Home > Blood Lust (Fated Mates #1)(2)

Blood Lust (Fated Mates #1)(2)
Author: Kitty Thomas

Greta followed Jaden to the kitchen and waited while the older woman scribbled something on a slip of paper, rolled it up, and stuck it in Greta’s mouth.

“Did you get all that?”

“Mrraar,” she said around the paper.

“Go to this place. It’s the only person in the city who can keep you safe.”

Simon’s voice grew louder as he approached the kitchen. Before he could see her, Greta leaped off the table and scurried out the cat door.

Humans had been busy the past several decades tearing down walls that trapped people in their homelands. The preternaturals, meanwhile, had been engaged in building them up. Normally it didn’t bother her so much; but now she could palpably feel the invisible cage that kept her locked inside the walls of the city, making her world feel claustrophobic, where before it had been a cocoon of perceived safety.

There was one person she was close to who wasn’t a member of the tribe. She ran three miles, scratched on Charlee’s door, and nearly jumped out of her fur when the dog barked. A redheaded woman mumbled a few warnings to the dog and flipped on the porch light.

Greta tried to look unassuming and adorable. “Mrarrr.”

“Awwww, aren’t you the cutest!”

Score.

Charlee bent to scoop Greta up and shooed the dog out of the house. “Go play, Sammy.”

The Irish setter ignored her, choosing instead to lick Greta as he normally did, not noticing she was a cat now. Charlee’s brows drew up in confusion. She swatted him on his haunches until he ran off down the dirt road, tail wagging.

“Stupid dog. Doesn’t know he’s supposed to hate cats. That could be good news for you, sugar plum.”

Once inside, Greta sprang from her friend’s arms and bolted for the bathroom. She was thankful for the flimsy door as she slammed it shut with the full weight of her feline body. She hopped up on the counter and pressed the push button lock with her paw, then dropped gracefully to the floor.

Charlee jiggled the knob on the other side. “Well, I’ll be damned. Honey, how’d you lock yourself in?”

In. Out. In. Out. Think of something calming. Waves lapping the shore, rolling green meadows. Moments later Greta was curled naked on the floor. She spit the roll of paper out of her mouth.

Printed in Jaden’s cramped script, was an address in Cary Town. And a name. Dayne Wickham.

For a second, Greta couldn’t breathe and thought she might shift back. It had to be a mistake. Jaden couldn’t mean for her to go to him. Dayne Wickham was notorious. He wasn’t just a magic user. He was a sorcerer. People still talked about the night he’d massacred more than half the tribe.

There was a soft knock on the door. “I don’t know how you managed to lock yourself in there, kitty, but I’ve got tools and I’m going to get you out. Okay?”

Greta wrapped a bathrobe around herself and opened the door. Charlee fell back, her eyes wide, tools spread around her in a fan. She must have found a sale. Or else she was dating a contractor.

“So, yeah, I’m a cat and I need to borrow some clothes.” She hoped she wouldn’t have to do the whole transformation all over just to prove it. Surely, cat goes in, human comes out was enough evidence. Especially with no windows or other exits in the bathroom.

Charlee gawked up at her. “What are you?”

“A therian.”

“A whatian?”

Greta sighed and used the term she hated. “Werecat.”

“You can turn into a cat? Seriously? How? Have you always done it? Did you get bitten by another werecat? Do you have other superpowers?”

“Charlee . . . ” she said with as much patience as she could muster.

By this time Charlee had managed to stand and was prowling around her, looking as if there might be an instruction manual printed somewhere on Greta’s body.

“Clothes,” Greta said, trying to bring her friend back to the issue at hand.

“Sure. Clothes. No problem, but show me the werecat thing.” Charlee moved to the bedroom, Greta trailing behind her.

“Listen, I can’t imagine how I would feel if the tables were turned, but I don’t have time for show-and-tell right now. You’ll be safer the less you know. They’ll use a spell to track me, so I need to be somewhere with strong wards. I just need some clothes to last me a few days.”

“Spells are real too? So then . . . witches . . . and . . . ”

“Charlee!”

“Oh, right. Sure. Borrow whatever you want; I’ll pack you a bag.”

Greta pulled on a pair of jeans and T-shirt from the floor. Her face scrunched in distaste at the outfits her friend was throwing into the bag. Charlee believed in dressing sexy like it was a religion. It was a little more than Greta personally wanted to show off, but it was better than nudity.

“Are you sure this is all I can do to help? I could go on the lam with you.”

Greta hid a smile. She wished she could take her up on her offer, and for a moment a fantasy of Thelma and Louise-ing it through Cary Town caught her imagination. But Charlee wasn’t prepared to deal with what was out there, and Greta couldn’t protect her.

She watched as her friend tossed some makeup and a couple of trashy romance novels into the bag. Only Charlee would think running for your life was the time to read romance and wear lipstick.

Greta decided she should have told her friend about her double life long ago. If not for the ridiculous loyalty she’d felt for the tribe that now intended to strap her down to a stone altar she probably would have.

 

 

2

 

 

Dayne Wickham sat hunched over his computer. His posture showed his age even as his face and physique refused to. He brushed a clump of dark hair out of his eyes and stared at the twitchy screen in front of him. Technology was a beautiful thing. He’d found a most reliable supplier of were-blood on the Internet.

Theriantype.com had a cross-referencing index matching the correct were-blood type to specific rituals. It was almost enough to make a sorcerer pack all his musty old books into storage and move everything to the computer. Almost.

He’d met Alistair Cranze on a magic user’s message board. The wizard had recommended the site, and for the past year Dayne hadn’t had any trouble. He couldn’t remember how he’d managed to get by before. Werecat was considered the most magical of all were-blood types. And for this working, even more so.

The mythology claiming a witch’s familiar to be a cat was rooted somewhat in fact. Werecats without a tribe had sought witches, wizards, and occasionally a sorcerer or two. They’d traded blood for shelter for centuries.

Things were different now. These days, Weres in desperate situations and in need of cash donated anonymously to one of the blood banks, and various magic users just ordered what they needed from occult shopkeepers or online. It was much cleaner this way.

Weres could be more trouble than they were worth. Most magic users had learned that the hard way, as there seemed to be a certain level of idiotic stubbornness that came with the territory of wielding magic.

Dayne rolled his mouse over the send button and clicked, then leaned back in his chair, interlacing his fingers behind his head. He smiled as the animated GIF wand waved, and purple digital glitter sprinkled over his computer desktop, indicating his order was being processed. The site was on the cheesy side, but a reliable company was a reliable company, cutesy bells and whistles notwithstanding.

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