Home > Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson #9)(2)

Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson #9)(2)
Author: Patricia Briggs

I hadn’t forgotten last night, but I could hardly sit and do nothing, waiting for something dire to happen. I had no way to contact Zee or Tad. I also had no way to tell if the walking stick had caused my panic over something real, or if I’d had a nightmare and that had called the walking stick.

If something dire was going to happen, in my experience, it would happen whatever I was doing—and waiting around was singularly useless. So I worked.

The wind rustled the pages gently. It was early summer yet, cool enough to leave windows open. A few more weeks, and the heat would hit in full force, but for now we only had the occasional windstorm to complain about. I flattened the page and compared the specs of their cheapest lift to the next cheapest.

We’d managed to scavenge some tools out of my shop when a volcano god toasted it, but a lot of things got warped from the heat—and other things got demolished when the rest of the building collapsed. It would be months before the shop was up and running, but some items were going to take a few months to order in, too.

Meanwhile, I sent a lot of my customers to the VW dealership. A few of my oldest customers—and a few of my brokest customers—I had bring their cars out to the big pole building at my old place. It wasn’t really tooled up, but I could take care of most simple issues.

Music wafted down from upstairs out of Jesse’s headphones. Her door must have been open or I wouldn’t have heard it. The headphones were an old compromise that predated me. Jesse had told me once, before her father and I got married, that she suspected that if she were playing Big Band music or Elvis or something, her dad wouldn’t have minded her playing it on a stereo. He liked music. Just not the music she liked.

She also told me that if she hadn’t told him that her mother let her play whatever she wanted (true—you don’t lie to a werewolf; they can tell), he probably wouldn’t have been willing to compromise on the headphones. Werewolves can hear music played over headphones, but it’s not nearly as annoying as music over speakers.

I like Jesse’s music, and I hummed along as I sorted through what I didn’t want, what I wanted and didn’t need, and what I needed. When I finished, I’d compare the final list with my budget. After that, I expected that I’d be sorting through what I needed and what I absolutely needed.

Above Jesse’s music, I could hear male voices discussing the pack budget and plans for the next six months. Today was, apparently, a day for budgets. Our pack had money for investments and to help support the wolves who needed help. Our pack because though I wasn’t a werewolf, I was still a member of the pack—which was unusual but not altogether unique.

Not all packs had the resources that we did. Money was a good thing to have in a werewolf pack. Werewolves had to work to control their wolves, and too much stress made it worse. Lack of money was stressful.

It was a fine balancing act between helping the people who needed help without encouraging slackers. Adam and his second, Darryl, and Zack, our lone submissive wolf, who was the one most likely to hear if someone in the pack was in trouble (in all senses of that word), were upstairs in the pack meeting room—Adam’s office being too small to accommodate two dominant wolves.

I couldn’t hear Lucia, the sole human in the room. She was there because she had taken over most of the accounting for the pack from Adam’s business’s accountant. She was quiet because she wasn’t yet comfortable enough with the werewolves to argue with them. Zack was pretty good at catching what she didn’t say and relaying it to the others, though, so it worked out.

Lucia’s husband, Joel (pronounced Hoe-el in the Spanish tradition), sighed heavily and rolled over until all four paws were in the air and his side rested against the bottom of the kitchen cabinets a few feet away from where I sat at the table. Joel was the other nonwerewolf who belonged to our pack.

He was black, but in the strong sunlight, I could see a brindle pattern. His induction into the pack was my fault, though it had saved my life and probably his. Instead of turning into a werewolf—or a coyote like me—he sometimes regained his human form and sometimes took on the form of a tibicena, a giant, very scary beast that smelled like brimstone and had eyes that glowed in the dark. Mostly, though, he looked like a large presa Canario, a dog only slightly less intimidating to most people than a werewolf, especially if the people weren’t familiar with werewolves. We were hoping that someday he’d get control of his change and be able to be mostly human instead of mostly dog. We were all grateful that he wasn’t stuck in the form of the tibicena.

Curled up next to him, and nearly as big as Joel, Cookie, a German-shepherd mix, gave me a wary look. She was a lot better than she had been the first time I met her, as a victim of severe abuse who’d been rescued by Joel and his wife. Still, she avoided strangers and tended to view any abrupt movement as a cause for concern.

The sound of an unfamiliar car in front of the house pulled my attention away from the merits of a four-post lift over a two-post lift. Joel rolled over and took notice. Upstairs, the men’s voices stopped. There was no doubt the car was for us because our house was the last one on a dead-end, very rural street.

It wasn’t the mail carrier or the UPS lady—I knew those cars, just as I knew the cars the pack usually drove.

“I’ll check it out,” I told Joel, knowing Adam would hear me, too. I was halfway to the front door, Cookie at my heels, when someone knocked.

I opened the door to see Izzy, one of Jesse’s friends, and her mom, who was carrying a large teal canvas bag. Izzy usually drove herself over; I wondered if there was something wrong with her car—and if I should offer to teach her how to fix it.

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Sinclairs series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
» Manwhore series
» This Man series
» One Night series
» Fixed series
Most Popular
» A Thousand Letters
» Wasted Words
» My Not So Perfect Life
» Caraval (Caraval #1)
» The Sun Is Also a Star
» Everything, Everything
» Devil in Spring (The Ravenels #3)
» Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels #2)
» Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels #1)
» Norse Mythology