Black Hat Hacker (Chicago Syndicate Book 6)

By: Soraya Naomi

Chicago Syndicate, Volume 6







“The power of a glance has been so much abused in love stories that it has come to be disbelieved in. Few people dare now to say that two beings have fallen in love because they have looked at each other. Yet it is in this way that love begins, and in this way only.” ~ Victor Hugo, Les Misérables.





black hat hack·er

/blak/hat/ˈhakər/

Noun

· COMPUTING informal

A person who attempts to find computer security vulnerabilities and exploit them for personal financial gain or other malicious reasons.

This differs from white hat hackers, which are security specialists employed to use hacking methods to find security flaws that black hat hackers may exploit.

Black hat hackers can inflict major damage on both individual computer users and large organizations by stealing or changing personal (financial) information, compromising the security of major systems, or shutting down or altering the function of websites and networks.





CHAPTER 1


Mary

I tuck my brown curls behind my ear as I sneak down the narrow hallway of a dog shelter near my college, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Reaching the end, I open the door of an office and the first thing I notice is what a dump this place is – yellowed wallpaper peeling off the walls, junk everywhere, and a dirty fenced dog cage shoved in the corner. But what’s worse is that there are five Chihuahuas piled together inside of it, some of them hurt with bandages covering their paws.

“Oh, my god,” I mutter, having no idea what to do next because I’m here all by myself.

Or at least I think I am until, out of the blue, a hand smothers my mouth and a strong arm hooks around my waist, pulling me against a rock-hard chest.

Shrieking, I claw at his wrist when a low, controlled voice whispers into my ear, “It’s me. Calm the fuck down.” And I can feel the intense anger radiating from him.

Recognizing the black leather braided wristband with a silver ring looped into it as he lowers his hand, I relax and turn around, letting out a loaded breath. “You scared the crap out of me, Henry!”

Since he’s over six feet tall, I come face-to-face with the black spade tattoo peeking out from under the collar of his dress shirt that’s stretched taut over muscled shoulders, the sleeves rolled up to his elbows to expose the Celtic cross tattoo on one forearm.

When I look up, I meet his vivid yet outraged grey eyes which are streaked with shards of silver, giving his gaze a lethal edge as he stares me down through his black rimmed glasses. His thick hair that’s dark as coal is a flawless, spiked mess, as if he’s been dragging his fingers through the strands.

“Jesus Christ, Mary! What the fuck are you doing here alone?” Henry barks, and the sharpness in his tone astounds me.

“I’m alone because I called you earlier tonight to ask you to come with me but you didn’t answer. And when I saw the owner leave half an hour ago – for the first time in days – I knew I didn’t have time to wait. Remember that I told you I heard a rumor on campus about illegal underground dogfights in the Loop? Well, another rumor is that this shelter works with the organizers.”

He edges closer until he towers over me, clenching his jaw. “I was working. But when I called you back and you didn’t answer, I knew you were up to something.”

“So how did you find me?”

“I tracked your phone,” he answers, and I perk a brow.

“Tracked me? That’s not very nice,” I retort, refusing to back down under his unrelenting glower until he abruptly grabs my arm and tugs me with him down the hall. That’s when I believe I’ve finally pushed him to his limit. He’s warned me over and over not to go on these missions, yet I can’t help myself when I think of those poor, defenseless dogs that are probably being used to rile up other dogs to fight.

“No, Henry!” I dig my heels into the floor, but he’s much stronger, so I have to yank free from his grip, annoyed at his interference.

Spinning around to face me, Henry states, “Mary, don’t fucking argue with me on this. Let’s go.”

He’s never been this incensed with me, but I’m not leaving without freeing these dogs. “Oh, my god! We don’t have time for this.”