Mercy Thompson


Mercy Thompson Book 7 - Page 40

She was smart, she would have destroyed her phone to keep them from tracking her. If she were dead, he would know.

Human form or not, he was still too close to the monster who had ripped a door apart for being a door, and that monster needed to hear his mate. He took a deep breath and thought human thoughts for a few minutes.

Adam called Elizaveta and got one of her grandsons, though he could hear her cranky voice in the background.

"Who is calling at such an hour?"

As soon as her grandson told her, she took the phone from him. "Adamya," the old witch said. "We have been so worried."

"I need a cleanup," he told her abruptly, so weary he leaned against the wall. "This is a landline, can you trace it?"

"Da, this is not a problem. How many bodies?"

He couldn't remember. Hadn't kept count. He looked at his hands and realized that they were black with blood.

"That many," she said into his silence. "We will come and do what is necessary."

"It has to be done before dawn," he told her. "They are sending a helicopter at dawn."

"Then they will find nothing," she told him.

"We need transport, too," he said. "For thirty wolves."

"This we can also do," she promised him.

"And I need to know where Mercy is," he said.

"She is at Kyle and Warren's house," Elizaveta told him. "I thought you would ask, so I sent one of my grandsons to follow her."

"Good," he said. "Come as soon as you can."

"Yes," she told him - and hung up.

Elizaveta was nearly seventy; she was powerful, but her body was beginning to fail her. In the last two years, she'd lost both of the people she'd been training to take her place, the people who should have been helping her carry the burden of her work. Both of them were killed in incidents involving his wolves.

She might have taken it wrong, might have blamed his pack, except that she liked Adam. His mother had been Russian; her parents had fled Moscow when she was a child. She had spoken Russian as her first language, and Adam had learned it at her knee. When he'd first spoken to Elizaveta in Russian, she'd recognized the accent of Moscow, her hometown, and it had created a bond that he deliberately used. He was always very careful not to tell her that his mother had left fleeing the tide of revolution that had immolated Russia just after WWI.

He was at least as old as Elizaveta. She didn't know it, would never know it because Adam understood people. Oh, she knew in abstract, unlike the public, that werewolves could live a good long time, but she'd never made the connection to him. He knew that because if she ever processed what she knew, she would hunt him down and try to make him turn her.

He would kill her before he did that.

The vampires had a taboo about attempting to turn anyone who was not a normal human. It had happened. The local seethe had a witchblood - and a woman who had been brain-damaged while still human.

Adam knew of three werewolves who had been witchborn. They were the three most dangerous and powerful werewolves in the world, and he didn't think it was an accident. The idea of that much power in a woman so morally ... ambivalent was disturbing.

The thought made him laugh. Here he stood dripping blood on Spanish tile, his naked body drenched with the blood of strangers, and he was judging other people's morality.

He could have let them all live, turned them over to the courts. But the courts had let a serial killer walk because his victims had been fae and werewolf.

Cantrip was a government agency - these people were not serial killers, and if he turned them over to the courts, only Peter's body and a kill list would stand as witness against them. Additionally, it would come out that they had a drug that worked on the wolves, a vulnerability that Bran had been trying to keep secret - and Adam agreed it was best not to advertise to everyone who might decide it was a good idea to rid the world of werewolves.

Probably the justice system would only slap the wrists of whoever was in command. He might even lose his job - to be hired immediately at ten times his salary by someone who supported his vision. Cantrip would hire another person with the same attitudes. The end result would be that the enemy prospered, and the wolves would lose a few more weapons in their struggle to survive.

But Adam could have done it anyway. Could have captured the enemy without killing anyone. He chose not to. And it wasn't because he was sure that the courts would not grant them justice; that was just an excuse, really. He clenched his bloody fist, then brought it up to his mouth and licked it.

They had attacked his people, and they had killed the one he most needed to protect. They threatened those under his protection, and for that, they could only die. The world needed to remember that it was a bad idea to attack a werewolf pack.

He picked up the phone again and dialed Hauptman Security.

"Gutstein." There were the sounds of a busy office behind him. It was very early in the morning, an odd time for busy.

"Jim." Adam closed his eyes.

"Adam. Sir. Good to hear from you." Behind him, the office noises ceased - and then someone cheered, followed by a whole lot of noise.

Jim Gutstein covered the speaker of the phone, but his whistle still made Adam jerk the phone away from his ear until it was over. When he put the phone back to his ear, Jim's voice was still muffled. "Can't hear a word he's saying. Shut up until we know what's going on."

Silence fell, and Jim said, "Sorry, sir. Brooks told us what he knew, and we've been worried."

It took Adam a half a second to connect "Brooks" to Warren's Kyle. He still wasn't at the top of his game. He needed food - and he refused to consider all the meat that was nearby.

"And shorthanded," said a whiny voice over Jim's line.

"Tell Evan - " Adam started, grateful for the routine that helped keep him human.

"There goes that promotion, Evan," said Jim. It was an old joke, and everyone laughed. In the noise, Jim said, "Are you okay, sir?"

"Never better," Adam said wryly, "considering the scope of the SNAFU. However, I have this situation under control. I need you to find out who is in charge of security for Senator Campbell and tell him that a group from Cantrip, at least one person in the military, and a money man in the private sector have it in for the senator and tried to arrange an assassination."

"The word is that they already know," Jim told him. "Mercy was pretty clear to the police."

"I'd rather know that they have that information for certain. You tell them that the people behind the attempt tried to blackmail me into doing it - and though that situation is under control, it is not certain that the senator is safe. I have taken a bite out of the Cantrip faction." He smiled - with teeth. "The military gentleman was probably aimed more at us than him - and that might be true of the money man as well, but they are still in play. They had alternate plans if they couldn't force me to act." The kill list hadn't been the only thing in their Ops room. Mostly just notes and scraps of paper, but he was good at connecting the dots. "Someone in their security team is prepared to assassinate him should I fail. I failed, and, hopefully, the money is gone, but I don't know if he or she has any way to know that."