Read Natural Born Enemies (Cedar River Series) Online

Authors: Gemma K. Murray

Tags: #Paranormal Romance

Natural Born Enemies (Cedar River Series) (4 page)

“And what if he’s so broken inside from this war he can never love you back?”

“Then, I will learn to live with it. Me, Mom. Not you, not Dad. Me.”

“But, Luna-,” my mom began.

“Mom, you need to go get Dad and get him to the doctor. I have work to do and you’re keeping me from it. My shop and my life are just that…mine. I love you both, but you have got to back off. Goodbye, Mother.”

There was a sob before the back door to my kitchen closed. I took a deep breath and returned to my candy making. I had no time for a melt-down. Later, I could fall apart, but not now.

I went through the motions of pouring my chili-chocolate into molds and put them in the cooler to harden. The dark chocolate shells were ready for their orange cream fillings. I carefully covered what would become the bottoms of each candy as I began to go over the conversation with my mother. I know I hurt her with what I had to say, but I was tired. Not to mention I was really sick of not having my own life. My parents seemed to think I needed to run every idea by them. Dad had offered to buy the building I wanted for my shop, or at least, put me up in a pack-owned property. When I’d refused, you would have thought I had declared war on the pack. In fact, now that I think of it, I hadn’t seen a pack member in my shop. Good thing I had friends in other people in this community. In fact, some of my best customers were members of the Pierce Pride. Maybe they didn’t hold as much of a grudge as I had thought they would.

The rest of my morning flew by in a blur until I opened my front door at nine o’clock. Kelsie wasn’t due in until noon so I was on my own. I began dressing the front window with today’s special, making it look pretty. I used lots of red dishes to emphasize the spiciness of my new candy.

I was in the back preparing the trays for the display case when I heard the bell chime. “Just a moment,” I called out.

“It’s alright. I’ll just help myself to the cash register,” came the reply.

I laughed because I knew it was the last thing Adam would do. “C’mon back,” I called back.

Adam poked his head around the doorway. “Now that I’ve been in here, I can’t seem to resist the temptation. Of course, it might just be the owner.”

I could feel the blush begin in my cheeks. “Try one of those chocolates in the red dish and tell me what you think.”

“These here?” Adam asked, pointing to the orangish-red dish sitting on the work table.

“Yeah,” I said as I turned to retrieve the dark chocolate filled orange creams from the chiller.

“Mmmm,” was where Adam’s response began, then moved to “Wow!”

“Are they too spicy?” I asked hesitantly. I know Adam and I love spicy things, but I didn’t want to overwhelm those customers who want just a hint of heat.

“No, they’re perfect. I wasn’t expecting it, but I like it. What did you call these?”

I blushed, “Kisses at Midnight.”

Adam smiled that slow, sexy smile of his, “These taste just like your kisses.”

I looked at the rugged sheriff’s deputy from under my eyelashes, “I named them for
you
.”

His smile grew broader. “So are you saying your mom didn’t scare you away from me?”

“Never. I hope my dad wasn’t too big of a pain in the ass.”

“Nah. He’s the same pain in the ass he’s always been. Rockwell McIntyre seems to think he owns this town, but he doesn’t own me.”

I set down my trays of chocolates to jump into Adam’s arms. His kiss wiped all the doubts from my mind and set my heart free.

                                                          

Chapter Eight-Adam

 

Things were quiet at ten o’clock so I told Bowie I needed to run. “If you hurry, there might be a kitten out in those woods, looking for some company,” he called on my way out the door.

Rockwell McIntyre had tried to push the wrong puma around today. I don’t like to be threatened and he’d made threats against everything I held dear, my aunt and uncle, the town, the Goldens and Luna.

When I pulled into the driveway at the Golden’s property, it was as if a weight was automatically lifted off my shoulders. I hadn’t run on the pride’s land since I was sixteen. I had too many enemies there. Every puma assumed I was willing to fight him or her for a position in the pride. No one understood how happy I am being a loner and doing my own thing.

I got out of my truck and closed the door, softly. I hated to disturb Lorelai or Bernie. Lorelai came out to the porch. “You come in for some breakfast when you’re done, Adam,” she called.

“Yes, ma’am,” I said. Mama G.’s breakfasts were the best.

It was one of those mornings where the misty fog still clung to the treetops. The smell of the damp earth filled my nose. I stripped down and lay my clothes over one of the rocks, noticing there was a pile of clothing already there. Ana. I shifted and began to stalk. Hunting for Bowie’s wife out here would be just as fun as finding something to hunt and kill. The pride treats Ana like a pariah as well. Anastasia Golden is a puma shifter/witch hybrid. The pride refused to take her in when she lost her parents. Now, Uncle Roman really wanted to have Ana come to the pride. It seems the Dragon Council is putting her witch abilities to good use and it pisses Uncle Roman off.

I was lost in my own thoughts and forgot to be on the lookout for Ana. Out of nowhere, a furry body collided with mine. I rolled across the ground and she was right there with me. I heard Brady Golden, laughing. “You have to pay attention when you’re in these woods, Adam.”

Ana sat on me, her puma eyes laughing at me. I nipped at her. She got off and I began to run. Gods, it felt good to be free. The scent of pine lingered in the air. The musty leaf-covered ground was under my feet, beckoning me to run harder. I could hear Ana behind me as she chased me. Beside the lake, I stopped to enjoy the breeze. Ana butted her head under my chin and I rubbed my head against hers. It is the puma way of comforting one another. Side by side, we walked back to the tree line where we shifted and dressed.

“How are you, Adam?” Ana asked. “I mean, how are you really? None of this ‘I’m fine. Everything’s fine’ bullshit.”

I laughed. Ana is not one to mince words.

“Rock McIntyre came by the sheriff’s department this morning. He made threats which, I hope, are empty. He threatened to disown Luna. With one word, it would make her prey for any wolf pack out there. I have to find a way to keep her safe.”

Ana cringed, “Rock would really endanger his own daughter’s life? I can’t imagine it is normal fatherly behavior.”

“You have to look at Rock as the biggest bully on the playground. He thinks he owns Cedar River and everyone in it. He was in my face, screaming at me. Telling me how he would have my badge and all this bullshit. Bowie came out of his office and kicked Rock out. Bowie showed the old wolf exactly who was boss. I will admit it was fun to see.”

Ana chuckled, “That’s my man. It seems like Rock McIntyre needs to be put in his place. I’ve been hearing whispers around town that there is another wolf jockeying for alpha position of his pack. I wonder if this could be behind the sudden show of force.”

I had heard the same rumblings, but I hadn’t added them up. “Could be. Of course, Luna coming out to my house for dinner was what tipped the scales, I’m afraid.”

Ana grinned, “So?”

I smiled back at her. “So what? We had dinner. Two old friends sitting down to a meal together, is that really a big deal?”

Ana winked, “Was it just dinner or was there something more?”

“You are worse than your husband. Both of you are as nosey as two old biddies.”

Ana nudged me in the side with her shoulder. “There
was
more than dinner, wasn’t there?”

“I never kiss and tell,” I said as I climbed the steps to the Golden’s porch.

“I’ll sic Bowie on you,” she said with a giggle.

“Bigger men than Bowie Golden have tried to break me and failed.”

Ana was laughing as she sat down to breakfast.

Breakfast at the Golden’s house is an affair. From the meal to the conversation, a person never left unsatisfied.

As I said my goodbyes and promised to visit more often, Mama G. passed me a pan of cinnamon buns and a plate of steak and eggs.

“The steak and eggs goes to Bowie, but the cinnamon buns are for you, sweetie. I’ve also heard the little wolf you’re seeing may have a bit of a sweet tooth.”

“Yeah, I’ve heard the same thing, Mama,” I said before kissing her cheek and going back to work.

***

 

Bowie was in his office when I returned to the office. “It’s about damn time you got back here.”

I peeled the foil off the plate of steak and eggs.

“Oh gods! Mom sent breakfast. Ooh, she made cinnamon rolls, too?”

I tucked the rolls into my desk drawer. “Those are for me and this little wolf I’m seeing, according to your mom. The eggs and steak are all yours though.”

“Son of a bi-,” he said as he dug into his breakfast.

“I’m going to go on foot patrol. See what kind of trouble is afoot in our town.”

Bowie waved me off with one not-so-polite finger.

I felt so much better after my shift and run in the woods. The fog was still hanging around, even here in town. The sun was trying to break through the denseness, but the town had an eerie feel to it this afternoon. Samson was waiting for a cup of coffee as I walked by. “Good afternoon, Samson,” I said, “Is there anything noteworthy happening today?”

“Not in my neck of the woods, but rumor has it there is going to be some trouble over at the high school after school.”

I was a little worried, “Nobody called the station.”

“Nah, I heard a couple of pups from the McIntyre pack talking this morning. From what I heard there is a problem between the Pierce pride and the McIntyre pack. The kits and pups are going to have it out. I figured it might be something you and Bowie needed to know.”

Damn Rock McIntyre! He wasn’t happy unless he had the entire area in an uproar. What he did on his own land was his business, but now he was bringing the shit to my town. I wasn’t going to tolerate it.

I walked back to the station and informed Bowie of what was supposed to happen. He made a few phone calls to warn the principal. Bowie let him know that we would be on campus for the final bell.

“You need to call Luna,” Bowie said.

“No, I’m keeping her out of this mess. Her mom was over there earlier warning her to stay away from me. I’m guessing that all was happening while Rock was in here trying to prove he runs the show in this town.”

Bowie shook his head, “The man needs to be taken down a few notches. I may give Dad a heads-up on what’s going on. Let him take care of it at the next Shifters’ Council Meeting.”

Bowie locked himself in his office for the next couple of hours. It gave me time to call and set up a date with Luna.

“Full Moon Sweets. This is Luna. How can I help you?”

I smiled, “I could think of a million things you could help me with, but there’s one in particular that’s on my mind a lot.”

Her husky chuckle flooded through the phone. “Really, only one? I could think of quite a few ways that I might service, I mean, be of service to you.”

My heart leapt into my throat as blood rushed below my belt. “I don’t suppose you’d want to take a run with me Friday night, would you?”

I could hear her breath catch. “Seriously? Gods, Adam, we haven’t done that in a very long time.”

“I know and I’ve missed it. I thought it might be fun. I might be able to convince Mama G. to pack us a picnic to eat on the beach.”

Luna sighed heavily, “That would be amazing. Friday night, it is. I’ll bring dessert.”

I chuckled, “If you’re not careful, you might
be
dessert.”

My darling girl was laughing as she hung up the phone.

“Using tax payers’ dollars to make obscene phone calls to the local sweet shop? Geez, Adam,” Bowie said from the office doorway.

“You want to go there, Bo? I’ve got more dirt on you than you could ever imagine,” I reminded him.

***

 

At two-thirty, Bowie and I drove over to the high school. Lance Smythe was waiting for us when we arrived. Callum and Brady Golden were waiting as well. Colin Golden was back at the office in case anything else happened.

“Remember, we’re only here to keep the peace. We had word there’s going to be a fight, but until we witness something, we’re just observers,” Bowie reminded us. “No guns are going to be needed so make sure yours, if you have them, are locked up in your vehicles.”

The three deputies nodded in agreement. We’d been over this drill a lot since the town was destroyed. We wanted to be sure we could get the kids out of the school and safely home to their pack, pride, nest, or clan.

The final bell rang from inside the school. Most of the kids came down the front steps and out to their cars with no problem. Brady caught the tussle happening before anyone else. There were four older wolf pups pushing a puma kit around. I don’t know what the hell they were feeding these pups, but, gods, they were big. Bowie stepped in before I could.

“Is there a problem here, boys?” he asked as he pulled the puma kitten behind him.

You could tell the pups were surprised to see us here. “Uh, no, sir,” one of them replied. The others just shook their heads.

“Well, it seems there are rumors going around town about a fight between the pack pups and the pride kittens. So, you’re saying there’s no truth to that?” Bowie asked.

The biggest pup bowed his head, “Uhm, well, you see, Sheriff.”

Bowie pulled the kitten from behind him, “Let me guess. Rowan here was teasing you and making threats, wasn’t he?”

Rowan’s eyes grew big in horror. Rowan Anders is part of the Pierce Pride. He had been sickly when he was young so his parents sheltered him. Rowan is small for his size and a little on the nerdy side. Okay, he’s a huge nerd, but smart! By gods, the kit is one of the smartest. Single-handedly, Rowan keeps the Pack technology running smoothly.

With a subtle move of his head, Bowie summoned us. We took the wolf pups into custody. Bowie wanted them in a cell until he could call their parents. There wasn’t much he could do except send a message to these boys, their parents, and Rock McIntyre, but the message would be ‘you don’t mess with the sheriff of Cedar River’.

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