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*includes a digitally signed author note*


Join two of the protagonists of Legacy on their very first adventure.

1917. Chicago.

When internationally-renowned thief and Crovir immortal Howard Titus hears of a hoard of gold and cash about to land in the vault of the First Chicago Bank, he has only one thought in mind.

Getting his hands on the dough.

On the night he breaks into the bank to carry out his carefully-laid plan, the Crovir thief comes face to face with a man who challenges everything he thought he knew about the immortal races and all his plans for his future.

The Bank Job is a short story set in the riveting world of A.D. Starrling’s award-winning supernatural thriller series Seventeen.


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Hunted (Book 1)
First Death (Short Story 1)
Dancing Blades (Short Story 2)
The Meeting (Short Story 3)
Warrior (Book 2)
The Warrior Monk (Short Story 4)
Empire (Book 3)
The Hunger (Short Story 5)
Legacy (Book 4)
The Bank Job (Short Story 6)
Origins (Book 5)
Destiny (Book 6)


October 1917. Chicago.

The rumor first reached his ears late one Wednesday night. Howard Orson Rodney Titus looked up from his third glass of whisky and glanced casually at the mirror opposite the bar. Outside, a cold autumn wind blew in over the city from Lake Michigan and rattled the windows faintly.

The drinking club was one block from the Chicago Board of Trade, on West Jackson Boulevard. It was a prime destination for the brokers who worked the Pit, the trading floor of the world-renowned institution. Here, they would share tales from their busy day, boast about the deals they had negotiated, and lament the ones they had lost.

A man with a good ear and a sharp mind could learn a lot from listening in on their conversations.

Howard was one such man. In the six months he had been coming to the club, he had already made more than a million dollars investing in stocks and commodities through several phantom corporations.

He sipped his drink and focused his attention on the two men sitting in the red, velvet-lined booth behind him. One was more rake than man. The other was short and portly, with an abundance of facial hair that gave him the appearance of a walrus.

‘You sure about that?’ said the Rake with a dubious expression.

The Walrus nodded vigorously, double chins wobbling. ‘As God is my witness, that’s what my cousin Larry told me. And he should know, he works there. The higher-ups are denying it, but the rumor mill is rife with speculation about the transfer.’

The Rake cocked an eyebrow. ‘Why would the New York Federal Reserve Bank move that much gold and cash to the First Chicago Bank?’

‘It’s the Liberty war bonds,’ said the Walrus. He glanced around the bar, leaned toward the other man, and dropped his voice slightly. ‘Washington has raised more than fifteen billion dollars to fund the country’s war efforts since it started issuing them in April. Most of the currency is cash and gold flowing in from Europe. The reserve banks are expanding their strongrooms to accommodate the influx. First Chicago is a charter member of the Federal Reserve system. It had a brand new steel-reinforced concrete vault installed in its basement last year. New York Federal Reserve wants to use its storage capacity for the next two months while it has its own vault modified.’

A nervous chuckle escaped the Rake. ‘Better not let any thieves hear about it, then. They’d be over the place like vultures on a carcass.’

The Walrus shrugged and sat back in his seat. ‘I doubt anyone will be able to get in that vault. From what Larry said, it’s a beast.’

Howard smiled faintly into his glass. Unfortunately for the First Chicago Bank, the Walrus and the Rake’s conversation had just been overheard by one of the most talented thieves and con men in the whole of Europe and the Continental United States.

He pondered what the Walrus had said about the vault. Now, there’s a challenge.

It had been some time since he last committed a physical act of burglary. With the rise of the stocks and commodities markets both in the United States and abroad, he had been trying his hand at a less dangerous way of making money for the last five years. The fortune he had amassed to date technically made him one of the richest men in the Midwest. He could choose to retire tomorrow and live out the next sixty years in the lap of luxury.

Except that he would live much, much longer than sixty years.

Maybe it’s time to see if I’ve still got what it takes.

A thrill shot through him at the thought. He finished his drink, left a generous tip for the bartender, walked past the booth where the Rake and the Walrus sat talking about their plans for the coming weekend, and exited the club.

* * *

November 1917. Chicago.

Howard shivered and tugged the collar of his coat closed. Snow drifted silently from the gray skies, dusting his fedora with soft flakes. He shoved his gloved hands inside his pockets and huddled against the wall of the alley. One hundred and fifty feet northeast from where he stood, across a busy junction crowded with noisy automobiles and electric streetcars, stood a towering building.

The First Chicago Bank was housed in an impressive neoclassical construction over twelve stories tall, on the corner of Washington and State Street. The edifice was but one of many such skyscrapers that had sprouted up all over the cities of Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, and other major players in the last three decades. Made of a steel-framed skeleton clad in cream-colored masonry, it allowed for rows of large, plate-glass windows that extended all the way to the elegant cornice crowning its roof some one hundred and fifty feet above the ground.

Not only did Howard know the exact physical layout of the entire building, he also knew all its entry and exit points. A carefully hand-drawn copy of the floor plans was tucked inside his coat, courtesy of an illegal nocturnal trip to the city’s planning offices some three weeks ago.

He glanced at his watch.

It was ten to four in the afternoon. He had been watching the place for five hours and had already completed two full surveys of the comings and goings in the building, including the services and goods entrance to the north. It was time to make his move.

He picked up the briefcase by his feet, adjusted his hat, and headed across the street toward the bank’s entrance.

A grand hall dotted with Corinthian columns and capped by a magnificent, sculptured, coffered ceiling with crystal chandeliers opened out beyond the main doors. Dozens of customers and clerks occupied the polished-wood counters and rows of desks lining the white marble floor, their voices filling the vast space with a low rumble.

It was a Friday and the end of the month. This made it one of the bank’s busiest trading days. It was for that very reason he had chosen this date for what he intended.

Howard walked straight through the lobby to the elevators at the back, his steps brisk and confident, his expression that of a man on a mission. He ignored the casual glances of the two armed guards watching over the hall and entered one of the elaborate metal cabins. The ride to the seventh floor took mere seconds in the high-speed elevator. For the hundredth time, Howard marveled at the remarkable technological breakthroughs of the last few decades as he strolled down a corridor with a vaulted ceiling.

Human society had come a long way in the last fifty-four years. The fact that other, not-quite-so-mortal beings were responsible for the most significant scientific and engineering advances of the Industrial Revolution that started in the mid-seventeenth century was not something most humans were aware of. He recalled his own humble origins in the British Columbia settlement of Gastown, now known as the city of Vancouver. The last time he visited the place was over two decades ago, after it was rebuilt following a terrible fire that had consumed it in a matter of minutes. He had barely recognized the town of his birth.

Sadness clouded his mind for a moment at the thought of his parents. Though he was an only child, he had become estranged from them following their ardent disapproval of his decision to leave British Columbia. When they realized how he was earning his living, they had, for all intents and purposes, disowned him.

He crossed the width of the building, turned the corner at the end of the passage, and soon reached an anteroom. A secretary sat behind the reception desk, her head bowed as she spoke quietly into a candlestick telephone. She looked up when he stopped in front of the table.

Howard took his hat off and smiled.

The woman blinked, stammered a hasty goodbye into the mouthpiece, and placed the receiver back on its hook.

‘Good afternoon,’ she said breathily, a faint blush coloring her cheeks. ‘May I help you?’

Howard was well aware of the impact his features and build had on the fairer sex. He had used his looks to their full advantage ever since he turned fifteen and lost his virginity to a widow who lived down the street from him. Of course, none of the women he had courted over the years knew his real age. To them, he appeared to be an unusually charismatic and handsome man in his twenties. The fact that he was in the fifth decade of his existence would have shocked any one of them into a fit of vapors.

‘I have an appointment with Mr. Thomson.’

The secretary inspected her organizer and scribbled an entry into it. ‘Mr. Thomson is expecting you. Let me show you to his office.’

She rose from the desk and led him toward a passage on the left, her hips swaying slightly more than strictly necessary under his amused gaze. Four doors lined the narrow hall they entered. A fifth stood at the end of it; it was made of steel and bore a Yale bank lock.

The secretary knocked on the second door to the right and ushered him over the threshold.

‘Mr. MacMillan is here for his four o’clock appointment, sir,’ she said demurely to the gray-haired man behind the wide walnut and oak desk that took pride of place in the elegantly-furnished room.

Thomson looked up from the paperwork in front of him, took his spectacles off, and stood up.

‘Thank you, Mary.’ He came around the desk and extended a hand to Howard, a polite smile pasted across his face. ‘It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. MacMillan. I believe you are here to deposit some bonds?’

‘Indeed I am.’

Howard shook the bonds manager’s hand before taking the seat the man showed him to. He opened his briefcase, removed a thick envelope from inside, and passed it across the desk.

Thomson placed his spectacles back on his nose and opened the envelope. His brown eyes widened slightly as he studied its contents.

‘These are quite substantial bonds, Mr. MacMillan.’

Howard sat back in the chair. ‘That they are. To the tune of a quarter of a million dollars, to be exact.’

Thomson hesitated. ‘They look new. May I ask how you acquired them, sir?’ An awkward expression flashed across his face. ‘I’m sorry, but it is our bank’s policy to ask this question when such a large sum is involved.’

Howard smiled. ‘That’s quite all right. Let’s just say that I have uncanny luck when it comes to investments.’

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