I’m sticking with the next installment of The Tribe series – The Wolf again this week.
To set up the scene ever so briefly without revealing too much, Velli and Kane have made a plan to find out where her ‘boss’ is…which involves using her as live bait. Kane pretty much hates the idea, but doesn’t have a better plan. His nerves are getting on Velli’s nerves so she goes over the plan again…but the conversation eventually takes a turn:
She let out a growl very much like her Wolf was near the surface. “Let’s go over it again, then. Best way to Sal is through Chicago. The club there is the slimiest of the lot, and the two guys that run it…”
He gritted his teeth at her shudder. “Then it’s not the best way.”
“The darkest path is the best one to get where we want to go. Plus, Larry and Carl are sick, but spineless. One of your brutal protection measures and they’ll spill Sal’s location as they piss their pants.”
“It’s not fool proof.”
“Never said it was.” She drank her beer leisurely. “Anywhere else would be foolish. They’re more organized and careful, like the place you found me at in California.”
The mere mention of California had him grabbing for his beer to cool off. Velli’s moves on stage were as impressive as her moves in battle. Worried as he might be at the upcoming plan, he was still an animal.
“I’ll go in alone. No point in setting off alarms this early in the game. I’ll do what I can to extract the information without trouble.” She polished off her beer and pushed it across the table where the bottle met his in a quiet clink.
“You said Hunters guard the place.”
“Yup. Then there’s Bacey. Best bouncer of the lot spends most of his time there, because he can handle the riff raff. He was good to me.” She narrowed her eyes at the curtains. “He never touched me, though he intimated he wanted to. I think it was a rule set down by the boss.”
She didn’t answer immediately, and the familiar flicker of confusion creased her features.
“You’re not sure Sal is the boss, are you?”
“He’s boss Sal.” She bent her knees so her feet sat flat against his thigh. Gaze on the tequila, she fidgeted in her seat. “It’s one of those things again. I just have a sensation that I’m talking about someone else when I say the boss. I can’t explain it.”
“Sure you still want to do this?”
“Yes. I always knew he wasn’t the biggest man on campus—but he’s high up enough to know where she is. He was there, in California.” She glanced his way. “Fifteen minutes. Promise me you’ll give me fifteen minutes. You’ve seen me battle, you know I can do this.”
“Not one minute more.”
“If you think this is bad, you’re a pussy.”
“It’s never been my mate before.” He frowned at her attempted lightheartedness. “And as for seeing you battle, I have seen it. I often wondered why you didn’t try to be a Warrior. You sure have the skills for it. There aren’t a lot of female Warriors, but they’re there.”
“I never had the discipline. Skill isn’t all it takes to become a Warrior. I was never good at following proper behavioral rules and all of that.” She smirked when he snorted. “As you’ve seen for yourself.”
“You’re a spoiled brat and content to be so.” He grinned in relief at her chuckle. “I get that, although you probably still would have made it. A few of the Warriors I met on my last visit were not up to the usual strict standards.”
“Our numbers were dwindling. I remember Father and Silver Fox talking in hushed tones about the problem. They were trying to pinpoint when the magic started to falter.”
“They felt it, too.”
“Of course they did. They were two of the most powerful men in the Tribe.” She shuddered and sat forward to wrap her arms around her legs. “The magic must be growing weaker now with Silver Fox gone.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to go see Reed?”
“I’m not ready.” At least she didn’t bolt at the suggestion, even though her body tensed. “I’m sorry. It’s selfish.”
“It’s not selfish to worry about your child first.”
“That’s not all I’m worried about. I’m worried about what he’ll think of me.”
“The man couldn’t hate you if he tried. Much as I dislike him—the guy knows you. He hasn’t hated you all these years knowing all about you, he won’t hate you now.”
“I’m the reason his father is dead. The reason he has to return to the reservation.” She’d whispered the words, but he’d heard clear as day. After a minute she rubbed her palms along her cheeks and sniffed. “Let’s get our drink on.”
“You trying to kill me, woman?”
“Healing magic, remember? Alcohol is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.”
He could push the matter of Reed, but he decided to pick his battles. In too few hours he’d be sending her to the wolves, he might as well make the next few hours easier.
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