Klepto-adjacent Josefine trusts her pistol, her forbidden magic, and sometimes, the truth. But none can free her brother from prison. When a magic-hunting prince hires her in exchange for her brother’s release, Jo takes on her biggest heist yet. The job would be simple, save for the asshole-shaped backstabber in the way: Commander Kassian, who put her brother behind bars. Luckily, they’ve got dirt on each other.
There were three things I brought to every job—Papa’s pocket watch, my revolver, and a vial of poison. In the seven years of my professional endeavors, I’d used the pistol once and the poison thrice. All parties involved were still alive—albeit scarred. Still, the items guaranteed my safety, or for my comfort, the illusion of it.
Tonight, they were tucked into pockets I’d sewn into my two-sizes-too-big wool coat, which smelled of bergamot and gunpowder. Tonight, the job was different. Dangerous. Potentially life-changing. It’s what I’d signed up for: stealing from Rasov’s youngest prince.
I hadn’t been to the Imperial Palace in a decade, and I’d returned for one reason: the promise of 3,000 rones. A payoff of a two-story house in the countryside… and the Imperial Guard’s bullets through the head. Most thieves wouldn’t attempt it. I wasn’t most thieves.
What I hadn’t prepared for was the plus one–a guide my employer deemed essential to navigating the labyrinth of secret tunnels beneath the Imperial Palace. A necessary evil, but everything about him, from his vile scent to his upturned mustache, unnerved me. Not that I needed further unnerving, not after a year’s worth of spite propelled me to this point. Because if I was honest–and I prided myself on being an honest thief–this job offered more than 3,000 rones; it offered long-due retribution.