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Home > Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1)(15)

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1)(15)
Author: Patricia Briggs

When Mac hesitated, I walked back over and knelt beside Adam so I could look Mac in the eye. "I told you, he can control your wolf until you can. That's why he's Alpha. You can trust him."

Mac stared at me, then closed his eyes and nodded. "All right. But I don't know how."

"You'll get the hang of it," Adam said. "But for right now I'll help you." His knee nudged me away, as he got out his pocket knife. "This will be easier without your clothing."

I got up as unobtrusively as I could and tried not to flinch when Mac cried out.

The change is not easy or painless at the best of times, and it was worse without the aid of the moon's call. I don't know why they can't change like I do, but I had to close my eyes against the pained sounds that came from the corner of my garage. Certainly the broken collarbone didn't make the shift any easier for Mac. Some werewolves can change relatively quickly with practice, but a new werewolf can take a lot of time.

I slipped out of the garage through the office and walked out the door, both to give them some privacy and because I couldn't bear Mac's suffering anymore. I sat on the single cement step outside the office and waited.

Elizaveta returned, leaning on her grandson's arm about the same time that Mac's scream turned into a wolf's cry.

"There is another werewolf?" Elizaveta asked me.

I nodded and got to my feet. "That boy I told you about," I said. "Adam's here, though, so it's safe. Did you clean Stefan's van?" I nodded at the bus.

"Yes, yes. Did you think you were dealing with an amateur?" She gave an offended sniff. "Your vampire friend will never know that his van held a corpse other than his own."

"Thank you." I tilted my head, but I couldn't hear anything from inside the garage, so I opened the office door and called, "Adam?"

"It's all right," he said, sounding tired. "It's safe."

"Elizaveta is here with her chauffeur," I warned him in case he hadn't noticed them when he'd stormed in.

"Have her come in, too."

I would have held open the door, but Elizaveta's grandson took it out of my hand and held it for both of us. Elizaveta shifted her bony grasp from his arm to mine, though from the strength of her grip I was pretty certain that she didn't need help walking.

Mac was curled up in the far corner of the garage where I'd left him. His wolf form was dark gray, blending in with the shadows on the cement floor. He had one white foot and a white stripe down his nose. Werewolves usually have markings that are more doglike than wolflike. I don't know why. Bran, the Marrok, has a splash of white on his tail, as though he'd dipped it in a bucket of paint. I think it's cute-but I'd never had the nerve to tell him so.

Adam was kneeling beside the dead man, paying no attention to Mac at all. He looked up when we came in from the office. "Elizaveta Arkadyevna," he said in a formal greeting, then added something in Russian. Switching back to English, he continued, "Robert, thank you for coming tonight, too."

Elizaveta said something in Russian directed at Adam.

"Not quite yet," Adam replied. "Can you reverse his change?" He gestured to the dead man. "I don't recognize his scent, but I'd like to get a good look at his face."

Elizaveta frowned and spoke rapidly in Russian to her grandson. His response had her nodding, and they chatted for a few moments more before she turned back to Adam. "That might be possible. I can certainly try."

"I don't suppose you have a camera here, Mercy?" Adam asked.

"I do," I told him. I work on old cars. Sometimes I work on cars that other people have "restored" in new and interesting fashions. I've found that getting a picture of the cars before I work on them is useful in putting them back together again. "I'll get it."

"And bring a piece of paper and an ink stamp pad if you have it. I'll send his fingerprints off to a friend for identification."

By the time I returned, the corpse was back in human form, and the hole I'd torn in his neck gaped open like a popped balloon. His skin was blue with blood loss. I'd seen dead men before, but none that I was responsible for killing.

The change had torn his clothing-and not in the interesting way that comic books and fantasy artists always depict it. The crotch of his pants was ripped open along with his blood-soaked shirt's neck and shoulder seams. It seemed terribly undignified.

Adam took the digital camera from me and snapped a few pictures from different angles, then tucked it back in its case and slung it over his shoulder.

"I'll get it back to you as soon as I get these pictures off it," he promised absently as he took the paper and ink stamp and, rather expertly, rolled the limp fingers in the ink, then on the sheet of paper.

Things moved rapidly after that. Adam helped Elizaveta's grandson deposit the body in the luxurious depths of the trunk of her car for disposal. Elizaveta did her mumbles and shakes that washed my garage in magic and, hopefully, left it clean of any evidence that I'd ever had a dead man inside. She took Mac's clothing, too.

"Hush," said Adam, when Mac growled an objection. "They were little more than rags anyway. I've clothes that should fit you at my house, and we'll pick up more tomorrow."

Mac gave him a look.

"You're coming home with me," said Adam, in a tone that brooked no argument. "I'll not have a new werewolf running loose around my city. You come and learn a thing or two, then I'll let you stay or go as you choose-but not until I'm satisfied you can control yourself."

"I am going now; it is not good for an old woman like me to be up this late," Elizaveta said. She looked at me sourly. "Don't do anything stupid for a while if you can help it, Mercedes. I do not want to come back out here."

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