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Blue Moon (Chapter 36)

I would have liked a shower, but I didn't have the luxury. Instead, I threw on my uniform, retrieved my weapons, and was on my way out the door when the doorbell rang. Expecting Mandenauer, I could only stare stupidly at Clyde,

"Where you goin' in such a hurry?"

"Um. Uh."

I should tell Clyde everything, but I was in a bit of a rush. Besides, he hated Will already. He'd be thrilled to shoot him with silver and say "whoops" later.

"Mandenauer," I blurted. "T said I'd come over early."

"I was just there, and I woke him up. Definitely a ' don't go away mad; just go away'moment.

Heartbreak Ridge was on last night. Not exactly Clint's words, but near ' nough. Mandenauer was going back to sleep. Since you've got hours yet before your shift, why don't we have a little chat?"

I glanced through my living room toward the window. I might have hours before my shift, but sundown was soon.

It was then I saw my panties lying on the carpet in the middle of the room.

Clyde sniffed, once, twice, and I turned to find him so close I leaped back.

"What the hell?" I demanded, embarrassed, nervous, betrayed, and cranky.

"I can smell him on you."

I didn't know what to say to that. Luckily I didn't have to say anything, since Clyde kept talking.

"Jesus, Jessie, I'd have thought you of all people would be able to resist a pretty face. Have you no pride?"

Apparently not.

"Clyde, I've got to go."

"Where?"

"None of your business."

"When you're wearing that uniform, everything you do is my business."

I had a flash of what I'd been doing a few times in this uniform. Definitely not Clyde's business. But I wasn't going to tell him that. My cheeks heated in spite of myself.

"I need to see Mandenauer," I repeated. "I'll just have to wake him up."

"Where's Cadotte?"

"Not here."

I stepped into the hallway and Clyde had no choice but to move back; then I closed the door firmly behind me.

"I want to talk to him."

"Join the club." I started down the hall.

"He sneak out on you?"

I turned. "Why are you so damned interested in Cadotte all of a sudden?"

"I want to talk to him about the attempted murder of Edward Mandenauer."

"Have you lost your mind?"

"Have you?"

"What possible reason could Will have to shoot Man-denauer? He barely knows the man."

"Mandenauer and I had quite a chat when I stopped into the clinic earlier. I hear he was shot with a crossbow."

"And?"

"Cadotte has a crossbow."

"So does every old man between here and Minoqua. That doesn't make him guilty." I turned and headed down the hall. "He's got no motive."

Trust Clyde to fuck that up.

"Wouldn't a werewolf want to kill the wolf hunter?"

I froze. "A what?"

"Come off it, Jessie. Mandenauer told me everything."

Slowly I faced him. "And you believed him?"

He shrugged. "I was raised Ojibwe. Just because I've had to play that down to get where I am doesn't mean I don't believe in the legends. I've seen things… " He shook his head. "Let's just say werewolves are the least of them."

I couldn't quite get my mind around the fact that my boss believed in the unbelievable. Had everyone gone over to the dark side?

I set my rifle against the wall. The weapon was getting too heavy to cart up and down the hallway. "So you know about the blue moon? The werewolf army? The wolf god?"

"Everything." He held out his hand. "Why don't you give me that totem for safekeeping?"

I stared at his palm, then lifted my gaze to his face. "I don't have it."

Anger flickered in his eyes. "Jessie, you're playing with something you don't understand."

It was on the tip of my tongue to tell him that Will had taken the stone, but he grabbed me by the upper arms and shook me. My teeth rattled, and I decided to keep the information to myself. I didn't care for the way he was acting.

"I don't have the totem, Clyde. I swear."

"Only one way to find out."

He spun me around and patted me down. I was tempted to fight back, but Clyde was a lot bigger than I was. Besides, he wasn't going to find anything, thanks to Cadotte.

My boss released me with a little shove and a mutter of annoyance. I stepped out of his reach and nearer to my rifle. My fingers rested on the butt of my pistol.

Clyde ran a hand over his face and sighed. "He's been keeping an eye on you. Discovering what you know. Putting you off balance. If he's got you in his bed, then you aren't out doing your job, are you?"

"I've been doing my job," I snapped.

"You've been doing him." Clyde bit off a stub of chew and chomped ferociously for a few seconds. "I like you, Jessie, and I don't want to hurt your feelings."

"Why stop now?" I muttered.

Clyde ignored me. "I've seen the women Cadotte fucks. You don't fit in."

What else was new? I never had. But I'd started to think that I might, with him.

"Cadotte's up to something," Clyde continued. "I just can't figure out what."

I wanted to say Cadotte loved me. He thought I was beautiful. Funny, sexy, special. Everything I'd ever wanted to be, I was to him. But I wasn't so sure anymore.

He had taken the totem. To protect me? Or to ruin me? Until I knew, I was keeping my mouth shut.

"Did he tell you anything about the ceremony?"

"No."

He hadn't told me. I'd read it in a book.

I frowned. But not all of the ceremony. There'd been a page missing. Which was more troublesome now than ever before.

"What do you know?" I asked.

"Blue moon. Werewolf army. Matchi-auwishuk totem."

Clyde knew about as much as I did.

"Blood of the one who loves you."

I blinked. "The what of the who?"

"Blood of the one who loves you," he repeated slowly. "It's needed for the ceremony."

I turned and headed for the door.

"Jessie? Where you going?"

I didn't answer. I couldn't very well tell the sheriff that I was going to kill someone.

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