The Heat is On
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“Everyone down on the floor!”
Matt O’Connor always knew there was a reason he hated banks, but it wasn’t until this exact moment that he figured out why: Money made people go insane. And a building full of it? Well, apparently that made people turn into idiots.
Yup, idiots. That was the only word he could use to describe the three morons who bounded into the lobby of San Diego Savings and Loans with pantyhose covering their faces. They wore ill-fitting camo outfits that they’d probably picked up at a discount army surplus store, and the way two of them held their older-model handguns revealed that handling weapons wasn’t their strong suit. The third guy, whose long black hair stuck out from beneath his ridiculous pantyhose mask, held his 9mm with ease, but aside from the fact that he knew how to grip a gun, he was as inept as the others.
Several female patrons in the brightly lit lobby shrieked at the sight of the robbers, immediately face-planting themselves on the beige tiled floor. An older gentleman took his time lowering himself down, while a couple of others just stood frozen in place as if they couldn’t figure out if this was for real or if they were being punk’d.
“This is a bank robbery!” Black Hair shouted.
Matt rolled his eyes. First of all, no shit. Secondly, didn’t robbers say something like “this is a hold-up?” Who used the words bank robbery during a bank robbery?
“You! Yeah, you, shaved head!”
Huh. They were talking to him, Matt realized. He turned slowly to find the barrel of a gun pointed at his face, this one wielded by a guy with a huge hooked nose that the hose couldn’t hide. “I said down on the ground.”
With a sigh, Matt bent to his knees. Then, when the gun waved in front of his eyes, he reluctantly lay on his stomach. He could probably have taken down this trio of morons in less than ten seconds, but didn’t want to do anything rash, not until he got a better feel for these guys. Chances were, their weapons weren’t even loaded, but he still decided to let it play out. He was tired from the grueling workout he’d just put his body through on the SEAL obstacle course back on base, and besides, he was kinda curious to see how these robbers planned to carry out their heist.
Hook Nose moved away from Matt and situated himself at the door, pointing his gun at the overweight security guard whose only attempt at stopping this robbery had been squeaking “I’m a security guard!” when the three men barreled into the bank. The robber in the bright red sneakers paced the lobby, watching the patrons lying on the floor, while Black Hair headed for the nearest teller and said, “Where’s the manager?”
Matt heard tentative footsteps from behind the counter and then a woman with a faint Indian accent said, “I’m the manager.”
“Listen here,” Black Hair yelled.
“Okay, we can all hear you,” an annoyed female voice mumbled to Matt’s immediate left. “No need to keep yelling.”
He shifted his head, surprised when he noticed the blonde hottie lying on her stomach a couple of feet from him. He hadn’t noticed her when he’d come in, and since he could describe each and every last detail about each and every last person in this bank, he deduced that Blondie must have come in when he was talking to the teller. Because he definitely would’ve remembered seeing her. He could tell she was tall, judging by the long, lithe body stretched out on the floor, and her hair was the palest shade of yellow, falling into a pair of big gray eyes. The most distinct thing about her, though, was that she didn’t seem frightened, upset or panicked in the least. If anything, she looked bored by this entire situation.
Spotting him peeking over at her, Blondie rolled her eyes and whispered, “Do you think they bought Bank Robbing for Dummies to prepare for this caper?”
“Nobody is going to get hurt!” Black Hair was shouting at the bank manager. “We just want the money.”
There was the sound of paper crumpling, and when Matt tilted his head, he saw Black Hair handing the teller a brown paper bag. Oh for Pete’s sake.
“They couldn’t even spring for a duffel bag?” he muttered under his breath.
Beside him, Blondie coughed to smother a snort.
A register dinged open, followed by four others, as Black Hair moved to each teller’s wicket to collect his hard-earned cash. When he finished, he tossed the bag over to Red Shoes, then turned back to the manager and ordered, “Now we go to the big safe.”
A beat of silence. “You mean the vault?” the woman asked cautiously.
“Yes, the vault, bitch.”
“Oooh, someone’s getting upset,” Blondie whispered.
Matt choked back a laugh.
“Nobody here has the combination to the safe,” the manager said. “Only the branch manager can access it.”
“You said you were the manager,” Black Hair snapped, sounding irritated.
“I’m the assistant manager,” came the meek reply.
“Uh-oh,” Matt’s new favorite person muttered. “This sure is a conundrum.”
“How will they ever open the big safe now?” he whispered back.
The sharp yell came from Red Shoes, whose pacing had brought him to their vicinity. Matt didn’t even flinch as the gun barrel jammed into the nape of his neck. Right, because this idiot was really going to shoot him. These guys couldn’t be older than twenty, twenty-one tops, and they obviously had no clue what they were doing. Matt’s shoulders tensed as he debated whether to wrench the gun from this imbecile’s hands. His muscles relaxed. Naah, no point causing trouble. His interference might make these guys trigger-happy and Matt had no desire to see anyone get hurt. This heist couldn’t last much longer, and no doubt these losers would be arrested the second they exited the bank.