Read Twice Cursed Online

Authors: Marianne Morea

Tags: #werewolf, #werewolf and vampire, #werewolf family, #werewolf paranormal romance, #werewolf romance vampire romance paranormal romance thriller urban fantasy, #werewolf romance werewolves and shifters, #werewolf and vampire romance, #cursed by blood series, #urban fantasy suspense, #werewolf saga

Twice Cursed (8 page)

BOOK: Twice Cursed
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Get a grip, Lily. It’s not
like he hijacked the room or anything,” she muttered, opening the
closet for a clean set of sheets. She placed them on the bare
mattress and took a down comforter from the chest at the foot of
the bed, smoothing the top of the soft fleece as she placed it next
to the linens.

With nothing else to keep her, she
turned toward the door but stopped. Terry’s room faced the street,
and in the sooty glow from the streetlights outside the window, she
spotted a wooden box sitting high on the tall chest of drawers in
the corner of the room.

Squinting, she walked closer, delight
and sorrow dueling between her heart and mind as she realized what
it was.

Twice the size of a typical cigar box,
she lifted the wooden rectangle off the dresser, carefully brushing
the dust from the faded pictures and magazine cutouts glued to the
lid.

She and Terry had made the treasure
box when the two were in fifth grade. Inside, were things they had
collected and cherished, some silly, some tender, but all
priceless. As time passed, Lily had lost interest in the
collection, but Terry kept adding to it, year after
year.

The girls were juniors in
high school when
The Bourne
Supremacy
released in theaters, and Lily
laughed, remembering how she teased Terry about her crush on Matt
Damon and the sexy picture of him she glued to the top right corner
of the cover. On the opposite side was a picture of Leonardo
Dicaprio from the 1996 version of Romeo and Juliet, and even though
it put Terry in danger of earning geek squad status, she nearly
wore out the DVD with how many times she’d watched it.

Lily swallowed against the lump
tightening her throat. Terry’s parents had found a missing piece of
her, of Terry, and left it for Lily to find when she finally came
home. “Thank you,” she whispered into the silence. Drawing in a
breath, she tucked the box under her arm and crossed the room,
leaving the door ajar as she headed back into the hall.

In her own room, everything was in its
place as well, including her cell phone still in its charger. She
had purposely left it behind, not wanting anyone to get in her way
or hinder her plans for revenge. Not that it would have done any
good.

She sat on the bed and slid the memory
box onto her nightstand. The outside edges of the rectangle and the
homemade latch were fashioned with braids made from multi-colored
telephone wire the girls had swiped from the back of a repair
truck.

As if it would lessen the pain, she
lifted the lid slowly. Lily’s hand went to her mouth, a sad smile
spreading beneath her fingers. Tears gathered, and she blinked, the
droplets falling onto the back of her hand. Terry had left her a
time capsule—with layer after layer of mementos and memories, a
true testimony to their friendship.

On top were the pictures
they took before prom. Terry looked so young and beautiful in her
blue satin, with her hair swept up in curls and baby’s breath. Lily
shook her head looking at herself in the photo, as well. She had
felt like a Barbie, all powdered and pink in her organza
gown.
Organza. Her
. But Terry had insisted, telling Lily her penchant for black
leather was the complete antithesis of prom. Lily remembered
arguing that was the whole point, but in the end, didn’t have the
heart to disappoint Terry.

Underneath, hidden behind seashells
and clandestine notes saved from study hall, were two rope
friendship bracelets. Lily slipped them on her wrist, and suddenly
it was as if time slipped away. They had each turned twelve that
summer, and Terry’s parents, Beverly and Carl, had taken them to
Mystic Seaport in Connecticut as a surprise. A Tall Ships Festival
was in town for the weekend, adorning the harbor and the
surrounding town with all kinds of events. Shops and tents dotted
the graveled path winding through the nineteenth century museum
village. Giggling, the girls had gone from craft to craft until
they’d found an old man sitting on a stack of barrels beside one of
the whaling schooners. He was tying sailor’s knots in scraps of
rigging. Intrigued, Lily had asked him to teach them how to braid
the ropes.


Pretty girls should have
pretty things,” he’d said with a wheezy laugh. With a wink, he had
held out pieces of rope toward the girls, and then laughed even
louder when Terry stepped back, scooting behind Lily. “Ahh, lass,
don’t be shy. I mean you no harm. I’ll teach you to make a Claddagh
braid then, something pretty for two such pretty sisters,
eh?”

Sitting on the edge of her bed, Lily
ran her fingers over the rough rope, tracing the intricate patterns
in the braid. “Pretty sisters,” she murmured. It was true in every
sense of the word except blood. Unlike Lily, Terry was forever the
romantic, and when she discovered the Claddagh braid was an ancient
symbol of love, friendship and loyalty, she swore the old man must
have been a fae messenger, and that something extraordinary was
going to happen. She even stole Carl’s pen knife that night,
determined they’d be blood sisters, binding them to whatever magic
came their way.

Lily ran her fingers over the faded
scar at the center of her left palm. It had hurt like hell and bled
like a stuck pig, but Terry wouldn’t take no for an answer. Silly
as it was, she even tied their hands together with one of her mom’s
scarves like she saw in a movie once, and boy, did they catch hell
for it—not only for the bloodstains on her mom’s favorite scarf,
but because Beverly swore they would end up with
tetanus.

Lily sniffed.
Something amazing. Right
. Her world had gone way past amazing, rocketing straight
through to surreal. Only problem was, Terry had gotten caught in
the crossfire.

She looked at the cordless phone in
its base next to her cell phone. The messages blinked, almost
disapprovingly, as she sat with her memories. With a sigh, she
pushed herself up from the bed.


Shower first, messages
later,” she said, and reached to unzip her bag for her
toiletries.

Once showered, she toweled off, and
feeling human again, slipped into a pair of fleece pajamas. It was
barely seven p.m., but it was pitch black out, and the glow from
the streetlights cast shadows around her room. The aroma of
fresh-made coffee and buttered toast filled the air, and her
stomach rumbled. She hadn’t eaten a thing since before they had
left the compound.

Running a wide-toothed comb through
her hair, she wound it into a knot at the top of her head and stuck
a couple of wooden pins through to hold it in place. She jammed her
feet into a pair of shearling slippers and padded out into the
kitchen.


That smells amazing,” she
said, peeking over Jack’s shoulder at the eggs sizzling in the
pan.


Huevos Rancheros. One of
my many specialties.”

Lily inhaled appreciatively. “If Sean
had told me you could cook, I wouldn’t have complained as much as I
did about you tagging along as my babysitter.”

Jack shot her a look.
“Babysitter?”


Isn’t that why Sean sent
you? To keep an eye on me? Keep me out of trouble?”

Jack turned off the burner and pushed
the frying pan to the back of the stove. “Lily, do you honestly
think anyone at the compound thinks you need a keeper? Sean? Mitch?
Me?”

Lily didn’t answer, she just grabbed a
mug from the drain board and filled it with coffee. Taking a sip,
she held the warm ceramic in her hands and stared Jack over the
rim.


Answer me, because I’d
honestly like to know. Especially since I’m the one who volunteered
for this.”


Honestly, I don’t know. I
know Sean loves me, but sometimes I think he sees me as some sort
of fragile possession. He’s never going to relax and let me be me,
at least not until I become a full Were. But I meant what I said. I
have no intention of letting that happen, for anyone or any reason.
At least not right now. So where does that leave me? I don’t need a
shadow, Jack. I have a life to live, work to do. And while I refuse
to be a pawn, I also won’t let Sean’s worry over my fragile human
state get in the way either. I’m not that fragile. Like you said, I
don’t need a keeper.”


Okay, I get it. But why
don’t you try thinking of it like this? In our world, Sean is
tantamount to being the President or a Prime Minister.”


So what does that make me,
First Lady?”


Yes. Like it or not, it
does.”


And I suppose that makes
you, what, my secret service detail?”

Jack flashed an entirely wolfish grin.
“Exactly. But with a few enhanced abilities.”

Lily burst out laughing, spilling hot
coffee over her hand. “Ow, Jeez...see what you made me
do?”


Hair of the dog, baby…hair
of the dog.”

Lily snorted, drying her hand on a
dishtowel.


So…do we have a truce,
then?” Jack asked, refilling her coffee cup.

Lily took a sip from her mug.
Regardless of how much she complained, she didn’t have much choice
in the matter. Sean would never let her be here on her own. Not
until he was certain she was safe.

Tapping the side of her mug, she
pursed her lips. “I suppose. But if we’re going with this silly
analogy, you gotta promise me, no nicknames. No talking into your
wristwatch saying stupid stuff like ‘the sparrow has flown’ or
anything like that.”


Sparrow? More like Harpy
Eagle with extra sharp claws.”


I’m serious, Jack!” she
said, and flicked him with the dishtowel. “I want this to be as
normal as possible.”


Okay, okay…I promise. Can
we eat now?”


Sure, but I’m keeping this
locked and loaded just in case,” she said, winding up the damp
dishtowel again.

Her cell phone rang in the bedroom.
“Be right back,” she said over her shoulder. “Dishes are in the
middle cabinet.”

Lily rushed down the hall, but the
call had already gone to voicemail. She punched in her retrieval
code, expecting Sean’s voice on the other end. It
wasn’t.

Lily—

It’s Mark Phillips. We have
a case that needs your particular set of talents. I’d rather not
get into it over the phone, so if you can meet downtown tomorrow at
ten, it would really help me out. Give me a call if that time
doesn’t work for you. Hope to
see you
then.

She pushed end on her touch screen and
smiled to herself. It looked like she still had a business after
all.

 

***

 


You really didn’t have to
come with me, you know. I’ve got this covered,” Lily said, as she
and Jack crossed the street in front of One Police
Plaza.


I know you do, but Sean
wants me close…just in case.”


In case of what? Do you
honestly think Edward Parr or one of his flunkies managed to
infiltrate the NYPD in the last month? Come on, Jack, police
headquarters has at least two levels of security before anyone even
gets into the building. After that, there are other buffers. I’ll
be as safe as kittens, to use Sean’s words.”

The two stepped up onto the curb just
outside the main grounds. Even frozen and covered with ice, Tony
Rosenthal’s 5 in 1 sculpture and the surrounding garden was
striking in its eclectic beauty.


Wow. You’d never guess
this was a police station,” Jack said, looking around.


It’s not a station, Jack.
It’s the hub of New York’s finest.” Lily glanced at the main
entrance and then back at Jack. “Hey, do me a favor, go get a cup
of coffee or take a walk around. Play tourist. I’m not sure how
long I’ll be, and I don’t want you skulking around
waiting.”

Jack crossed his arms in front of his
chest.

Obstinacy was as much a Were trait as
the need to race the moon. But Jack’s perspective wasn’t quite as
one-sided as Sean’s, and Lily hoped that would make him a little
more reasonable. There was no winning this argument, and loitering
around was the quickest way to draw the wrong attention, and the
last thing either of them needed was a stint in the
slammer.

He exhaled, blowing a stream of wet,
warm smoke into the air. “Go ahead. I’m going to take a walk around
Battery Park, sniff the grass and whatnot. You have my cell number.
Just give me a buzz when you’re done or if you change locations. I
need to be close, but at this point, there’s no reason for me to be
on top of you,” he said with a suggestive wink.

Lily raised one eyebrow, hoping he was
just joking. “All-righty then. I’ll call you when I’m done.” She
hiked her bag over her shoulder and headed down the heavily salted
pathway toward the main doors. She didn’t turn around, she knew
Jack watched and mentally counted the days until the next full
moon.

She passed through a series of metal
detectors and officers searched her bag at each location before she
reached the lobby. A pretty blonde in a pert, navy suit sat at the
reception desk. It was clear she was administrative and not a
member of the force.


May I help you,” she asked
with a bright smile.

BOOK: Twice Cursed
3.28Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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