Mercy Thompson


Mercy Thompson Book 6 - Page 17

I sighed theatrically, resting my chin on my cupped hands and bracing my elbows on the table. "You are too gorgeous, you know?" I said it just loud enough that the people who'd been watching us surreptitiously could hear me.

Unholy laughter lit his eyes--telling me he'd been noticing the looks we'd been getting. But his face was completely serious, as he purred, "So. Am I worth what you paid for me, baby?"

I loved it when he played along with me.

I sighed again, a sound that I drew up from my toes, a contented, happy sound. I'd get him back for that "baby." Just see if I didn't.

"Oh, yes," I told our audience. "I'll tell Jesse that she was right. Go for the sexy beast, she told me. If you're going to shell out the money, don't settle."

He threw back his head and laughed until he had to wipe tears of hilarity off his face. "Jeez, Mercy," he said. "The things you say." Then he leaned across the table and kissed me.

A while later he pulled back, grinned at me, and sat back in his chair.

I had to catch my breath before I spoke. "Best five bucks I ever spent," I told him fervently.

HE WAS STILL LAUGHING WHEN HE BUCKLED HIS SEAT belt. "It's a good thing that we don't live in Hood River," he said. "I'd never be able to show my face in that restaurant again. Five bucks. Jeez." Adam was a gentleman raised in the fifties. He tried really hard not to swear in front of women.

"I thought it was pretty cool when that little old lady tried to give you a twenty," I said, and set him off again.

"The thing that spooked me"--he drove back out on the highway toward our campground --"was that woman at the table next to us, who looked like she bought the whole act, even after everyone else was laughing."

Ah, Creepy Lady. She'd watched us both with her eyes wide and her jaw open, and still her expression managed to be blank. I was betting she was either a total psychopath--or fae, which was sometimes the same thing. I could have gone closer for a good sniff--I've learned what fae smell like--but it was my honeymoon. I didn't want to know.

"I'm never going to be bored with you around," Adam told me. The funny thing was that he sounded happy about it.

"WANT TO GO FOR A RUN?" ADAM ASKED, HOPPING OUT of bed a few hours later.

We'd lain down to rest after our travels. Not much resting had taken place, but I wasn't going to complain. Still, every bone in my body was Jell- O, and he wanted to go run?

"Ungh," I said. That was the best I could do.

He grinned at me. "You can drop the act."

I waved a weak hand at him.

"I bet I catch a rabbit before you do," he said.

Oh. He meant a run. We'd gotten back to the campground about dusk, so it was full dark. Full dark meant that in the unlikely event that someone saw Adam as werewolf, they'd think he was a dog--helped along by pack magic that let people see what they expected to see. The magic works in broad daylight, too, but darkness helps. "Well, why didn't you say so," I grumped at him as I vaulted off the bed. I was wearing half a T- shirt--the left half--and my socks. The other half of my shirt was on the far side of the trailer. I was going to take an hour and clean the trailer really well before we returned it to its owner or I'd risk being embarrassed.

Which reminded me. "Hey, Adam?" I dropped the half shirt on the floor and stood on one foot to take off a sock. "Who loaned us the trailer? The only people I know who could have afforded it are you, Kyle, or Samuel. Samuel would not be caught dead with something this ... bulky. You told me it isn't yours. Did Kyle buy it in an attempt to compromise with Warren's desire to go camping?"

"Uncle Mike."

I froze, one foot in the air. "What?" He'd borrowed something from a fae?

Adam steadied me with a hand on my shoulder. "I'm not wet behind the ears," he told me, a little bite in his voice. "Uncle Mike called me and told me he'd heard I was planning on taking you camping and didn't he have the sweetest little trailer we could take with us."

"You borrowed from Uncle Mike?"

"Uncle Mike offered it ... Now, how did he phrase that? For services already rendered. You need to either get the sock off, Mercy, or put that foot down before you fall over."

I pulled the sock off and stood on my own two feet. "Fae never give you anything for nothing," I said urgently. "Not even Zee, and he's my friend."

The fae do things like make you pledge your firstborn child or your life's blood for a piece of bubble gum, and make it sound like a good deal at the time.

"When the fae who owns this campground called to offer it up about an hour before Uncle Mike called, I was pretty suspicious," Adam told me.

His voice had regained its usual relaxed tone, but he was irritated. I could tell by the way he stripped off his shirt. I could leave it alone ... but he didn't know the fae the way I'd come to know them.

"After Uncle Mike called," he continued blandly, "I knew they wanted us here for some reason. I could have refused--I had reservations in San Diego--but I thought you'd enjoy this more than a hotel, and I knew I would."

I frowned at him.

"I didn't promise him anything," Adam said with exaggerated patience. "You need to remember who you are now. They can't just f--" He stopped speaking for a moment, then swallowed his temper with an effort--and not as much effect as he probably wanted because the bland tone deserted him entirely.

"Mercy, they can't mess with you without messing with me and the whole pack--and Samuel--and Bran--and Zee--and Stefan probably, for that matter. I don't know what they want. Maybe they needed us to not go to San Diego--Uncle Mike mentioned San Diego specifically though I hadn't told anyone where I was taking you. Maybe they needed us to stick closer to home. We werewolves are a potential ally against political attacks now since we are the only other supernatural group who admits its existence to the general public. Maybe there is something here--" He waved his hands to indicate the general area upon which the trailer sat. "It could be something as easy as using us as a deterrent to another fae who plans on destroying what Edythe has built here."

Edythe must be the fae who owned the place. Of course it was a fae who had set up this campground, with its big trees and supergreen grass.

Adam was right. I'd forgotten that if the fae screwed with me, they were taking on the whole pack and then some. I was more than just a mechanic who fixed VWs and turned into a coyote because I had Adam, and I had friends. What a difference a year or two could make.