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
Jack shook his head. “I told you the
coffee didn’t smell right back at the rest stop.” Giving her a
sideways glance, he smirked. “But that’s what you get for trusting
that bulb in the middle of your face, instead of my finely tuned
Shooting him a look, she huffed.
“Bulb? Really?” Rummaging in her small leather backpack for a mint
or a piece of gum she mumbled, “…and Rissa wonders why you’re still
I heard that, and for the
record, I do just fine with the ladies, thank you very
Yeah, you’re a real
charmer. Why don’t you work that magnetism and slide us on over to
the curb at the next light? I should take it from here. After all,
this is my neck of the woods, right?”
His lips curled into a smile, even as
his hands curled tighter around the wheel. “I don’t think so. I’ve
seen the way you drive, and Sean made me swear I’d get you there in
The light changed, and Jack eased the
car forward, but hit the brakes as a gypsy cab cut across two lanes
of traffic aiming for the exit. With an aggravated sigh, he added,
“He didn’t, however, say anything about me arriving in one
The cop standing on the brick medium
next to the crosswalk blew his whistle. “Move it, buddy! Whaddaya
waiting for, an invitation from the Mayor?” he shouted, waving at
Jack to get going.
Leaning on his horn, Jack maneuvered
around the cab that half blocked his lane. “Jesus Christ! Who
designed this city? Gridlock my ass!” He rolled down the window.
“It’s called a signal, you asshole!” he yelled at the cabby,
slamming his hands down on the steering wheel. “This is crazy! I
can’t believe you choose to live here and own a car! I mean,
really, what the fuck?”
If Jack didn’t relax, he’d steer them
straight into Battery Tunnel, merrily on his way to the
Brooklyn-Queens Expressway instead of Lily’s apartment on Jane
Street in the West Village. She smiled to herself at the thought of
Jack trying to navigate their way back from there.
Chuckling, Lily glanced over as he
flipped another driver the bird. She froze. Holy shit! His knuckles
were hairy. Like, furry hairy! “Um, Jack?” she choked. “I think we
need to pull over somewhere.”
He shot her a look. “Why? In this
traffic, are you nuts? Are you all right?”
Lily bit the inside of her cheek.
“Um…yeah, I’m fine, but it’s not me I’m worried about.” Lily’s eyes
flicked from his face to his hands, and then back again.
Annoyed, Jack’s eyebrows
knit together in a confused frown. His eyes tracked her curious
gaze to his hands, and his mouth spread into a huge grin. “Lily,
your face! Ha, ha, ha...Holy crap do you have a lot to learn about
shifters! What, did you think I was going to phase while behind the
wheel? I can just see the tabloid headlines—
NYC Traffic Gone to the Dogs.
Well, what did you expect
me to think, when your hands look like they’re growing a
The unflappable, Lily
Saburi, freaked out by a set of hairy knuckles. Makes me wonder
what we’re in for over the next few days when the moon is
completely full. It’ll be fine, family fun, don’t you
Lily crossed her arms in front of her
chest. “Not funny, Jack. If this a preview of the way things are
going to be while we’re thrown together, then you’d better get used
to driving with one eye open, ‘cause I’m going to blacken the other
Jack smiled, his eyes crinkling at the
corners. “Come on, Lily, you cut your teeth on things way hairier
than my knuckles. Trust me; it’s nowhere near a sign of things to
come. But you have to understand that between the stress of the
drive, where the moon is in its cycle, and your scent, my nature
was bound to manifest in some way. After all, I may be in control,
but I’m not immune.”
My scent? Oh no, not now,
not you too.” She slumped back against the seat, leaning her head
I thought Sean talked to
you about this?”
Lily shot him a look, but at her
pained expression, he laughed even louder. “Don’t worry; I’m not
going to start humping your leg or anything. It’s just the moon is
waxing, and the closer it gets to being full, the more I sense
things. But you’re fine, trust me.”
Even less sure about this, than before
they left the compound, Lily didn’t say a word. She exhaled quietly
and turned her eyes back toward the traffic. A half hour later,
they pulled onto Lily’s Street, only circling the block once before
finding a parking space.
I’ve got to check in with
Sean first, and then I’ll bring up the bags. You know how he is, he
made me promise to call the minute we arrived,” he said, walking
around toward the trunk. “I’m sure he wants to fill me in on what’s
going on back home, as well. Parr has to be having a field day now
that you left. I don’t trust the bastard. It sucks how fine a line
Sean has to walk these days. It’s not right. Not for an
Lily followed him to the back of the
car. “No problem. Just tell him I’m being a good girl, and
following your instructions to the letter.”
Jack snorted, putting the key in the
lock and popping the trunk. “Yeah, right. You forget he knows you
probably better than you know yourself, and he’ll trust matters
more if I tell him how much of a pain in the ass you’ve been. All’s
right with the world when you’re the bitch we all know and
Oh, come on! I’m not
bad,” she said with
Jack raised one eyebrow.
At his skeptical look, she couldn’t
help but smile. “Okay, maybe I do have my moments, but that’s what
makes me so special.”
Ha! Why don’t you make
yourself useful and go grab some groceries? I’m sure there’s
nothing but a box of baking soda in that fridge of yours. I’ll be
right behind you. I’m not sure how long he’s gonna keep me
Jack handed her a wad of cash, and
Lily shoved it in the front pocket of her jeans. “Anything in
particular you want? Dog biscuits, a rawhide bone?”
Funny. I guess you want to
carry your own suitcases upstairs, huh,” he said, reaching in for
the biggest bag and lifting it out of the trunk with
With a wry grin, she hiked
her pack onto one shoulder. “No, that’s what Sean sent
Yes, ma’am. I live to
serve,” he mumbled, flourishing a mock bow.
Chuckling, she headed across the
street to the Korean market on the corner, stopping at the curb to
look up at the red brick apartment house she had called home for
the past five years.
Lily hadn’t been here since she pulled
away from the same curb a week after Terry’s funeral, hell-bent on
killing the creature that killed her best friend. The same creature
that turned out to be Sean’s brother, Jerard.
She sucked in a deep breath, and
headed into the market.
Don’t forget coffee!” Jack
shouted from across the street, and Lily looked back over her
shoulder to wave, but he was already on his cell phone.
With two bags of groceries in tow, she
crossed the street, passing Jack as he unloaded the last of the
bags onto the sidewalk. Sean had obviously kept him talking the
whole time she had been in the store, and she cringed, wondering
just what the hell else was happening up at the
She unlocked the vestibule door and
stepped through onto the black and white subway tiles of the main
lobby. She glanced up the stairs and then back over her shoulder at
the small but heavy pile of luggage out on the sidewalk. The
building was a five-floor walkup, so regardless of how hairy they
were, she was grateful for Jack’s supernaturally strong
The hallway smelled of street dirt and
Pine-Sol, with an underlying scent of sesame oil from the Chinese
takeout next door. She was home.
The lobby door opened. “Where do you
want these?” Jack asked, carrying all the bags at once.
Fifth floor,” Lily said
shoving her leather keychain into his mouth. “I’ve got the
Great,” he mumbled and
started up the stairs, her keys jingling from his teeth.
Wait! I need the mailbox
Jack put two of the bags on the step
and tossed her the set of keys.
She wiped the wet teeth marks on her
pants, unhooked the brass colored key and tossed the rest back up.
“The square key with the black rubber grip is the key to my
apartment. I’ve got the whole fifth floor.”
Jack growled, keys jingling from his
With a chuckle, she put the grocery
bags on the floor and unlocked the mailbox. A rush of envelopes and
magazines fell in a clutter at her feet, with the rest crammed all
the way to the back of the narrow box. She sighed. “Two months’
worth of junk mail and overdue bills.”
She pulled the key from the lock, and
reached inside for the rest. Stuck to the opposite side of the door
was a note, and one look told her exactly who from.
I’m so sorry about Terry.
With the mail piling up, I figured you were away trying to sort
things. Not to worry. Been keeping the rest down at the post office
until you get back. My prayers are with you—Henry
Tears pricked at the corners of Lily’s
eyes. Terry’s death had left a hole in her heart the size of her
fist, which no one could fill. Not even Sean. She was better, but
she’d never fully get over it.
With a deep breath, she stuck the note
in her pocket and bent to gather the letters from the floor. “It
doesn’t cost anything to be nice,” she whispered, repeating the
words Terry had said after taping a thank you gift for Henry to the
inside of the mailbox before their trip to Maine. The trip that
left Terry dead and Lily’s life changed for good.
She picked up her grocery bags,
adjusting her backpack before heading up the stairs.
Jack had left the door ajar. Guess the
big bad wolf needed a lesson on life in the big, bad city. She
nudged the door the rest of the way open with her foot. “Hey! How
about a little help,” she called, struggling in with the groceries
and the mail now overflowing from the top of the paper
What’s all that?” Jack
asked, coming out of the bathroom.
I guess you never got the
chance to put it on hold, huh,” he said, taking one of the bags
Ahhh...no,” she said,
putting the other bag and her backpack down on the kitchen
Nice place, Lily. With the
stories you hear about New York rents, I didn’t expect it to be so
With her hands folded across her
chest, Lily looked around the apartment. “Thanks.” Wrinkling her
nose, she rubbed the end of it with her knuckle. There had to be at
least a half inch of dust on everything.
Stifling a sneeze, she pinched the end
of her nose between her fingers, her eyes watering in the
Trust me, sneezing would
only make it worse,” she said, taking the box of tissues he’d
rummaged from one of the shopping bags.
Lily blew her nose, and walked into
the living room. Except for the dead plants and the cobwebs, it was
just as she and Terry had left it, down to the empty ammo boxes on
the coffee table.
The apartment might be huge by New
York standards, but it was crammed with memories. Everywhere she
looked there were poignant reminders of where her life had been, in
contrast to where it was now. On top of everything else, the word
full blinked across the answering machine’s digital lcd, and she
cringed inwardly, wondering how many were messages about Terry that
she’d yet to listen to.
Jack leaned on the arm of the sofa,
his arms crossed in front of him. “How about you take a shower, and
I’ll make us something to eat.”
Lily exhaled, watching the tall, dark
haired Were watching her. Perhaps Sean was right. Whatever Jack’s
function, she was glad she didn’t have to face the emptiness of the
apartment alone. Nodding, she gave him half a smile. “Sounds like a
Lily grabbed one of her suitcases, and
headed down the hall toward her bedroom. Terry’s door was to the
right, and she hesitated as she passed. The two had been roommates
since college, but had been friends forever. A born pack rat, Terry
saved mementos from almost everywhere she went, cramming them into
every nook and cranny. Now the small ten by twelve room was bare,
except for the plain oak furniture. It was clear Terry’s parents
had been by to collect her things, and Lily ached inwardly at the
Jack had already dropped his bags on
the floor next to the bed. Lily frowned. He would have to sleep
somewhere, and she knew she couldn’t relegate him to the couch, not
with a perfectly acceptable bedroom available. But even logic
couldn’t stop the idea from jabbing at her heart.