Shadow Born (Shadows of Salem #1)(12)

by Jasmine Walt, Rebecca Hamilton

No, after tonight there was no way I could put up my feet and chill. I didn’t know who the hell this Tremaine guy thought he was, but I fully intended to tear apart this town until I found him.

CHAPTER 6

By the time I got home, I’d worked myself up into a righteous fury. Somehow I’d gone from chasing down a drug dealer to being tied up and nearly killed by a pompous supernatural club owner with a stick up his ass.

It irked me to no end that I didn’t know who or what Lord Tremaine was, so instead of eating the Chinese takeout I’d picked up on the way home, I snatched up my laptop, plopped down onto the couch, and settled in to do some serious Googling.

Since the only lead I had was the building, I started there. I’d noted the address before I left, so I plugged it in now, then did a search through county records to find out who owned it.

Turned out that it belonged to one Maddock Tremaine, purchased over five years ago. A little more digging revealed that he’d intended to turn it into a club, but due to unknown reasons, the building continued to sit empty.

Well, they’re wrong about that.

I scoffed, saving the article to a bookmark folder before I closed it. Maddock Tremaine certainly had built a club inside the building. He’d just done it in such a way that he could make it vanish from the naked eye at will.

Just how powerful did someone have to be in order to do that?

A little shiver crawled along my spine at the thought of being face-to-face with a supernatural that potent. I was surprised he hadn’t killed me himself—surely if he could make an entire club disappear, he had enough power in his pinky finger to end me. But he’d had his guards take me out back so a little bald man could do it instead.

What if he wasn’t trying to kill you?

The thought popped into my head so suddenly that my fingers froze on the keyboard. I cast my thoughts back to that moment in the alley, searching for any context clues that indicated they were planning something else. Although they’d liberally flung around the phrase “take care of her,” nobody had actually specified what that was supposed to mean. And in the end, all Mr. Trash Can had managed to do was wiggle his fingers and send a couple of sparks my way.

I mean, really, if they’d wanted to kill me, the guard that had hauled me out there could have done that easily enough. He could have snapped my neck between his thumb and forefinger, and there wouldn’t have been a damn thing I could do about it. There was no need for that hocus pocus…unless they were trying to put some kind of spell on me instead.

Maybe they just wanted to make me forget what I saw, I mused. That theory certainly made sense. Take the human out back, wiggle your fingers at her until she sees stars in her eyes, then send her on her way with a slight case of amnesia. Easy enough.

The only problem was, I wasn’t human. Or at least not a regular human anyway. I had a feeling that even if the guards and Mr. Trash Can didn’t know that, Lord Tremaine did. The look in his eyes when he’d caught sight of me, coupled with what he’d said, was more than enough to suggest that he’d met me before.

Thing was, I was one-hundred percent sure I had never met him.

So how did he know me then?

I rose from the couch to collect my Chinese food. Now that some of the anger had worn off, my stomach was making its needs known. I cracked open my box of chicken lo mein and shoveled a few bites into my mouth using chopsticks.

Maybe he met you as a kid.

I chewed on a snow pea from my lo mein as I considered that. It was entirely plausible that he’d met me as a kid and I just didn’t remember, as my life before Uncle Oscar was pretty fuzzy on the details. But what would I have done as a child that would have pissed him off so much that he’d thrown me out of his club without a second thought?

“I dinnae know why ye’ve come back again, but I wilna let you sink yer meddling claws into my affairs anymore.”

His thick, Scottish burr echoed in my head as I swallowed. Come back again? Meddling in his affairs? No. My childhood memory might not be crystal clear, but I’d remember if I’d come to Salem at six years old and stuck my nose into Maddock’s business.

Then again, he might not have been living in Salem when I was six years old. He’d only owned the club for the last five years. There was no way he and I had crossed paths when I was a kid, but the idea did make me wonder exactly what Mr. Tremaine had meant by his comment.

I set my box of half-eaten lo mein on the counter, then sat on the couch with my laptop again and Googled Maddock Tremaine’s name.

A website for Tremaine Enterprises popped up, and next to it was a strange golden logo that at first glance looked like a badly drawn Nazi symbol. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was actually three arms bent at the elbows and connected at the shoulder joint. A quick search through images showed that symbol was actually part of the Tremaine family crest.

I opened up the website and had a look around. Tremaine Enterprises seemed to have its fingers in a lot of pies, everywhere from real estate to solar power to the automotive industry. That was a lot of ground to cover, and while I could spend plenty of time doing that, I didn’t think I was going to find what I needed to know from his outside investments.

No, what I wanted to know was why a man—or whatever he was—with so many holdings spread across the planet was investing his time in running a supernatural club in small-town Salem. Too bad I couldn’t Google that.

Instead, I navigated to the company bio, hoping to find something useful. According to the summary, Tremaine Enterprises had been around for the last two hundred years, and had been founded by Dougall Tremaine on the family’s ancestral lands in Scotland. A small paragraph about Maddock himself told me that he’d inherited the company in full about ten years ago but had been working in it almost his whole life, already a savvy investor by the age of sixteen.

I wonder just how much of this bio is complete and utter bullshit.

I stared at the small photograph of Maddock Tremaine that took up a portion of my laptop screen. I mean, it all sounded good on paper, and I had no reason on the surface to think that any of it wasn’t true. But I’d stared into Maddock’s ancient eyes myself, and even though I didn’t know much about supernaturals, I was willing to bet good money that it had been a very, very long time since Maddock Tremaine had been sixteen years old.

Sighing, I closed my laptop, then cleaned up my takeout and headed back to my bedroom. I was going to have to rummage through the precinct’s database to see if I could glean any helpful information about Maddock. At the very least, I could dig out an address and see what my chances were that he actually lived at it.