Inside: The Greatest Treasure by Mayumi Cruz
 
Joseph’s professional thieving business which he runs with his reclusive friend, Herman, is thriving, not lacking for internationally rich and famous clients from whom they accept “projects” and get sky-high commissions as reward for their “extraordinary skills.”
 
But this particular job gives him the creeps. He has to steal a rare Rizal bust wherein the national hero’s letters on the whereabouts of the richest gold deposit in the Philippines are said to be hidden. To make matters worse, the bust is located in a seemingly impregnable yacht fortress in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, guarded by dangerous creatures he prefers not to encounter.
 
The client also requires that one of her own people do the job with him, and Joseph always works alone. But okay, a beautiful, all-woman but equally skilled thief, Amanda, may not be a bad companion, after all. That is, until he learns that her marching orders are to dispose of him once the bust is secured.
 
Now why would an apparently insignificant piece of wood generate such homicidal act on the part of his client? Surely, those letters don’t hold the power to alter the course of history and change the world’s opinion about the great man who inspired the Philippine revolution—or do they?

Excerpt

She was sincerely apologetic, her kind eyes begging for understanding. If only for that, Joseph yielded to the old lady’s request to sit down.

“Thank you,” she visibly sighed a breath of relief. Without much ado, she said, “I need you to steal from Sebastian Bene.”

Startled, Joseph blurted out, “The Colombian billionaire?” He recalled to mind what he’d read about him. Sebastian was revered in his country as a self-made billionaire, even as rumors of drug dealings and human trafficking clouded his seemingly perfect reputation. “The one who keeps his most prized possessions in his super yacht?”

“The one and only. I need you to retrieve a rare and never before discovered Rizal bust that he now keeps in there,” the old lady continued.

Without batting an eyelash, he asked, “Is it yours?”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“It does to me, ma’am. I only steal what’s been taken from rightful owners.” He made to leave.

Her bony hand clasped his wrist in a surprisingly tight grip. “Joseph.” He was surprised to find her eyes were teary.  “What if the rightful owner…is the entire Filipino nation?”