Another week, another update! Enjoy!
I squared my shoulders and crossed my arms. Ritch stood beside the car with his door open. Christian slammed his door as he got out. We were at the edge of the clan property, sort of a neutral zone. It still grated on me to have so many outsiders in our territory. The sooner we got going the better.
We had representatives of six different clans. A wolf, bear, horse, panther, a buffalo, and a gator. The buffalo and horse clans weren’t predators, but they were both strong and capable in defense. Not prey. Still…
“You, you, and you.” I pointed at the bear, buffalo, and gator. “Ride with Christian.”
“You three go with Landon.” Durant’s envoy was a strong member of his aerie. We’d met before. He could handle them, even if he was an eagle. They had razor sharp talons, and Landon wouldn’t be afraid to use them if one of the others stepped out of line.
He could watch his own back.
“Christian will lead us to the hotel. We’ll get some rooms, go over what we know, and tomorrow we’ll start talking to people. Well, Christian and Ritch will. Each of you was chosen because you have a skill. Computers, tracking, combat, weapons, research, people skills. We all have a role that will help track these sick bastards down, but I’m in charge.” I made a point of looking at each and every one of them. “Everyone is essential, but I will do this without you if you have a problem with that, or with anyone else on this team. I have no problems with sticking my foot up the ass of anyone who needs a reminder.”
The gator stalked over to Christian’s car and opened the passenger door. I heard some grumbling, but nothing overt. These men were all given authority by their alphas to act in their names, to commit their clans to actions that may or may not bring war. It was my job to keep them all in line and to make sure they didn’t let the power go to their heads.
To make them work together.
Should be fun.
“Let me know if any of them give you a hard time.”
Ritch didn’t say anything. I glanced over at him, and he was fiddling with the plastic bag between our seats.
“Did you hear me?”
“Yeah. But what’s a hard time? A rude comment? Pushing me around?”
I narrowed my eyes and growled. My claws popped out as I flexed my fingers on the steering wheel. “If someone touches you….” I was going to say I’d rip their hands off, but that might be a bit much. I ground my teeth together. “Just don’t let anyone push you around, and if they try, you tell me.”
Ritch snorted. “Gonna put a boot up their ass?”
“If that’s what it takes.”
“You have a fascination with ass, you know? You’re constantly threatening to beat someone’s ass, or put something up it. Seems like you might have a fixation.” Ritch raised an eyebrow and cocked his head sideways.
That was one way to put it. I was certainly fixated on the smooth curves of his whenever he bent over and I got a chance to check him out without getting caught. “Just… hand me a Slim Jim.” I needed something to do with my hand and my mouth that wouldn’t get me in trouble.
By the time we reached the hotel, I was sick of driving, and I could only imagine how Christian and Landon felt with the others breathing down their necks. None of us did well cooped up in the car for long periods of time, not even Ritch.
“You still have my card?” I asked him.
“Yeah.” Ritch yawned and stretched.
“Good. Go in with Christian and get us four rooms with double beds and pull out couches.”
Ritch looked at the hotel and wrinkled his nose. “You think they’ll have them?”
“If not, get another room, but I’d rather we stuck to four. At least the parking lot is dim, and I don’t see any cameras” I was already stuck trying to figure out how to split everyone up into rooms. Fuck it. They could figure it out, and if they didn’t, I’d kick their ass like promised and boot them back to their own territories.
Okay, Ritch was right. I had a thing for asses.
Christian and Ritch came back with keys, and we found three spaces by our rooms. “No lights,” the horse said. “Looks like someone took out that street lamp.”
“It was out when I was here last time,” Christian said. He pulled a bag out of the back of his SUV.
“All right. Everyone into room four. We’ll unpack later.” I took a deep breath and tried to tame the thundering pace of my heart. I didn’t want the others to catch wind of my stress. Christian had cleaned the place up, but this was where he’d found my father’s body. I unlocked the door, and we all filed in.
“Take us through it, Christian.”
“I found Henry’s body there, tied to the table.” He glanced at me, but I kept my face stoic. “He was fighting when he did, but other than the bruises from the restraints, I couldn’t find any other wounds.” He pointed to one of the chairs pushed into the table. “I could smell the strong scent of one human there. He’d soiled the chair. I caught another’s scent in the air, but it wasn’t a strong.”
“So none you recognized?” Christian shook his head. “But I took a precaution. I pulled some stuffing out of the chair from the underside.” He put his bag down on the bed, and then pulled out a plastic baggie. “Everyone should check and see if they recognize this, and memorize the scent too.”
“Sounds like a fucking treat,” grumbled the bear.
The wolf rolled his eyes and grabbed the bag. “It’s tracking 101.”
Okay, so no real 'action' here, but it's coming, I swear! It can't not, with the way the story is going, right? And don't worry, you'll get to see a lot more of the others too. In the meantime, enjoy these other flash updates: