Jared's Wolf Page 5

Now the smile did reach his eyes. "Oh, Moira. Have I told you how much I love you today?"

They laughed together, like littermates.

Chapter Five

Jared told himself to stop worrying about Moira.


Which was annoying, because he had far more important things to worry about. His sister's murder had been too long unavenged. He was in place at last, ready to strike, a blonde, blue jean wearing hammer of vengeance.

But instead of oiling his guns, practicing his sleeper hold and making sure his revenge T-shirt was clean—in general, fantasizing about blood and screaming and other good stuff like that—he was fretting about blondie.

He didn't dare go back out to the porch. Every time he saw the hole in the roof and the scattered debris on the floor, he cringed, an action frowned upon by the Marines and the varied underworld types who'd helped him prepare for this week. She had been so desperate to get away from him that she'd flung herself out the window! She had been so desperate to get away from him she had fled on foot—with nothing more than a duck-laden shower curtain covering that lovely bod! As each hour passed he felt more and more like a Grade A jerk . . . and more and more frantic with worry.

He'd canvassed the quiet neighborhood, with no luck. She'd probably holed up somewhere to nurse a thousand wounds (and a million splinters). Probably dying! All because of—

The doorbell rang.

Jared blinked. No one in town knew who he was, it was too early for Girl Scout cookies, and was there still such a thing as a Welcome Wagon?

Had Wyndham sent the Welcome Wagon?

As was his habit, Jared fretted while he cleaned his guns. So he actually held a freshly oiled Beretta. It was a moment's work to slap a full clip in and slide a load into the chamber. Still barefoot and shirtless from his earlier (incredible, wonderful, marvelous lovemaking) tryst with (beautiful, gorgeous Moira) blondie, he padded to the door. By the time he reached it, the delicate tapping became an insistent pounding. Jared flung the door open, his gun already leveled.

At Moira's forehead.

"You're a limited man," was all she said, walking past him. Carrying a suitcase, no less. He stared. He couldn't help himself. She looked as pretty as a spring daisy, wearing a yellow dress which made her eyes seem a darker lavender, almost purple. The hem of the dress stopped a modest inch below her knees, which did nothing to disguise the fact that she was walking around on a world-class pair of stems.

The back of the dress plunged in a deep V, showing off creamy white skin.

"Well," she said, when it was obvious all he could do was gape at her, "I'm back."


She rolled her eyes and muttered something under her breath. "I . . . said . . . I'm . . . back . . ." she enunciated loudly, as if he was feeble or deaf. Right now, he felt feeble. "I'm staying with you until we get this mess straightened out."

He had the dim feeling he was in the presence of a greater intellect. And awesome tits! He shook his head, hard. Focus, moron, he ordered himself. "Mess?"

"Yes. You're here to do something wretched, horrid, awful, to my friend and boss, Michael Wyndham.

I'm here to talk you out of it."

Now he was focused, laser-sharp. "No chance."


"He—he's a monster. He killed someone I loved."

Not a blink from blondie. Not a twitch, not a fake show of sympathy. Just a cool, "No. He didn't."

Jared was surprised, both at her assurance and her inference. And frankly, not hearing her ooze sympathy was something of a relief. Women were either scared shitless of him, or felt sorry for him.

Neither was conducive to hominess. And he didn't want Moira's pity. He especially didn't want her fear.

It was very important she not be afraid. He couldn't bear it if she flinched back from him.

Jesus, why the hell did he care? Why should it matter if she was scared shitless of him? It would just make his job easier. And how could she defend the monsters so quickly, without knowing any of the details?

"Maybe not him," he said at last. "But one of his dogs."

At 'dogs' her upper lip curled, revealing lovely white teeth. He plunged ahead, unable to believe they were having this conversation. He was explaining things to the woman who worked for the man who murdered his sister! "Whatever or whoever, Wyndham is responsible. I don't give two fucks for the details. He's the boss dog. So he's going to tell me where I can find the dog responsible."

"I'll be glad to help you find out who hurt the person you cared for," she said quietly, hefting her suitcase and starting toward the stairs, "but you're wrong about Michael. Totally utterly completely wrong. I'll be around until I can convince you of that."

He watched her climb the stairs, silent. After a moment he wrenched his gaze from her legs and forced himself to think. His gut told him Moira was one of the good guys. His brain screamed exactly the opposite. But he was not the world's greatest thinker, as his father, training instructors, and commanding officers had pointed out on several occasions. He was alive today because he'd listened to his instincts and ignored his brain. He'd be a fool to ignore his gut now, when he was so close.

Moira was a veritable treasure trove of information. Not that she planned on telling him shit. His admiration, already high, went a notch higher. She was a safe, and if he cracked her with just the right tools, he'd get the gold.

After a while he unloaded the gun, put it away, and went up after her.

Chapter Six

"So . . . what? We're roomies?" Jared asked

"Yes." Moira unpacked the suitcase, shoved her clothes into the empty bureau by the window. And tried very, very hard not to show how pleased she was to see him again. She wasn't the first woman in her family to feel like this, she remembered with excitement and despair. Her mother, too, had been torn between desire and duty. Except her mother had been human, and her father a beta werewolf who left to form his own pack. Left her mother, pregnant and alone in a city by the sea. If not for Michael's father taking them in . . .

There was a lesson there: love made you stupid. On her deathbed, her mother had praised her former lover, who'd planted his seed one night and then left to better himself. Moira loved her mother, but hated weakness.

"I appreciate what you're trying to do—I think," Jared was saying, sounding confused—as usual. "And I'm glad to see you're all right. In fact, I'm pretty interested in hearing the tale of your trip back to the mansion. And what you did with my shower curtain—I bought a new one, by the way, in case you need to—uh—freshen up. But I'm still a little confused."

"I'm not surprised."

He ignored the sarcasm. "What exactly do you do for Wyndham?"

"I'm his accountant."

"His accountant."


"Uh . . . you don't look like an accountant."

"Obviously I do, because I am one." 'Accountant' was understating it a bit. She had a Master's in Business Finance, another Master's in International Business Relations, and (this one had been for fun) a Master's in Japanese Literature. "What does your accountant look like?"

"I don't have an accountant," he admitted. "I made about eight grand last year."

Eight grand! She'd signed off on that much for the birthday celebration the week Lara had been born.

Heck, her Christmas bonus had been almost twice that. "Hmm. The revenge business isn't terribly lucrative?"

He smiled, which, annoyingly, she felt down to her knees. "That's about right. You know, Moira, if you're going to stay here, we should probably set up some ground rules."

"Such as . . . ?" Here came the tiresome human stuff . . . he'd sleep on the couch, they'd draw up a bathroom schedule, they'd talk out their feelings in a really reallyconstructive way. He'd explain about how difficult it was to be a modern man when all he really wanted to do was cry and share his enlightened consciousness with some poor bitch, and she'd pretend not to be semi-conscious with boredom.

She squared her shoulders. She would endure much for Michael and Jeannie and Lara. Torture. A physical beating. Sharing feelings in a constructive way. "I'm hearing what you are saying," she said, obediently quoting Redbook. "What rules?"

"Well," he said, and she noticed—how had this escaped her?—that he was unbuckling his belt. Now he was sliding his jeans down his long thighs and he wasn't wearing underwear. Now he was kicking the jeans in a pile, pulling his shirt over his head and yanking the band out of his hair. He grinned and then they were flying backward and landing on the bed, his cool nakedness pressed against her, warming her through the thin fabric of her dress. His hair tickled her chin and smelled like wild perfume. "The first rule, I think, is that we should be naked, pretty much all the time."

She laughed. She couldn't help it. Then she was laughing into his mouth as he kissed her. Her hands raced over him, greedy, and he was groping her with about as much finesse. She didn't care. Something about his scent drove her right out of her mind. She thought his first rule was a fine one.

Their thoughts:

He wants to hurt the pack.

She works for the monsters.

But in this moment of clean lust, logic had no force. The only thing that mattered was skin on skin, mouth on mouth. Preferably for hours.

There was a purring riiiiiiiip, and then her dress was in pieces. "I'll care about that," she said, panting,


"I'll buy you a new one." He issued a low growl, and then his mouth was on one of her nipples, and then, even better, his teeth were.

"That dress was worth one tenth of your total earnings last year."

"God, I love it when you figure out percentages in your head," he moaned. She could feel his beard stubble between her breasts . . . on her stomach . . . between her thighs. "Now talk to me about IRA rollovers and 401(k)s."

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