Page 2

 Lauren Dane

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Allie was fastidious and hyperaware of her safety. She’d never have left her door open like that. She even locked up when she went downstairs to check her mail. Knowing it had been out of character, the neighbor called Kathy right away. Another plus. Though Michelle did urge the neighbor to call the police immediately if she came upon something like that again in the future.
After they finished up at the scene, Michelle took Allie’s mom home. She made Kathy stay in the car while she did a pass through the house, making sure all was well before she gave the all clear.
She hugged Kathy tight, kissing her cheek. “Everything is fine here. No signs of attempted entry.” Worry ate at her along with the need to be doing something. Anything to bring her friend back safely.
“If there are mages around…well maybe you should go stay with friends a while.”
“I can’t leave while she’s out there. What if she calls? What if she shows up needing me and I’m not here? This is her home, Michelle. I need to be here.”
Michelle nodded. She’d expected that answer but she had to try anyway. “All right. Why don’t you ask someone to stay here with you? Being alone means you’re at higher risk.” After she spoke with Clan Owen, she needed to contact the local coven to be sure people were told to use extra caution.
But the coven was really just a group of people who got together to barbecue once every few months. That was the extent of their organization as witches, though they had instituted a phone tree after Owen had suggested it a month before.
She stood, looking out the windows of a house she’d spent more time in than her own growing up. The enormity of it all hit her with sudden force. Her hands shook and she balled them into fists.
It was not the time.
She pushed it back, as far away as she could because now was the time to focus. Allie needed her to be smart and strong.
She’d never had the two most important parts of her life cross this way before. But the training she’d received from the clan had made her a better cop and a better witch. She could use both right then.
“You have to find her.” Kathy wrung her hands and pulled Michelle out of her little panic attack.
She gently untangled Kathy’s hands and took them into her own, squeezing. “You have my word. I will do everything I possibly can to find her.”
Michelle didn’t promise to save Allie, though she’d do her damndest. Allie was more like her sister than a friend, but Michelle was a realist. She’d seen enough in her time as a cop. Sometimes no matter how hard you worked, no matter how much you wanted it, things still came to a bad end.
“Will you call someone? To stay here?” Allie’s dad had died of cancer four years before and Kathy lived alone. But she had friends and family in the area who’d pull together to help.
“You think they’d come for me?”
“From what they say? Yes. They’re dangerous and they’re using our magick to fill a need. Like a fix. They don’t care about anything else. So if they know witches are here and they know they can use Allie to get themselves one more? They will. If you’re not alone, you present a less easy target. I’ll feel better knowing you’re safer.”
Kathy sighed, nodding. “I’ll call my sister and ask her to stay a while.”
“Good. I’ve got to get moving. I want to hit the ground running.”
“You’ll keep me updated? And be safe yourself?”
“Yes to both.” She hugged Kathy one last time and headed out the door.
She needed privacy for the next call she had to make to Clan Owen. They had a contact number they’d given her to call in reference to any mage activity so she’d start there.
Chapter Two
She double-checked the address before heading inside the building in downtown Portland. Allie had been missing for twenty-four hours now. Each minute that passed, the chances of finding her alive were lower and lower.
The contact at Clan Owen had sent out a call for help. They were feverishly working on several fronts on these disappearances and something else the witch she’d spoken to had only hinted at, but sounded pretty bad. He’d been sorry not to have been able to rush down and assist on the case, but he’d done what he could, which was to hook her up with Others who could help.
Which had worked out because she’d followed a few leads of her own—a blue SUV that had been sighted at the apartment complex with Washington plates had also been seen at two rest stops on I-5 heading north, and when Michelle had gone to them she’d found that same mage energy signature she’d caught at Allie’s apartment.
Michelle was on the right track, but the track itself was pretty narrow and faint and she was terrified of f**king up and missing something.
So there she was going through the revolving doors of the Pacific Werewolf Pack headquarters to seek their help with tracking. They had some sort of relationship with the clans now and heaven knew they had better noses than she did and there was the added plus that they knew the area.
She walked through one set of doors where two very large men stopped her. One raised a brow at her. “You’re armed.” His voice was a rumble she felt over the surface of her skin.
“I’m Michelle Slattery. Roseburg PD. Gage Garrity from Clan Owen sent me here to request some assistance in an investigation. My credentials are in my pocket if you’ll allow me to retrieve them?”
Eyebrow appeared to relax a little. “First things first. The weapon needs to be put in the bin. We don’t allow anyone in the building armed.”