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Shadowed Threads(Rylee Adamson #4)(10) by Shannon Mayer

“Wait here, I may have to make a run for it again.” I adjusted my weapons, did a quick count. I was missing my crossbow and my leather jacket, but I could probably get both here. Otherwise, I’d done pretty well at keeping my shit with me this time around.

“Rylee, why do you think you’ll have to make a run for it?”

“Remember the Guardians in New Mexico? How they seemed to always be able to find us? I’m thinking they have some ability to Track, maybe even the same way I do. And I have no doubt that the Beast will be on us very soon.”

She drooped where she stood, her golden eyes darkening. “That’s not good.”

“No, no, it’s not,” I muttered as I went in through the door leading to the stairs into the main part of the building. The last time I’d been here I’d been running up the stairs, Agent Valley screaming along behind me. I’d gotten the job done, but Valley and the local SOCA agent Denning had been pissed to say the least.

I jogged down the stairs, and headed into the main office. There was a mixture of openly hostile stares—I had, after all, caused something of a zombie outbreak during the last case—and a few respectful nods. Those were far less than the glaring angry eyes, but I’d take them.

Will’s desk was at the back of the room and though I was no longer jogging, I kept my pace brisk. How long would I have before that damn Guardian showed up? I had to believe it wouldn’t be long. I was going to bet less than ten minutes.

Will was working, head down, sandy blond hair messy. Handsome, he was a handsome guy, and maybe if I didn’t have O’Shea I would have looked at him as more than just a friend.

Maybe.

I rapped my knuckles on the desk. “William, we need to talk.” He’d planned to take time off after our last case, and he had. For about three days. It seemed that, like me, he couldn’t, or maybe didn’t want to, escape his work.

He didn’t lift his head; no doubt he’d smelled me long before I reached him. “Busy right now.”

“Oh, pardon me while you’re being busy and I deal with the big f**king beast of a Guardian that Daniels has called out on me. Here, let me sit down and wait for him to show up while you be busy.” I dropped into the chair across from him. His hands stilled on the paperwork he had been writing on just a second before.

“Please tell me you’re joking.” He slowly lifted his eyes to mine. Yes, he was a looker, was our Will. But damned if right now all I wanted to do was shake him till his teeth rattled. Was it his fault that Daniels and her Beast were after me? No, but he’d known about them, his reaction told me that much. And that was enough to rile me. Was this what he’d been holding back? Or was it a reaction to whatever had gone down between Deanna and Daniels?

“That’s who roughed you up the night we went to find Deanna, isn’t it?” I leaned forward, hands sliding across the desk to steal his pen and twirl it between my fingers.

He let out a low groan. “Yes, the Beast isn’t supposed to be used this way, but she’s captured him somehow, made him bend to her will. Not unlike the witch did to your O’Shea. And she ousted Deanna.”

“Green shit on the walls, this is a mess. But I don’t have time to discuss the ousting of your sister. Can the Beast track me?”

“Yes. Perhaps not the same way you Track, but they have some abilities, particularly if they’ve been set on someone they have been instructed to kill for the betterment of the Destruction.”

I threw the pen across the room, wishing I could throw my chair as well. “This is a really bad time for me to be dealing with a Guardian. I assume that he can’t be killed?”

“Not that I know of.”

“Can Deanna call him off?”

The sounds of footsteps behind me turned me around. Deanna stood there, her coloring and the shape of her face so like Will’s. But it didn’t look as good on her, like she was trying too hard not to be feminine. She wore a long multi-colored skirt, white button down shirt and her hair was tied back with a leather thong.

“Can Deanna call who off?” She pulled a chair up beside me and lowered herself into it with far more grace than I would ever have.

“Daniels and her Beast,” I said, watching for her reaction. And boy, did I get one.

Her already pale complexion drained to the point of looking green. She swallowed several times, then finally reached across the desk and took Will’s coffee cup, lifting it to her lips.

I lifted my eyebrows at her. “That bad, huh?”

She nodded. “The Beast of Bodmin Moor. He is the phantom cat that protects us in time of need. She, Daniels … I can’t believe she would set him on you, even though she is the leader now. Are you sure?”

My eyebrows shot upward. “Are you shitting me? The mother f**king big black kitty cat that weighs at least a thousand pounds, chased me like I was a f**king mouse and you want to know if I’m sure?”

“I see,” she whispered. “I had hoped perhaps … never mind. I apologize.”

“Don’t apologize, fix this. Can you un-set him?” Gods, I was hoping.

But she was already shaking her head. “I don’t know how she did it. For centuries, the Beast has been our protector, keeping us safe. For her to bind him … it would take something beyond my ken.”

“Well, he’s after me now and I have shit that can’t wait for me to deal with him.” I swiveled in my seat to face Will. “I need a crossbow and a leather jacket of some sort.”

“And another set of hands?” His eyes were hopeful. I thought about O’Shea, about how he and Alex had not gotten along when O’Shea was shifting into a werewolf. About the possessiveness around me. Will was an alpha in his Destruction; that alone was enough to deny him.

“No, I don’t think it’s a good idea. I know O’Shea, he won’t hurt me. But you … you’d be competition.”

Will stood and Deanna made a move to stand with him, but I put a hand on hers, keeping her with me. “Will, I’ll catch up with you in a second.” He nodded, jaw ticking as he headed to the armory. I thought about Pamela, thought about going back to get her and take her with me after O’Shea. I might need her something fierce to keep him from killing me. Then again, if he was killing witches she might be in too much danger to keep her safe. Fuck, there was no easy answer here.

“Deanna. Milly used to make me pre-made spells that were contained within a bladder, like a water balloon. Can you do that for me?”

“I think so, what is it you need?”

I took my hand from hers. O’Shea and Pamela might both hate me for it, but it would be something that would maybe keep Pamela out of the line of fire, letting me leave her at home.

“Something that will hold a large werewolf for a good amount of time.”

Chapter 8

THE ARMORY WAS cool, bare bulbs incased in metal screens hung from the ceiling at five-foot intervals making the room overly bright. I squinted and blinked at the sudden glare.

Here was a veritable treasure trove and I couldn’t help but stare at all the weapons. Most were too modern for me to use. But there was a good chunk of old school weapons that would work just fine.

Will handed me a crossbow. “Here, this is very similar to yours.”

I took the weapon, went over it, letting my hands feel the curve and flow of the grips and the weight of it. Slightly heavier than mine, it was otherwise identical down to the simple firing mechanism.

“This will work,” I said, slinging it onto my back. I wore only my long-sleeved shirt and that was still damp from the flight here. I rubbed my arms. “What about coats, jackets?”

He bent down, grabbed a long leather trench coat from a pile. “Here, this is mine; we’re close to the same height, so it won’t drag.” Holding it out for me like a real gentleman, he waited for me to do the girly thing and slip into it. I let out a sigh and turned my back to him, sliding my arms into the coat. The chill of the room disappeared with the weight of the coat. Longer and heavier than I was used to, it would be better than my own jacket when it came to flying.

Will pointed out straps on the inside of the coat. “Those you can wrap around your legs to keep the side panels close to you. Should help when you’re up on Eve.”

“Thanks. I should get going. I don’t think Denning would be too happy with me if every time I visit I drag along some new supernatural creature.”

“Isn’t Deanna doing something for you?” Crap, his hearing was better even than Alex’s.

“Yes, but she said it would only take a few minutes.”

Will’s eyes softened and he lifted a hand to touch my shoulder, brushing off dirt that didn’t exist. “Are you sure you don’t want help? I can come with you; Eve could easily carry us both.”

The room suddenly felt much smaller than it had just a moment before and I recognized the look in his eye.

Nope, that was so not going to happen. “Yeah, I’m good. I’m used to working on my own. Pamela will be pissed that I left her behind, but I think maybe the Beast did us both a favor. O’Shea’s after witches, Pamela’s a witch, there’s too good of a chance he’ll go after her.” I was rambling, I knew it, but I couldn’t escape the look in Will’s eyes, the look that I was trying to avoid.

“What if you can’t bring him back, what then?” Will swallowed, looked away and then back at me, his eyes that soft hazel with flecks of green that I had no doubt women swooned over. Shit, Pamela was gaga for him and she was only fourteen.

“I’m bringing him back,” I said, my voice firm as I tightened the straps holding my weapons.

“You don’t know that. He might not be the man you knew. He’s been a wolf for a long time now.”

Oh, that’s a good kitty, piss off the Tracker.

“Fuck you, Will. I will bring him back one way or another. Alive, dead, still a wolf. Whatever the case, O’Shea is coming back with me.” I turned my back on him and left him standing in the armory. I didn’t want to question why he was suddenly so worried about O’Shea coming back. Sure, we’d had a few meals together, but that had been all of us, Pamela, Alex, Jack, Deanna and Will. Not exactly what I would call dating. But shit, if he thought for one instant that I would turn my back on O’Shea, the kitty cat really had no idea—