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Показать все книги автора/авторов: Гамильтон Лорел
 

«Blue Moon», Лорел Гамильтон

1

I was dreaming of cool flesh and sheets the color of fresh blood. The phone shattered the dream, leaving only fragments, a glimpse of midnight blue eyes, hands gliding down my body, his hair flung across my face in a sweet, scented cloud. I woke in my own house, miles from Jean-Claude with the feel of his body clinging to me. I fumbled the phone from the bedside table and mumbled, "Hello."

"Anita, is that you?" It was Daniel Zeeman, Richard's baby brother. Daniel was twenty-four and cute as a bug's ear. Baby didn't really cover it. Richard had been my fiancй once upon a time — until I chose Jean-Claude over him. Sleeping with the other man put a real crimp in our social plans. Not that I blamed Richard. No, I blamed myself. It was one of the few things Richard and I still shared.

I squinted at the glowing dial of the bedside clock. 3:10 A.M. "Daniel, what's wrong?" No one calls at ten after the witching hour with good news.

He took a deep breath, as if preparing himself for the next line. "Richard's in jail."

I sat up, sheets sliding in a bundle to my lap. "What did you say?" I was suddenly wide awake, heart thudding, adrenaline pumping.

"Richard is in jail," he repeated.

I didn't make him say it again, though I wanted to. "What for?" I asked.

"Attempted rape," he said.

"What?" I said.

Daniel repeated it. It didn't make any more sense the second time I heard it. "Richard is like the ultimate Boy Scout," I said. "I'd believe murder before I'd believe rape."

"I guess that's a compliment," he said.

"You know what I meant, Daniel. Richard wouldn't do something like that."

"I agree," he said.

"Is he in Saint Louis?" I asked.

"No, he's still in Tennessee. He finished up his requirements for his master's degree and got arrested that night."

"Tell me what happened."

"I don't exactly know," he said.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"They won't let me see him," Daniel said.

"Why not?"

"Mom got in to see him, but they wouldn't let all of us in."

"Has he got a lawyer?" I asked.

"He says he doesn't need one. He says he didn't do it."

"Prison is full of people who didn't do it, Daniel. He needs a lawyer. It's his word against the woman's. If she's local and he isn't, he's in trouble."

"He's in trouble," Daniel said.

"Shit," I said.

"There's more bad news," he said.

I threw the covers back and stood, clutching the phone. "Tell me."

"There's going to be a blue moon this month." He said it very quietly, no explanation, but I understood.

Richard was an alpha werewolf. He was head of the local pack. It was his only serious flaw. We'd broken up after I'd seen him eat somebody. What I'd seen had sent me running to Jean-Claude's arms. I'd run from the werewolf to the vampire. Jean-Claude was Master of the City of Saint Louis. He was definitely not the more human of the two. I know there isn't a lot to choose from between a bloodsucker and a flesh-eater, but at least after Jean-Claude finished feeding, there weren't chunks between his fangs. A small distinction but a real one.

A blue moon meant a second full moon this month. The moon doesn't actually turn blue most of the time, but it is where the old saying comes from — once in a blue moon. It happens about every three years or so. It was August, and the second full moon was only five days away. Richard's control was very good, but I'd never heard of any werewolf, even an Ulfric, a pack leader, who could fight the change on the night of the full moon. No matter what flavor of animal you changed into, a lycanthrope was a lycanthrope. The full moon ruled them.

"We have to get him out of jail before the full moon," Daniel said.

"Yeah," I said. Richard was hiding what he was. He taught junior high science. If they found out he was a werewolf, he'd lose his job. It was illegal to discriminate on the basis of a disease, especially one as difficult to catch as lycanthropy, but they'd do it. No one wanted a monster teaching their kiddies. Not to mention that the only person in Richard's family who knew his secret was Daniel. Mom and Pop Zeeman didn't know.

"Give me a number to contact you at," I said.

He did. "You'll come down then," he said.

"Yeah."

He sighed. "Thanks. Mom is raising hell, but it's not helping. We need someone here who understands the legal system."

"I'll have a friend call you with the name of a good local lawyer before I get there. You may be able to arrange bail by the time I arrive."

"If he'll see the lawyer," Daniel said.

"Is he being stupid?" I asked.

"He thinks that having the truth on his side is enough."


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