Mercy Thompson


Mercy Thompson Book 3 - Page 39

"Hold on."

Someone barked out a few sharp words in French and then yelled, "Uncle Mike, phone!"

Someone shouted, "Get the troll out of here."

Followed by someone with a very deep voice muttering, "I'd like to see you try to get this troll out of here. I'll eat your face and spit out your teeth."

Then Uncle Mike's cheerful Irish voice said, "This is Uncle Mike. May I help you?"

"I don't know," I answered. "I've got a certain walking stick that someone left on my bed tonight."

"Do you now?" he said very quietly. "Do you?"

"What should I do with it?" I asked.

"Whatever it will allow you to do," he said in an odd tone. Then he cleared his voice and sounded his usual amused self again. "No, I know what you are asking. I think I'll give someone a call and see what they'd like. Probably they'll come and get it this time, too. It's too late for you to be awaiting for them to come callin'. Why don't you put it outside? Just lean it against your house. It'll come to no harm if no one collects it. And if they do, well, then they'll not be disturbing you or the wolf, eh?"

"You're sure?"

"Aye, lass. Now I've got a troll to deal with. Put it outside." He hung up.

I put my clothes back on and took the stick outside. Samuel wasn't back yet, and the lights were still on at Adam's house. I stared at the walking stick for a few minutes, wondering who had put it on my bed and what they wanted. Finally I leaned it against the mobile home's new siding and went back to bed.

The stick was gone and Samuel was asleep when I got up the next morning. I almost woke him up to see what he'd told Adam, or if he'd noticed who'd gotten the stick, but as an emergency room doctor, his hours could be pretty brutal. If my staring at him hadn't woken him up, then he needed his sleep. I'd find out what had happened soon enough.

Adam's SUV was waiting next to the front door of my office when I drove up. I parked as far from it as I could, on the far side of the parking lot - which was where I usually parked.

He got out when I drove up, and was leaning against his door when I came up to him.

I've never seen a werewolf that was out of shape or fat; the wolf is too restless for that. Even so, Adam was a step harder, though not bulky. His coloring was a bit lighter than mine - which still left him with a deep tan and dark brown hair that he kept trimmed just a little longer than military standards. His wide cheekbones made his mouth look a little narrow, but that didn't detract from his beauty. He didn't look like a Greek god...but if there were Slavic gods, he'd be in strong contention. Right now that narrow mouth was flattened into a grim line.

I approached a little warily, and wished I knew what Samuel had told him. I started to say something when I noticed that there was something different about the door. My deadbolt was still there, but next to it was a new black keypad. He waited in silence as I checked out the shiny silver buttons.

I crossed my arms and turned back to him.

After a few minutes Adam gave me a half smile of appreciation though his eyes were too intent to carry off real amusement. "You complained about the guards," he explained.

"So why did you set up an alarm without asking me?" I asked stiffly.

"It's not just an alarm," he told me, the smile gone as if it had never been there. "Security is my bread and butter. There are cameras in the lot and inside your garage, too."

I didn't ask him how he'd gotten in. As he said, security was his business. "Don't you usually work on government contracts and things a little more important than a VW shop? I suppose someone might break in and steal all the money in the safe. Maybe five hundred bucks if they're lucky. Or maybe they'll steal a transmission for their 72 Beetle? What do you think?"

He didn't bother to answer my sarcastic question.

"If you open the door without using the key code, a physical alarm will sound and one of my people will be tagged that the alarm has gone off." He spoke in a rapid, no-nonsense voice as if I hadn't said anything. "You have two minutes to reset it. If you do, my people will call your shop number to confirm it was you or Gabriel who reset it. If you don't reset it, they'll notify both the police and me."

He paused as if waiting for a response. So I raised an eyebrow. Werewolves are pushy. I've had a long time to get used to it, but I didn't have to like it.

"The key code is four numbers," he said. "If you punch in Jesse's birthday, month-month-day-day, it deactivates the alarm." He didn't ask if I knew her birthday, which I did. "If you punch in your birthday, it will alert my people and they'll call me - and I'll assume you're in the kind of trouble you don't want the police to attend."

I gritted my teeth. "I don't need a security system."

"There are cameras," he said, ignoring my words. "Five in the lot, four in your shop, and two in the office. From six at night until six in the morning, the cameras are on motion sensors and will only record when there's something moving. From six in the morning to six at night the cameras are off - though I can change that for you if you'd like. The cameras record onto DVDs. You should change them out every week. I'll send someone over this afternoon to show you and Gabriel how that all works."

"You can send them over to take it out," I told him.

"Mercedes," he said. "I'm not happy with you right now - don't push me."

What did he have to be unhappy with me about?

"Well, isn't that just convenient?" I snapped. "I'm not happy with you either. I don't need this." I waved my hand to take in the cameras and keypad.

He pushed himself off his SUV and stalked over to me. I knew he wasn't angry enough to hurt me, but I still backed up until I hit the outer wall of the garage. He put one hand on either side of me and leaned in until I could feel his breath on my face.

No one could ever say that Adam didn't know how to intimidate people.

"Maybe I'm mistaken," he began coolly. "Perhaps Samuel was misinformed and you aren't engaged in investigating the fae without their cooperation or the approval of either Zee or Uncle Mike, who might otherwise be reasonably expected to keep an eye out for you."

The warmth of his body shouldn't have felt good. He was angry and every muscle was tense. It was like being leaned on by a very heavy, warm brick. A sexy brick.

"Perhaps, Mercedes," he bit out in a voice like ice, "you didn't set out last night to join up with Bright Future, a group that has been tied into enough violent incidents that the fae, who are watching you, are going to be somewhat concerned - especially since you have ferreted out a number of things they'd rather be kept secret. I'm sure they'll be extremely happy when they find out you've told the son of the Marrok everything you know about the reservation - that you were supposed to keep secret." The coolness was gone from his voice by the time he'd finished, and he was all but snarling in my face.