Graeme also forced himself to wait. But it had been a long night, tailing his prey from one gaming establishment to the next, all over the bloody town. The thief had obviously managed to befriend two wealthy but dim-witted noblemen. Briefly, Graeme had considered finding a way to warn the men they'd been marked. But he knew them, and they were mean-spirited bounders of the first order. If the fools had their pockets rifled by the end of the night, one could argue that Lady Justice had been served, albeit in a roundabout fashion.
Besides, Graeme had a bigger game to play—running the leader of the ring to the ground. To do that, he had to discover where the crime lord holed up. Somewhere in Covent Garden or the rookeries of St. Giles, he and Aden suspected. This morning's events might answer that question, since it seemed reasonable that the thief would soon be returning to the gang's lair with his ill-gotten gains.
Graeme would be on his tail.
"Come on, ye son of a whore," he whispered. "Get yer arse movin'."
"You're talking funny again," Tommy muttered.
"It's called a brogue, as ye well know."
"Still sounds funny, if you ask me."
Graeme snorted. When Tommy was excited or upset, his cant grew as thick as the brogue that emerged from Graeme when he was frustrated or angry. These days, that brogue surfaced more than he liked.
Then again, anger and frustration were better than rampant boredom. Better to be up to his eyeballs in danger and mayhem than sitting about like a useless ninny, bored out of his skull.
Or, worse, getting dragged to ton parties by Lady Vivien, who said he needed a social life to cheer him up.
"Nothing to be cheery about, anyway," he muttered.
Tommy threw him an odd look, which Graeme ignored, too tired to explain. It had been weeks since he'd had a good night's rest. Maybe Vivien was right. Maybe he was working too hard.
His companion jabbed him. "He's on the move."
Graeme unbent from his crouch. "Looks like he's heading straight along the footpath to Piccadilly. See if you can get ahead of him, in case he changes course and cuts up to one of the other gates."
Tommy nodded, but before he could dart off, Graeme clamped a hand on his shoulder. "Do not get close to him. He'll be armed, and Aden will skin me alive if anything happens to you."
The lad huffed with derision. "I ain't a flat, guv. I've been doing this longer than you have."
"I'm not a flat," Graeme absently corrected as the boy ghosted off into the mist and drizzle.
But Tommy was correct. He'd been a trusted part of the St. George household for four years now, running errands and delivering important messages. Still, he was more a member of the family than an errand boy or even an agent in training, and Graeme would cut off his own arm before he saw the lad placed in danger.
Before he saw any child placed in danger. He'd been stupid enough to allow that to happen once before, and...He impatiently shook the gruesome image from his mind and slipped out from behind the tree. Following the path, he kept a respectable distance from the thief while doing his best to adopt the attitude of a local out for a leisurely morning stroll. Ridiculous, given the weather, but since the barmy bastard was all but creeping along the path, Graeme couldn't exactly set a brisk pace. The fellow was either up to something or suspected he was being followed.
If the latter, then Graeme had to be ready for the man to bolt.
When the thief slipped behind yet another bush and froze, Graeme realized his quarry was behaving like one of the barn cats at Castle Kinglas stalking a mouse. Moving deliberately closer to his target, exercising care not to be seen.