Home > Hunter's Trail (Scarlett Bernard #3)(12)

Hunter's Trail (Scarlett Bernard #3)(12)
Author: Melissa F. Olson

Molly grunted as she hefted the bag onto her back, showing no sign of its weight. Go Molly, I thought. Trying not to lean on the cane too hard, I stumped past the still wolves, careful to keep Molly in my radius.

As she passed Miguel, Molly couldn’t resist a last comment. “Nice doggie. Stay.” I held my breath, but although the big werewolf’s face clouded over with fury, he made no move to touch her.

“Goddammit, Molly,” I muttered. I went straight to the van’s back doors and opened them for her. Ordinarily, I’d put a body in my van’s built-in freezer compartment, but we were passing it off as furniture, so I just pointed to the carpeted back floor and she hefted it in. As she pushed the doors shut I was already rounding the van to the driver’s seat, forgetting for a moment that Molly had driven us here. I wanted to get the hell out of there, but she paused at the back doors, leisurely peeling off her surgical gloves and pulling the keys out of her pocket. “Come on, Molls,” I whispered.

She slammed the back doors shut finally, but before she could take a single step toward the passenger door the stocky werewolf came tearing out of Will’s house. Crap. I had forgotten all about him. “Hey!” he yelled from the doorway. “I know every stick of furniture in this house, and none of it’s missing!”

Chapter 6

All four werewolves turned their heads as one to stare at me. Then a slow, devious smile spread across Molly’s face, and she gave me a nod. “See you at home,” she mouthed. She tossed me the keys, and as they sailed toward me the bubble of tension popped and the werewolves sprang toward the van.

I was already throwing my cane in and hopping up onto the seat. I started the van and instinctively pounded my hurt leg onto the gas pedal, ignoring the responding blaze of pain in my knee. The van shot onto the street (this, folks, is why we always back into the driveway) and I felt Molly leave my radius.

I steered the van back down the little dead-end road, while trying to keep one eye on the rearview mirror. Behind me, the wolves were now right at the end of the driveway, practically in the street. All four of them were silhouetted against Will’s house lights, advancing in a semicircle toward Molly, who stood a few feet into the road. Would she be okay? Then again, what could I really do if she wasn’t? I needed to call Will.

For a fumbling moment I tried pulling my cell phone out of my pocket with one hand, steering with the other while simultaneously watching the rearview mirror and ignoring the excruciating pain in my knee. It went about like you’d expect—if what you expected is a resounding fail. The van began to list to the side, and I dropped the phone when I had to put my right hand on the wheel to correct my course. Swearing, I mashed the brake with my good left leg, causing the cell to skitter deep into the passenger seat foot well. Awesome.

Abandoning the phone, I stared at the rearview mirror, worried. Molly had always talked like she could take the werewolves easily when they were in human form, but I’d never actually seen any vampire go up against werewolves, thanks to the treaty. For a long beat she stood with her arms open in a relaxed, welcoming position—then she abruptly vanished from sight, leaving the angry werewolves standing in the driveway, grouped around nothing. I breathed a sigh of relief. I hadn’t been expecting Molly to run away, but she’d be fine. Even in their human form, werewolves are a lot faster than most people, but they’d have to shape-shift to have a chance of catching a vampire. I put my foot back on the gas, gingerly, and began creeping forward again. I needed to go slow until I could get far enough away to put the van in park and rearrange my hurt leg. Not to mention retrieve my phone.

When I checked the mirror again, though, I could see the short figure of Anastasia gesturing wildly at the van, at me. Then she was ripping off her shirt, her pants quickly following, and the others were disrobing too, though not quite so quickly. After a second I realized that she was trying to talk the others into chasing me down in the van. Not good. I didn’t have Molly with me anymore, which meant that technically they wouldn’t be violating the peace treaty if they hurt me. I pressed down harder on the gas, ignoring the pain. They were going to hunt my van like it was a frickin’ buffalo. Werewolves are basically indestructible, and they can run forever. They could just follow me to the nearest red light and—

But as I checked the mirror again, a shadow flew across the street so fast I only had a sense of it, rather than actually seeing it. The werewolf farthest from the house, a man in the process of pulling his shirt over his head, suddenly disappeared in a flying tackle. I grinned stupidly. That had been Miguel, and that had been Molly.

I relaxed in my seat. Technically Molly had just violated the treaty by drawing first blood, but I knew she wouldn’t kill them. She could still get in trouble, but only if someone told Dashiell or Will, and I didn’t see any of these wolves wanting to advertise what had just happened.

I decided not to call Will until I had a chance to talk to her.

A few minutes later, my adrenaline faded, and the pain in my knee crashed into my brain fast enough to make me dizzy. Goddamned vertigo. I pulled over. “Scarlett,” I said into the rearview mirror, “I really don’t think you should be driving.”

Even after rearranging my leg, it took me almost an hour to finish the job and get back to Molly’s. I was too battered to limp up the stairs, so I just stripped and washed off the worst of the night in the downstairs bathroom. Molly had run a load of laundry for me and left the basket of clean clothes sitting on the kitchen table like a gift from the flying spaghetti monster itself. I dressed in baggy running pants and a T-shirt, then sacked out on the couch with a sheet and my downstairs stash of painkillers. I swallowed two pills, enough to knock me out before I had to think too long about the dead body I’d been handling just an hour earlier.

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