His eyes darted to the door, and he nodded jerkily. “Okay, I’ll tell you. We’re staying in a place on Fletcher Street.” He rattled off an address. “That’s all I know. I swear. Can I go now?”
I released him and stepped back, clearing a path to the exit. “Go.”
The vampire lunged for the door and pulled it open. Without a look back, he ran outside into the alley at the rear of the building. As the door closed behind him, I heard a chorus of growls followed by a muffled scream.
Chris blew out a noisy breath. “Ten vampires?”
“I know. Something is up, and we’re going to get to the bottom of it.”
“We should call in a unit for this one,” Chris said as we headed for the front exit. “Unless you’re in the mood to piss off the Council again.”
I laughed, remembering my last talk with Tristan. “Let’s call Erik. His team is closest.”
Chris made the call. “They’ll be here in two hours.”
We left the building and headed back to our bikes. My mind kept replaying what the vampire had said about Eli and the teenage girls, and the more I dwelled on it, the more I wanted to hit something.
“You want to tell me why you’re in such a black mood tonight?”
I gave Chris a sideways glance. “I’m not in a mood.”
He made a sound suspiciously like a snort. “How long have we known each other? You have the coolest head of any warrior I’ve ever met, but you almost killed that vampire back there. What was that about?”
“I’m mad at myself for letting Eli get away last night. That’s all.” The real reason for my agitation wasn’t something I wanted to discuss, even with Chris. The sooner we dealt with the situation in Portland and sent our people to get Sara, the sooner I could put this behind me.
My Mori growled unhappily. It had been doing that a lot since I’d let Sara drive away with her friends last night. Mori demons were driven by instinct and emotion, and all mine could think about was its mate.
Potential mate, I reminded us both. I couldn’t deny there was something about the girl that drew me in like no one ever had. Was it the innocence I’d seen in her eyes? Or her blind trust in me in that alley?
Or was it because of how right it had felt to hold her in my arms?
It doesn’t matter what it is. There was no place in my life for a mate, no matter what I was feeling. My Mori would just have to get over it.
My phone rang and Dax’s number flashed across the screen.
“Dax, what do you have for me?”
“I traced the license plate to a Judith Greene in New Hastings, which is about an hour north of Portland. She has a son named Roland, who attends St. Patrick High School. I searched the school records and found two girls named Sara. I’m sending you their pictures now.”
A photo appeared on the screen of a blonde girl named Sarah Cummings.
“Not her,” I said.
It took a minute for the second picture to arrive, and I recognized the face immediately. I stared at Sara Grey’s green eyes until Dax spoke.
“Is it her?”
“Yes. Do you have an address for her?”
Dax chuckled. “Do you even have to ask?”
Seconds later, a text arrived with her address. “You need anything else?” he asked.
“No, that’s it. Thanks.”
Chris leaned in to look at the face on my phone. “Ah, Dax found your little orphan.”
I closed the picture. “She’s not my orphan,” I grumbled, ignoring my Mori pressing forward insistently. Mine, it growled.
“So, are we going to pick her up?”
I stared down the dark street instead of looking at him. “Since when do you and I bring in orphans?”
“It’s been a few years, but I’ve handled orphans once or twice.” He fell silent for a minute. “Anyway, we’re here and she knows you. You already have a connection with her.”
“Connection?” Was it that obvious?
Chris laughed. “Yes, that happens when you save someone’s life. Look, I can handle the girl if you want me to. Or are you thinking of calling in someone?”
“Paulette has the most experience. I’ll call her tomorrow,” I said as our bikes came into view. The least I could do was give the girl a few days to recover from her ordeal before we sent someone in to turn her world upside down.
Opening the GPS app on my phone, I entered the address for the house on Fletcher Street. I hoped Erik didn’t take too long to get here because, right now, I was in the mood to make a different kind of house call.
Welcome to New Hastings. The sign flew past as my bike roared along the almost deserted road, and I smiled grimly, not expecting a warm welcome when I got to my destination. After the way we’d parted, Sara wasn’t going to be happy to see me. The memory of the hurt in her eyes as she’d turned away from me had stayed with me all weekend.
I still wasn’t sure what I was doing here. I’d picked up my phone half a dozen times yesterday to call Paulette, and each time something had stopped me from making the call. It could have been the waves of anger coming from my Mori every time I thought about having someone else make this visit.
Or it could have been the questions burning in my mind ever since Friday night. Sara was definitely Mohiri, and we had a bond. I could feel it; my Mori could feel it. Why, then, hadn’t she shown a hint of recognition or a sign she’d felt something? The more time that passed, the more I had to see her again to make sense of it all.
And how the hell had she survived alone all these years? I could see the werewolves keeping her safe from predators, but how had her demon not driven her insane? Could it be related somehow to the reason her Mori was so quiet? The more I’d thought about it, the more I wondered if her Mori could be sick. I’d heard of it happening, and there had to be some explanation for all of this.
The idea of Sara or her Mori being sick sent a chill through me. It’s not that, I reassured myself. An ailing Mori would cause the person to fall physically ill. Our symbiotic relationship gave us our demon’s strength, but also their weakness. If her Mori was sick, she would be too, but she’d looked healthy when I met her in the club.
My Mori fluttered excitably a few seconds before I rounded a bend in the road and spotted the girl on the bicycle. I didn’t need to see her face to know who she was.