Kitty Saves the World Page 21

“What exactly are you expecting to happen?” Hardin asked.

“If I knew that, I wouldn’t be worried,” I said. Roman was on the move. Mercedes was on the move, or at least she had been. That demon—Ashtoreth—was out and about. We must have kicked over someone’s sand castle to get that reaction.

I wanted to be home, to brace for whatever happened next. Roman always kicked back.

Of course, getting back home “right now” involved a seven-hour drive on no sleep. I argued with myself—maybe we should stop, hole up in a hotel room, get some rest before leaving. Surely everything would be okay.

But I called Shaun again, and he still wasn’t answering. I scrolled through the contacts list on my phone. I knew a lot of people. Usually that gave me a warm happy feeling. I had friends, a support network. Right now, though, I’d put every single one of those people at risk.

Hardin declared that she would drive the sedan, with Tina resting in the backseat. They could travel at an easy pace and stop if they needed to. Ben, Cormac, and I would speed back in the Jeep. Our pack of three.

Before we left, Hardin called her department. She walked a little ways out and I only heard her half of the conversation, but when she returned, she seemed confident.

“I’ve got a note to the patrol cars,” she said. “They’re keeping a lookout; they’ll let me know if they see anything funny.”

I sighed, relieved. Allies. Everything was going to be fine. I was probably freaking out over nothing. We weren’t important or dangerous enough for Roman to want to strike back at. Yeah, right.

*   *   *

CORMAC DROVE, Ben rode in the passenger seat, and I was crammed into the tiny back, along with crates and containers filled with who knew what arcane gear. Maybe just road flares and a spare tire kit. What did I know? A few hours into the trip, crossing into Colorado and still heading north, dawn broke, and I called Cheryl.

“Kitty, what is it?” she said, and I melted with relief. Finally, someone answered their phone. She sounded awake, but tired. I probably should have checked the time first, but she’d be up—she had kids, right?

“Hey, Cheryl, is everything okay? Like, with you and Mom and Dad and everyone?”

Now she sounded confused. “Um, yeah? Except Nicky got detention yesterday. Nine-year-olds shouldn’t be getting detention.”

My brow furrowed. Well, that was a distraction. “What did she do?”

“Near as I can figure, she started a fight with a kid who was flipping girls’ skirts up with a stick at recess.”

Did that kind of thing actually happen? “Huh. Good for her, I say.”

“I know, right? That’s what I told the principal.”

“At least tell me the skirt flipper got detention, too.”

“Yes. That’s the only reason I’m not going nuclear on them.”

“Well, I say give her a cape and a mask and let her go. But other than that there’s nothing … weird going on, right? No strangers lurking around, no bad vibes.”

“No?” she said, but didn’t sound sure. Probably because I didn’t know what the hell I was talking about.

“Okay. Will you call me if you see anything, you know, weird?”

“Like werewolf weird?” she said.

“Yeah, I think.” Time to wrap this up before I scared her. “Sorry. Gotta run. Love you.”

“Okay, you, too—”

I clicked off, then called Shaun again. Still no answer. I tried Becky next. She was another longtime member of our pack, a tough woman I could usually count on to know what was up.

No answer.

I left a message, sent a text, then tried another of the werewolves. The numbers for everyone in my pack were on my phone, and I went down the whole list. No one answered, no one texted back. Maybe everyone was having a hoedown while the alphas were away. Then I tried New Moon again. Still no answer. I had to consciously slow down my breathing.

“Kitty?” Ben murmured. He’d been napping in the Jeep’s passenger seat.

“Nobody’s answering. New Moon isn’t answering. There’s something wrong.”

“There’s a logical explanation.” His sureness was forced. “Maybe you just caught everyone at a bad time. What is it, six in the morning?”

Almost everyone kept phones nearby. Someone would answer, even at the crack of dawn.

Cormac glanced at me in the rearview mirror. “We’re still two hours out of Denver; we can’t do anything about it right now. Just hold on.”

Ben reached back and held my hand. “I’m sure there’s a logical reason why no one’s answering their phones.”

“I can think of several,” I said flatly. “All bad.” I squeezed his hand back. The touch helped.

When my phone rang about a half an hour later, I jumped, flinching so hard I banged my knees on the back of the front seats. Hardly noticed, because I was too busy grabbing my phone, looking to see who had finally called back. Shaun, I hoped.

Caller ID said Detective Hardin. The other car had fallen an hour or two behind us. Tina was hopped up on painkillers and they were taking it slowly to avoid her getting motion sickness. I answered, hoping she hadn’t gotten seriously sick.

“Detective, what is it?” I asked, gripping the phone hard enough my fingers hurt.

She took a deep breath. I imagined that was the same kind of deep breath she took before telling someone their loved one had been in an accident. “Kitty. I just got a call from one of the patrol officers.”

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