Moonlight glinted off the waves of the harbor. Water splashed against the pier, and wind shrieked through the abandoned warehouse. The little hairs on Detective Nikki Adams arms stood on end.
The call came just as she woke up this evening. An anonymous tip -- more came her way these days than not. The station routed the strange cases her way. As though they understood she had an in with the supernatural community in Boston.
Bang! Nikki jumped. One of the large metal doors swayed in the storm, hitting the jam with enough force to clang against the entryway. She kept her senses alert. Not really needing the tac light on her gun, she turned the beam on anyway for her partner Dan.
She had to give Dan credit. He moved with stealth for a human. Especially a large one like him, once again, to many donuts. A smirk tugged at the corners of her mouth.
Black shadows moved and she could hear the rats scurry away from them. Her nostrils flared with the coppery stench of blood. Something was off. A dead smell. Her senses tingled, power emanated from the building standing before her.
“Psst…Nikki…” Dan whispered; his voice loud in the darkness.
She glanced back at him and raised an eyebrow. “What?” She stopped moving forward, knowing it would be a stupid move to continue without her full attention focused on the surrounding area. Anything could jump out and attack them.
“I don’t have a good feeling about this one, maybe we should call for backup?”
“Nonsense. We’ll be fine.” Her eyes narrowed and sliced through the fog rolling in. Large crates stacked along the docks. The abandoned warehouse ahead of them stared back at her with gaping broken windows. The smell became stronger and the scent of sage assailed her nose. Strange, Nikki pulled her gun, the cold grip comforting in her palm.
The dense fog from the bay made visibility difficult. Nikki’s foot hit a rope and she stumbled a bit. She felt off, dizzy.
“You okay?” Dan sounded concerned.
“Fine.” He had enough to worry about without knowing she wasn’t feeling well. She never got sick. Nikki approached the door to the warehouse with caution. It hung on one hinge. Dan covered the left side.
“Police, we’re coming in.”
There was no response. Nikki swung into the room, gun in front of her. Dan followed closely behind. Nikki coughed and covered her mouth as the pungent odor of death became overwhelming.
A young woman lay on a raised dais at the front of the warehouse. Nikki could tell from the odor the woman was dead. They entered the darkened room and the corners were shrouded in black.
Dan flipped on his tac-light and a beam cut across the empty space. He flashed each darkened corner. “Clear.”
Nikki cautiously rounded the raised area. The woman was sprawled naked and spread out on the table. Her hands and feet held ligature marks. The red bruising indicated she’d been tortured for some time. A look of abject terror frozen in place on her face, her vacant stare remained paralyzed gazing at an invisible tormentor.
Nikki shook herself and cleared behind the makeshift dais to ensure no one hid in the shadows of the crates. The woman’s blood pooled in a puddle on the grayed cement.
Nikki suddenly stumbled. She braced herself on the edge of the dais. Faint, she gripped the wood and breathed deeply. Black dotted her vision.
“Nik, you need to get out of here!” Dan crossed the room and ushered Nikki out the door.
Outside Nikki leaned up against the building waell. Dan pulled the warehouse door shut as tightly as he could. “You okay?”
“What the hell was that?” Nikki swiped at her nose.
“Wolfsbane. The sage covered the main scent, but your enhanced senses must have picked it up.
Dan looked at her with sympathy in his eyes. “You’re part wolf. The herb is dangerous to those with the lycanthrope gene, like you. You might want to consider bringing in help on this one.”
Nikki gritted her teeth. The fact that she would need to call Damon galled her. She didn’t like having to rely on him, but so many of the cases thrown her way recently involved paranormal elements, and now she had a weakness. Just great. Freakin’ Hell. She couldn’t even change, how fair was that?
You need me? Damon’s deep voice called to her. She couldn’t suppress the shudder of desire passing through her body.
I can’t go in the room. So, yes, I do need you. Nikki let the irritation seep into her tone.
Why can't you entert? Concern laced his voice.
Silence met her answer. Damon?
Damon? Where have you gone?
“Here.” Damon materialized right in front of her. His large hands pulled her to his hard body.
She inhaled his rich, musky scent. It was refreshing after the dank smell of death.
“You can’t stay out of trouble can you?”
Nikki shrugged, “Seems so.”
Damon’s heart thudded in his chest. If she had ingested any of the Wolfsbane, she could have died. He lowered his head and kissed her, his lips claiming hers with bruising ferocity.
She jerked back, “Damon, not here.” She pushed against his chest. “Later.” Nikki glanced up at him through her lashes, her green eyes peeked at him with a mischievous twinkle. Nikki would be fine. Damon felt the constriction release from his heart.
“Wait here.” Damon flashed her a grin as he disappeared into the building. He grimaced at the horror in from of him. His gaze narrowed and his nostrils flared. Someone had set a trap. A trap for a werewolf, the place was lined with Wolfsbane. A circle of salt lay around the edges of a makeshift podium constructed from old crates. A red cloth lay over the crates creating a smooth surface where the young woman lay dead. A medallion was placed next to her and Damon picked it up, shoving the disk into his pocket. The gold piece had been etched with the crest of the Nostre Dames.
Something was going down. He couldn’t be caught, not here. If the Nostre Dames was actually involved then they had a problem on their hands. Damon started to exit when he noticed the symbol painted on the floor. Dark red blended into concrete and the grey almost swallowed the color. Someone was doing rituals with werewolves, center stage and trying to blame Nostre Dames, which would be messy. Damon wanted to avoid that at all costs.
He blended into the night as he stepped outside and found Nikki’s glowing green gaze eyes in the darkness. She was beautiful with her hair pulled back in a braid that fell down her back. She dressed in black slacks and a blue tank top covered by a leather jacket. Damon resisted the urge to muss her up. There were more important things to deal with right now. Like keeping her safe.
“What happened?” Nikki stepped forward all business. She looked much better.
“There was a ritual preformed -- one involving a good deal of wolfsbane. You need to leave this one to us.” Damon hardened his jaw. He understood she wouldn’t like being told to back off. Nikki wasn’t the type to step away just because things got rough. It’s part of what he loved about her.
She pushed away from the warehouse wall, “You know I’m not going to do that.” Nikki ran a hand over her face, “What are we supposed to do now? I obviously can’t report this.” She gestured to the door, her full lips turned down in a frown.
Damon knew what he’d like to do, and it had nothing to do with dead bodies or wolfsbane. There were times he didn’t like her job, okay, all the time. It put her in danger. However, Damon appreciated she’d never be happy doing anything else.
Her eyes clashed with his, “We have to warn Trevor.”
Damon growled low in his throat, he couldn’t help himself. The Alpha wolf was competition. Logically, they had to inform the Alpha. His pack was in danger, and Damon made the truce in order to protect his brother. If not for that, Damon would leave Trevor to his own devices and lock Nikki up until the danger passed. Now, his honor wouldn’t let him walk away.
“Let’s go.” Damon grabbed her hand and pulled her to him.
“We have to wait for the CSI team.” Nikki tugged out of his embrace.
Dan stepped forward, his bulk filling the space next to them. “Nik, I can take care of things from here. If you want to go warn Gies, then by all means, head off.”
The area remained dark, and the sun hadn’t dared to rise. Still around three in the morning, Nikki wasn’t comfortable leaving Dan there alone. You don’t leave your partner alone in a potentially dangerous situation. “We can wait. I’ll call ahead and make Trevor aware we’re coming. There’s been some friction down at the club anyway since the truce.”
When Trevor agreed to make a truce with Damon, a rift occurred in the clan. Many of the wolves had strong feelings against associating with vampires of any sort. Trevor had filled Nikki in on the centuries long war which had practically made the race of werewolves extinct. Vampires had used werewolves as blood slaves throughout history. The blood of a werewolf was like a drug for any vampire. Nikki herself had learned this the first time she’d met Damon.
She recalled his reaction when he’d bitten into her. He almost hadn’t stopped. Not that she’d die, no, werewolves regenerate. Their power to heal made them the perfect food source, a never-ending supply of addictive blood for the vampire world. In the Fifteenth Century, they’d had enough. The werewolves fought back with a vengeance, led by one brave wolf who thought to stand up to his captors, Maddon. He killed his captor, and went on to create a rebellion unlike any the world had seen.
Until a few months ago, the clan in Boston had lived under the radar, but that all ended when Nikki found out about her heritage. It hadn’t helped matters that her boyfriend was a vampire, and not just any vampire, but one of the law enforcers. After the first bite, everything suddenly became clear. Her mom fessed up that Nikki’s dad was a werewolf, and his blood ran in her veins. The scary thing was that while Damon might be addicted to her blood, she was just as addicted to his venom. She wanted him to bite her. The sensations his bite created were like the ultimate orgasm, and Nikki couldn’t get enough. She felt strange about the fact.
While her partner contacted the forensics team and the coroner, Nikki pulled out her phone and dialed Trevor. As usual, it seemed as though he knew when she was calling and picked up on the first ring.
“What’s up Gorgeous?” His tone held a spark of amusement.
“Stop fooling around. We have an issue.” Nikki wasn’t in the mood for his teasing right now.
“What’s going on? You sound serious.” Trevor’s tone changed immediately to that of the commanding Alpha wolf he was, and he wanted answers.
Nikki tried not to let the fact make her hackles rise, he couldn’t help himself, “I don’t really want to tell you over the phone, but it looks like someone you may know has been murdered.”
His voice rumbled with a low pitched growl as he spoke. “Do you know who it is?”
“Not yet. You’ll have to come down and identify the body, but not here. There’s wolfsbane everywhere.” She glanced back at the doors of the warehouse with narrowed eyes. “I think this may have been a trap.”
“Are you okay? You didn’t ingest any did you?” Alarm entered his tone.
“I’m fine. I got out of there before it affected me too much, but Trev, someone sent this tip into me. Not someone else on the force, me. That worries me.”
“Me too. Does anyone else on the force know your part wolf?”
“No, just Dan, and he was with me when I got here. Besides, both you and dad trust him. He’s known about us for years. He wouldn’t do something like this.” She ran a hand through her hair and paced. “I want you to take a look at this girl and tell me if she was part of your pack. We’ll go from there.”
“Sure, makes sense. I’ll meet you down at the morgue with Raze. He’s here with me.”
Nikki shivered at the thought of the Beta wolf, and suppressed the feeling. The man didn’t like her, and she wasn’t sure why. “Okay, I’ll see you there. It may be a while, we still have to clean up here.”
“Right, stay safe, and don’t let any of the wolfsbane near you. That’s bad stuff for us.”
Nikki rolled her eyes. “Don’t worry. I can take care of myself.” She ended the call. It seemed like she was always telling that to either Damon or Trev, and she was getting sick of it. She needed an outlet. Perhaps she could go hit the gym later.
Damon’s hands sneaked around her waist. “I can think of better ways to let off steam.”
Nikki turned and smacked him in the shoulder. “I wasn’t talking about that.”
He chuckled. “I know. Look,” He leveled his intense blue gaze on her, “If you want me to stop worrying so much, then I’m willing to train you.”
Nikki opened her mouth to protest. She’d had plenty of training at the academy. He placed a finger over her lips.
“I know you’re trained for police work, and you do your job well, but there are certain ways to train for fighting one of us, or any other type of paranormal creature. You haven’t been taught those. You have the reflexes, you just need to hone them.
The way he said the word hone made her knees go weak, and Nikki pressed into him.
“Well, you’re more than welcome to hone anything you see.”
His eyes darkened to deep blue pools of desire, and he leaned in to kiss her.
“Hey guys?” Dan’s voice interrupted them, and they both glanced in his direction.
Nikki quirked her eyebrow, “What is do you need Dan?”
He gestured to the vehicles pulling into the area, “We’ve got company. The troops have arrived.”
Reluctantly, Nikki separated herself from Damon, and straightened her leather coat making sure she looked like she was the one in charge. Officers and other officials piled out of vehicles and greeted her warmly as they went to work. She loved her precinct. With a few notable exceptions, they were friendly and worked well together to solve their cases. She was glad werewolves appeared as normal humans after death, or she would have needed to torch the place with the body before the team got there. Too may of her cases lately came away unsolved. Or, at least they appeared that way. When your killer wound up as a pile of ash, there wasn’t much left to report on. She couldn’t very well tell the Chief about the paranormal community running around Boston. Hell, she could picture the conversation now, as well as the suspension and mandatory therapy she’d be ordered into. No thanks.