Alex(Rylee Adamson #5.5)(7) by Shannon Mayer
“If he saved me from Stavros, then he’s my guardian angel, like my brother always was.” Tears dripped down her cheeks and sorrow crawled up my throat to see her pain. I pushed my head into her reaching hand and again the past cleared, the fog dissipated for a moment.
“Deidre.” I said her name and she leaned forward with effort to hug me. I wrapped my paws around her frail body, felt every bone in her spine and arms press against her skin.
“Alex.” She sobbed my name.
I did the only thing I could and whispered, “Don’t tell.”
Shaking, she held me tighter and I slid out of her arms, to sit on the floor beside her. There was no going back for me, that had been made clear as crystal. Even if that other voice said that maybe it was possible. There was no point in anyone knowing our connection. I glanced at Rylee who was watching us with eyes that saw more than I wanted her to. Maybe she guessed, but I had the feeling she would never tell.
Heavy footsteps thundered down the hallway toward us, and both Deidre and I tensed with the familiar noise. Hackles raising, I let out a low growl. “Bad man.”
Rylee spun toward the door, sword raised. “What is it?”
“Bad man,” I repeated, planting myself at the foot of the bed. After everything he’d done, surely he didn’t think he should be here now? I hoped I was wrong.
No such luck for us.
Six foot five and well over three hundred pounds of self righteous anger, our father burst into the room, his eyes narrowed before he really saw anything. “Deidre, where the f**k have you been?”
Rylee, even though she was seriously out-sized by the hulk of a man who had terrorized both Deidre and me our entire lives, stepped directly into his path, her sword held along the back of her arm so he couldn’t see it.
“You have the wrong room. Go ask the nurse again.” She stepped sideways as he tried to go around her.
Deidre cried harder, her sheets rustling as she burrowed deeper into them. “Go away, Roland. I don’t want to see you.”
“That’s my daughter and I have every god damn right to see her. So whoever the f**k you think you are, get out of my way.” He shoved Rylee.
Mistake number one. Rylee let the momentum take her, and she used it to run up the wall closest to her, spin in mid-air, and slam a fist into his neck.
With a gurgle, he dropped to his knees, hands grasping at his neck. Fury lit him up and he struggled back to his feet and took a swing at her.
Mistake number two. I lunged forward, snarling and snapping. I wasn’t as big as him, but I knew I looked scary, and I knew how much he hated dogs.
His eyes rolled up into his head and he fell backward in a dead faint, his head smacking the corner of the door as he fell.
“Alex, under the bed.” Rylee pointed and I did as she said as more feet came running.
Rylee helped the nurses get Roland onto a gurney and wheel him away. The head nurse came in and checked on Deidre. In a matter of minutes, Deidre and Rylee got the nurse to start the paperwork to put Deidre into foster care. Safe from our father.
Deidre was going to be in the hospital for a few weeks, according to the doctor. Long enough to get her strength back up that the incubus had stolen from her, though the doctor thought she was thin from living on the streets and starving. We didn’t stay with her once Roland was dealt with, much as I wanted to. Even I understood that without the collar hiding me, there was no way I could stay with my sister. We lived in two different worlds now, and though the incubus had drawn her in, she was safer on the human side of things.
And now, she was safe, and with that, I could be at peace. No more would she be at Roland’s mercy, or hiding from him on the streets. We slipped down the back stairwell of the hospital and ran for the Jeep under the cover of night. Rylee flung the door open for me. I leapt in and did a spin on the seat, excitement flooding me.
“Yes, thanks to you. You saved both our asses.” She slid into her seat. “And now we need to find you a place to live.” Her eyes searched mine and I lowered my eyes after a brief moment, tracing the stitching in my seat with one claw.
“Alex stays. Helps.”
She let out a sigh. “This time, you helped, you’re right. But you still can’t stay with me. I can’t keep a werewolf with me.”
I slumped in my seat. “No fairs.”
Rylee buckled in and turned the key in the ignition. “Yeah, life is the shits, buddy. Nothing you can do about that.”
The drive took until the sunrise peeked up on the horizon behind us.
Twenty-four hours since I’d woken up, there was something significant about—
Since I’d become
love you sis
Shit, what the hell was I supposed to do with a submissive werewolf? I couldn’t take him home with me. Could I? And was he really as mentally incapacitated as I thought? There were moments with Deidre that I’d seen more than a glimmer of intelligence, but a real light of knowledge in him. He’d understood what he was, or what he was becoming. That alone made me soften toward him. On a whim, I Tracked him, even though he sat beside me.
Sadness was foremost in his heart, but it was followed closely by an intense hunger.
With a sigh, I pulled off the highway and headed for the closest fast food joint.
“What do you want to eat?” I asked as I parked the Jeep. His eyes lit up and he clapped his oversized paws together with obvious glee. “Cheeseburger.” He woofed once and then spit out, “Coffee!”
Laughing, I slid out of the Jeep and went into the restaurant. If nothing else, Alex made me smile, something I hadn’t done a lot of in the last few years.
This time of day, the food joint was quiet and they didn’t want to give me a cheeseburger, so I took some breakfast sandwiches back with me.
Alex snarfed them back in three seconds flat while I managed to get in one bite on mine, but it was the way he drank his coffee that fascinated me. With a dexterity that surprised me, he balanced the cup in one hand, long claws wrapped around the Styrofoam cup, careful not to punch any holes in it. He took a sip and then grinned at me. “Goody good.”
I nodded and finished eating my breakfast before starting the Jeep back up and doing a U-turn, heading back toward home.
“All right, you can stay with me for a little while. But not forever, you got that?” I leaned across and pulled my crappy cell phone out. I would need a more permanent collar for him if he was going to stay awhile.
He started to spin on his seat, while he yipped and barked. “Alex stays, Alex stays!”
I shook my head, but couldn’t stop the smile slipping across my face. “Yeah, Alex stays.”