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Home > Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1)(7)

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1)(7)
Author: Patricia Briggs

Maybe no one had found Mac. Maybe he'd killed his date and when he'd returned to human shape he'd refused to believe what he'd done. What he was. I'd been operating under the impression that he had left his pack, but if he was a new wolf, an untaught wolf, he was even more dangerous.

I broke the rusted-out bolt because I wasn't paying attention. When Mac returned from his phone call, I was working on removing the remnant with an easy out, the world's most misnamed tool-there is nothing easy about it.

I hadn't planned on saying anything to him, but the words came out anyway. "I might know some people who could help you."

"No one can help me," he replied tiredly. Then he smiled, which would have been more convincing if his eyes hadn't been so sad. "I'm all right."

I set down the easy out and looked at him.

"Yes, I think you will be," I said, hoping I wasn't making a mistake by not pushing. I'd have to let Adam know about him before the next full moon. "Just remember, I've been known to believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

His mouth quirked up. "Lewis Carroll."

"And they say the youth today aren't being educated," I said. "If you trust me, you might find that my friends can help you more than you believed possible." The phone rang, and I turned back to my work. "Go answer the phone, please, Mac," I told him.

That late in the year it was dark out when we finished at six. He stood and watched me as I locked up, obviously thinking about something. I deliberately fumbled with the lock to give him more time, but he didn't take advantage of it.

"See you tomorrow," he said, instead.

"All right." Then, impulsively, I asked, "Do you have a place to sleep tonight?"

"Sure," he said with a smile, and started off as if he had somewhere to be.

I could have bitten off my tongue because I pushed him into a lie. Once he started lying to me, it would be harder to get him to trust me with the truth. I don't know why it works that way, but it does-at least in my experience.

I kicked myself all the way home, but by the time I had fed Medea and made myself some dinner, I'd figured out a way around it. I'd take him a blanket tomorrow and unlock Stefan's VW bus, which was patiently awaiting brake parts from Oregon. I didn't think Stefan would mind Mac camping out for a night or two.

I called Stefan to make sure, because it's unwise to surprise vampires.

"Sure," he said, without even asking who I wanted to let sleep in his van. "That's all right with me, sweetheart. How long until my bus is roadworthy again?"

For a vampire, Stefan was all right.

"Parts are supposed to be in day after tomorrow," I told him. "I'll call you when they get here. If you want to help, we can get it done in a couple long evenings. Otherwise, it'll take me a day."

"Right," he said, which was apparently good-bye because the next thing I heard was a dial tone.

"Well," I told the cat, "I guess I'm headed out to buy a blanket." It had to be a new blanket; mine would all smell like coyote-and a werewolf who hardly knew me wouldn't be comfortable surrounded by my scent.

I spent several minutes looking for my purse before I realized that I'd left it locked in the safe at work. Happily, my garage was on the way to the store.

Because it was dark, I parked my car on the street behind the garage where there was a streetlight to discourage any enterprising vandals. I walked through the parking lot and passed Stefan's bus, parked next to the office door, and gave it an affectionate pat.

Stefan's bus was painted to match the Mystery Machine, which said a lot about the vampire it belonged to. Stefan told me that he'd briefly considered painting it black a few years ago when he started watching Buffy, but, in the end, he'd decided the vampire slayer was no match for Scooby Doo.

I opened the office door, but didn't bother turning on the lights because I see pretty well in the dark. My purse was where I remembered leaving it. I took it out and relocked the safe. Out of habit, I double-checked the heat to make sure it was set low. Everything had been turned off and put away. All was as it should have been, and I felt the usual sense of satisfaction knowing it was mine-well, mine and the bank's.

I was smiling when I left the office and turned to lock the door behind me. I wasn't moving quietly on purpose, but having been raised by a pack of werewolves makes you learn to be quieter than most.

"Go away." Mac's voice came from the other side of Stefan's bus. He spoke in a low, growling tone I hadn't heard from him before.

I thought he was talking to me and spun toward the sound, but all I saw was Stefan's bus.

Then someone else answered Mac. "Not without you."

The bus had darkened windows. I could see through them well enough to see the side door was open, framing the vague shadowy forms of Mac and one of his visitors. The second one I couldn't see. The wind was right, blowing gently past them to me, and I smelled two other people besides Mac: another werewolf and a human. I didn't recognize either one.

Although I know most of Adam's wolves by scent, it wouldn't be odd if he had gotten a new wolf without my hearing about it. But it was the human that told me something was up: I'd never known Adam to send a human out with one of his wolves on business.

Stranger yet was that no one showed any sign they knew I was around. I was quiet, but even so, both werewolves should have heard me. But neither Mac nor the other wolf appeared to notice.

"No," said Mac, while I hesitated. "No more cages. No more drugs. They weren't helping."

Cages? I thought. Someone had been keeping Mac in a cage? There was no need for that, not with Adam around. Though some Alphas had to depend upon bars to control new wolves, Adam wasn't one of them. Nor did Mac's comments about drugs make sense: there are no drugs that work on werewolves.

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