Kitty's Big Trouble Page 14

Ben managed to wrestle out from under the pile of bodies. Lips drawn back to show teeth, face contorted in fury, he grabbed the head of the one who had his hands on me and wrenched. With a yelp, the guy fell over, scrambling to regain his balance.

A shadow and the scent of a newcomer—human—appeared at the end of the street. The intrusion was shocking to all of us; we broke apart, separating into our packs. Ben and I stood shoulder to shoulder, facing the three men fanned out before us.

The figure at the end of the street was Cormac. The smell of him boosted me, giving me the confidence to turn on our attackers.

“Message from Roman, huh?” I shouted at them. “Screw that!”

They were wary of Cormac, glancing at him when they weren’t staring at me. Backing away from us both, they finally broke and ran around the next corner.

I would have chased them, but Ben fell to his knees, groaning. He smelled of blood, seeping out of cuts across his face and the chest of his torn shirt. And he smelled of fur. Agitated, he struggled out of his blazer—also torn—and yanked at the strap of the gun holster, trying to pull it off. His hands showed wolf’s claws, and tawny fur brushed his arms.

Cormac did chase them, to the corner at the next block, but he stopped and looked back when Ben fell.

“Ben, no,” I said, crouching before him and clutching his arms. His muscles were taut, bracing against the need to shape-shift.

He clamped shut his eyes, grit his teeth, and doubled over, hugging himself, as if he could hold it inside. Trying to hold the wolf in when the Change was so far along hurt—so much easier to let it go. We were in the middle of San Francisco—he had no place to run. We weren’t safe. I folded myself over him, holding him as much as I could, helping him. Resting my face on his shoulder, I murmured at him, letting my breath caress him so he could smell me trying to give comfort, to anchor him.

“Keep it together,” I said. “Hold it in, please Ben, hold tight.”

His body trembled. I couldn’t tell if he was shaking from shock, or if that was his wolf breaking free of his human skin. I thought he was going to burst. His breaths came in rapid, heavy gasps.

Cormac approached.

“No!” I shouted at him. “Stay back!” I might have snarled, baring my teeth at him, threatening.

Ben threw his head back and screamed. I held tight, my arms wrapped around his body; no matter what happened I’d keep holding. He clung back, and the scream faded to a moan.

“Please stay with me,” I breathed against his ear.

We stayed like that for such a long time. My legs cramped, the pavement bruised my knees, but I didn’t dare move in case it pushed him over the edge. I had to wait, hoping he trusted me, felt safe with me, and pulled himself home.

Then, Ben’s hands closed over my arms. And they were hands, with human fingers and no claws. His breathing slowed. Inch by inch, muscles released, softening. He leaned against me instead of holding himself rigid.

Kneeling in front of him, I put my hands against his cheeks. He was chilled and sweaty. I tried to press warmth into him, to make his face relax along with the rest of him. Sweat soaked his hair.

“Look at me,” I whispered. He showed me hazel eyes, catching what little light still reached us to glow gold. Exhaustion, sadness pulled at his features. “Shh, you’re fine, you came back to me. It’s okay.” I kept murmuring until he could do more than stare at me.

He collapsed into my arms. “Kitty,” he moaned, his arms squeezed tight around me, hands clenched against me. I hugged back, my eyes stinging with tears. This had been so close, but we were both human now, solid and human, body against body.

“It’s okay,” I said, my face against his neck, skin to skin. I licked his chin, a wolfish gesture. He tipped his head to catch my lips with his and we kissed, needy and relieved.

Maybe he believed me, maybe he was all right. But he didn’t let go.

I glanced up; Cormac waited patiently at the end of the alley, keeping his distance. That prompted Ben to turn, to follow my gaze. He quickly looked away again, leaning his head against my shoulder.

“How is he?” Cormac called.

“How are you?” I whispered to Ben. He shook his head, but heaved a sigh, and the last of the rage and terror left him. When he pulled away from me, I felt cold.

He met my gaze. “That was too close.” His voice scratched, rough from growling.

“Yeah,” I said, rubbing my arms, returning to warmth.

“They wanted to hurt you.”

“They didn’t. I’m fine.” He rubbed a spot on my jaw, and the skin stung. A scratch or cut. So they’d gotten me. “I’m sorry—I should have let you shoot him.”

He shook his head. “He was faster than me—they all were. I’d have missed.”

“Let’s get out of here,” I said, pushing to my feet, holding my hand to him. We helped each other up.

We faced Cormac, who just stared. I couldn’t guess what he thought of this.

“I had you in sight,” the hunter said, breaking the silence. “Spotted them just as they moved on you.”

“You weren’t planning on trying to stop them, were you?” I said. Cormac used to hunt rogue werewolves. He had a whole arsenal of weapons and silver bullets, but since serving a prison term for a manslaughter conviction, the guns were off limits. Him getting into a hand-to-hand fight with a werewolf was unthinkable.

“I think I may have distracted them. Scared them off. Ben—you okay?”

Ben looked away.

Any chance we’d had to follow our attackers was gone. Maybe we could track their scent, but it would be easy to disappear in the city. Staying with Ben was my priority. I wrapped my arm around his, keeping him close.

“Did you get a look at them?” I asked Cormac.

“They had a van waiting,” Cormac said. “I got the plate, but I don’t know how much good it’ll do us. They looked like professional heavies to me.”

I shook my head. “Well, we got what we wanted and flushed them out.”

Cormac asked, “Do you think they were trying to kill you or just hurt you badly?”

“There are easier ways to kill a couple of werewolves.” My breathing had steadied, but my senses were still on trip wires. I took a moment to look myself over, and Ben. We were scratched and bruised, clothing torn, blood flecking our arms and faces. Our skin had gravel embedded in it from where we scraped along the pavement. We needed to wash up. We needed to get out of town—and maybe that was the point. Send a message, scare us off. “Let’s find someplace to sit down,” I said.

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies