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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

“Don’t blaspheme,” Van Eck said mildly, but his eyes flashed briefly with anger.

A man of faith, Kaz noted, as his mind sorted through everything he knew about Van Eck—prosperous, pious, a widower recently remarried to a bride not much older than Kaz himself. And, of course, there was the mystery of Van Eck’s son.

Van Eck continued paging through the file. “You run book on prize fights, horses, and your own games of chance. You’ve been floor boss at the Crow Club for more than two years. You’re the youngest to ever run a betting shop, and you’ve doubled its profits in that time. You’re a blackmailer—”

“I broker information.”

“A con artist—”

“I create opportunity.”

“A bawd and a murderer—”

“I don’t run whores, and I kill for a cause.”

“And what cause is that?”

“Same as yours, merch. Profit.”

“How do you get your information, Mister Brekker?”

“You might say I’m a lockpick.”

“You must be a very gifted one.”

“I am indeed.” Kaz leaned back slightly. “You see, every man is a safe, a vault of secrets and longings. Now, there are those who take the brute’s way, but I prefer a gentler approach—the right pressure applied at the right moment, in the right place. It’s a delicate thing.”

“Do you always speak in metaphors, Mister Brekker?”

Kaz smiled. “It’s not a metaphor.”

He was out of his chair before his chains hit the ground. He leapt the desk, snatching a letter opener from its surface in one hand, and catching hold of the front of Van Eck’s shirt with the other. The fine fabric bunched as he pressed the blade to Van Eck’s throat. Kaz was dizzy, and his limbs felt creaky from being trapped in the chair, but everything seemed sunnier with a weapon in his hand.

Van Eck’s guards were facing him, all with guns and swords drawn. He could feel the merch’s heart pounding beneath the wool of his suit.

“I don’t think I need to waste breath on threats,” Kaz said. “Tell me how to get to the door or I’m taking you through the window with me.”

“I think I can change your mind.”

Kaz gave him a little jostle. “I don’t care who you are or how big that ruby is. You don’t take me from my own streets. And you don’t try to make a deal with me while I’m in chains.”

“Mikka,” Van Eck called.

And then it happened again. A boy walked through the library wall. He was pale as a corpse and wore an embroidered blue Grisha Tidemaker’s coat with a red-and-gold ribbon at the lapel indicating his association with Van Eck’s house. But not even Grisha could just stroll through a wall.

Drugged, Kaz thought, trying not to panic. I’ve been drugged. Or it was some kind of illusion, the kind they performed in the theaters off East Stave—a girl cut in half, doves from a teapot.

“What the hell is this?” he growled.