Home > Lure of Oblivion (The Mercury Pack #3)(5)

Lure of Oblivion (The Mercury Pack #3)(5)
Author: Suzanne Wright


“No, it isn’t,” agreed Zander. “And neither is a parent favoring one child over the others—it’s just life.” He’d long ago accepted it.

“Blood isn’t thicker than water, no matter what anyone says,” said Harley. The margay cat shifter would know that well, taking her own dysfunctional family situation into account. “Still, I’d have thought you being identical twins would make a difference. I’ve heard they’re usually pretty close and feel each other’s pain and stuff.”

“We don’t have any kind of mystical connection.” It wasn’t hard for them to be apart, Rory wasn’t his ideal companion, they were not best friends, and they didn’t have a psychic link that told them what each other was thinking and feeling. “We do understand each other well, though—that’s why he knows how to get under my skin.”

“The only way Zander and Rory are alike is that they can both read people easily,” said Jesse. “Rory will size you up, find every hot button you have, and sense how best to manipulate you. If manipulating you doesn’t work, he’ll push those hot buttons as hard as he can. And he knows all Zander’s hot buttons. That’s why I don’t like them being in the same room.”

Ally, the Beta female and Seer, twisted her mouth as she looked at Zander. “Hell, no wonder you’re predominately calm. I’ll bet you spent your life having to keep a lid on your emotions so you didn’t give him the reactions he wanted. You’re never too happy, never too sad, never too anything . . . which I have to say is a little weird.”

Well, she’d know, thought Zander. Part of the Seer package was that she was also an empath. “He was harsher with our sister, Shelby, than me.”

Jesse cocked his head. “Will Shelby be there for the reading of the will?”

“She said she would,” replied Zander, “but I doubt it. She doesn’t go out much anymore.”

She’d been through a lot over the years, more than anyone should have to endure. He’d worried when she’d adopted Luke, her friend’s orphaned seven-year-old son, concerned it would be too much for her, but it had seemed to heal her. When Luke was later kidnapped by human anti-shifter extremists and hunted within a game reserve, she’d fallen apart.

Zander hadn’t known Luke long, but he’d considered him his nephew. It hurt to imagine what the kid had gone through. Hurt to know that Luke would have expected them to come for him, would have believed they’d save him. But they hadn’t found him, and they couldn’t even pray his death had been quick and painless. It would have been far from it.

Bracken’s uncle and Jesse’s sister had also been snatched by the same extremists. With the help of the Mercury wolves, Zander, Bracken, and Jesse had hunted down the people who ran the game reserve—both motherfuckers had suffered long and hard before dying, just as Luke likely suffered when he was set free in the wild, hunted like an animal, and then killed.

“Having heard about Rory,” began Ally, “I really think me and Derren should go with you.”

Bracken snorted. “You just want to see if the B&B is really haunted.”

Derren blinked. “Haunted?”

“I looked at reviews from guests,” said Ally. “There were a lot of them, and they were all good. It gets a lot of tourists and ghost hunters, since the locals claim it’s haunted.” At Derren’s scoff, she said, “You all believe in the soul, right? And you believe it vacates our body when we die. Is it such a stretch, then, to think that maybe some souls might stick around a little while?”

For Zander, yeah, it was a stretch. He just wasn’t a believer in all that stuff. Turning to Bracken, he said, “Ready to go?” The enforcer nodded, so Zander opened the driver’s door and said, “See you all in a few days.” As the pack called out quick goodbyes, he and Bracken hopped into the SUV.

In honesty, Zander wasn’t looking forward to spending the weekend around humans. He had nothing against them per se, but humans often fell into three camps when it came to shifters. They either feared shifters, were disgusted by them, or found them so fascinating that they gave them the kind of appraisal they’d give an ancient artifact. He supposed whether humans were prejudiced against shifters or not, they were often unable to see them as “people.”

Jesse leaned slightly into the open window. “You sure you don’t want additional company? It wouldn’t hurt the pack for me to come with you. Everything’s been quiet and peaceful for a while now. We’ve had no trouble at all.”

An odd note in the enforcer’s voice made Zander’s mouth curve. “You’re bored out of your mind, aren’t you?”

“It’s wrong, isn’t it?” said Jesse, rueful. “But I’m a person of action. There’s been no action.”

“You’re too whipped to cope without your mate for a few days.”

Bracken chuckled. “He’s right, Jesse, so stop with the growling.”

“I could bring Harley along,” Jesse offered.

Zander shook his head. “She has the club to run and performances scheduled. And really, Jesse, do you want her exposed to Rory? Because I don’t.”

Jesse sighed. “No.” He pushed away from the SUV. “If you need any kind of backup, you call me.”

Zander turned the key in the ignition. “Will do.”

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

 

If you’re so innocent, why didn’t you call me or come to the station last night to report the incident?” challenged Colt.

Leaning back in her rocker with her legs propped up on the wooden rail of the porch, ankles crossed, Gwen lifted a brow. “And the point of that would have been . . . what, exactly? You wouldn’t have done any, you know, police work.”

The sheriff perched his hands on his narrow hips. He was a good-looking guy. Broad and rugged. He was also a high-and-mighty bully who needed a good bitch slap . . . and to have someone stick an oyster fork in his eye because, you know, it would just be fun to watch.

His nostrils flared. “Unless you want to find yourself in lockup, don’t question my ability to do my job. Brandt claims that you attacked him with a bat, so that may well happen anyway.”

“Attacked him? The bat barely clipped his jaw.” Okay, that was an understatement, but whatever.

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