Kitty Raises Hell Page 33

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She wrinkled her nose when she saw what I was doing. “What is that?”

“It’s a long story.”

“Is that going to kill my lawn?”

That was something I hadn’t considered. But blood was high in nutrients, right? A fertilizer? “No,” I said, and hoped I was right.

“Okay,” she drawled, hands on hips, glaring at me. “I may regret asking this, but why are you doing this?”

I tried to be as brief and clear as possible. “There’s this demon attacking me—it’s responsible for the fire at New Moon. This is a protection potion. It’s supposed to keep you all safe.”

She let me work in silence for a few more moments. Then, “Why is this demon attacking you?”

“I pissed some people off in Vegas. Long story.”

Another long pause before she said, “Kitty, you’re my sister and I love you, but have you ever considered another line of work?”

I had absolutely no response to that. I giggled. “I’m sorry. I try to be careful, honest. These things just happen .”

“Are we really in danger? Is this like last time?”

“No, this is nothing like last time, and you’re not in danger. This is just a precaution.” This was like dealing with the pack—I had to sound confident.

Cheryl looked skeptical.

“So,” I said. “How are Mark and the kids?”

“They’re fine. You’re changing the subject.”

I stopped and faced her. “This’ll work. And you have to promise not to tell Mom. I did their house already. They don’t need to know.”

I expected her to argue, but she didn’t. Because she understood. We both wanted to protect our mother from anything that might upset her. This would probably upset her.

She walked with me as I finished the circle of protection. Mission accomplished.

“I guess I’d better get going,” I said.

“How much trouble are you in, really?” she said, arms crossed.

“A lot, I think. But I’m working on it.”

“Be careful.” She sounded very serious.

“Yeah. Let me know if anything weird happens, okay?”

“Weirder than usual?”

“Yeah,” I said, smiling. “That.”

We hugged. I left another jar of the stuff with her, just in case. She waited to watch me drive away before going back inside.

My cell phone rang Tuesday morning when Ben and I were still in bed. I didn’t want to answer it, but I couldn’t pretend it wasn’t my phone, because it played “I Wanna Be Sedated.” It went almost all the way through the chorus before Ben grunted and poked me, forcing me to action.

Caller ID read Hardin. I groaned.

The very last thing I needed in the midst of all this was a call from Detective Jessi Hardin. She was the Denver PD’s resident expert on what they called paranatural situations. If a body turned up in a back alley that looked like it had been mauled by a wolf or drained of blood, she headed the investigation. This was mostly through happenstance and Hardin’s bullheaded determination to educate herself now that these things—these monsters—were in the open and publicly acknowledged. She was a believer, and the supernatural didn’t scare her. No, it only pissed her off.

For some reason, she always called me when she stumbled across something new and freaky. Like I knew any more than she did.

I didn’t want to answer, but if I didn’t, she’d show up in person. She usually brought along crime-scene photos of dead bodies. I wanted to avoid that if I could.

Just before the call would be shunted to voice mail, I answered. “You have a body, don’t you?”

“I have a body,” she answered, but without the peppy sarcasm I had come to expect from her. One of the things that made her good at her work was a sense of humor.

“I guarantee you it wasn’t werewolves this time, I promise.” If one of my pack attacked a person, I’d deal with the murderer myself.

“I know. This is something completely different. Kitty—”

“That doesn’t make me feel any better. Why are you calling me? Are you going to show me gruesome crime-scene photos?”

“Kitty, be quiet for a minute, please.”

I shut up, because she sounded serious, stone serious, like she wanted to be doing anything other than having this conversation.

She said, “Do you know a man named Mick Cabrerra?”

The name took a minute to click, because I’d heard his last name maybe twice in my life. But I knew only one Mick, and my mind turned worried circles wondering what my disgruntled werewolf minion could have gotten into. “Yes.”

Hardin’s voice was strained. “We found his body last night. I’m sorry.”

“What?” I’m afraid I squeaked. “What? But how? I saw him just a couple days ago, he was fine. What could kill him—he’s a werewolf. Did you know he’s a werewolf? He can’t be dead.”

“Yes. The blood test is standard autopsy procedure now. We haven’t been able to reach any next of kin, and he had your name and number in his wallet as an emergency contact. Was he part of your pack?”

“Yes,” I said quietly. “But how did he die?”

She sighed, which meant it was something odd, unusual, something she didn’t want to talk about. “It’s complicated. But there was a fire.”

Somehow, strangely, that didn’t surprise me. Fire had been hunting us, and now it had gotten one of us. I didn’t want to picture Mick burned up like that, dying like that. I closed my eyes as the breath went out of me.

“Do you want to come down to the morgue? To see him? We can talk about it in person, if you’d like.”

I wasn’t sure I wanted to see him; I’d already seen enough bodies. But I thought that later on I might want the closure.

“Okay, yeah,” I said. “I should do that.”

“We’re going to spend a little while longer looking for his family.”

“I’m not sure he has any family, Detective.”

“Then you may be it. But we can talk about that later. Do you need directions to get here?”

Ben was awake, sitting up, and looking at me as I listened to the directions and tried to memorize them. I’d probably have to look it up anyway. Or maybe Ben would know. I’m not sure what kind of desperate, forlorn expression I showed him. He touched my leg.

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