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Blue Moon (Chapter 17)

"Maybe we'd better keep all of this between us for the time being," he murmured.

"No problem."

Like I was going to tell Clyde about the wolf god or that Cadotte believed in werewolves. Hell, I wasn't going to tell Clyde anything about Cadotte at all, unless I had to.

"What else do you know?" I asked. As long as he was sharing his delusion, I preferred he share it all.

"The army is begun by the one who will become the wolf god."

"Begun, how?"

"' They're werewolves; how do you think?"

I blinked. "So the wolf god is a werewolf, too?"

"Yes. There's a ceremony that involves the totem, the werewolf army, the one who will become the wolf god, and… "

"And what?"

"That's all I know. The information I have is incomplete. So I ordered a book."

"A book? There's a book on this stuff?"

"There's a book on everything. Sadly, this one is out of print. But I found a copy."

"Let me guess –  on the Internet."

"Of course. Cost me a bundle, but it should explain a few things. When it shows up."

I grunted, staring at the drawings, thinking of the wolf I'd seen last night. The behavior of Karen Larson.

The weird things I'd imagined about the totem. If I were a believer, I just might believe.

Then again…

"I talked to the CDC this morning. The doctor said there is a new strain of rabies."

"Did you think they'd deny it?"

"But –  "

"You expected them to say, ' Oh, no, we don't know what that is. Why don't you panic?'Or maybe, '

Sounds like a werewolf to me. Have a good time.'"

"You aren't funny."

"And I thought I was."

He patted my knee. Skin against skin, my body reacted, even though the touch had been anything but sexual.

"I'm sure the CDC is working on something. But I highly doubt it's a vaccine against a new strain of super-rabies."

"You think they lied to me?"

"Of course not. The government never lies to keep the panic at bay."

"You're being sarcastic."

He merely raised an eyebrow and shuffled his papers into a single stack.

Considering Cadotte was an Indian, an activist, and a professor, I couldn't say I was surprised he had a low opinion of the federal government. But conspiracy theories had never been my forte. They appeared to be his.

"Let me ask you this," he continued. "Did the CDC give you any advice on dealing with these superwolves?"

I thought back to my conversation with Dr. Hanover. There had been one thing.

"Shit." I lifted my gaze to his. "She told me to use silver bullets."

Cadotte started to laugh. He laughed so hard he choked. I pounded him on the back, none too gently.

"Hey!" he protested. "Take it easy."

He picked up his wineglass and tossed back the remainder of the content. "Silver bullets?" He shook his head. "You thought that was a normal thing to recommend?"

"She had a good reason."

"Wanna share it?"

"The mutated virus reacts negatively to silver."

"I'll just bet it does."

I shook my head. I couldn't believe we were having this conversation.

"I wish we had those bodies," I murmured.

"Mighty convenient that they disappeared, wouldn't you say?"

"I suppose you have a theory on that, too."

"Of course."

"Wanna share it?" I mocked.

His lips twitched, and he cast me a glance that puzzled me. Most guys would have been sick of my mouth by now. Cadotte appeared to like it quite a bit.

"They changed."

"You think Karen Larson and her principal are running through the woods howling at the moon?"

"You got a better idea?"

"Yeah, a million of ' em."

"Name one."

"Someone took them."

"Why?"

I tried to come up with a good reason, but I couldn't. I threw up my hands. "How should I know?"

"You have to admit strange things are happening around here."

"That doesn't mean we've got werewolves. Honestly, Cadotte, have you lost your mind?"

He studied me for a moment. "Why are you so dead set against this?"

"Because I haven't lost mine?"

"You should keep your mind open. Isn't that what they tell you in cop school?"

"They tell us to observe only facts. Study what we can document. What we see, hear, touch is what's real. A theory means nothing. A legend even less."

He sighed. "Jessie, I worry over you."

"I can take care of myself."

"Against human bad guys. But if you won't believe in the inhuman ones, you could get really hurt." He moved closer and ran his hand up my thigh. "You could get dead."

I shook my head. I couldn't believe we were even discussing whether werewolves were real and running around in my forest. I couldn't believe he'd supped his fingers beneath the hem of my shorts and was stroking the soft skin where my thigh met my hip.

"You really believe in werewolves?" I managed.

He leaned close and his breath brushed my hair. "There's more to this world than what we can see, hear, and touch."

"Like what?"

"There are things out there for which there's no explanation."

"I've never heard or seen them."

"You haven't listened; you haven't looked."

True. Maybe I would.

His finger slipped beneath the elastic leg of my panties.

Later. I'd look later.

His nails scraped me, his thumb rode me hard as he slid a finger inside. His mouth swallowed my cries of completion and I tasted red wine on his tongue. His moan made my lips vibrate.

He continued to stroke me, slower, gentler, then more quickly. More quickly still until I was ready to explode again. What was it about this man that made all my usual inhibitions vanish the instant he touched me?

"My turn," he whispered, taking his hand out of my pants and unzipping his own.

I should have been limp, sated, half-asleep; instead the thought of having him inside me at last revved me up so high I couldn't sit still.

I reached for him, clasped him, tugged him forward and back. He put his hand over mine and showed me what he liked. He was hard, smooth, and hot. I wanted him more than I'd wanted anything for a long, long time.

He seemed to feel the same, since he practically tore the button off my shorts. Neither one of us heard the knock on the door. Hell, they could have been knocking for half an hour and I wouldn't have heard them. Then someone shouted my name and started to pound. The door rattled and shook.

Together we cursed and tugged our clothes back where they belonged. I hurried to the door.

"This had better be good," I said as I opened it.

Edward Mandenauer stood in the hall. Some of my neighbors had come out to see what the fuss was about. They stared at him as if he were crazy. Of course they rarely saw an emaciated old man with a rifle in each hand and a bandolier full of bullets slung over each shoulder in our neck of the woods. He resembled Rambo, sixty years after his last war.

"He's with me," I told my neighbors, and shooed them back inside.

When they disappeared, albeit slowly –  we didn't get much excitement in our neck of the woods, either –  I turned to Mandenauer. "What are you doing here?"

"We must hunt, Jessie." He tossed me a rifle. I had no choice but to catch the weapon or eat it.

"It's nine o' clock. I thought we were supposed to meet at eleven."

"We meet now."

I heard Cadotte get to his feet behind me. His movement drew Mandenauer's gaze. The old man's eyes narrowed, and he gave Cadotte the once-over, then turned to me and did the same.

My cheeks heated. It was like being caught in the backseat of a car by your grandfather.

But he wasn't my grandfather. I was over twenty-one and I was off duty, for crying out loud.

"I'm busy."

"Someone has been bitten. We must go." He turned and started down the hall.

"Wait!" I called.

This changed everything.

Mandenauer paused. "We must get to the scene. Quickly."

I glanced down. I couldn't go running through the woods in shorts and a shirt with no sleeves. I'd not only be scratched to pieces; I'd be eaten alive by bugs. Distractions like that destroyed a person's concentration. Without my concentration, I could get killed –  and Mandenauer along with me.

"Two minutes," I said, and ran for the bedroom.

I took three, but tough. I had to get my rifle out of the safe. I put the company issue inside, grabbed a box of bullets, and ran.

Cadotte and Mandenauer were staring at each other like two dogs who'd found the same bone. What was the matter with them?

"I've got to go," I told Cadotte. "Sorry."

And I was sorry. My life had been rolling along quite nicely when Mandenauer showed up.

Cadotte nodded. "I know. I'll just clean up and let myself out."

I hesitated. I didn't want to leave him alone in my apartment, but his nicely stacked papers were now scattered all over my table –  we must have knocked them over while we were otherwise occupied. His shoes were off. Damn, his jeans weren't buttoned. I could see a slice of smooth, dark skin across his belly. My mouth still tasted of him.

I had to get out of here. "Thanks. I –  "

"I'll call you," he said.

Mandenauer snorted. I gave him a dirty look and he shrugged. "Your phones are not working. The sheriff tried to call, as did that foulmouthed harpy who says she is your friend."

Hell. I had turned off the phones. I wasn't going to have much of an ass left when Clyde got done chewing on it.

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