Kitty and the Midnight Hour Page 46

"I'll do my best, Detective."

I had to talk to T.J. That was all I wanted right now.

O'Farrell stood next to my chair. "Ms. Norville? Come on, let's go."

Hardin stopped me before opening the door. "Don't leave town."

My throat was still dry. This place tasted dry and cold. All I could do was press my lips together and nod, my eyes downcast.

Outside, the sky was gray with dawn. Almost too bright. My exhausted eyes stung with the faint light. The air was biting, reaching into my bones.

The lawyer and I stood for a moment on the sidewalk outside the police station.

I said, "Me being a werewolf. Does it bother you? Are you an antimonster crusader like Cormac?"

He smiled as if I'd said something funny, an expression reminiscent of one of Cormac's smirks. "If Cormac were a crusader, he'd have shot you the first time he met you, no matter what the circumstances were."

"Then what is he?"

"He just likes seeing how close to the edge he can get without falling off."

Somehow, Cormac as mercenary-with-a-death-wish was a scarier proposition than Cormac as mercenary-with-convictions.

"What are you?"

He shrugged. "Equal opportunity attorney-at-law."

"Yeah, I guess. Thanks for getting me out of there."

"It was easy. Hardin likes you. Can I give you a ride someplace?"

"No thanks."

"A word of advice, Ms. Norville. You should tell the cops his name. That way, only one of you goes down. If he's your friend, he'll understand." He was a good fit for Cormac, as lawyers went. I could picture him in a gangster movie, finding loopholes and talking tough at the judge.

"I'll think about it."

"At the very least, don't talk to this guy. If you go to him, you'll make it real hard for me to prove you're not trying to cover anything up."

"I'm—we're not used to human law. We're usually a lot better about cleaning up our bodies."

He didn't say anything. I got tired of waiting for him to speak, so I shoved my hands into the pockets of my coat and walked away. I could sense him staring after me.

I went to T.J.'s.

If Hardin sent someone to follow me, I didn't know about it. It wouldn't have surprised me if she had. It was stupid to go, to possibly lead her right to him. But I wasn't thinking straight by then.

I had a little bit of sense and took side streets and footpaths where cars couldn't follow. I ran, and I could run fast, even injured, like any werewolf worth her salt.

The front door of his house was unlocked. I slipped in, closed the door quietly, and locked it. He had two rooms, a living room with a hide-a-bed and a kitchen/utility room. The bathroom was in back.

He was lying asleep on the living room floor, naked and tangled in a blanket. He must have been out all night, too. He had a great body, muscled arms flowing into well-defined shoulders and back. He was curled in a ball, tense, like he was having a nightmare. His hair was damp with sweat. He hugged a pillow to his chest.

I took off my jacket and shoes and knelt beside him. I touched his cheek, holding my hand near his nose so he could smell me. He shifted, moaning a little. I lay next to him and snuggled close as he woke up, slipping into his arms.

He didn't open his eyes, but I could tell he was awake because his embrace tightened around me.

"I'm sorry I yelled at you," I whispered.

He smiled and kissed my forehead. "Hm. Are you okay?"

"Yeah." Now, I was. At least for a little while. "Why'd he do it, T.J.? I didn't think he was that dumb. If he'd wanted to challenge me, why didn't he do it in front of the pack? This wasn't going to win him back his standing."

He waited so long to answer I thought he'd fallen asleep again. The question was half-rhetorical anyway. I'd never understood why Zan did things.

Then T.J. said, "Someone put him up to it. Someone wanted him to kill you without the pack watching."

So it wasn't Zan's idea. That almost made sense. "How do you know?"

"Because I told him if he ever went after you again, I'd kill him."

My eyes stung, tears slipping down, because I had to tell him about the police. I had to ask him to tell me what to do. He couldn't go to jail. What would they do with him during full moon nights?

I nestled closer, resting my head on his chest. "Who put him up to it?"

"Someone who outranks me. He'd only listen to someone who scared him more than I did. That leaves Carl or Meg."

Time passed, and sunlight began to trace the window shades when I said, "I think it was Meg."

"I think it was Carl." Then, very softly, "I used to be in love with Carl."

In so many ways, the alpha of the pack was god to us. I remembered my first few months with them. I trembled whenever Carl came near. I cowered at his feet, worshiping him, adoring him. When had that gone away?

"Me, too," I said.

We slept for a time. I was only half-awake when he stretched his back and sat up. He paused, took several deep breaths, then brought his face close to me, smelling my hair, moving down to sniff my neck and shirt.

He said, his tone doubtful, "You smell like a police station."

I told him everything while he made bacon and eggs for breakfast. Even the smell of frying meat filling the kitchen couldn't make me hungry. We sat at his Formica table, plates of food in front of us, and neither one of us ate.

He picked at his for a while, breaking the yolks of his fried eggs and stirring them with bacon. He looked at me, and I stared at my plate.

Finally, he said, "This is what you get for going to the cops in the first place."

"It's because I went to the cops and got on their good side that I'm not in jail now." There I was, arguing again.

"I can't go to jail," he said. "Neither can you. You'll tell them I did it. That'll get you off the hook. And I'll run. I'll go into the hills, maybe go wolf for a while. That way I can hide."

I didn't like the sound of that. It wouldn't get him off the hook. We had no idea how long he'd have to hide. I wanted some solution that would let everyone believe T.J. was innocent. But he wasn't, really. That was the problem.

Any way we looked at it, I was in danger of losing him.

My voice cracked when I said, "Have you ever heard of someone Changing and not being able to shift back?"

Source: www_Novel22_Net

Prev Next