in code meant it was possible their conversation wasn’t private. She swallowed and then put herself into character.

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