Shadowed(Legend of the Ir'Indicti,Book 2)(8) by Connie Suttle
"I have several accents," Aedan replied frostily. A very good judge of character, Aedan disliked Elizabeth, finding her a bit on the shallow side. Elizabeth's black hair was styled carefully, while her brown eyes flashed with anger and defiance toward Aedan. Dressed in a silk blouse and designer jeans, Elizabeth also wore red heels, diamond earrings and multiple bangle bracelets. Luanne sat quietly beside her friend, dressed more appropriately in jeans and a T with athletic shoes on her feet. More subdued than Elizabeth's fiery character, Luanne had light-brown hair and hazel eyes. Prettier, too, if you looked past the makeup that Elizabeth wore nearly to excess.
"Lu, I can't believe you left the house without telling us," Linda Jansen rushed in, a Georgia accent plain in her voice.
"Mom, I only wanted to check on the others," Luanne muttered, staring at her hands.
"I'm so sorry, I'll make sure it doesn't happen again," Linda turned to Aedan.
"It's not a problem tonight, but it will be tomorrow," Aedan nodded to Linda and her husband, Peter. Peter frowned at his daughter as he walked into the Frasier home but chose not to say anything at first, allowing his wife to handle the situation.
"Why will it be a problem tomorrow?" Francis Frasier demanded.
"Full Moon," Aedan replied. "Unless you want to meet up with just about every resident in Cloud Chief. As animals."
"They really do that? On the full Moon? That's not a myth?" Peter Jansen finally spoke, a bit of worry in his voice.
"Yes. That's not a myth. Nor is this," Aedan reached out and casually snapped off a piece of granite from the breakfast bar, which separated the kitchen from the living area. "Stay inside at night unless you notify us ahead of time. Young miss," he gave Luanne a stern look, "use your walkie-talkie next time. You can visit with your friends during the day." Aedan handed the chunk of granite to Francis Frasier and left the house in a blink. Shocked, Francis dropped the heavy piece of granite and cursed.
* * *
"We were threatened," Francis Frasier snapped at Marcus DeLuca early the following morning. If Francis knew anything about werewolves, he wouldn't be accosting the Packmaster on the day of a full Moon. Nevertheless, Marcus listened as patiently as he could while Francis ranted about Aedan's visit the night before.
"How?" Marcus, sitting at the breakfast table, crossed arms over his chest. "How were you threatened?"
"He told us to stay inside at night unless we cleared it with him or one of you-you, well, your kind," Francis floundered uncomfortably.
"Didn't Director Jennings say the same thing? Didn't his agents tell you exactly that before they left?" Marcus was beginning to think Francis Frasier a fool.
"But this," Francis tapped the piece of granite he'd brought with him. "That vampire—snapped it right off our counter. If that's not a threat," Francis' voice held agitation.
"Do you want protection or not? Is your daughter in danger or not?" Marcus scooted his chair back and stood, nearly growling at Francis Frasier. "You," Marcus pointed a finger at Francis, "are more of a danger to us than we are to you. We've learned how to live among humans. You, on the other hand, with just a careless word, could expose us to the outside world and certain death. Yes, we're strong, but your kind outnumber us. We'd be just as dead, one way or the other, if you let this secret out." Marcus had to stop for a moment to calm his anger.
"We agreed to allow you to live here," Marcus continued, "because we offer some sort of protection against what hunts you. And yes, they hunt you. Have you seen the numbers of the dead—all those children across the country that have died or been abducted? Is that what you want for your child? Is it? Aedan is trying to protect you as well as your child. Have you seen the information? At least sixteen sets of parents were killed with their children." Marcus was wound up and ready to turn.
"Marcus," Denise walked into the kitchen, giving the soft warning to her husband.
"I'm all right, Denise," Marcus blew out a calming sigh. "Mr. Frasier, you weren't threatened by Aedan Evans. If you had been, you'd still be hiding inside your home, too frightened to come out. Go home. I'll have someone fix your counter."
"Fine." Francis lifted the heavy granite with difficulty. "I see we have no voice in this community." He stalked out of the DeLuca home with as much dignity as he could muster.
"You weren't meant to have a voice," Marcus growled as Francis slammed the front door behind him.
* * *
"I heard the whole thing, dude; that Frasier guy said your dad threatened him. Dad told him if your dad did threaten somebody, they'd pee their pants." Sali crunched into the snack crackers Adele had given them before they'd retreated to Ashe's bedroom on Sunday afternoon.
"Your dad did not say pee their pants," Ashe grinned at Sali.
"Nah, but that's what he meant." Sali shoved his hand inside the box of snacks, pulling out another handful of crackers.
"The first time that man's daughter walks into a field in her high heels, she's gonna sink right into the ground," Ashe snickered.
"I hope I'm there to see it," Sali said, stuffing crackers in his mouth.
"Come on, dude, stop eating and let's go play Frisbee."
A few moments later, Ashe, carrying his ancient, lime-green Frisbee (which was liberally pierced with Sali's teeth marks), trundled up the steps, closely followed by a nearly grown wolf. Of the few things to survive the explosion the year before, Ashe's Frisbee had sailed through the blast almost untouched.
"Is that Sali?" Ashe grinned at Edward's question. The curious teen had shown up as if called when Ashe and Sali began playing. Ashe tossed the Frisbee; Sali chased after it and caught it in his teeth, at times leaping high off the ground to snag the flying disk.
"Yeah. If you want, go down there," Ashe pointed toward Sali, who now sat patiently on the new spring grass in Ashe's front yard, the Frisbee dangling from his mouth. "You can toss the Frisbee back after Sali catches it."
"Cool." Edward returned Ashe's grin and trotted toward Sali, who willingly gave up the Frisbee. Edward's toss wobbled on its way to Ashe, but it did make it.
"What's this? The empties playing with the dog?" Chad and Jeremy had driven up on the gravel road in front of Ashe's home. Ashe gave them a hard stare—he figured they'd come to check out the temporary housing and the new arrivals to Cloud Chief.
Trace, Jason—Chad and Jeremy are in front of my house and I'm worried about Edward, Ashe sent to both werewolves. Trace, dressed in jeans, no shirt and sunglasses, ran up while Chad continued to taunt Ashe, Sali and Edward, calling them empty and worthless. Jeremy chimed in that humans didn't belong anywhere in the community. Edward's freckles stood out as his face paled at Jeremy's insults.
"How would you boys like to sit down with the Packmaster?" Trace walked up to the car from the driver's side while both boys faced the other direction to do their taunting. Chad and Jeremy jerked around at Trace's words.
"Who are you?" Jeremy demanded.
"One of William Winkler's wolves," Trace grinned. "Try saying that three times fast. Now, you can either move along and not bother any of these people again, or I'll report you to Marcus. Your choice, of course."
Without answering, Jeremy shoved the car into gear and drove off, flinging gravel and raising dust in the afternoon sun.
"Everything all right here?" Trace pulled off his sunglasses as he walked up to Ashe.
"It was fine until Chump and Wormy showed up," Ashe replied softly.
"You can't let them upset you," Trace said as his cell phone rang. Pulling it from his jeans pocket, Trace checked caller ID before answering. "What is it, boss?" Trace asked. Ashe, with his enhanced hearing, knew from the voice that it was Winkler calling.
"There's been another murder—a farmer about two miles away," Winkler said.
"Ashe, will you and Sali walk Edward home?" Trace said after he hung up. Winkler had asked Trace to call Marcus and coordinate with the two agents Director Jennings had sent to investigate the Mayor's murder. Ashe could tell Winkler was concerned about this second death from his cell-phone conversation.
"Sure," Ashe agreed. "Edward, we have to take you home. Come on, Sali, let's go."
"What happened?" Edward asked as they walked toward the temporary housing while Sali's wolf trotted alongside.
"They're investigating something. Might not mean anything," Ashe hedged. He didn't want to frighten Edward, who was already worried. No names had been given over the phone and Ashe wasn't sure who lived two miles away—in any direction. Itching to follow Trace instead of seeing Edward home, Ashe calmed himself and focused on the task Trace had given him.
"Hi, Mr. Pendley," Ashe said as he, Edward and Sali walked inside the Pendley's home. Steven Pendley was reading a book in an easy chair in their living room.
"Hello, Ashe. Who is this?" Mr. Pendley eyed Sali's wolf.
"That's Sali," Edward's enthusiasm was back. "Isn't that cool?"
"It is," Steven Pendley marked his place and set the book down. "Can I get anything for you boys? Water or a soda?"
"Water would be nice; soda isn't good for Sal when he's a wolf," Ashe grinned. Sali sat on his haunches and grinned, his tongue lolling from his mouth. Ashe and Edward got glasses while a bowl was set before Sali, who lapped up water happily.
"Does it hurt when you change?" Edward thought to ask when he'd nearly emptied his glass.
"Nah. It's sort of like a brief flash and suddenly you're something else," Ashe explained. "No pain involved."
"But those werewolf movies," Edward began.
"Are mostly wrong," Ashe finished. "Most of those say you have to be bitten to become a werewolf. That's not true." Ashe watched while Sali, expressing his opinion of werewolf films, yawned hugely and flopped onto the Pendley's kitchen floor.
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