Mercy Thompson

 
 

Mercy Thompson Book 4 - Page 60


IN THE END, I WENT HOME FOR DINNER, SLIPPING OUT ALMOST unnoticed in the gathering that followed our close call. I needed some time alone. Adam saw me leave, but made no move to stop me - he knew I'd be back.

There was a bowl of tuna fish, pickles, and mayo in the fridge, so I made a sandwich and fed what was left to the cat. As she ate with delicate haste, I called Kyle's cell phone.

"Uhmm?"

The sound was so relaxed, I pulled the phone away from my ears to make sure it was Kyle's phone I'd gotten. But there it was on the little screen-KYLE's CELL.

"Kyle? I was calling to see how Warren was."

"Sorry, Mercy," Kyle laughed, and I heard water splash. "We're in the hot tub. He's fine. How are you? Ben said you were all right."

"Fine. Warren?"

"Was passed out in the hallway, where he'd evidently been headed to the kitchen with an empty glass."

"Wasn't empty when I was carrying it," Warren's warm Southern-touched voice sounded amused.

"Ah," said Kyle, "I didn't notice much besides Warren. But he woke up in a few minutes - "

"Cold water in your face does that," observed Warren, amused.

"But he was stiff and sore - thus the hot tub."

"Tell him I'm sorry," I told Kyle.

"Nothin' to be sorry for," said Warren. "Pack magic can be tricky sometimes. That's what Adam, Darryl, and I are for, sweetheart. I don't feel you in the pack anymore. Problems?"

"Probably not," I told him. "Samuel says I just burned out the circuit for a while. It should come back on line soon."

"Apparently it wasn't necessary that I pass anything on," said Kyle dryly.

A car pulled into the driveway - a Mercedes, I thought. But I didn't recognize the individual car. "Give Warren a hug from me, instead," I said. "And enjoy the hot tub."

I hung up before Kyle could say something outrageous in response and went to the door to see who was there.

Corban, Amber's husband was just coming up the steps. He looked disconcerted when I opened the door before he knocked. He also looked upset, his tie askew, his cheeks unshaven.

"Corban?" I said. I couldn't imagine why he was here when a phone was so much easier. "What's wrong?"

He recovered from his momentary hesitation and all but hopped up the last step. He put out a hand, and I noticed he was wearing leather driving gloves - and holding something odd-looking. That's all I had time to notice before he hit me with the Taser.

Tasers are becoming commonplace among police departments, though I'd never actually seen one in the flesh before. Somewhere on YouTube there is a cameraphone video showing what happened to a student who broke some rule or other in a university library. He was Tasered, then Tasered again because he wouldn't get up when they told him to.

It hurt. It hurt like... I didn't know what. I dropped to the ground and lay there frozen while Corban frisked me. He went through my pockets, dropping my cell phone to the porch. He grabbed my shoulders and knees and tried to jerk lift me.

I'm a lot heavier than I look - muscle will do that - and he was no werewolf, just a desperate man whispering, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry."

I'd make sure he was sorry, I thought through the haze of pain. "I don't get mad I get even" was more of a credo than a cliche to me.

The people I'd seen Tasered were only knocked out of commission for a few seconds. Even the kid in the library had been able to make noise. I was absolutely helpless, and I didn't know why.

I tried touching the pack or Adam for help. I found where the connection should have been, but the Taser had nothing on the pain when I tried to force contact. My head hurt so badly it felt like my ears should be bleeding.

It was still daylight, so calling Stefan wasn't going to be much help.

The second time, he got me up and took me to his car. His trunk popped with a beep, and he dumped me in it. My head bounced off the floor a couple of times. When I got out of this, Amber was going to be a widow.

Scrabbling fingers pulled my hands together behind my back, and I recognized the signature sound of a zip tie. He used another on my ankles. Prying my mouth open, he stuffed it with a sock that tasted of fabric softener and smelled faintly of Amber, then he wrapped what felt like an Ace bandage around that.

"It's Chad," he told me, eyes wild. "He has Chad."

I caught a glimpse of the fresh bite mark in his neck just before he shut the trunk.

Chapter 11

IT MUST HAVE BEEN AT LEAST FIFTEEN MINUTES BEFORE the effects wore off, and I began to function again. The first conclusion I came to was that whatever he'd hit me with had been no normal Taser. No way in Hell. Ill and shaking, I huddled in the vibrating trunk and tried to come up with a plan.

I couldn't shift yet, but before we reached Spokane I'd be able to. And the zip ties weren't tight enough to hold the coyote. The car was newer, and I could see the tab that would release the trunk. So I wasn't trapped.

The realization did a lot to stop my panic. No matter what, I wouldn't have to face Blackwood. I relaxed into the floor of the trunk and tried to figure out why the vampire wanted me badly enough to ruin his lawyer to get me. It might be that he didn't value Corban - but I'd gotten the feeling that their association was of long standing. Was he trying to take over the Tri-Cities as well as Spokane? Take me down and hold me hostage to force the wolves to act against Marsilia?

It had seemed like a possibility... had it been just yesterday? But with the warfare between wolf and vampire at an end in the Tri-Cities, kidnapping me to influence Adam seemed like a stupid move to make just now. And a vampire who was stupid didn't successfully hold a city against all comers. There was a chance, just barely, that he hadn't heard what happened. It was that chance that meant I couldn't dismiss the theory outright. And Marsilia was down three of her most powerful vampires. If he wanted to move against her, now was the time to strike at her. Kidnapping me wasn't a strike - it was, at best, an end run. Especially now that

Marsilia had declared a truce with the wolves. Kidnapping me, I judged, would do nothing except send Adam to Marsilia with an offer of alliance.

See? It was stupid to take me - if his purpose was to take over Marsilia's territory.

Since Blackwood couldn't be that dumb, and I found myself indisputably lying in Corban's trunk, I was inclined to think we had been wrong about Blackwood's intentions.

So what did he want with me?

It could be as simple as pride. He'd claimed me as food - maybe as he claimed anyone who came to Amber's house. Then Stefan came along and took me from him.