Home > Lure of Oblivion (The Mercury Pack #3)(6)

Lure of Oblivion (The Mercury Pack #3)(6)
Author: Suzanne Wright

“Then how do you explain all his injuries?”

“He was already hurt when he got here. I only struck him with the bat once, and it wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t brought it with him.”

Colt’s brow furrowed. “Brandt says the bat is yours.”

“It has ‘Brandt’ scrawled on it.” She pointed to the bat leaning against the wall. She’d grabbed it when she saw the sheriff’s car pull up.

Colt picked it up and examined it. “Huh, so it does.”

“You can tell the markings are old.”

“There was mention of a knuckle stun gun too. You can hand that over.”

Hell, no. “A knuckle stun gun?” Gwen let her eyes widen with interest. “They sell stuff like that now? Oh, I need to get me one of those.”

He ground his teeth. “According to Brandt, you already have one. You don’t want to mess with the Moores, Gwen. His father is calling for your blood—and he’s calling for it loudly.”

“Ezra does like the sound of his own voice,” she mused.

Sighing, Colt adjusted his hat. “Brandt says he came here last night to apologize.”

“With a bat and cans of spray paint? I think even his fancy attorney would have a problem making that sound innocent.”

“If you didn’t hurt him, who did?”

She snorted. “Don’t insult my intelligence, Colt. You know it was Ezra. Besides, why would I hurt Brandt? He’s giving me more ammunition to use against him when I go before the shifter council.” She gave him an excited smile. “I’m counting down the days. Can’t wait.”

Colt’s mouth set into a hard line. “I don’t want this trouble happening in my town.”

“You mean you don’t want the shifter council looking too closely at how you neglected the evidence. Understandable. And not my problem.”

“I neglected nothing. The cougar altered her statement; she said that she wasn’t sure who beat her that night and that her attacker was a complete stranger. It’s your word against the words of Brandt, Rowan, and Mack. They’re from respectable families. Do you even know where you’re from?” he sniped.

“Yeah, actually, I do.” She remembered plenty about her life before she came to live with the Millers when she was eight. Remembered the smells of rust, mildew, beer, cigarette smoke, and garbage that tainted the muggy air of the run-down trailer. Remembered the screen doors slamming, her mother screeching, her stepfather bellowing, and the constant clanging of the broken air-conditioning unit. Remembered trying to drown out the sounds of their fighting by opening her window wide to let the meth-using neighbors’ heavy-metal music filter through. Remembered huddling under a blanket to escape the rain dripping through the leaky roof, all the while wishing she was somewhere else. Anywhere else.

For some, going into foster care was a nightmare. For Gwen, it had been a blessing. “The shifter council won’t care how respectable those families are. Ezra can’t buy Brandt’s way out of this.” But she was sure he’d give it a shot.

Gwen looked to her left at the rumbling of a car engine. Moments later, an SUV parked in front of the B&B. This had to be Zander Devlin. He’d booked two rooms earlier that week, and she could still remember his voice; it was deep and throaty and sent a ghostly finger of need trailing down her spine.

Gwen lowered her legs. “Although nothing quite brightens my day like your presence, Sheriff, I have stuff to do, so . . .”

Tipping his hat slightly, he cursed. “Gwen, the Moores aren’t going to let this go.”

She gave him a hard look. “I hope you’re not about to advise me to give them what they want, because I’d feel compelled to mention that to the council in the interest of full disclosure.”

His eyes flared. “At least call me if Brandt comes back. I’d rather not have to arrest either you or Donnie for shooting him. Too much paperwork.” At that, he turned and jogged down the steps to his car.

As Colt drove away, a male slid out of the passenger seat of the SUV. He was tall, dark, and incredibly masculine. Certainly pretty to look at. And a very nice distraction from Colt’s bullshit.

Always the opportunist, Gwen took a moment to admire the stranger as he prowled to the trunk, grabbed two duffels, and then moved to the driver’s side of the vehicle. That was when a second male slid out; he took a duffel from his friend as he scanned his surroundings.

Hard winter-gray eyes landed on her. No, they locked on her. She swallowed. The other male was hot, but this guy was a whole other level of hot. Like scorching, blistering hot.

He had a lean, toned build that screamed raw power and did plenty of interesting things to her insides. And, damn, that face . . . He had a perfectly sculpted mouth that she would bet curved into a wicked smile. The edge of stubble on his square jaw was a few shades darker than his short, choppy hair the color of a wheat field. A neat scar sliced through the lower part of his eyebrow, and it somehow suited him.

She didn’t usually go for blonds. She’d always preferred males who were more like his friend—dark, broody, and clean shaven. But the blond definitely had her attention right then. His attention, on the other hand, quickly slid away from her. Not that that was a surprise or anything. She wasn’t the kind of girl who would catch the eye of a guy like him.

Oozing dominance and a quiet, supreme confidence, he fluidly stalked toward the house with his friend close behind. Every step they took was predatory and self-assured. Shifters, she sensed.

Her heart began to beat a little faster. She’d always been intrigued by them and the dynamics of packs, prides, flocks, et cetera. She loved their animal grace, the way they seemed to glide rather than walk. And, hello, shifting into an animal had to be cool, right?

The trailer park where she’d lived as a kid had been close to a wolf-pack territory. So many times she’d heard them howling, caught glimpses of them running, and found herself wishing she was one of them—wishing she was surrounded by people who would care for and protect her.

Gwen was also fascinated by the whole true-mate thing. To have someone made specifically for you—someone who would never betray you, never hurt you, and would always cherish you—would be something special. She envied them that.

As they climbed the steps and reached the wraparound porch, she stood with a polite smile. “I’m guessing one of you is Mr. Devlin.” Yeah, she played it cool. The blond might be all her fantasies rolled into one package, but he really didn’t need to know that. Honestly, she wasn’t brought to her knees by looks anyway. She’d grown up around perfection, so she was pretty much used to it. Her foster mother and foster siblings all had that “it” factor. Gwen didn’t.

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