Mercy Thompson

 
 

Mercy Thompson Book 3 - Page 40


"Uhm," I said.

"The fae aren't exactly cooperative at the best of times, but even they just might hesitate to do something to you if Samuel or I show up. I trust you to be able to survive until one of us gets here." He leaned down and kissed me forcefully once, a quick kiss that was over almost before it began. Possessive and almost punitive. Nothing that should have sent my pulse racing. "And don't think I've forgotten that the vampires have a good reason not to be happy with you, too." Then he kissed me again.

As soon as his lips touched mine the second time, I knew that Samuel, in addition to telling Adam everything I'd told him last night, had also informed Adam that he was no longer interested in being my mate.

I hadn't realized how much restraint Adam had been using until it was gone.

When he pulled back, his face was flushed and he was breathing as hard as I was. He reached over and punched in four numbers with his left hand.

"There's an instruction booklet, if you'd like to read it, next to your cash register. Otherwise my man will answer any questions you have when he comes." His voice was too deep and I knew he was a hairsbreadth away from losing control. When he pushed away and climbed back into his SUV, I should have been relieved.

I stayed where I was, leaning against the building until I could no longer hear his engine.

If he'd wanted to take me right then and there, I would have let him. I'd have done anything for his touch, anything to please him.

Adam scared me more than the vampires, more than the fae. Because Adam could steal more from me than my life. Adam was the only Alpha I'd ever been around, including the Marrok himself, who could make me do his bidding against my will.

It took me three tries before I was able to slide the key into the deadbolt.

Monday was my busiest day, and this was no exception. It might be Labor Day, but my clients knew I was usually unofficially open on most Saturdays and holidays. Adam's security man, who was not one of the wolves, came in shortly after lunch. He showed Gabriel and me how to change out the DVDs.

"These are better than the tapes," he told me with more childlike enthusiasm than I expected out of a fifty-year-old man with Marine tattoos on his arms. "People don't usually change tapes often enough, so the saved footage is too grainy to be much help, or else they record over an important incident without realizing it. DVDs are better. These can't be written over. When they fill up, they'll automatically switch to a secondary disc. Since you're only activating them when you are not here, they probably won't fill the first disc in a week. So you just change them once a week - most people do it on Monday or Friday. Then you store them for a few months before you throw them out. If something happens to your system here, the boss is recording remotely as well." He obviously loved his job.

After some additional instructions and a little bit of a sales pitch to make sure we were happy with what we had, Adam's man left with a cheery wave.

"Don't worry," Gabriel told me. "I'll change them for you."

He'd been as happy to play with the new toys as the tech had been.

"Thanks," I told him sourly, unhappy about the boss is recording remotely part. "You do that. I'll go take my temper out on that Passat's shift linkage problem."

When there was a lull in customers about two, Gabriel came back to the garage. I was teaching him a little here and there. He was going on to college rather than becoming a mechanic, but he wanted to learn.

"So, for a person who just shelled out a lot of money for a security system, you don't seem too happy," he said. "Is there some trouble I should know about?"

I pushed a strand of hair out of my eyes, doubtlessly leaving a trail of the sludge that covered every inch of the thirty-year-old engine I was working on and had gotten a good start on covering every inch of me, too.

"Not much trouble that you need to worry about," I told him after a moment. "If I thought there'd be a problem, I'd have warned you. Mostly it's just Adam overreacting."

And it was overreacting, I'd decided after thinking things over all morning. Only a moron would believe that I was joining Bright Future in order to protest the fae - and somehow I was pretty sure that stupid fae didn't last long. If they talked to Uncle Mike - or Zee (even if he was still angry) - they'd know that I was still trying to clear Zee.

I might know a few things that made the fae uncomfortable, but if they wanted me dead for it, I'd already be dead.

Gabriel whistled. "Jesse's father installed the whole security system without asking you? I guess that's pretty aggressive." He gave me a concerned look. "I like him, Mercy. But if he's stalking you - "

"No." He'd go away if I told him to. "He feels he has reason." I sighed. Things just got more and more complicated. I couldn't involve Gabriel in this mess.

"Something to do with Zee's arrest?" Gabriel laughed at my look. "Jesse warned me yesterday that you'd be preoccupied. Zee didn't do it, of course." The confidence in his voice showed how innocent Gabriel still was: it would never occur to him that the only reason Zee hadn't killed O'Donnell was because someone else had gotten there first.

"Adam's afraid I'm stirring up a hornet's nest," I said. "And he's probably right." I wasn't really mad about the security system. It was more than I could afford - and it was a good idea.

I always get angry when I'm afraid - and Adam terrified me. When he was around, it was all I could do not to follow him around and wait for orders like a good sheep dog. But I didn't want to be a sheep dog. Nor, to his credit, did Adam want me to be one.

Which was something I didn't need to tell Gabriel. "I'm sorry to be such a grouch. I'm worried about Zee, and the security system gave me something to fuss about."

"All right," Gabriel said.

"Did you come back to help me with this engine or just to talk?"

Gabriel looked at the car I was working on. "There's an engine in there?"

"Somewhere." I sighed. "Go do some paperwork. I'll call you in if I need a second hand, but there's no reason for both of us to get dirty if I don't need you."

"I don't mind," he said.

He never complained about work, no matter what I asked him to do.

"It's all right. I can get this."

My cell phone rang about fifteen minutes later, but my hands were too greasy to pick it up so I let it take a message while I worked on cleaning up the engine well enough that I could figure out where all the oil was leaking from.

It was almost quitting time and I'd already sent Gabriel home when Tony walked into the open garage bay.