Touch of Evil – Cecy Robson

There’s a naked werewolf standing in front of me. Let me kindly explain. There’s a naked werewolf—a man who can change into a wolf—standing naked, in human form, in front of me. They do that a lot, change from beast to full naked glory. Typically, it’s pre and post bloody battle for the sake of the world and to protect its unsuspecting human populace. However awkward, I’m used to it. “Like what you see?” he asks. Make that sort of used to it. He flexes and gives a little thrust to show off what he thinks are some delectable goods and oh, my…he has three testicles. I slap my hands over my eyes. I take it back. I take it all back. I’m not used to all this. “Emme,” Ted asks. “Did you just gag?” I’m not a rude person.

I’m not a liar. “Yes?” is my response. Ted is a lot bigger than me. He’s also stronger and can snap my spine without changing to his beast counterpart. I keep my hands over my eyes. As a nurse by trade, and a supernatural fighter by sheer terrible luck, I have seen things. Ugly, frightening, and unexceptionally evil things. And I’ve encountered creatures so menacing mere thoughts reduce me to trembles. I draw the line at extra testicles. The sound of slapping and bouncing skin causes me to shrink inward.

Ted seems to be putting on quite the show. Honestly, it sounds like a one-man juggling act involving bestleft-covered body parts. I’m tired of dating Teds. And humans, they wouldn’t survive me or the world my sisters and I were thrown into. No, in order to be with me you must have something special. And I’m not referring to what Ted is currently playing with. My hands slip away from my face when I sense his approach. “In my world, I’m revered for my virility,” he says to my back. “Mm-hmm,” I reply. I pity the packmate forced to run behind him.

Ted is either referring to his obscenely large member weres are known for (“They’re built for attracting females,” my perky sister once explained) or the extra semen sack dangling halfway down his thigh. Neither impress me and neither does Ted. I carefully step over the second of two discarded pizza boxes and make my way toward the exit. My steps slow as I reach the door. I turn to my left, then to my right. Something else is here. Dread and resentment drag their long spindly fingers across my skin and hate coats my tongue. I’m scared and on guard, and it’s not because of Ted. My gaze skips around the apartment, past the galley kitchen and to the boarded window covered with a Scarface poster. I don’t see anyone or anything else.

What I sense though is wrong and it shouldn’t be here. I keep my voice quiet, not wanting whatever is here to hear me. “Do you feel that?” I ask. “Yeah, baby,” he says. “It feels good. How about you feel it, too?” Forget it. Ted is on his own. I grip the greasy knob, trying not to give too much thought as to why it’s greasy, and more than anxious to leave Ted and his new roommate behind. Ted slams his hand on the door above my head. It’s a show of strength, reminding me that he’s the one with the muscles and no matter how hard I pull, this door won’t open unless he allows it.

Hot and heavy breath skitters along my neck, fluttering the strands of loose blonde hair that escaped my bun. He’s aroused, like a wolf who’s just caught his prey. Except I’m not prey, no matter how much I resemble the part. “I thought you were different, Emme,” he whispers, this tenor pitch dropping low. My hand slips away from the knob. “I thought you were different, too,” I say. There were no penis pics from Ted. No midnight booty calls while drunk on witch’s brew. No inappropriate texts that made me blush or had me Googling terms like “pony play.” I did think Ted was different.

Yet here I am, in a dirty apartment and in the company of another naked loser and…something else. That sense of hate returns, surging along with a foreboding air of vengeance. Whatever is here is out for blood. Ted skims his knuckles down my spine, adding another layer of “ew” with each pass. But it’s that feeling that we’re not alone that amplifies my need to escape. I reach for the knob, again. It’s useless, Ted keeps his position and the door firmly in place. “You’re making this a lot harder than it needs to be,” I tell him. My eyes fix on the chipped gray paint covering the wood. Ted is under the impression he has me where he wants me.

He fails to see I’m the one in control. “You’re the so-called ‘sweet’ one,” Ted begins. “The innocent one of the Weird girls.” The insult draws my attention back to him. “Our last name is Wird,” I correct. “And we’re not a fan of that nickname.” Ted continues as if I never spoke. “I know better. Every hetero with a dick does. You fucked that vampire and fucked him good, no?” His Creole accent was cute at first.

Nothing of that cuteness remains. Heat builds along my cheeks, erasing the chills that the dark presence stirred. My teeth clench hard. “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” “I also hear you’re sad and lonely, desperate since your boyfriend was killed. You remember him, don’t you? The same were who preferred a disfigured freak over you—” I whip around, no longer feeling polite. “Don’t you dare speak of Liam and his mate that way, and don’t presume to know me.” “Relax, sugar tits. They can’t hear me. They’re dead, remember?” I slap him across the face.

It hurts. Oh, it hurts. I avoid shaking out the burn in my hand. The strike worked against me. He barely felt it. But he knows I felt his words. Humiliation crawls across my face. Being were, he can sniff my pain and embarrassment. He laughs, bent on casting another blow. “Your brother-in-law is the Alpha Aric Connor, right chérie?” The throbbing pain stiffening my fingers tightens my response.

“Yes.” Aric is a revered pureblood and the strongest of his kind. His reputation alone cautions supernaturals against offending me. Ted, being new to Tahoe and naïve to Aric’s power, doesn’t understand he’s about to cross a very dangerous line. He bends to meet my face, his lascivious grin cutting lines into his narrow face. “Just because you’re related to the alpha by marriage doesn’t make you anything special. If you want the truth, it’s your sister Taran I wanted. She’s as hot as the fire she casts with her magic. If she wasn’t mated to the second in command, I would have fucked her harder than you did that vamp.” He pushes off the door.

“Now, run away, little girl. Keep living your lonely and pathetic life. Maybe next time, you’ll appreciate the piddly scraps thrown your way.” Angry tears threaten to fall and sizzle across my burning face. His tirade struck almost every insecurity I possess. Some beings make an art of out of inflicting pain. Ted should run a master class. I square my shoulders. “It’s one thing to not take rejection well,” I say. “It’s another to be cruel to spare your ego.

” Ted shrugs. “Not cruel, chérie. Honest.” He straightens to his full height to look further down his long nose at me. “You’re lucky,” he says. “I don’t usually waste my time with weaklings like you.” I blink back the tears I’m tired of shedding. “No, you’re lucky I don’t throw you out the window.” This really makes him laugh. He stops laughing when I do, in fact, throw him out the window.

My force, the cool name my bubbly sister nicknamed my telekinetic power, funnels from my core and propels Ted and his might-mighty ego across the room. What remains of the boarded window explodes into shards of glass and splintering wood. Ted lands with a thud, and plenty of swearing, three stories below with leftover window bits raining down on him. I turn the knob and step into the open stairwell of Ted’s apartment building, pausing when a warning pokes at me and reminds me I’m not alone. The door shuts behind me with a creak. I look down the hall. To my right, only quiet awaits, the only signs of life from the reflection of a T.V. against a window. My way out is a different story.

A were, bear I believe, rests his back against a wall, speaking to what might be a cougar. I’m not like my sister Celia, whose inner tigress can scent a predator, or like Taran, who can distinguish supernaturals by the magic that surrounds them. I’m not even like Shayna. Since her mate’s werewolf essence began residing inside her, she’s learned to differentiate weres by instinct. I do well enough, reaching out with my gift to discern the inner beasts lurking within them. The density of their musculature and the way they move and command their stances are very telling. Each characteristic mimics their animal counterparts. I’ve met many weres across the globe and have studied their traits closely. I’m certain I pegged them correctly. The others who appear, though, don’t give me the time I need to distinguish them, and their collective power caution that now is not the time.

Weres ease out from their homes, joining those lingering along the stairwell. Some are male, most are female. They watch me closely, trying to pin what and who I am. My sisters and I are different from any race of human or supernatural on earth. According to our wolves, we give off unique magical aromas that place humans and preternaturals on guard. While I understand, I don’t enjoy the attention. I adjust my purse against my side and walk forward with my head high, feigning confidence I wish came naturally instead of merely skimming the surface of my ivory skin. The purse was a new purchase to go with my blouse and skirt, efforts to look nice for someone I believed was decent. Ted fooled me. We had dinner just a few blocks away, our conversation was pleasant and polite.

There was no flirting and absolutely no sparks. I was sure we’d call it an early night so, his suggestion caught me by surprise. “Will you join me for a drive along the lake, chérie?” he asked. “It’s the perfect night to take in the moon and sky.” I agreed and didn’t give much thought when he told me we had to return to his apartment to fetch his keys. There were no keys. No drive. No sky. Only nakedness and more sex organs than anyone should ever need. “Hey, baby.

” The cougar steps into my path, the silky way he moves mesmerizing. This isn’t someone who sleeps alone much. “Now that your done with that fool Ted, let a real man show you a good time.” I start to tell him no, when the bear interrupts. He mashes out the cigarette on the sole of his ratty sneakers and pulls the cougar back by the arm. “Don’t go there,” he tells the cougar. “That there is Aric Connor’s fam.” I don’t see well in the dark. Not like Celia and the wolves do. But I do notice the cougar blanche.

He edges away with his hands up. “Sorry, uh, ma’am, I mean, miss. I didn’t mean any disrespect.” “It’s all right,” I say. My chin trails down as I walk past them, only to snap up when that dark presence returns. The weres growl in that way they do before something meets a gruesome and vomitinducing death. I can’t see their faces with their backs to me, but I recognize they’re seconds from charging. The muscles lining their broad shoulders clench and their knees bend. They’ll pounce and maul whatever is out here and anything that gets in their way. A few feet down where the T.

V. casts light against the window, another were throws open his door and steps out. I can’t tell what he is, not from this distance. He’s small, closer to my five-foot frame than the behemoths directly in front of me. A honey badger maybe? “Did ya hear that?” he asks. His growl is lighter and more like a whine but just as fierce. “Yeah, we did,” the bear replies. He takes a strong whiff. “Fuck if it don’t smell like shit.” I didn’t hear what they did or catch the smell that alerted them.

I adjust my hold on the purse straps and inch forward. The cougar’s arm shoots out, warning me to stay put. “Get going, little one, before you get hurt. We’ll handle this mess.” “I-I can help,” I stammer. My voice reflects my raw mood. The experience with Ted eviscerated my heartstrings, and this thing, whatever it is, hasn’t helped me settle. So instead of adding backbone to my words, my shaky voice validates the cougar’s perceptions that I’m weak. “Go, little one,” the bear insists. “We don’t want trouble from the alpha if you bleed.

” “I can heal myself,” I start to explain. If they hear me, they don’t show it. As a pack, they move as one, picking up their pace when that presence takes off in a sprint. The weres who remain perk up, eager to back their brethren. Several swing down from the stairwell overhead and jet after the cougar and bear, while more above race forward, their swift and collective steps barely perceptible. The weres are quick to join the hunt. And so am I.


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