Read Claiming Their Cat Online

Authors: Maggie O'Malley

Tags: #Romance, #Erotic, #Suspense, #paranormal, #Werewolf, #menage

Claiming Their Cat (6 page)

“You haven’t destroyed it?” Cold terror swept over her. “Alvarez could be sending his people after me right now.”

“I’m sure he has done that which is why I want to lead him away from the diner.”

All this cloak and dagger stuff wasn’t settling on her empty stomach. She’d just assumed he’d
smashed
it when he dug it out of her, but now he was sending Alvarez on a wild goose chase. “Alvarez will be pissed when he figures it out.”

“Yep.”

“Yep? Is that all you can say?”

He
glanced
at her
before
slipping on his sunshades.
“Don’t worry about Alvarez.
I can handle him. You need to eat and rest and get healthy.”

Why
was the only word bouncing around in her head.
Was he going to negotiate for more money? Who knew how Alvarez would react
, but it was never good
. Maybe Rio wasn’t as smart as she’d thought.

The next time she woke up, he was pulling into an urgent care.
“What are we doing here?”

“Getting you checked out.”

“You can’t put me in the system. He’ll find me for sure.”

“I know. I have a friend that owes me a favor.”

“Or else?”

“What does that mean?”

“Or else, you’ll kill him.”

“No, I’m particular about who I kill, and someone who helps me out ain’t on the list.”

Okay, that suspiciously sounded like a conscience. Rio opened the door for her and kept his hand on her arm as she slid out of the
big
honking truck. All of that surprised her because that would mean he had manners. Then he
swooped
her up
into his arms
.

“Just let the doc check you out. Don’t cause any trouble. You and I will talk after we see to you and the baby.”

After sliding through the door with her in his arms, she was surprised when he gave the receptionist a warm smile and went straight back. The woman behind the desk just smiled at him as if he’d done this a thousand times. Did he call ahead while she had n
apped
in the truck?

He maneuvered to the last door on the right. The room was cold, stark white and a little on the small side, or it could be that Rio’s
big
honking frame took up all the space. “Wait right here,” he said.

“Sure.” When the door clicked shut, she replied, “Not.” She hobbled over to the window hoping that it was one that opened. She smiled when she flipped the lock. Of course, she had no plan.
Cat
couldn’t steal his truck because Mr. Paranoid locked it, but she’d sure as hell hide until it was safe to come out. She pushed up on the sash and inwardly groaned when it didn’t budge. “Come on, now.”
Bending her knees, she put some oomph behind it, and the window moaned as it slid up.
Cat
wanted to moan too. Now, to get her clumsy ass out of it.

Draping her leg over the ledge, she slipped out the window scraping her inner thigh, but hell
she didn’t care about that. Her heart rattled around in her chest. On a whim, she closed the window and headed for the
rear
of the building. Surely, there was somewhere to hide back there. Too
bad
this wasn’t a strip mall with more places to hide.

 

 

Rio closed the
door and set out to find Lucy. The sooner he got his Cat checked out, the faster he could go into hiding. He’d crushed and thrown the tracker out the window about fifty miles back. That should buy him enough time if those looking for her were anywhere close. Lucy wasn’t in her office, so he went back to the front.

“She knows you’re here.
She’s with a patient, and she knows you’re
impatient
.”

Rio grinned. Marge was an older lady
who
kept the urgent care running with the upmost efficiency. “Marge, what would I do without you?”

“I sometimes wonder that myself. Of course, you can always make another donation to one of my charities.”

That was Marge. Always angling for some money. “Okay, which is it this time, SPCA or the Children’s Fund, or maybe Save the Cock Fighting Roosters Campaign.”

She grinned not at all affected by his sarcasm. “Neither.
How about the Wolf Rehab near Santa Fe?
Seems there’s been a rash of traps that have done a lot of damage.”

Rio winced. Years ago, the wolf population was all but annihilated in the US. Now their numbers were back, but humans were overrunning their roaming territory. “That’s a great idea.”
Rio pulled out his wallet and placed three hundred on the counter.
“Will that do?”

Marge beamed. “Oh yes, that will do nicely. The injured wolves thank you.”

“I’m sure they do.”

“Where’s my patient,” Lucy bellowed from down the hall.

Rio frowned and headed toward Lucy who was standing just outside Cat’s room. His gut cramped. His fear for her was quickly replaced by anger. She was running—he could feel it in his bones.

He stepped into the room
, inhaled deep. There was a hint of agitation under the scent of exhaustion. She couldn’t have gotten
very
far in her condition. The clinic was a single building, so asking for help was limited on her part. But if she conned someone into give her a ride, he was going to paddle her ass.

“She doesn’t like you. That’s got to be a first. You want to tell me what’s going on?”

Lucy stood in the doorway, hands on her slim hips. She’d done several jobs for him under the table. The only thing she wouldn’t do was
patch
up a knifing or gunshot wound without telling the authorities. It was the law, and he had to respect that. “It’s a little complicated. She’s a little complicated.”
Hell, that was an understatement
.

“Why is she running from you?”

“Someone’s after her, and she thinks I’m gonna pay good money to patch her up and then send her back.”

“Bounty on her head?”

He nodded.
“Something like that.”

“You know, I’ll have to call the authorities if she asks for asylum.”

“I know. You just need to convince her that I
wo
n’t hurt her. Make her like me. Tell her what a terrific guy I am.”

Lucy crossed her arms over her chest and cocked a brow.
“What’s really going on?”

“Nothing. I’m the only one who can save her, but she doesn’t know that and I can’t
do the saving
if she’s running around outside.”

“I’ll
go
with you. Maybe she can relate to me better.”

He crossed to her and grabbed her arms. “Thanks
,
Lucy. As usual, I’ll owe you more than I can ever repay you.” He kissed her on the forehead, like a sister because that’s what he thought of her. She was a
good
doc and had helped him out on many occasions.

Rio
headed for the back of the building hoping to find the hellcat before she passed out, got herself hurt
,
or worse. She didn’t come this way because he couldn’t scent her. Did the stupid woman go out the window? Once outside, he smiled. There weren’t many places to hide out here.
He went one way, and Lucy went the other.
When he reached the ratty dumpster, he smelled her
scent
along with the garbage.
She wouldn’t
,
would she?

He stopped outside the green bin and motioned for Lucy. He could just imagine what was rolling through Lucy’s mind and none of it good.
She gave him that I’m-gonna-kick-your-ass look.
What could he say?

He eased the plastic lid up. Cat was crouched in the back holding her nose. He extended his hand to her. She looked at it and then her gaze found his.
Her lower lip quivered causing him to reconsider blasting her for being so stupid.
God only knew what germs she was wallowing around in.

Cat
eased her shaking hand into his. It was cold, not a
good
sign. She continued to hold her nose as she stood up. He reached over, grabbed her waist, and hauled her out.
His hellcat
dropped her head, maybe waiting for him to chastise her, but he wasn’t going to do that. Her emotions were killing him.
She was afraid, disappointed, and swayed on her feet.

“Cat, this is Doc Lucy. She’s gonna take care of you, okay?”

Cat barely nodded.

“Come with me. I think a bath is probably what you need first.” Lucy gently took her arm and led her back inside. Rio followed at a discreet distance. He didn’t want to add insult to injury, or whatever the hell that saying was.

 

 

The water rolling
over Cat’s skin was heaven. Four or maybe five days without taking a bath was torture, but it couldn’t hold a candle to a dumpster. God, what made her think that was a good idea? She used an old bucket beside the bin as a step, but getting her butt over the edge had been a challenge. How the hell did Rio find her? Never in a million years would she suspect anyone to hide in a dumpster, so how did Rio figure it out?

She scrubbed her body and washed her hair trying to get the garbage scent out. Could she stay in here forever? Unfortunately, the shower was small with no seat, and she was about to fall. Turning the soothing water off took a lot of will power. Pulling the curtain back, she was surprised to see the lady offering her a towel instead of Rabid Rio.

“Let’s get you dried off.”
The towel was so big and fluffy; she just wanted to wrap in it and lay down.
After she
dried off, the
woman
handed her an extra-large green gown open down the back or front depending on how you choose to wear it.
It reminded her that she was finally going to get a checkup for Cat2, and she prayed everything w
ould be
fine.

Back in her exam room, Rio casually lean
ed
against the wall.

“Out,” the doctor ordered.

His gaze slid from her to the doc, and he casually cocked a
dark
brow.
Apparently, he wasn’t used to taking orders. She wondered if these two
were
lovers. If not, she was extremely comfortable with telling him what to do.

“I gave her a shot of antibiotic just for good measure,” he said.

“What kind? Most antibiotics are okay for pregnant women.”

“Amoxicillin. And at the time, I didn’t know she was pregnant.”

“That one’s okay.”

“I had to stitch up her shoulder.”

Cat was amazed he didn’t mention the transmitter. Was
it
because he didn’t want the doc to know how much trouble
she’d
be in if Alvarez found out?

“I’ll look at it. Out you go, and tell Marge to find me a
sonogram
machine.” He pushed away from the wall and stopped in front of Cat. “Are you okay?”

He seemed genuinely concerned when she expected him to yell at her for trying to escape. Cat could only nod, her voice was still somewhere back in that disgusting dumpster. His face was unreadable as usual. When the door closed, the paper on the bed crinkled when the doc patted it.

Cat sat on the bed while the doctor snapped on a pair of latex gloves. She’d had a few exams from that quack doc that Alvarez owned, but she doubted the worth of them. The quack was only
good
at patching up the men who’d gotten wounded doing Alvarez’s dirty work. God, she wasn’t even sure the man took a bath, let alone washed his hands before surgery.

The doc listened to her heart and lungs, before taking her temp, blood pressure, and pulse.
Then she examined the stitches. They were sore when the doc pressed around them. “All that looks
great
, even those ragged-ass stitches. Now lie down and let me check out your baby.” The doc adjusted the pillow and Cat lay down, placing her feet in the stirrups.

“Have you had a sonogram before?”

Cat shook her head. That wasn’t part of Alvarez’s setup. A soft knock sounded.
The doc opened the door, and the receptionist wheeled in a machine.
She should be happy, but fear assaulted her. Cat2. Boy or girl. Did she want to know?

The doc covered her legs with a sheet and pulled her tunic up over her small belly. “Sorry, I haven’t had time to warm the gel, so this is going to be cold.”

And it was.

“How far along are you?”

That was a loaded question. What was the truth? Even she didn’t know. “I don’t know.” Cat didn’t miss the slight uplift of the doc’s brow.

The wand skimmed across her belly, and Cat’s eyes were glued to the screen.
Cat2’s alien head came into view, along with tiny arms and legs.

“He or she hasn’t been
very
active since Rab … Mr. Rio shot me full of a sedative.”

The doc’s brows did shoot up then.
“He did what? Oh, hell. I don’t even want to know.”

Well, I did stab him with a
steak
knife.

After several moments of moving
the wand
around her belly,
the doc announced,
“Everything appears normal. I’d say you’re about seven and a half to eight months along. Does that sound right?”

Her face heated whenever she remembered that night. She’d found a brothel just inside the border and paid a
woman
to trade places with her for one night. The only qualification for the patron was he had to be clean, because some of the men in that hellhole had never had a drop of water touch their skin.
Cat ha
d kept the light off because she didn’t want to meet the man on the street someday. But wow, was he
good
in bed. He made her
feel…all
woman. She’d forgotten how many times he’d pleasured her; so many times, she almost made a mistake.
Because she was so sated, she’d nearly overslept.
The sun’s long rays were creeping in the window when she’d rolled from the bed, dressed quickly, and slipped from the room.

“I don’t know,” she finally answered. Admitting anything about that night was hard.

“Okay. Do you want to know the sex of your baby?”

She shook her head. No, she didn’t because she was so afraid that she’d either lose it or have to…kill him or her. She would not let Alvarez kill her baby.
With his sick twisted mind, he’d probably make an example with Cat2.

The doc pulled a picture from the machine and handed it to her. “There’s your baby’s first picture.”

She stared at the picture thinking Cat2 was indeed an alien. Her lip quivered. This could be the only picture of her baby if she didn’t figure something out fast.

The doc put
away
the wand and wiped off her belly.

I’m going to do an internal exam. It will be a little uncomfortable.”

Cat braced herself and winced a couple of times during the examination.

“Everything feels
fine
. You can continue to have sex.”

Her face heated. “I’m not having sex.”
Ever again.
Did the doctor think she and Rio were involved? That would never happen. He scared the shit out of her. Besides, no man would be interested in a pregnant cow.

“Now
,
let me see your feet.” After a few seconds, the doc said, “These blisters look worse that the stitches.”

“They hurt worse too.”

“I
bet
. How about that scrape on your inner thigh?”

Cat flushed. “Your window.”

Lucy nodded absently. “I’ll give you some antibiotics that should take care of everything. I need to draw some blood and then we’ll be done.
I know you don’t know Rio, and he can be kinda scary, but he’s really a puppy dog on the inside.”

“Kinda? He’s the scariest man I’ve ever met besides…” She was going to say Alvarez, but the
good
doc didn’t need to know. The puppy dog reference was the most ridiculous thing she’d heard all day.
Full-blooded pit bull was more like it.

“He said he would take care of you and your baby, and Rio always does what he says. You can trust him.”

“I don’t…can’t trust anyone.”
Especially Rabid
Rio
.

Lucy tied off Cat’s arm. “You have to trust someone. Your baby’s due soon. You can’t have him or her born in some back alley or a dumpster. I can get you into a women’s shelter.”

“No. An organization is the last place I can go.” Records. She couldn’t go anywhere there was record keeping.
She was sure every woman’s shelter in three states
was
staked out.

The doc lifted an inquisitive brow.
“Do you have any parents? Relatives?”

“No, I have no one.” Her heart clinched in pain. She’d never go near anyone she knew
especially
her parents, and she prayed Alvarez
w
ouldn’t find them. She’d been so careful, claiming she had no parents or siblings. Since that day she’d walked out of her parent’s house fourteen months ago, she hadn’t called or
written
. The only reason she’d told Alvarez her middle name was so that maybe one day, if something happened to her, someone could piece it together and let her parents know.

The doctor cleaned her arm with an alcohol wipe. “Then if roaming the streets and
the women
’s shelter is not an option, I think that leaves Rio.”

She felt a little stick and watched the red blood pool into vial. Rio must be her punishment for choosing to use a baby to reach her goal. Lord knows she deserved it. Rio would be her choice—for now, but somehow, she’d figure out a better option for her and her baby.

“I’ll go with Rio, but I need you to do something for me.”

“Anything.”

“I need to write a letter—to someone, and if you find out something’s happened to me, mail it.”

Lucy’s eyes grew wide, but she recovered quickly. “Sure. I’ll be right back with a pad and pen and some clothes.”

“And you can’t tell Rio.”

Lucy stopped halfway to the door. “I don’t think that’s a
good
idea. He can’t help you unless he knows everything.”

“The letter’s not going to make a difference whether I live or die.”

“The only way that you’ll be dead is if Rio is dead too.”

Did this doctor
know
what Rio did for a living? Did she know that most people trembled in their boots just hearing his name? He’d probably used all his charm and convinced her that he walked on water. Women, unlike her, could be so trusting where a handsome face was concerned. Rio lived for the money, lived for the kill. Maybe he already knew what Alvarez wanted her for and need to keep her alive while he negotiated for more. Whatever was going on, she’d figure out how to get out of it.

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