Blue Moon Brides: The Complete Series (41 page)

BOOK: Blue Moon Brides: The Complete Series
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“Lovely.” The sarcasm was clearly lost on him. “Explain anyhow.”

“When a vamp catches a werewolf, it skins the wolf.” He pocketed the boat key and grabbed the canvas satchel he’d used to carry their clothes. From the metal-on-metal sounds emanating from the bag, he’d also stashed a small arsenal inside as well. “Those skins make it possible for the vamp to tolerate some daylight.”

Hell.

“So the vamp could be strolling around town right now?”

“It’s unlikely,” he said. “From what I saw, it didn’t have any skins. Not on him and not in the shack. I looked. You’re lucky he didn’t realize what you were.”

One more reason to hide her shifter side. She had no idea if fox skin could let a vamp walk in the daylight, but she damned sure didn’t want to find out. She’d need to warn her family about the possibility of hunters.

The fishing boats were just going out, leaving most of the town still asleep. To her surprise, Dag held out a hand to her after he’d swung gracefully from the boat to the dock.

“Should we hide the boat?” Asking him outright if he’d stolen their ride seemed awkward. She certainly hadn’t asked questions back in the bayou, not with a vamp breathing down their neck.

“Family boat,” he grunted, relieving her half-worry that he’d borrowed the craft from some unsuspecting bayou fisherman. She took his hand and his fingers closed around her wrist, effortlessly hoisting her up onto the dock.

“You’ve been gone some time,” he said. Reaching down into the boat, he snagged his boots, then turned to saunter sure-footed down the dock. Slung over his shoulder, the boots bumped his ass with each step. God. He had a fantastic ass. Powerful muscles flexed beneath the worn denim, food for plenty of fantasies. “That goin’ to be a problem?”

“Are you worried there’s a manhunt up and down half the bayou for me?”

Turning his head, he looked over his shoulder at her. He didn’t stop, but held out a hand. She’d had no idea he was a handholding kind of guy, but the casual gesture would set plenty of tongues to waggling. The problem with living in a small town was that everyone talked. Constantly.

“Is it a possibility?” He didn’t sound particularly concerned, so she concentrated on savoring the warmth of his fingers around hers. He gave the marina attendant a curt nod as they exited the slip. The man’s eyes just about bugged out of his head, so he’d clearly done the math. One big ass Breaux and Riley Jones sharing a boat and she looked like rough sex.

Fuck him. Or not. She bit back a laugh. So what if the whole world had a pretty good idea of what this man sauntering along next to her had done to her. With her.
For
her. Because the important part was that whole togetherness thing. She’d never been part of a couple before, but Dag Breaux, with his mate business, had made it clear he intended to be a keeper.

“My brothers live up in Baton Rouge. They’re used to my checking in infrequently.” Because she had insisted on her independence and ruthlessly hounded them when they crossed the lines she’d set. She was their baby sister. If she’d let them, they’d have wrapped her up in cotton wool and set her on a shelf inside the house. She appreciated their concern—especially after this last week—but she needed her space.

“So they won’ be lookin’ for you?” He sounded disapproving, but he’d already made it clear he wasn’t letting her out of his sight so she figured he was biased. Her brothers, on the other hand, were well-trained.

“It’s unlikely,” she acknowledged. “Give it a couple more weeks and, yeah, they’d be down here in force.”

“Huh.” He sounded thoughtful. “So there are more of you.”

If he was lucky, he’d never meet them.

“I’m going to call them in to move the women at the safe house,” she said, effectively putting an end to the conversation.

The rest of the short stroll to the safe house passed in silence. Somehow, when she was with Dag, silence was okay. She didn’t need to fill the quiet up with words, just hold his hand and let the momentum swing their arms back and forward where they were connected. Ten minutes wasn’t enough, but it was all the time she had.

The safe house was on the outskirts of town, surrounded by plenty of non-descript clapboard and dahlia beds. Everything looked the same as the last time she’d been here. From what she’d learned about the bayou vamps, she needed to make the generator her first priority. The equipment had broken months ago, but now it was time to get it back up and running. Stat.

Dag stopped when she tugged on his hand. “Hidin’ in plain sight?”

The strategy kept her girls safe. None of them wanted to be found and the men chasing their asses weren’t the safe kind, as the bruises and horror stories attested.  She didn’t know how the werewolf keeping pace with her would react to that.

“You can’t come in,” she said, willing him to understood. Fighting out here on the sidewalk wasn’t what she wanted to be doing.

“Yeah.” To her surprise, he nodded. “I figured as much, seein’ as how this is a safe place and I doubt many of your girls are feelin’ real friendly towards men right now.”

Letting go of her hand, he tilted her chin up, his thumb caressing her jaw. Then he dropped a quick, hard kiss on her mouth. “I’ll wait out here for now,” he said, “but we need to get a couple of things straight first. Lay down some ground rules.”

Here it came.

“I don’t do rules.” Raising her chin, she glared at him.

He didn’t look worried.

“Only two rules here,
boo
. If there’s danger, you do what I say, because I’ll be keepin’ you safe. Uh-uh,” he said, pressing two fingers against her lips.

God help her, the gesture had her heating up inside.

“The second rule’s the most important,” he continued. “The second rule says there are no rules in our bed.”

Dag wasn’t even looking at her, all protect-and-defend, his gaze quartering the peaceful neighborhood like he expected a SWAT team or a horde of daylight-resistant vamps to explode out of the nearest garden shed. Of course, maybe his caution explained how he’d lived to be a three hundred year-old werewolf.

She was on board with the second rule. The sticking point was the first. She didn’t take orders as she’d made perfectly clear. Unfortunately, however, her safety wasn’t the only thing at stake here. She’d seen the vamps in action and, while she’d like to think she could handle that kind of aggression, the honest truth was she couldn’t. Her girls had to come first.

“Okay,” she said hoarsely. “You got yourself a deal.”

His gaze swiveled back to meet hers. “You got to mean that,” he warned softly. “This time, the words aren’t a game. I need to know you’ll let me do my job here. Tonight, when and if the vamp comes knocking, you let me take care of it. This is what I do.”

And she didn’t. Didn’t want to, she realized, and maybe didn’t have to. Dag’s dark eyes watched her but this once, he wasn’t demanding. No, he was asking her and she needed to give the man his answer. She leaned into his side, pressing her face against his hard shoulder. He really had this.

So, okay. She inhaled, only partly to calm her nerves. Dag smelled good, like woods and sunlight and something indescribably
him
. He reached out and pulled her into a one-armed hug.

“Riley?” He was still waiting.

“I get it.” She nodded towards the house’s front door. “You get to kill the bad guys if and when they show. I’m going to go in there and do my thing. There’s a backup generator I bought a couple years ago for hurricanes and such. It went down a few weeks ago, but I’m thinking it would be wise to get it up and running. Then we’ve got some ammo for the nights.”

He nodded. “Hit a vamp with enough wattage and—”

“You’ve got fried vamp unless he’s wearing a fur jacket,” she finished for him and headed for the door.

He hesitated when she’d expected him to clear out. “They goin’ to question the move?”

He was worried, she realized. About her girls hiding out in the house, working on a second chance at living life. Her big bad wolf actually had a soft side.

“I hope not.” She huffed out a breath. “They’re human, Dag, and they’re not familiar with werewolf life—or with vamps. I’ll tell them we’ve had a credible threat phoned in and we need to move them temporarily.”

She wished with every fiber of her being she didn’t have to uproot these women. They’d suffered through plenty of shit and didn’t need any more trouble knocking on their door. Unfortunately, that just wasn’t the way life worked. The vamp was coming, so all she could do was make sure they were free and clear. If it came down to it, she’d tell them what was coming.

Hopefully, it wouldn’t come to that. 

“Riley—” His voice, rough and sure, stopped her.

“Yeah?” She looked back, which was a mistake. Seeing his face reminded her of the reasons why she didn’t want to go. She liked spending time with him. She even liked his concern. None of which explained why she wanted to close the distance between them and run her hand down his cheek.

He frowned. “You are goin’ to be careful, right?”

“I thought that was the rule.” To hell with it. She gave in to the impulse, and pressed herself close enough to drop a kiss on his cheek.

“Some rules were made to be broken,” he admitted, his words shooting straight to her heart. “But this isn’t one of them,
boo
. You take care now.”

“Promise,” she said. “I’m not going anywhere but inside and I’ll be back.”

“Promise,” he agreed and his slow smile lit up his face.

 

~*~

 

Flipping open the prepaid cell she’d stashed at the house for emergencies, Riley stared at the numbers. Dialing felt too much like admitting defeat, but she couldn’t afford to be stupid about this. Reinforcements were wise and she needed to clear the safe house. So while her fingers punched in the familiar number, she told herself it was okay to feel that way.

As long as she did the smart thing, she could hate it every minute of it.

“Hey,” she said when Eli picked up. “I need you.”

“On my way.” Her brother turned his head away from the receiver and bellowed something to Cruz and Jace. Figured all three brothers were hanging together. Not only did they work together on the local volunteer fire and rescue, but they shared a single ranch house while they built themselves new places on a shared lot in their spare time. Given how much time they spent working, she didn’t expect those houses to get finished anytime soon. Plus, she’d long suspected the do-it-yourself approach was an excuse to park their asses in lawn chairs with a cooler of beer and ogle power tools.

Someone—Cruz, she’d bet—cursed in the background and then Eli’s attention was back on her. “You still hiding out in the bayou backwater?”

Eli preferred city living. More action on the police force, he’d explained, like that said it all. Her brother needed to keep busy and her “bayou backwater” didn’t offer much variety in the way of dating, drinking or head-cracking, although the place boasted more than its fair share of power tools and firearms. Funny how that wasn’t draw enough, but they all dealt with their shifter sides in different ways.

“At the safe house, but I need to move the women before sunset.”

They’d helped her set the place up, sending her women who need a get-of-town-quick pass. They’d also helped her with the security system.

“Did you call the sheriff?”

No. Because even she followed certain rules. “This wasn’t police business.”

“Riley—” Affectionate impatience colored his voice. “You always say that. You call and I come. That’s the way this works and always will, but sometimes it’s quicker and safer to go local.”

“This time it’s true.” She swallowed. “This is shifter business.”

There was silence for a moment on the other end. “Hell. I’m not going to ask if you’re sure—”

“I am.” The existence of a previously unknown pack of Louisiana werewolves was going to piss Eli off to no end.

“Because,” he continued, “I figure things have to be pretty bad for you to be voluntarily calling us.”

She loved her brother, but she didn’t have time for this. The sun set in four hours. “What do you know about vampires?”

 

~*~

 

Dag had no idea why this bayou town meant so much to Riley. Maybe it was the safe house where she’d stashed her girls.

Probably.

More than likely, even. Riley was loyal through and through, and she’d agreed to protect these women. He knew how she felt. He might not have met them, but imagining what had happened in their lives pissed him off.

He went nowhere until he knew she was inside, safe and sound. She fished a key out of her pocket, he noted, and used it, so the front door wasn’t unlocked. That was unusual enough for bayou small town life that he felt marginally better. Of course, he was probably the only passer-by wondering how hard it would be to kick the door in or go round the back and bust in a window.

She’d made him promises. This time, he knew, she’d be keeping those promises too. He hadn’t tricked or teased her. Hell, all he’d done was ask her. Maybe she was finally coming around to his way of thinking. Or maybe she plain wasn’t suicidal and understood precisely how great a threat the vampire heading this way was. She was smart, likely smarter than he was.

BOOK: Blue Moon Brides: The Complete Series
3.45Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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