Kitty Rocks the House Page 26

Cormac’s moustache curved with the strength of his frown. “I fell.”

“We’re waiting for the X-rays to come back,” Hardin said. She was definitely smiling now. So, it wasn’t parole he’d broken.

“Is he in trouble?” Ben said. “He’s not under arrest or anything?”

“Nope,” she said. “Just feeling kind of dumb, I bet.”

Cormac made a noise like a growl.

“Okay, there’s a story here,” I said. “Who’s going to spill?”

“She’s been tailing me,” Cormac said, jutting his chin at Hardin and scowling. “Can we sue her?”

“Probable cause,” she said. “I’m tracking down the same vampire you are. You’re a possible witness. That vampire, he’s there, isn’t he?”

“I’m doing your work for you,” he said.

She merely shrugged in assent. “It’s a good thing I was following you, so I could drive you here.” I tried to imagine that car ride, Cormac in the passenger seat next to Hardin, cradling a hurt arm, both of them snarling at each other. It was almost cute.

“I ought to charge you consulting fees,” Cormac said.

“Not a bad idea,” Ben added.

The detective brushed them off. “We can discuss that later.”

“Right,” Ben said, with a sigh that indicated impatience. “But what happened?”

“I fell,” he repeated.

“Something knocked him down,” Hardin said. “Outside St. Cajetan at Auraria. What exactly is going on over there?”

I turned to Cormac, glaring. He’d been staking out the church, Columban’s hideout. I couldn’t yell at him for it without revealing to Hardin that Columban was there. I couldn’t say anything with her standing there. So, he’d found something. Something had happened. Something had attacked?

“At least you weren’t staking us out last night,” I muttered.

“Last night was the full moon, right?” Hardin said. “Were you expecting trouble? Anything I need to know about?”

I didn’t even want to go there. “No. Nothing at all.” Back to Cormac. “You found something?”

“I fell and landed wrong. That’s it.” So he didn’t want to talk about it in front of Hardin, either.

A woman wearing a lab coat and a professional air came around the curtain holding an oversized manila envelope. “It’s definitely broken,” she said, and Cormac blew out a breath.

I’d spent the last couple of years being so worried that Cormac would get himself killed or thrown back in jail or a million other things, a broken arm was almost anticlimactic. Cormac seemed embarrassed more than anything. He wouldn’t look up.

A doctor and nurse bustled in, making ready with needles and bandages to set the arm. They politely herded us out. This time, I had to pull on Ben’s arm. He didn’t want to leave his cousin alone, but Cormac himself told us to leave. Didn’t need the moral support—or didn’t want witnesses to his vulnerability? Almost wolflike, not wanting to show weakness.

Hardin walked with us to the waiting room. “I know cops aren’t your favorite people in the world,” she said. “But we’re on the same side here. I’m not out to get anyone. I just want to keep the bad guys out of Denver, same as you.”

Everything she said was true. We’d worked together often enough in the past, sharing information, chasing down supernatural villains, pooling our experiences when neither one of us had enough on our own to go on. But this time, she didn’t even know who the bad guys were. How far this went. She’d met Roman once, sure, when he came to Denver before to size us up and test our weaknesses. She’d had brushes with the Long Game and had been there when Rick killed his predecessor. But she didn’t know anything about the Long Game. The details, the alliances. How it was closing in on us …

I didn’t know how to explain it all to her now. I didn’t want to without talking to Rick, first. We should explain it to her together, if at all. She either wouldn’t believe us, or she’d try to take the battle out of our hands. She’d think she could oppose the Long Game via official channels. It wouldn’t work.

“I’m not trying to be difficult,” I said. “But this … I can’t just tell you everything. I’m not even thinking straight right now.” Ben and I were still dressed in our post–full moon finery, jeans and T-shirts, our rattiest sneakers without socks. My unbrushed hair was crammed into a wild-looking ponytail; Ben needed a shave. Surely she could see we weren’t at our best.

She said to Ben, “You’re the lawyer, can you talk some sense into her?”

“I agree with her,” Ben said, offhand. “I think you’re in over your head.”

She studied us, not afraid to meet our gazes—she had enough experience with us to know it meant a challenge. “I’ll be in touch,” she said finally and walked out of the emergency room into the midmorning light.

Ben and I took up places in the waiting room on hard plastic chairs as far away from everyone else as we could get. I leaned on his shoulder, and he put his arm around me, and even though we were in a hospital emergency room, it was nice getting to rest for a moment. We waited until the doctors turned Cormac loose with a big orange bottle of pills and a blue ice pack. His arm was in a sling, encased in an off-white fiberglass cast that went past his elbow. I couldn’t tell if he was in any pain. He had a serious, stoic expression, same as always.

Ben took the pills and ice packs from the nurse, and that Cormac didn’t argue about the help told me something about his state of mind.

“Where’d you leave your Jeep?” Ben asked.

“By the church,” he answered.

“Right. Kitty, if you drop me off I can pick it up before it gets towed, and meet you back at the condo.”

“You can just take me home,” Cormac said. “I’ll be fine.”

“Nope,” Ben said. “I’m not leaving you alone with a broken arm and a bottle of codeine.”

“I’ll be fine.”

But he couldn’t do a thing about it. He only had one arm, and whatever they’d doped him up with to set the break left him shockingly docile as we guided him to the backseat of the sedan and strapped him in.

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