Home > Boundary Lines (Boundary Magic #2)(12)

Boundary Lines (Boundary Magic #2)(12)
Author: Melissa F. Olson

“No,” Maven said, without a hint of uncertainty in her tone. “After speaking with Quinn, I called one of my vampires in Grand Junction and had him check out the storage chamber Travis was using. He found Travis’s wallet, car keys, and car still there.” She gave a little shake of her head. “There was a thousand dollars in that wallet, just sitting there.”

Quinn nodded as if that was particularly significant, and I raised my eyebrows at him. “Travis has . . . had . . . expensive tastes,” he explained. “Burberry, Saint Laurent, Dior Homme, that kind of thing.”

I gave him a slow blink. “I have heard one of those words before.”

“The point is, he wouldn’t have left cash behind. Or his car,” Maven cut in. “We need to assume that he’s dead, as well.”

“So what now?” I asked. “Do we go hunting?” I tried not to sound hopeful, but I’m not completely sure I succeeded.

Quinn frowned. “Unless they’re still in Colorado, it’ll be difficult to identify the specific werewolves who did this.”

“They won’t be,” Maven replied. “A pack in wolf form may be able to take out a vampire, but they wouldn’t dare face us as humans, not when we’re expecting it. They’ll stay over the border, out of my territory.”

I must have looked as confused as I felt, because she added, “With the exception of the pack’s alpha, and perhaps beta, werewolves can’t change form very often. They have to shift on the full moon when their magic is strongest, but other than that”—she shrugged—“maybe once, twice a month, at the most. We should have at least a week after the full moon before they can manage another attack.”

“So three days from now,” I said, just to clarify.

Quinn frowned. “There’s another thing that doesn’t make sense. If they were really trying to attack us, why linger on the border? Why not sneak into the state as humans, change on the full moon, when they’re most powerful, and come after us en masse?”

I nodded, picking up on his line of thought. “And if this wasn’t their big attack, why warn us by taking out two of your scouts? No one was expecting two packs to work together. If they were going to do that, why give up the element of surprise?”

The three of us looked at one another, but no one had a good answer. “We need more information on the werewolf packs,” Maven said simply.

Well, that seemed easier said than done. I had no idea how to get more intel on werewolves. Quinn gave me a quick glance that said he was just as much in the dark as I was on this subject.

“After the conflict with Trask,” he began, naming the werewolf who had caused the original war, “did you keep tabs on any of the packs in the area?”

Something hardened in Maven’s eyes. “Itachi had that responsibility,” she said in a brittle voice. “But he kept the information to himself. As I was only an advisor, it was not my place to question him. And since his passing”—which was a really nice way to say since I ripped his heart out of his chest cavity—“I have found no records of any kind on the werewolves.”

I opened my mouth to ask if she’d learned anything else since she’d taken over, but I stopped myself just in time. Quinn had implied that Maven was barely holding her territory together at the moment. There was too much confusion and unrest over Itachi’s death, not to mention the discovery of both a boundary witch and a null within her enclave. When would she have had time to spy on werewolves in other states?

“However,” Maven continued, possibly noticing my dismay, “I do know of one werewolf you can ask, just over the border in Wyoming.” Her eyes fixed on me. “You’ll need to introduce yourself during the day, however.”

“Why?” Quinn asked.

I could have been imagining things, but for a moment I thought Maven’s eyebrow quirked with amusement. “Because that’s when the nature preserve is open.”

Chapter 7

We spent a few more minutes making plans before I finally trudged out to my car. Maven and Quinn would need to go to ground for the night anyway, and I was so exhausted I was almost nauseous from it. It was hard to believe that only a few hours earlier, I had balked at going home after Hazel’s party. Now I was ready to cry with relief at the sight of my own driveway.

My home was a modest three-bedroom fishing cabin near the Sawmill Ponds, about twenty minutes outside of Boulder proper. After I had returned from Iraq, my parents had insisted on giving it to me outright. I tried to refuse, but Sam had eventually made me see that I would be doing them a kindness if I accepted: The rest of my squad had been killed in an IED explosion in Iraq, and my parents were so stupendously grateful to have me home and alive; they’d been desperate to do something to take care of me. So I let them give me the cabin, and in return, they didn’t bat an eye when I more or less let my rescue animals half destroy it.

I was aching for sleep—and from the bump on my head—but I made myself stay awake long enough to carefully wash the dried bloodstains off my skin from where I’d hit my head. There was probably still a bit of dried blood in my dark red hair, but you couldn’t see it, and I decided a shower could wait until the morning. Before I could collapse, I took ten more minutes to feed everybody, let the dogs out, and scoop the cats’ litter boxes. My usual herd of three cats and four dogs had recently grown by one: I was currently fostering a one-year-old pit bull named Lady, and she was so happy to see me I thought she might tip her crate over before I could get it open. I felt guilty for being gone so long, and eventually fell into bed with three of the five dogs crowded around me.

   
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