Fighting to be free, p.3
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       Fighting to Be Free, p.3
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         Part #1 of Fighting to Be Free series by Kirsty Moseley

  I laughed in disbelief. I was in real trouble. A Bugatti Veyron was an amazing car, and the price alone was enough to make me weak at the knees. They cost a cool $1.7 million. Even the Alfa Romeo was pretty rare. This boost would be incredible. I could feel myself being sucked back in at the thought of driving them.

  Later that night I went for a couple of drinks with Connor. It was good to let loose for a bit. But when he spotted a couple of people he knew and proceeded to try to hook me up with one of his friends, I made my excuses and left, going home to my empty room. It wasn’t that I wasn’t interested in girls, I just wasn’t looking to get into anything with anyone. Not again.

  I’d had experience, quite considerable experience, before I was sent down. Though only fourteen, I’d caught the eye of Star—not her real name, I’m sure, but that’s what she called herself. She’d been older than me and liked to hang around near the workshop, flirting with Brett’s staff. Some girls were just attracted to bad boys, or so she’d told me. At seventeen she’d held my hand and shown me the dos and don’ts of sex—though, with her, there were more dos than don’ts. Being a fourteen-year-old boy, full of hormones and exhilarating car-boosting highs, I’d casually hooked up with her … a lot. It was good for a while, until one day I’d overheard her talking to a group of her girlfriends about my body while they all speculated about what had happened to me. Girls can be fucking cruel sometimes. Thanks to Star and her bitchy friends, my already low confidence crashed through the floor and I decided I would never suffer that humiliating experience again.

  So that was it for me, no more hooking up. Period.

  From then on I rebuffed all advances from the opposite sex and vowed that I always would because my past was clear across my skin, and I didn’t want anyone else to see it and ask about it. No one knew the truth, and I wanted to keep it that way.


  WHEN I ARRIVED at the warehouse the following night, my insides swam with excitement. As I walked in, I saw Shaun sitting there with another guy I recognized from when I used to work for Brett.

  “Hey, Enzo,” I greeted him warmly. Enzo had been on a lot of boosts with me in the past.

  “Hey, Kid,” he replied, getting up and slapping me on the back. It was incredibly easy to fit back in with these guys because they didn’t care where I’d been or what I’d done; it was just easy acceptance.

  “You on with me tonight?” I asked, looking around for anyone else.

  “Yeah. I’m driving, and Shaun, José, Aaron, and Steve are with you,” he answered, rubbing his hands together excitedly.

  Shaun’s with me? Great, well tonight’s going to be fun then …

  I looked at Shaun. He had a cut over the bridge of his nose and two fading black eyes from where I’d punched him. “Awesome. What happened to your face, Shaun? Looks bad,” I teased, smirking at him.

  He stood up, glaring warningly. “That’s two, Kid. You won’t get three.”

  “No, trust me, you don’t want three.” I snorted, shrugging and turning away from him. If Shaun wanted to attack me he wouldn’t do it from behind, that was a code we had around here. If you wanted to start something, you had to be man enough to do it face-to-face. “Hey, where’s my package?” I called over to Ray. He pointed to his desk so I stalked over to it and grabbed the manila envelope, ripping it open and sitting down to read it through.

  Inside were all the details of the boost: the location of each car, the owner’s routine, and any security on the cars that could be easily viewed by walking past, such as alarms and immobilizers. There were also photos of each car. I stopped at the Bugatti. It was incredible, and my hands started to sweat just at the thought of it. It was a beautiful one too, black with red doors, not even your run-of-the-mill showroom car, this one was custom made. Even the Porsche was sleek, classy, and probably priced at over four hundred thousand.

  “You see this list?” I asked Ray.

  He grinned. “Hell yeah I saw it. I can’t fucking wait. Don’t scratch that Bugatti, Kid; I want to see it in all its perfect glory. I’ve never seen a real one,” he gushed.

  “I won’t scratch it. What do you think I am, some sort of halfbaked idiot like Shaun?” I asked, grinning, making Ray laugh. From the corner of my eye I could see Shaun staring at me like he wanted to rip my head off.

  At nine o’clock, Brett came down and slung his arm around my shoulder. “I appreciate you agreeing to this, Kid. We haven’t been able to go after cars like this since you’ve been gone. This is an extremely big score, as you can probably see from the list.” He squeezed my shoulder affectionately.

  “Sure, Brett. This is it though, right?” I checked. His cell phone rang before he could answer, and he turned away to take the call, talking quickly. I frowned, hoping that he’d keep his word and I would be allowed out after this boost.

  He turned back to me a minute later. “Right then, boys, get going. Do them in whatever order you want; I don’t care as long as they all get here tonight. I have a couple of transporters coming to pick them up at six o’clock,” he instructed, patting me on the shoulder before disappearing up the stairs.

  “You have my old stuff, Ray?” I asked.

  He nodded and headed to his desk, pulling out the gray duffel bag that contained my “car-stealing kit,” I guess you could call it. I rifled through the bag, checking that everything was in there, and then nodded to Enzo, who led us to his car. I jumped in the front, making Shaun, José, Aaron, and Steve all squeeze into the backseat.

  “So, what order are we doing them in?” Enzo asked, starting the engine.

  I shrugged. “Let’s just go to the closest first. As long as the Bugatti’s last, I don’t care.” I hated that I was so excited to be boosting again.

  Enzo pulled out and headed to the nearest car, the BMW Z4. He parked a couple of spaces away, and I turned to face the guys in the back. “I’ll drive it a few streets away. Shaun, you can take it back to Brett’s,” I ordered.

  He frowned, obviously not liking being told what to do. “I want the Alfa Romeo,” he retorted angrily.

  I raised one eyebrow at his attitude. “I don’t give a flying fuck what you want. I don’t want you near me any longer; I can feel your stupidity lowering my IQ with every passing second. I need you away from me as soon as possible, before I forget how to tie my shoes.” I smirked at him, making Enzo and Aaron laugh.

  “Cocky little shit,” Shaun growled.

  I ignored him and jumped out, looking around cautiously at the dimly lit, deserted street. As quietly as possible, I made my way over to the car, selecting my window bar from my bag. As I stopped next to the Z4, I shoved the bar down the side of the window and caught the locking mechanism, swiftly pulling the bar back out. My heart was crashing in my chest, and I couldn’t keep the smile off my face. I jumped in and quickly disabled the immobilizer. There was a steering wheel lock, so I grabbed my slide hammer and shoved it in, slamming my hand on the end to release the lock. As it clicked free, I pulled it off and threw it on the seat next to me before yanking off the steering column. Wire cutters made quick work of the sheath of plastic that covered the internal wire, so I sparked the metal fibers together, grinning as the car came to life with a sexy little growl.

  As soon as the engine purred, my excitement ramped up. I’d missed this so much—the high, the rush, the knowing that I was so skilled at something that I wouldn’t get caught. This car was a thing of beauty, but on the scale of what I was doing tonight, it was probably ranked number five, which was why I was giving it to Shaun. I knew he’d want one of the better cars, and I had just wanted to piss him off some more.

  I sped down the road, turning my lights on when I was safely off the street, and pulled over after a couple of minutes. I left the car running and jumped out, watching as Shaun climbed out of Enzo’s car.

  “Try not to scratch it,” I teased, strutting back to the other car.

  José grinned at me as I climbed into the passenger side. “Kid, I forgot
how kickass you are at this. That was incredible. Immobilizer and steering lock in less than a minute,” he enthused, looking at me in awe.

  I shrugged, ignoring the thrill running through my veins. “Let’s get to the next one.”

  The second and third cars went the same as the first. No surprises. Easy. Steve and José drove those two back to the warehouse. The fourth car was a piece of cake, considering the team had found out the VIN for it and had simply purchased a new key from one of their contacts in the Porsche dealership in town. It was almost a waste of my time, as one of the other boys could have done that on his own.

  The fifth one was what I was waiting for. The car of my dreams.

  Enzo pulled up outside the warehouse where the Bugatti was being stored and turned toward me, killing the engine. “See you after, then. Good luck.”

  I slipped on a pair of latex gloves and pulled up the hood of my jacket, covering my head. There were security cameras here that I’d have to disable. This car required a lot more effort than the others, but nothing I hadn’t done plenty of times before. “I don’t need luck,” I told him confidently. “Wait until I’m out, then meet me back at the warehouse.”

  Shouldering my bag, I quickly climbed out of the car and ran over to the electrical box on the other side of the street. Once I reached it, I grabbed my dent puller, shoving it into the lock of the box and pulling it. The lock popped out, clanging to the ground at my feet. After prying off the protective metal lid, I looked inside the box. Hundreds of wires crisscrossed and trailed across it, all fused in to little connectors. This box alone controlled the electrical flow for a four-block radius.

  I dropped my bag on the ground and pulled out a detailed drawing of the inside of the box. Brett had people everywhere, so it was easy for him to get hold of things like schematics for the utility grid. After checking the plans, I quickly found the wires that controlled the warehouse across the street and cut them cleanly. I glanced up just in time to see the lights go off in the parking lot and the cameras stop moving. I’d probably have about two and a half minutes before the generator kicked in. I shoved the cover back on the box, ramming a screwdriver in the side and bending the metal so it would stay in place and not fall off.

  I sprinted over to the fence and looked up at the security camera, praying that it was off. It wasn’t making the slow sweep across the lot like it should be and the red light wasn’t flickering, so I knew I was safe. I grinned triumphantly. Too fucking easy. I made my way to the warehouse door, shoving the dent puller into the lock, then yanking it out and letting it drop to the concrete floor. There wasn’t much need to be careful here, and I had to be fast. Once inside, I shined my flashlight on the alarm system mounted on the wall before cutting the wires at the bottom and attaching the code breaker machine to it. My toe tapped on the floor, counting the seconds as I waited for the little machine to go through the thousands of combinations to find the matching six-digit code. I needed the code in order to open the garage door, otherwise when I raised it all hell would break loose, and the alarms would wake the whole damn neighborhood.

  As I waited, I glanced around the warehouse, waving my flashlight so I could see. Brand-new cars were parked everywhere, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the Bugatti. The light bounced off the black-and-red paint job, the beam sparkling against the window. It was truly a thing of beauty. My palms were growing slick inside the latex gloves; I was desperate to touch it, smell that new car smell, and slide my ass into the luxurious leather seat.

  Finally the code was found, so I tapped it in and the light turned green. I headed to the roller door and lifted it up so I could get the car out. I held my breath as I jogged over to the car, so excited that my stomach was clenching with nervous anticipation. Unable to resist touching it, I took off one of the gloves and ran my hand over the hood lovingly, feeling the slick paint job under my fingers. It was perfect.

  I forced myself to stop admiring it and shoved the bar down the side of the window, unlocking it easily and climbing in. After disabling the alarm, I eased the plastic covering off the dash and used my wire cutters to carefully slice through the exposed wires. Reaching into my pocket, I pulled out the code breaker and attached it to the wires. The Bugatti started by a button that was activated only when the door was opened with a special chipped key card—which, of course, I didn’t have. Without the ignition activated, this car was a $1.7 million useless lump of metal. I left the code breaker to do its thing while I checked all over for a kill switch. Nervously, I glanced at my watch; by my calculation, I had about thirty seconds left before the generator kicked in and the security cameras came back on. When the code finally worked, I pressed the ignition button and heard the little purr of the engine.

  I whooped like a little kid and slid into the driver’s seat. My breath came out as a low groan of appreciation as my hands gripped the leather wheel. Tentatively, I put my foot down on the gas. The car lurched forward, making the hair on the back of my neck stand up as the force pressed my body back into the softness of the seat. As soon as I was outside, I stopped and jumped out, running back to the roller door and pulling it shut. That way, when the cameras kicked back on, there was a good chance that any security guards that had access to the video feed wouldn’t see anything amiss or notice that the car was gone until morning.

  I jumped back in the car and sped off down the road, not bothering to wait for Enzo; he’d just meet me back at Brett’s. “Shit yeah!” I shouted excitedly.

  The interior of the car was red leather; the smell of it was intoxicating. I ran my hands over the wheel lovingly as I drove. The forty-minute drive was way too short, in my opinion, and I was devastated when I pulled in.

  Ray was practically bouncing on the spot as he looked at the car through teary eyes. He traced his hand across the top. “Oh, baby, Daddy loves you so much,” he purred, making me and the rest of the guys laugh. Ray was almost as car mad as me.

  Brett slapped me on the back, beaming proudly. “You still got it, Kid.”

  “Yeah, I still got it,” I admitted. I knew I was good at this; I didn’t need to be told. I had a certain knack for stealing cars. Ray had once joked I was a car whisperer, coaxing them to start when no one else could. It definitely made me proud to know I was explicitly good at something—that was where most of my high came from. I’d never been good at anything else, but stealing cars was something it felt like I was almost destined to do.

  “Here.” Brett held out a thick manila envelope that I knew would be filled with five thousand bucks, my old nightly fee.

  “Thanks.” I nodded, turning the envelope over in my hands, appreciatively feeling the weight of it.

  “Money tempting you back in?” he asked, grinning wolfishly.

  I shook my head in response and shrugged. “It’s just money, it don’t mean shit to me anymore.”

  He gripped my shoulder, regarding me as if I’d lost my mind. “Look, Kid, you know you won’t be able to get a job now, don’t you? This is it, this is your life, and you’re damn good at it. You sure you want to leave all this?”

  No, this wasn’t my life; that life ended four years ago. This was my new chance. I just needed to stay strong.

  “I’m sure.” I stepped away from him, hoping he’d be true to his word and let me go now that the job was done.

  He sighed deeply. “Well, if you change your mind about the boosts, you know I’m always here. Maybe you could do the occasional job?”

  I would love to do that, but I knew that if I kept doing it I wouldn’t be able to stop. I could feel the pull already. “I don’t think so.” I pulled out the cell phone he’d given me and held it out to him.

  He shook his head in rejection. “You keep it. I’ve got plenty of them. That way I can call you from time to time and see how you’re getting on. Why don’t you stop down at the club tomorrow night and check it out, first round of drinks is on the house.”

  “Sure, that’d be great,” I agreed.

  After say
ing my good-byes, I made my way back to my place. It was after four in the morning already. My bed looked so incredibly inviting that I flopped down onto it as the exhaustion took over. I didn’t even bother to change out of my clothes or take off my shoes. The boost was done, my debt was paid, so now I was free to start over with Brett’s blessing. Just as I fell asleep, I couldn’t help but wonder if I could ever truly be free, though. Would I always feel the call to the adrenaline rush of a boost? Could anybody ever defy their destiny? I wasn’t sure, but I was damned well going to try.

  * * *

  The next night I took Brett up on his offer of free drinks at his club, and met up with Ray. I’d already had a tour of the club from Brett and was happily downing my fifth drink when Ray nudged me in the ribs.

  “Holy shit, look at that!” he hissed, staring at something over my shoulder. I turned and spotted a pretty blonde with extremely long legs and a short skirt.

  I laughed. “She’s too young for you, married man.”

  He rolled his eyes. “Yeah, but she’s perfect for you,” he enthused.

  “Nah, not my type at all,” I shot back, shrugging. In total honesty, I tried not to look at girls too much; I didn’t want to start thinking about what I was missing out on.

  “Kid, seriously, you need to go hook up with that girl, because wow, seriously, wow.” He was still ogling her, totally fucking her with his eyes.

  “She’s not that hot.” I glanced over at her again, taking another sip of my drink.

  The blonde was now standing and laughing with another girl. I almost choked on my drink as I looked the other girl over. She had long, curly red hair that hung around her flawless face. Her nose wrinkled as she rolled her eyes, pushing her friend playfully as they both laughed at something. This girl was stunningly beautiful. The little black dress that she was wearing clung to her perfectly sculpted body, showing off all of her curves, but in a classy way that made my mouth water and my hand itch to trace up the side of her leg.

  Now she’s hot!

  I couldn’t take my eyes off her; I’d never wanted a girl more in my life.

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