Home > Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1)(12)

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1)(12)
Author: Patricia Briggs

"Werewolf, yes," I agreed. "But I don't think it is one of Adam's." Adamya, I had learned, was an affectionate form of Adam. I don't think she'd ever called him that to his face. Elizaveta was seldom affectionate to anyone likely to overhear her.

"I have the body in my shop," I told her. "But there is blood all over here. The werewolf chased me with a torn artery and bled from here over to the storage facility, where he tore up the fence in two places before he bled to death out on the street. The storage facility has cameras, and I used Stefan's bus"-I pointed to it-"to move the body."

She said something in Russian to her chauffeur, who I recognized as one of her grandchildren. He bowed and said something back before going around to open the trunk.

"Go," she told me, and flung her arms in a pushing gesture. "I will take care of the mess out here without your help. You wait with the body. Adam will be here soon. Once he has seen, he will tell me what he would have me do with it. You killed this wolf? With a silver bullet so I should look for casing?"

"With my fangs," I told her; she knew what I was. "It was sort of an accident-at least his death was."

She caught my arm when I turned to go into the office. "What were you thinking, Mercedes Thompson? A Little Wolf who attacks the great ones will be dead soon, I think. Luck runs out eventually."

"He would have killed a boy under my protection," I told her. "I had no choice."

She released me and snorted her disapproval, but when she spoke her Russian accent was firmly in place. "There is always choice, Mercy. Always choice. If he attacked a boy, then I suppose it must not have been one of Adamya's."

She looked at her chauffeur and barked out something more. Effectively dismissed, I went back to Mac and our dead werewolf.

I found Mac crouched near the body, licking his fingers as if he might have touched the drying blood and was cleaning them off. Not a good sign. Somehow, I was pretty certain that if Mac were fully in control, he wouldn't be doing that.

"Mac," I said, strolling past him and over to the far side of the garage, where we'd been sitting.

He growled at me.

"Stop that," I said sharply, doing my best to keep the fear out of my voice. "Control yourself and come over here. There are some things you should know before Adam gets here."

I'd been avoiding a dominance contest, because my instincts told me that Mac was a natural leader, a dominant who might very well eventually become an Alpha in his own right-and I was a woman.

Women's liberation hadn't made much headway in the world of werewolves. A mated female took her pack position from her mate, but unmated females were always lower than males unless the male was unusually submissive. This little fact had caused me no end of grief, growing up, as I did, in the middle of a werewolf pack. But without someone more dominant than he, Mac wouldn't be able to take control of his wolf yet. Adam wasn't there, so it was up to me.

I stared at him in my best imitation of my foster father and raised an eyebrow. "Mac, for Heaven's sake, leave that poor dead man alone and come over here."

He came slowly to his feet, menace clinging to him. Then he shook his head and rubbed his face, swaying a little.

"That helped," he said. "Can you do it again?"

I tried my best. "Mac. Get over here right now."

He staggered a little drunkenly over to me and sat at my feet.

"When Adam comes," I told him firmly, "whatever you do, don't look him in the eyes for longer than a second or two. Some of this should be instinct, I hope. It isn't necessary to cower-remember that you've done no wrong at all. Let me talk. What we want is for Adam to take you home with him."

"I'm fine on my own," Mac objected, sounding almost like himself, but he kept his head turned toward the body.

"No, you're not," I said firmly. "If there wasn't a pack, you might survive. But if you run into one of Adam's wolves without being made known to the pack, they'll probably kill you. Also, the full moon is coming soon. Adam can help you get control of your beast before then."

"I can control the monster?" asked Mac, stilling.

"Absolutely," I told him. "And it's not a monster-any more than a killer whale is a monster. Werewolves are hot-tempered and aggressive, but they aren't evil." I thought about the one who had sold him and corrected myself. "At least not any more evil than any other person."

"I don't even remember what the beast does," Mac said. "How can I control it?"

"It's harder the first few times," I told him. "A good Alpha can get you through that. Once you have control, then you can go back to your old life if you want. You have to be a little careful; even in human form you're going to have to deal with having a shorter temper and a lot more strength than you're used to. Adam can teach you."

"I can't ever go back," he whispered.

"Get control first," I told him. "There are people who can help you with the rest. Don't give up."

"You're not like me."

"Nope," I agreed. "I'm a walker: it's different from what you are. I was born this way."

"I've never heard of a walker. Is that some sort of fae?"

"Close enough," I said. "I don't get a lot of the neat things that you werewolves have. No super strength. No super healing. No pack."

"No chance you might eat your friends," he suggested. I couldn't tell if he was trying to be funny, or if he was serious.

"There are some benefits," I agreed.

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