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Home > Cry Wolf (Alpha & Omega #1)(4)

Cry Wolf (Alpha & Omega #1)(4)
Author: Patricia Briggs

She waited until everyone was in her apartment to leave the anonymity of the landing. Bran was stripping her futon down to the bare mattress when she entered her apartment. It was sort of like watching the president mowing the White House lawn or taking out the trash.

Boyd approached her and handed her the check she'd left on the fridge door, her last paycheck. "You'll want this with you."

She took it and stuffed it in her pants. "Thanks."

"We all owe you," he told her. "None of us could contact the Marrok when things started getting bad. Leo forbade it. I can't tell you how many hours I spent staring at the phone trying to break his hold."

She was startled into meeting his eyes.

"It took me a while to figure out what you were." He gave her a bitter smile. "I wasn't paying attention. I tried really hard not to pay attention or think. It made things easier."

"Omegas are rare," said Bran.

Boyd didn't look away from her. "I almost missed what Leo was doing, why he chose you for such treatment when he had always been the 'kill 'em quickly' kind. I've known him a long time, and he's never condoned abuse like that before. I could see that it sickened him-only Justin really enjoyed it."

Anna controlled her flinch and reminded herself that Justin had died last night, too.

"When I realized why Leo couldn't rely on you following his orders, that you weren't just a very submissive wolf, that you were an Omega...it was almost too late." He sighed. "If I'd given you the Marrok's number two years ago, it wouldn't have taken you so long to call him. So I owe you both my thanks and my humblest apologies." And he dropped his eyes, tilting his head to show her his throat.

"Will you..." She swallowed to moisten her suddenly dry throat. "Will you make sure it doesn't happen again? Not to anyone? I'm not the only one who was hurt." She didn't look at Thomas. Justin had taken great delight in tormenting Thomas.

Boyd bowed his head solemnly. "I promise."

She gave him a short nod, which seemed to satisfy him. He took an empty box out of Joshua's hands and strode to the kitchen. They'd brought boxes and tape and wrapping material, more than enough to pack everything she owned.

She didn't have any luggage, so she took one of the boxes and put together the basics to take with her. She was very careful to keep her eyes to herself. Too much had changed, and she didn't know how else to deal with it.

She was in the bathroom when someone's cell phone rang. Werewolf hearing meant she got both sides of the telephone conversation.

"Boyd?" It was one of the new wolves, Rashid the doctor, she thought. He sounded panicked.

"You've got me. What's wrong?"

"That wolf in the holding room, he's-"

Boyd and his cell phone were in the kitchen, and she still heard the crash through the speaker.

"That's him," Rashid whispered desperately. "That's him. He's trying to get out-and he's tearing the whole safe room apart. I don't think it'll hold him."

Charles.

He'd been groggy when she left, but had seemed happy enough to leave her in his father's hands while he slept off the effects of having a few silver bullets dug out of him last night. Apparently things had changed.

Anna grabbed her box and met Bran in the doorway of the bathroom.

He gave her a searching glance, but didn't seem upset. "It seems that we are needed elsewhere," he said, sounding calm and relaxed. "I don't think he'll hurt anyone-but silver has a stronger and more unpredictable effect on him than on some wolves. Do you have what you need?"

"Yes."

Bran looked around, then his eyes fell on Boyd. "Tell your wolf we'll be there as soon as possible. I trust you to make certain that everything is packed and the apartment is clean when you leave."

Boyd bowed his head submissively.

Bran took her box and tucked it under one arm and then held his other out in an old-fashioned gesture. She put her fingers lightly on the crook of his arm, and he escorted her all the way back to the SUV that way, slowing her down when she would have run.

He drove back to the Naperville mansion that the Western Suburb pack kept for its own without breaking any traffic laws, but he didn't waste any time, either.

"Most wolves wouldn't be able to break out of a holding room," he said mildly. "There's silver in the bars, and there are a lot of bars, but Charles is his mother's son, too. She'd never have allowed herself to be held by anything as mundane as a few bars and a reinforced door."

Somehow, it didn't surprise Anna that Bran would know how the pack's safe room was built.

"Charles's mother was a witch?" Anna had never met a witch, but she'd heard stories. And since becoming a werewolf, she'd learned to believe in magic.

He shook his head. "Nothing so well defined. I'm not even sure she worked magic-strictly speaking. The Salish didn't see the world that way: magic and not magic. Natural and unnatural. Whatever she was, though, her son is, too."

"What will happen if he breaks out?"

"It would be good if we get there before that happens," was all he said.

They left the expressway, and he slowed to the posted speed limit. The only sign of his impatience was the rhythmic beat of his fingers on the steering wheel. When he pulled up in front of the mansion, she jumped out of the SUV and ran to the front door. He didn't appear to hurry, but somehow he was there before her and opened the door.

She ran down the hall and took the cellar stairs three at a time, Bran at her shoulder. The lack of noise was not reassuring.

Usually the only way to tell the safe room from the basement guest rooms was the steel door and frame. But great plaster chunks had been torn off the wall on either side, revealing the silver-and-steel bars that had been embedded in the wall. The wallpaper from inside the room hung down in strips like a curtain, keeping Anna from seeing inside.

There were three of the pack in human form standing in front of the door, and she could feel their fear. They knew what they had in that room-at least one of them had watched as he killed Leo, even though Charles had been shot twice with silver bullets.

"Charles," said Bran in a chiding tone.

The wolf roared in response, a hoarse howling sound that hurt Anna's ears and contained nothing but blind rage.

"The screws were coming out of the hinges, sir. On their own," said one of the wolves nervously, and Anna realized the thing he was holding in his hands was a screwdriver.

"Yes," Bran said calmly. "I imagine they were. My son doesn't react at all well to silver and even less well to captivity. You might have been safer letting him out-or not. My apologies for leaving you here alone to face him. I thought he was in better shape. It seems I underestimated Anna's influence."

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