Read Natural Born Enemies (Cedar River Series) Online

Authors: Gemma K. Murray

Tags: #Paranormal Romance

Natural Born Enemies (Cedar River Series) (9 page)

“Ah, Samson, you keep making me these promises, but you never follow through with them,” I said.

The bear smiled at me, “You’re making time with that puma deputy. I don’t have a prayer with you when he’s in the running.”

I grinned.

 

***

 

It was after six before I closed the shop. I grabbed the leftover cherry whip I had tucked into a covered dish. I mulled over something healthy for our dinner before deciding on Kung Pao chicken with vegetable lo mein. I was one of my favorite meals and remembered how much Adam used to love Chinese food.

I loaded everything into my car including an overnight case. Adam stopped by as I was getting ready to leave.

“What are you doing here? I thought you were going out with Bowie and Ana tonight.”

Adam slipped his arms around me and slid his hands into the back pockets of my jeans. “I wanted to see you before we left town.”

He looked around to see what was tucked in the car. “Ooh, are you cooking Chinese tonight?”

“Kung Pao chicken and veggie lo mein, does it sound good?”

“Sounds delicious to me. So, you’ll be waiting for me when I get home?”

“I’m heading out to Mr. Fisher’s and then, I’ll be at your house.”

“What are you going to Fisher’s for?”

“I’m dropping off the candy I made for him. Samson stopped by and had a couple of pieces. He proposed.”

Adam laughed, “Did you accept?”

“I considered it, but he swears he has no chance with you around.”

Adam kissed me soundly, “I hope not.” He looked at his watch. “Well, babe, I’ve got to go. Be careful when you head out to Fisher’s cabin. I know he’s on neutral land, but that doesn’t mean anything, not with all the bullshit happening around here.”

I reassured him I’d be careful and watched him walk away.

 

***

 

Adam’s words of caution hung with me on the drive out the Mr. Fisher’s cabin. I had a bad feeling in my stomach, but I wasn’t sure what it meant.

I parked my car in front of Adam’s house and carried my things in. It was a short hike to Mr. Fisher’s and the weather was behaving itself for a change. I could certainly use the exercise. Being a curvy girl was nice until you opened a chocolate shop and decided to sample things on a daily basis. Curvy could spin out of control quickly.

I found a flashlight by the door and I hooked it the belt loop on my jeans. I left a note for Adam to let him know I’d arrived and when I headed out. It may sound stupid, but in these parts, it’s considered precautionary. I grabbed a bottle of water from the refrigerator and headed out.

The woods were eerily quiet and that was never a good sign. My hearing was excellent and I couldn’t even hear a mouse scurrying through the pine needles. I used my sense of smell to see if I could catch the scent of anything unusual, but there was nothing. I was on high alert as I made my way quickly through the woods. I may be a predator in wolf form, but in human form, I can become a victim just like anybody else.

The lights were on at Mr. Fisher’s when I arrived but there was no answer at the door. I sat down on the bench outside his front door and decided to wait. It wasn’t long and a small ball of fur made its way up the porch and through the doggie door. The fisher chattered at me as it went through the door. If you’ve never seen a fisher, they are about three feet tall and weigh between eight to twelve pounds. It’s a little hard to imagine a full grown man shifting into a fisher, but it happens.

It was a few minutes before Mr. Fisher opened the door. “What on earth are you doing here, child?”

“I brought you the honey candy I promised.”

“I didn’t mean you had to do it tonight. Good heavens, didn’t you notice the quiet in the woods tonight? There’s something out there spooking the critters. It’s not safe for you out there. I’m surprised your young man let you come out here.”

“I promised him I’d be careful. He’s on an investigation himself so I had the chance to bring you these,” I said as I handed him the bag of candy.

He immediately opened on and popped it into his mouth. His brown eyes closed and a tear ran down his cheek. “These taste exactly like my mother’s. You have done an old man’s heart good, child.”

“I’m glad I could do it. Samson stopped in today and had to remark on how delicious they were. I didn’t think you’d mind me sharing a couple of pieces with him.”

The old man scowled, “I guess not. Will these be a regular thing on your list?”

I smiled, “You can bet on it. I’ve decided to call them ‘Uri’s Honey Bites.’ What do you think?”

He smiled a crooked smile, “I like that. Mama would, too.”

I stayed to visit with Mr. Fisher until the moon was high above. The birds were chattering up a storm when I stepped off the porch and began my journey back to Adam’s. It made me wonder what was watching me as I walked through earlier.

I used to sneak out of my bedroom window to walk through this forest on nights like this. There is something about the smell and feel of this familiar place that soothes me. It seems as if the smells, sounds, and tastes are much more present once the moon was overhead.

I heard the crackling and popping before I saw where it was coming from. The stench was horrid and I felt my heart sink with dread. I began to run. Around the bend, I could see what I was afraid of; Adam’s trailer was engulfed in flames. I took a moment to compose myself before calling 911. The volunteer fire department would be on the scene as soon as they could get here. Next, I hit Bowie’s number. He’d have his phone on and Adam was with him.

“Bowie here,” he answered on the first ring.

“Bowie? It’s Luna. Is Adam with you?” I asked, trying to keep my voice from trembling.

“Not at the moment, honey, why?”

I took a deep breath. “I dropped some stuff at Adam’s and went to visit Murray Fisher. I just got back to Adam’s and his trailer is on fire.”

I heard “Fucking hell,” from the other end of the line. “Did you call the fire department, sweetie?”

I snorted, “Of course, I called them first. I told them it was Adam Thomas’ trailer in the hopes they’d get here quicker.”

“Luna, listen to me carefully. Do
not
get in your car. I’m worried that someone may have done something to it. I’ll be there shortly with Adam. Duck into the woods for me, honey, okay? Stay hidden. Adam will come get you as soon as we arrive. Do
not
leave with anyone except Adam.”

I nodded, forgetting Bowie couldn’t see me.

“Luna, do you hear me?”

“Sorry, yes, I hear you. If I go into the woods, I’ll lose reception.”

“If anything seems off, shift. You are helluva lot less of a target when you’re in wolf form.”

“Okay. If something happens, Bowie, tell Adam I loved him, please?”

“Fuckin’ hell, Luna. Nothing is going to happen to you. Adam would kill me. You’re a tough-as-nails chick. Just be smart about things.”

I took a deep breath and hung up the phone. I turned on the GPS locator and tucked it into my bra. If I had to shift, I was screwed as far as someone finding me. I found a low hanging cedar and crawled underneath its branches to wait.

It wasn’t long and I heard footsteps, but no one called out. I held my breath, hoping whoever it was didn’t realize I was there. The odds this person heard my phone conversations were good. I didn’t recognize the shoes so I didn’t dare move. If I listened really close, I could hear the sirens coming down the road. Whoever was out there said, “Fuck!” and ran off. I took a deep breath and prayed the fire trucks would hurry. They wouldn’t be able to save Adam’s home, but they’d be able to put it out.

Whoever started this fire (and I was sure it was arson) could have set the entire cedar forest on fire. These things have a way of spiraling into something even more horrible, especially in here. There are so many of our people who make their homes in the woods and fire has a wicked way of spreading, even in the winter.

I sat, waiting. The fire trucks pulled into the drive and I still waited. Over the sounds of the firefighters’ shouts, I heard someone calling, “Luna!” I still didn’t move. I heard footsteps approaching and I caught Adam’s scent. “Luna, baby! You need to come out to me.”

I crawled from beneath the cedar tree’s branches. Adam lifted me up into his arms. “Oh, baby! Are you okay? Do you need to go to the hospital?”

I shook my head and began to cry. The shock of it all hit me hard.

“Ssshhh, baby. It’s all okay,” Adam said as he stroked his big hands over my hair.

“B-b-but you lost everything, Adam,” I stammered through the tears.

“I’ve got the only thing that matters right here,” he said.

The tears started back up again.

Adam took my hand and led me where Bowie and Ana were. Ana held her arms open and I walked into them. “Are you okay, Luna?”

I watched Adam and Bowie help the firemen put out the blaze. “I’m fine. Scared and a little shaken up, but fine, nonetheless.”

Ana kept one arm around me and I had mine around her, “Bowie thinks this is arson.”

“I agree. As I was hiding, someone walked by where I was. As soon as he heard the fire trucks, he said ‘Fuck’ and ran off.”

Ana stared at me with wide eyes, “Do you know who it was?”

“All I could see were his shoes. I didn’t recognize them so I didn’t say anything. I was scared out of my mind.”

“I can imagine,” Ana said.

“When I walked into the woods to see Mr. Fisher, I noticed how quiet it was. I should have listened to my gut and stayed behind. Instead, I left.”

Ana turned to face me, “I’m glad you didn’t stay. I’m sure Adam is, too. This could’ve been much worse than what it is, Luna. Someone is out to hurt you or Adam, possibly both of you.”

“Who have I pissed off, Ana?”

Ana looked at me pensively, “I’m supposed to keep my mouth shut, so you didn’t hear this from me. Bowie and Adam think it’s either your father’s pack or Roman’s pride who are out after the two of you. The orders are probably not from Rock or Roman directly, but someone is acting on, what they may believe to be, the behalf of their Alpha.”

I was stunned. “You think my father has put out a hit on me?”

“No, that’s not it at all. The general belief is that there is either a puma or a wolf attempting to get into his alpha’s good graces by taking out either one or both of you.”

Well, that didn’t make me feel any better! “So, there’s some nut job who thinks he can move up the ladder if he takes us out.”

Ana nodded, “But you didn’t hear it from me.”

     

Chapter Sixteen- Adam
 

The fire chief found a gas can with a rag in it under the trailer. “Adam, I’m so sorry. It looks like someone isn’t happy with you.”

I slapped the phoenix shifter on the back. “Brand, I appreciate this. I’ve pissed a lot of people off lately. It seems as if they’re making their displeasure known in a pretty big way.”

Brand laughed, “I’d say so. You need a place to crash tonight? My family can make room for you at the lodge tonight.”

I looked to where Luna was standing with Bowie’s wife. They had their heads together and I was betting that nothing good was going to come from their discussion.

“Thanks, Brand, but I think I’ve got a place.”

Brand noticed the direction of my glance. “Ahh, I’ve been hearing things around town about you and that sexy little wolf.” It suddenly hit him who I had pissed off. “That’s some nasty business you’re messing with. Her dad has way too much power in this town.”

I shrugged. “He may have some power, but I’ve got the Golden’s on my side. Bernard won’t allow Rock McIntyre to take over the Shifter Council.”

Bowie came over to put in his two cents, “As a community, we have got to start taking a stand against people like Rock McIntyre and Roman Pierce. If they think they can get away with this kind of thing, we, as a community, are in trouble.”

“I agree, sheriff,” Brand said, “I’m just worried what will happen if these two alphas attempt to take over the Shifter Council.”

“They won’t, Brand. Every Alpha has a position on the council. The MacIntosh Pack tries to stay out of the McIntyre affairs. There are the bobcats, the foxes, the bears, the badgers, the dragons. When the Shifter Council was first put together, they designed it so that no one shifter group had too much power.”

Brand slapped my back, “Good luck with all of this, Adam. If you need some help cleaning this up, let me know. I’ll bring Blaze out and we’ll get it all cleaned up.”

“Why don’t we make plans to come out once the weather warms up?” Bowie asked. “Adam can put together a cook out and we’ll get together for some fun.”

Brand looked at me. “What do you say? I’ll have Ember mix up some of her baked beans.”

Bowie tossed in, “Mama will bring her potato salad. You know Ana will make up some macaroni salad and her homemade lemonade.”

I hated relying on people for anything, but I agreed, hoping they’d all forget about it. “Sure, why not? I’ll throw on some burgers and hot dogs. Maybe I will convince Luna to make a cake to bring out. We might as well make a party of this.”

Brand slapped me on the back. “I’ll see you later.”

“Thanks for everything, man. I appreciate the quick response.”

Brand waved at me as he climbed up in the fire truck and pulled out of what was left of my yard.

I stood staring at whatof my home.

Bowie stood beside me. “Did you notice who showed up?” he asked, nodding his head to where the fire trucks stood.

My aunt Alicia and my cousin, Connor, stood off to the side. My aunt shook her head at something Connor said.

“I’ll be right back.” I walked over to see what they needed.

“Adam, I’m so sorry about your home,” Alicia began.

“Why are you here?” I asked.

“Roman heard the sirens and wondered what was happening. He’d have come with us, but it hurts his lungs to be out in this cold. Are you and Luna alright?”

Connor stood shuffling his feet in the snow, glancing over to where Ana and Luna were standing.

“We’re fine. I was out on an investigation and Luna was on her way back from Mr. Fisher’s when she saw the flames. I’ve lost all of my things, but they can be replaced.”

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