Read Twice Cursed Online

Authors: Marianne Morea

Tags: #werewolf, #werewolf and vampire, #werewolf family, #werewolf paranormal romance, #werewolf romance vampire romance paranormal romance thriller urban fantasy, #werewolf romance werewolves and shifters, #werewolf and vampire romance, #cursed by blood series, #urban fantasy suspense, #werewolf saga

Twice Cursed (30 page)

BOOK: Twice Cursed
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Maybe later we could play
the night nurse and the custodian,”
he
grinned, eyeing a utility belt on one of the shelves, he replied
with a mental smirk.

Ignoring him, she looked at Jack
sitting patiently in the corner. “Is there a reason why he’s still
a canine?”

Considering the two of them and the
size of the grey wolf, the closet seemed even smaller, with every
type of cleaning supply known to man crammed into the six-by-six
room. PCV shelving, brooms, mops and an industrial shop-vac took up
most of the space.

Sean shrugged, tucking the top of his
scrubs into his pants. “Just easier that way.”

Lily didn’t even pretend to know what
that meant, nor at this point did she care. With a soft breath, she
rubbed her hands together. “Okay Fido, your turn.” He whined in
response, and Lily felt horrible. The poor guy had been through
enough, even if it was his own doing.

The grey wolf chuffed, and with a snap
of bone and muscle, and a quick whiff of ozone, Jack was in human
form, utterly naked and standing adjacent to the bucket
mop.

Woof! Down boy!
Self-conscious, Lily did an about face, looking
for somewhere else to direct her gaze. Bingo! She grabbed the
second set of scrubs from the shelf next to the floor polish, and
reached behind to hand them to Jack backwards.

The third bundle on the shelf was the
lumpy plastic bag she had carried in with the clothes. “There are
two pairs of sneakers inside, and a box of wet-naps. I swiped them
from an open locker in the nurses’ station,” she said with an
apologetic shrug, and handed the bag to Sean. “I can’t vouch for
the sizes.”

Sean took it and tore open the
plastic, reaching in for the first pair. “I’m sure they’re fine,”
he offered, tossing the bag to Jack. “A little snug, but nothing a
strategically placed rip can’t fix.”


I grabbed some of these,
too. Just in case,” she said, handing them each a pair of blue
surgical booties.


Good thinking,” Jack
nodded, tying the drawstring on his pants. “…and you can turn
around, now.”

He struggled into the shirt, which
would have been roomy on anyone else, except a broad-shouldered
wolf. Lily did an unconscious double take. Sean was her mate,
without a doubt, but a woman would have to be blind not to notice
the hunter’s muscular good looks. If the girl in pink scrubs could
see Jack now, she’d faint.

McDreamy? Ha! Eat your
heart out Grey’s Anatomy… you’ve got nothing on my
wolves!

Lily’s appreciative smile
disappeared almost as fast as it came. “What?” It was all she could
say in response to Sean’s amused smirk, and the words,
“You are so busted,”
feathering across her mind.

The big alpha grinned, shaking his
head, and bending to slip the booties over his too small
sneakers.


Okay, then...,” Lily
breathed out. “Just so you know, I checked with the front desk, and
the deputy medical examiner is still in a meeting. There’s only one
person inside right now, and he shouldn’t give us any grief about
Ryan being M.I.A. Plus we have a little time before our resident
detective regroups enough to do something stupid.”

Sean looked up, raising an
eyebrow.


I tapped into his head
just to check he’s okay,” she clarified, with another shrug,
handing them each their passes. “He’s having a drink at some random
bar by the river. I didn’t want to poke around too much or for too
long. We don’t need him freaked out any more than he already
is.”


All things considered, he
didn’t seem to be that freaked out. He actually seemed pretty
calm,” Jack replied, clipping his pass to the top of his
pants.


He’s a good cop. He keeps
his emotions in check and out of the equation,” she said,
regretting her words immediately.

Jack’s lips compressed. “Maybe Sean
should send his hunters down to the N.Y.P.D. for training. That way
he can limit the collateral damage.”


Jack, I didn’t mean
anything by that. Ryan just handles things bet…” She hesitated,
pulling her foot from her mouth before it was too late. Exhaling,
she recovered tactfully. “I mean, differently,” she added with a
quick smile.

Sean clipped his pass to the front
pocket of the scrubs and cracked open the utility closet door. “All
right, it’s been a rough day all the way around, and my hunch is
it’s going to get worse once we see what’s waiting for us inside.
Let’s go. I’ve had enough of this place.”

 

***

 

Lily rapped on the double doors,
pushing one side open the same way Martinez had on done
previously.

With Jack and Sean close behind, she
stepped through the threshold. Except for the music playing in the
background, the place seemed deserted. A single tech worked alone,
occupied at one of the aluminum examination tables lining the side
of the room. It had been raised, and was slanted toward one of the
sinks where he busied himself with the business end of a long hose,
rinsing instruments and any collected blood from a previous
procedure.

Harsh smelling disinfectant bubbled
along the curved edges of the examination table, and even from
their vantage point, it wasn’t hard to guess what tinged the foam
red as it funneled toward the drain. Jack coughed, wrinkling his
nose at the noxious cloud of bleach and blood in the air, and even
Sean’s eyes watered despite his stoic expression.

The room was the exactly as Lily
remembered, except this time there was no lifeless body in plain
view prepped for autopsy. The fluorescent lights cast a sterile
gleam across the industrial polished concrete floor, and despite
its careworn feel and the barbaric subtext attached to the
equipment, a sense of purpose encompassed the room.


Don’t only doctors perform
autopsies? I thought you said the deputy M.E. was in a meeting?”
Sean whispered from the corner of his mouth. Based on the routine
cleanup that was front and center, they must have just missed the
main event.

Lily gave him a wide eyed shrug.
“That’s what I was told. Maybe this guy is higher up on the food
chain than I thought.”

The tech spotted them and released the
trigger on the hose, turning the sprayer off. “Can I help
you?”

Lily stepped forward. “Yes. I’m Lily
Saburi. I believe I’m expected.”

The man put the nozzle down and wiped
his gloved hands on a paper towel. “Yeah, I remember seeing your
name on the list. What happened to the detective? He was here
earlier.”

Without so much as a blink, Lily met
the man’s gaze. “He was called away on another matter. I’ve just
arrived with my associates to view the latest victim and any
evidence you may have collected. If you need to check our
credentials…” she trailed off, hoping her face didn’t give away
their bluff.

He lifted his clear plastic face
shield and looked her over, sparing a glance for Jack and Sean
standing off to her side, his eyes resting for a moment on their
hospital passes. “That won’t be necessary. You wouldn’t be allowed
down here without the proper paperwork. I’m Jeff Holton, Bellevue
Morgue Diener.”

Jack jerked his eyes away
from the deli-style slicing machines and dissection equipment, his
gaze speculating as he looked at the tech. “You work in the morgue,
and you’re called
the diner?

The man gave a snuffling
sort of laugh. “Kind of creepy when you put it that way, but it’s
actually pronounced, ‘deener’. It’s from the German word,
leichendiener
, which
literally means morgue servant. Basically I get to do all the grunt
work. You know, clean up after the big boys finish with their
slicing and dicing. It ain’t pretty, but it’s a living.”

Jack swallowed hard, still considering
him.


You okay, buddy?” the tech
asked, raising a gloved hand to wave in front of Jack’s distracted
face.

The young hunter nodded. “Yeah, I’m
good. I’m just trying to imagine what a regular work day must be
like around here.”

The diener shrugged, picking up the
nozzle and turning on the spray to continue his wash down. “It
isn’t pretty, that’s for sure. And speaking of which, the guy you
want is down at the back end of the freezer section. The doc
already marked the drawer. He also asked me to let you know that
most of the bodies in this case have been released back to their
families. That is, except for that teenage girl. She’s a Jane Doe.
Do you want her drawer number, too?”

Lily shook her head. “That won’t be
necessary. I have all the information I need on that. It’s the
newest addition to list of victims we need to see.”


Help yourselves,” he said,
gesturing toward the back of the room. “Mind if I turn up the
music? Dr. Weaver won’t be back for about an hour or so, and Dr.
Rush left a little while ago. Trust me, that one’s name says it
all.”

Lily and Sean exchanged glances.
“Thanks, we’ll take it from here.”

He nodded. “Hey, if you don’t mind my
asking, what’s with the scrubs? They’re not exactly police issue,
if you know what I mean.”


Slush puddle and an uptown
bus,” Sean answered before Lily could open her mouth.

The diener made a face. “I feel for
you, buddy. Ouch.”

Sean rubbed his side where Jack’s
claws had slashed him. “Ouch, indeed.”

 

***

 

Sean gripped the stainless steel
lever, the metal in his hand as cold as the air that rushed out
from the compact refrigerated compartment. Jack faced the three
foot square box, his hands on the end of the cadaver tray. One pull
and the gurney slid out with relative ease.


Whew! The stench coming
off of him is almost worse than the bleach,” Jack frowned, lifting
his hand to his nose.

Unlike the last time, the body wasn’t
covered with an evidence sheet. The victim was another young male,
stiff but not yet completely rigor mortised. His skin was a bluish
hue, with tiny ice crystals dotting his body hair.


Another kid,” Lily
murmured, her jaw set and her stomach dropping at the slashes
crisscrossing the young man’s throat and chest. The marks were
almost identical to the ones on the young vampire in the park, and
there was no question as to the creature responsible for his
death.


Jack, do you see the
similarities to the wounds? Any patterning?” Lily asked, turning
the man’s head to offer him a better look at the gash marks. “The
smell coming off this guy is also comparable to that on the other
victims I inspected, but why is it so strong? The vamp in the park
had the same putrid scent, but it was subtle.”


It’s because this one’s a
Were,” Sean announced, his face as somber as his tone.

Both Lily and Jack turned. “Are you
sure? How can you tell with that rancid odor masking every other
clue?” she asked.

Sean took a deep breath, despite the
smell. “The symbol on his chest.”

There above the victim’s right
pectoral muscle was a tiny fleur-di-lis. The symbol was ornate,
despite its small size, only this was no tattoo. The mark had been
burned directly into the skin, a brand, and as it was the only mark
on his body that wasn’t raw, it was easy to assume it had been
there for a while, despite the owner’s youth.


It’s a mark from one of
the badland wolf packs,” Sean surmised. “They’re the only ones I
know of that still use branding. They live out on the edges of the
great plains near the mountains of South Dakota.”


What’s he doing this far
east?” Jack reached out to run his fingers over the blackened mark,
but Lily caught his wrist. The admonishment subtle, but
clear:
Don’t touch till I’m
done.


People come to New York
from all over the world. Maybe he was here on business, or just
curious to see how we east-coasters roll.”


Well, whatever the reason,
it’s now up to me to let his pack leader know what happened. It’s
protocol, alpha to alpha.” Sean looked down at the dead wolf, and
then formed a symbol in the air over his chest, almost like a
benediction.

Sean’s fingers curled into his palm as
he pulled it back to his side as if he held something of value from
the dead boy, the simple gesture reminding her of how much she
still needed to learn.

With what sounded like a sad, tired
breath, Sean looked at her. “Lily, I need for you to find out what
happened to this boy. I’ll need all the particulars when I call his
pack…” he hesitated, then added, “…and for when I demand a meeting
with the vampire council and their adjudicators.”

Jack opened his mouth to object, but
the alpha raised his hand, stopping him.


Don’t. Neither you nor I
need Lily to validate what we already know. A vampire murdered this
kid. As to why...” Sean trailed off, letting his hand fall mutely.
His gaze moved to Lily again. “That’s where you come in. Whatever
images you gather will tell us what we need to know, or at the very
least, point us in the right direction. It may be this kid brought
it upon himself through his own stupidity, but in light of the
stench coming off his body, I doubt that was the case.”

BOOK: Twice Cursed
5.73Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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