Shadowed(Legend of the Ir'Indicti,Book 2)(7) by Connie Suttle
"Honey, you may have to overlook that—these kids have been uprooted from their lives, homes and friends. I can't say I'd be happy about it, either," Adele admitted.
"Aedan?" Ashe and his father both heard Nathan Anderson's voice outside their home. Nathan hadn't bothered with the doorbell located beside the garage door—he'd known that Aedan would hear.
"I'll get it," Aedan held a hand out, stopping Ashe from going to the kitchen door that led into the garage. Soon Nathan Anderson stood inside their kitchen. Nathan was tall but not as tall as Aedan, with dark blond hair and green eyes. He smiled at Ashe.
"How's Cori, Mr. Anderson?" Ashe asked. He hadn't seen her at school the day before.
"Enrolled at the University of Oklahoma for the fall semester," Nathan's smile widened. "As of yesterday."
"Cool," Ashe breathed.
"Aedan, I just heard something on the news," Nathan said, his expression becoming serious. "The Mayor of Cordell was found murdered in his home."
* * *
"Do you think the murder has anything to do with these families?" Aedan asked as both vampires walked through the field behind the Evans' home. Aedan and Nathan could see the six new houses clearly in the deepening twilight.
"Surely not—why would anyone kill someone with such a high profile? That's foolish."
"True. But we've seen plenty of that during our lifetimes."
"Also true. But what would the Mayor know? Those houses weren't trucked through Cordell—they came through from the opposite direction. Mr. Winkler is smarter than that." Nathan shook his head.
"It's probably an unrelated incident," Aedan decided. "Did the news say anything else?"
"They'd just found the body so there wasn't anything. You know humans; proceed with caution and keep information away from the public as long as possible."
"We'll be on our guard to see if anyone else is harmed or killed," Aedan nodded. "We'll investigate if that happens."
* * *
"Director, Cordell's Mayor was just murdered," Winkler spoke over the phone to Bill Jennings. Bill had flown back to D.C. earlier in the day.
"I'll send two agents," Bill said. "Will you notify the Grand Master, just in case this is connected? How did the man die?"
"Broken neck," Winkler replied. "My contact in Oklahoma City confirmed it."
"So, someone strong, then. Any clear motive?"
"Not that I know. So far, they haven't found anything missing. But there was some sort of flap last year between the Mayor and his opponent during the election."
"I'll have my agents look into that as well. Is there anyone inside the community who might be able to help them? Someone awake during the day?"
"Who is that?"
"Marcus DeLuca. He's ex-Special Ops."
"You mean I'm just now learning that the Cloud Chief Packmaster was Special Ops?"
"Under a different name—he's eighty-seven, Director. Of course, he'd have to use a different name. Most of us do."
"Of course," Bill muttered softly. Winkler still heard.
* * *
"Haven't seen you before." Philip stared at Aedan and Nathan. He wasn't supposed to be outside this late at night, but his mother was cleaning up the kitchen after dinner. Philip had sneaked out.
"Young one, why are you out at this hour?" Nathan asked the blond teen.
"Why are you out at this hour? And who are you anyway?" Philip returned in his usual, rude manner.
"We guard the community at night," Aedan replied. "You will go inside and not come out again this night," compulsion was thick in Aedan's voice. Philip turned immediately and walked toward his new home. Aedan and Nathan watched as he walked through the door, closing it behind him.
"That must be the one Ashe doesn't like," Aedan muttered as he and Nathan resumed their rounds.
* * *
"Dude—dad just got a call from Mr. Winkler," Sali whispered into the phone.
"What about?" Ashe asked on the other end. Ashe was in his bedroom; his mother was tending her plants upstairs in the solarium so Ashe didn't have to whisper.
"The Mayor of Cordell was killed earlier, so two agents are coming. They want Dad to help them investigate since he's awake during the day. Mr. Winkler said to get your dad or Mr. Anderson to help at night."
"They think the murder has something to do with these families?" Ashe asked.
"I think so—why would they send agents if they didn't suspect something?"
"True," Ashe agreed, setting aside the book he'd been reading. His bedroom was bigger, now, with even more bookshelves. Because of the explosion the year before, however, only half the shelves were filled. "Or maybe they just want to prove that it didn't have anything to do with the families. Better to know, don't you think."
"Yeah. I guess," Sali reluctantly agreed.
"When are they coming?" Ashe asked.
"Tomorrow. They're supposed to stay in Clinton tonight and see dad at the locksmith's shop tomorrow afternoon in Cordell. Dad has to remind them that tomorrow night is the full Moon."
"Surprised they didn't think of that," Ashe chuckled. "Those guys are supposed to be smart."
"They're not used to werewolves, I bet."
"Or vampires." Ashe and Sali snickered for a moment.
"Dude, want to play football or Frisbee tomorrow?" Sali asked.
"Sure. Call before you come over." Ashe and Sali hung up.
* * *
"Keith, why haven't you unpacked your bag?" Bryce Caldwell sat on the end of Keith's bed.
"Why? We'll be moving again soon—Mom said so."
"Two and a half months. Are you prepared to wear wrinkled clothes the whole time? Come on, we have a washer and dryer. You need to wash some of that stuff. Those jeans are so dirty they may fall apart in the laundry."
Keith and Bryce couldn't be more different. Keith had blond hair while Bryce's was nearly black. Keith's green eyes gazed steadily at his older, half-brother. Bryce looked like Jeanine Caldwell, their mother. Keith favored Michael Caldwell, Keith's father. Bryce, Jeanine's son from her first marriage, hadn't seen his father for three years after Bruce Stinnett's parental rights had been terminated. Michael Caldwell adopted Bryce afterward. Bruce Stinnett had fallen on hard times after leaving Jeanine and Bryce behind when Bryce was barely a year old, turning to petty crime. He'd been jailed after stealing a few cars and selling them to chop shops in Florida.
"If my jeans fall apart, will I get new ones?" Keith picked at a scab on his right thumb for a moment, but now he raised his eyes to his brother again.
"I think we're allowed a few new things—we just have to go through that Marcus DeLuca guy to get stuff online."
"What do you think he looks like—when he's a werewolf? I gotta tell you, that Winkler dude scared the heck out of me." Winkler had become a huge, solid black wolf with gleaming golden eyes.
"He wouldn't have growled if Philip hadn't tried to touch him," Bryce pointed out.
"Philip's an ass."
"A general consensus," Bryce sighed. "I don't know that there's any hope for him. Can you see him working at Easy-Stop someday?"
It started as a snicker, but soon Keith was lying on his side and laughing uncontrollably. He could easily see Philip snapping rudely at the customers of a self-serve gas station and convenience store.
"Come on, bro, let's hang up your clothes," Bryce said, hefting Keith's suitcase onto the bed.
* * *
"Mom, do we have the ingredients to make cookies?" Macy asked. They'd cleared away the dinner dishes after having pizza for their first meal at the new home.
"I think we can make oatmeal or sugar cookies—I saw a bottle of vanilla and a box of oats in the pantry." Ramona Hill smiled at her daughter. Macy had long blonde hair that covered the delicately pointed tips of her ears and blue eyes that now pleaded with her mother for cookies. Macy had been beautiful and thin all her life. Ramona struggled with her weight constantly and her brown hair frazzled and curled furiously in any sort of humidity. Macy's hung like a river of gold down her back.
"Did I hear cookies?" Rocky Hill walked into the kitchen. He had darker hair and brown eyes; Ramona's eyes were green. Ramona always believed it to be the donated egg that had given her daughter blue eyes and blonde hair—although the clinic had tried to match features as well as they could. At least they thought they had. Ramona was still trying to understand the information handed out earlier—still struggling to make things go back to normal. Or at least as normal as they could be. They were surrounded by werewolves, shapeshifters and—she shivered for a moment—vampires. Cookies sounded like an excellent idea.
"Let's make oatmeal cookies," Macy decided. Ramona pulled out the sugar and the box of oats.
* * *
"Liz?" Luanne tapped on Elizabeth Frasier's bedroom window.
"Luanne, what are you doing out there?" Elizabeth hissed, struggling with the locked window and heaving it upward. "Shouldn't you be inside? What if those people are out there?"
"What people would you be meanin', lass?" Aedan allowed the Welsh lilt to come out in his voice. Luanne shrieked at the sudden appearance of the vampire.
* * *
"Your voice is different now," Elizabeth cast an accusing glance at Aedan. She and Luanne sat on the sofa inside the Frasier home, huddled fearfully together. They'd been caught first thing by one of those—vampires. He'd admitted it freely when he'd escorted Luanne into the Frasier's home moments earlier, introducing himself as Aedan Evans to Mary Ellen and Francis Frasier. Linda and Peter Jansen, Luanne's parents, were on their way—all the families had walkie-talkies provided by Bill Jennings' department and Francis had notified Peter that Luanne had sneaked out and gotten caught by the Cloud Chief night guards.
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