Home > Cursed (Nightwind Pack #3)(4)

Cursed (Nightwind Pack #3)(4)
Author: Laurann Dohner

Jason shrugged. “We know how to clean up messes.”

“Then why am I here?” She snorted in disbelief. “You should have cleaned him up a long time ago. He’s been doing shit like this forever. He was always like that.”

Jason frowned. “How do you know Merl?”

“I’ve just heard things.”

“Who are you?”

“A ghost,” she answered softly before she backed out the door.

 

 

2

 

 

Jazz stared down at the bloody corpse that had once been Merl. Go fucking figure this shit goes down on Desmon’s day off. Now Jazz was stuck with the mess.

Clearly it was not the day to be head alpha in charge.

Jazz removed his sunglasses and turned to look at Jason. “Explain fast.”

Jason walked over to glower down at Merl’s body. He curled his lip with distaste. “A human woman came storming in after Merl, claiming he killed Ralphour Ralph. Even if he left a long time ago, pack is pack. Merl had no right to do that.”

Shock tore through Jazz when he realized what Jason was telling him. “Are you talking about Ralph Markum?”

Jason solemnly nodded.

“He’s dead? Are you sure?”

“She was his girlfriend.” Jason shrugged. “And her story wasn’t hard to believe. She smelled honest. She seemed real torn up about it.”

Jazz put his hands in his pockets to hide the shake in them. “Okay, let’s hear the story, then.”

“She claimed Merl raped a college girl in Reddly, only Ralph being Ralph, he stepped in and tried to save her. Like I said, it was easy to believe, sounds like something both of ’em would do. Merl’s always been a waste of space,” Jason spat. “She also claimed to hunt wolves. She wanted Merl here to change so she could mount him on her mantel along with a few other furry heads from earlier hunts. Those are her words, and I tend to believe that woman when she says she’s got some of us stuffed on a wall. Damn, was she good with those guns. Ralph must’ve taught her. They were always his thing.”

Jazz rubbed a hand over his face, trying to will the wolf under the surface to calm down. That name brought up so many painful memories, staying in skin was almost difficult.

He took another deep breath. “You believe her?”

Jason nodded. “Merl scented of lies as much as she smelled honest. His heart was beating so loud, I know I wasn’t the only one to hear it.”

“The Markums were always human friendly, and Ralph did like guns.” Jazz groaned, feeling a wash of shame that it was one of his wolves to kill Ralph. It made everything so much worse.

“I thought of calling Des instead,” Jason admitted softly. “But, you said—”

“No, let him enjoy his day off with his mate and son. He deals with enough shit. You and the guys need to clean up this mess before he sees it.” Jazz stared at the one wolf with a bleeding hole in his thigh “And call the doc, someone needs to take Aaron to his place to dig the bullet out. This is a mess.”

“She wasn’t shitting about using silver casings,” growled Aaron, the male by the pool table still holding his injured leg. “My leg won’t stop bleeding.”

“You probably shouldn’t have let her do that,” Jazz whispered under his breath to Jason. “You’re telling me you didn’t have one chance to stop her? You’re on duty, asshole. You’re paid to be an enforcer.”

“He’s okay.” Jason dismissed Aaron before looking back at Jazz. “One silver-cased bullet won’t kill him.”

“Fuck you, Jason!” Aaron grunted.

Jason rolled his eyes, before he grew suddenly serious again. “When you call Desmon, you should ask him about that woman. She’s saying things about him, which is the other reason why I decided to tell you instead of him.”

Jazz frowned at Jason with confusion. “What things?”

“When I tried to explain to her that our alpha would need to talk to her, she freaked. Then, she unzipped her jeans and showed us the claw marks on her lower back, definitely from one of us.” Jason swallowed hard. “She said our alpha was the one who gave them to her.”

Shocked, Jazz grunted in denial. “She’s lying.”

“I know that, but one of our kind did mark her up.” Jason sighed, obviously uncomfortable, since he had a human mate at home he worried about. “She was a small thing, and those scars were deep. Whoever did that didn’t expect her to live.”

“Great.” Jazz grit his teeth. “And she accused Desmon?”

“Yeah, and the thing is…” Jason seemed to hesitate before he sighed heavily. “She smelled honest about that too. Real honest.”

“It never happened. I’ve known him my entire life. You have too. He’d never hurt a woman. Ever. You’re trying to tell me he marked her? She’s lying about who did it.”

“Maybe she has the wrong alpha,” Jason suggested. “She’s human. She might think this area belongs to the Goodwins. Maybe she thinks Leroy is our alpha. We are in neutral territory.”

“Isn’t anyone going after Rambitch?” Aaron growled impatiently.

Jazz arched an eyebrow. “Rambitch?”

“She’s mean and loaded to the teeth with weapons,” Aaron almost whined. “And my damn leg is still bleeding. It should have stopped by now.”

Brandon bent over and lifted a piece of paper off the ground. “Rambitch forgot something. It fell out of her coat when she dropped it.” He unfolded the paper, then cursed before he held it up for Jazz to see. “Look. It’s Benny Boon. He’s part of the Baker pack.”

Jazz studied the paper copy of a blown-up driver’s license photo and yanked his phone out of his back pocket. He searched his contacts, found the right one, and hit call. It rang a few times before someone answered.

“Hey, Nightwinds,” came the low, raspy voice of Alpha Terry Baker. “Are you finally ready to get out of your territory for the full moon and accept the invite? You know we always have room for more out here.”

“Thanks, but this is a business call.” Jazz rubbed at the back of his neck as he tried to make his voice casual. “We had something strange go down over here and I was wondering if Benny Boon was okay?”

“Damn.” The alpha growled. “What’d he do now?”

“We had a were-hunter blow into our bar tonight and take out one of ours who’d gotten in some trouble. The hunter dropped a picture of Benny on the way out, so I thought I’d give you the heads up and ask if he’s still alive and kicking.”

“Yeah, he’s kicking all right.” The growl was still heavy in Terry’s voice. “Pain in my ass. Who’d you lose?”

Jazz sighed, and admitted, “It was Merl.”

“I knew Merl. He used to wander over here sometimes. Made me glad he was your problem.” Terry almost seemed relieved of the reminder that the Nightwinds had assholes too. “Do I offer my condolences?”

“You don’t have to. It wasn’t a great loss.” Jazz flinched and turned to see if Merl’s buddies were paying attention while one of them still sat on the floor bleeding. “Has Benny been in any significant trouble lately?”

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