Mercy Thompson

 
 

Mercy Thompson Book 5 - Page 20


"Ben," Adam said very quietly.

"What did you say?" asked Tony.

Ben was leaning against the van and chatting up Tanya-the-Bounty-Hunter's-Woman, Leather Boy (Heart's too-handsome sidekick), and Tech-Girl. They all must have had really bad instincts, because they were flushed and smiling. When Adam spoke, Ben looked over to his Alpha. The van would hide him from the fae on the rooftop - but it would also hide the fae from him.

"Nothing important," Adam said, while he made a few unobtrusive gestures with his right hand, about hip level. Ben made a gesture in return, and Adam closed his fist, then opened it.

"Who are you, anyway?" asked Heart.

"You were going to show us this warrant?" asked Tony, changing the subject.

By the van, Ben smiled. He ducked his head, said something to the people he was talking with that had them all looking our way, then walked casually around the end of the van. I couldn't see him as he crossed the street because of the van, but I saw the fae notice him and drop off the far side of the warehouse.

Heart said, "Bring it on over, sweetheart." I understood then that they had some sort of mic system that allowed her to hear everything we said. Probably recorded it, too. I supposed that was okay.

Ben hopped the tall chain-link fence without touching it - if any mundane saw him, there would be no question that he wasn't human. But the police, including Tony, were watching the famous TV star.

No one but Adam, Zee, and me - as far as I could tell - noticed anything. Gabriel was gone. I realized that I'd seen Gabriel go back through the garage when his sister had cried out - because Sylvia had pulled her away from the werewolf.

Paying attention, I could hear him talking in Spanish, his voice sharp with anger as he and his mother argued about something - and my name was definitely a part of the discussion.

I tuned them out as the bounty hunter's tech-girl came running over with a thick folder that she handed over to Heart. He leafed through the pages tucked into a pocket of the notebook and produced an official-looking document that he handed over to Tony.

"He has a warrant," Tony told me, carefully not looking at Adam. "And you're right. It's not for this werewolf." He handed the paper to Holbrook.

The older man took one look at it and harrumphed. "It's a fake," he said, absolute certainty in his voice. "If you'd have told me the name, I could have told you it was a fake - without even looking at the elegant signature that looks less like Judge Fisk's than mine does. No way there's a warrant out for Hauptman and it's not all over the station."

"That's what I thought," agreed Tony. "Fisk's signature is barely legible."

"What?" There was enough honest indignation in Kelly's voice that I was pretty sure it was genuine.

Tony, who was watching the bounty hunter pretty closely, seemed to have the same opinion as I did. He handed the warrant to the youngest cop. "Green, go call this in and see if it's real," he said. "Just for the bounty hunter's sake."

Like Tony, Green very carefully didn't look at Adam. "I haven't heard about this," he said. "And I'd have remembered if we had a warrant for him. We know our local Alpha. I can sure as heck tell you that he hasn't jumped bail." Green looked at Tony. "But I'll go call it in." And he strode briskly back to his patrol car.

"My producer told us that the police department didn't want to take on a werewolf and had asked for our help," said Heart, though he didn't sound nearly as certain.

Holbrook snorted indignantly. "If we had a warrant to pick up a werewolf, we'd pick him up. That's our job."

"Your producer told you we didn't want to take on a werewolf," said Tony thoughtfully. "Did your producer give you the warrant?"

"Yes."

"Does he have a name? We'd like contact information for him, too."

"Her," Kelly said. "Daphne Rondo." I wondered if he knew that his heart was in his voice when he said her name. He reached into his back pocket - slowly - and took out his wallet and extracted a card.

"Here." He held it a moment when Tony reached out to take it. "You know this guy, right? That's how you knew this wolf was the wrong one." Then comprehension lit his face, and he let go of the card and looked at Adam. "Adam Hauptman?"

Adam nodded. "I'd say pleasure to meet you, but I don't like lying. What is it I'm supposed to have done?"

The younger cop strolled back from his car, shaking his head.

Kelly looked at the cop, then sighed. "What a cluster. I take it you haven't been killing young women and leaving their half-eaten bodies in the desert?"

Adam was ticked. I could tell it even if he was looking like a reasonably calm businessman. Adam's temper was the reason he wasn't one of Bran's werewolf poster boys. When angered, he often gave in to impulses he wouldn't otherwise have given in to.

"Sorry to disappoint you," Adam told Kelly in silky tones. "But I prefer rabbits. Humans taste like pork." And then he smiled. Kelly took an involuntary step backward.

Tony gave Adam a sharp look. "Let's not make things worse, if we can help it, gentlemen." He pulled out his cell phone and, looking at the card, dialed the number. It rang until the voice mail picked up. Tony didn't leave a message.

"Okay," Tony said. "I'd like to get a statement from you about this warrant. If we've got someone falsifying warrants, we need to know about it. We can do that here, or down at the station."

I left Tony and the police to deal with the fallout, and went back into my office, letting the door shut behind me. I left Sam outside, too. If he hadn't killed anyone yet this morning, he wasn't going to.

I had other matters to deal with.

Gabriel had his youngest sister on his hip, her wet face on his shoulder. The other girls were sitting on the chairs I had for customers, and his mother had her back to me.

She was the only one talking - in Spanish, so I had no idea what she was saying. Gabriel gave me a desperate look, and she turned. Sylvia Sandoval's eyes were glittering with rage as hot as any I'd ever seen on a werewolf.

"You," she said, her accent thick. "I do not like the company you keep, Mercedes Thompson."

I didn't say anything.

"We are going home now. And my family will have nothing further to do with you. Because of you, because of your werewolf, my daughter will have nightmares of a man pointing a gun at her. She could have been shot - any of my children could have been shot. I will have a tow truck come to pick up my car."