A Jordan Abbey Story
How far would a werewolf go to help a friend?
Werewolves and dogs don’t usually get along, but Jordan Abbey has formed a bond with her elderly neighbor’s Rottweiler. So when Rex goes missing during a dog-walking mishap, she’s determined to return him home. With her abilities, finding him should be easy. Except there is one problem. The vampire lord of the city has declared she’s not allowed to shape-shift within the city limits of Rancho Robles.
Better to ask forgiveness than permission, or so Jordan thinks. But there is another issue she has to face - Animal Control. Rumors are getting around about wolf-like dogs wandering the city, and they respond quickly to panicky stray dog calls. Jordan knows how to be discreet, or so she believes.
Will Jordan be able to find her friend without sacrificing her freedom?
Jordan stepped into Mrs. Clarke’s apartment and whistled. “Rex! Here boy!” She braced herself, expecting the galumphing, enthusiastic greeting of the dog.
No excited barks. She wasn’t being knocked to the ground and slobbered on in joyous greeting despite trying to teach him proper pack manners. Even though she was a werewolf, and in theory his mortal enemy, she should have been pounced on by one hundred pounds of Rottweiler.
She heard the thump-thump-thump of a rubber cane tip hitting the carpeted floor. Mrs. Clarke stepped out of her bedroom, stooped more than usual. Her eyes were red, and worried lines twisted her normally smiling face into a frown. She clutched a crumpled tissue in the hand not guiding the cane. “Oh, Jordan. I’m so sorry. I meant to call you.”READ MORE
Dread pooled in her stomach. Rex was notoriously protective of his owner when it came to strangers, or at least he had been when they first met. She didn’t know about how he acted with humans without her around. Had he attacked someone visiting Mrs. Clarke? Rex had been hostile with Jordan too at first, moved by primeval instincts to scare the monster away. They had come to an agreement, even a friendship, as long as Jordan maintained a dominant position over him. Of course, he never showed those instincts around Montgomery. But then maybe it was a werewolf thing. While Montgomery had been a werewolf, he was now a vampire and probably didn’t count. “Call me about what, Mrs. Clarke?”
“He’s missing.” Mrs. Clarke’s eyes welled with tears. “And it’s all my fault.”
“Missing?” Jordan reached for Mrs. Clarke’s arm. She half-guided, half-supported the crying woman to the chintz couch. She took a seat beside her and reached for a tissue from the crochet-covered box. How had Rex gotten outside? Even if he had left Mrs. Clarke’s side and gotten out of the apartment, he would have been trapped in the hallway. Everyone in the building was familiar with the lug of a dog who, their first few meetings aside, was more likely to beg an intruder for belly rubs than bite them. Anyone who lived in the apartment building would know where to return him right away. Besides, they were on the third floor. He wouldn’t be able to work the elevator.
“I’m sorry, Jordan.” The elderly woman patted Jordan’s hand, as if she were the one in need of comfort. “I thought it wasn’t fair for you to have to walk Rex twice a day. Oh, I know you don’t complain. But you should really be sleeping more instead of running around at all hours of the night. So, I hired one of those professional dog walkers advertised on the internet. I was assured Rex would be walked by an expert. But—” Mrs. Clarke blew her nose in the tissue she was clutching in her other hand.
“Rex got away.” It had happened a time or two to her. He was one hundred pounds of almost pure muscle. She’d had a slack grip on his leash, and he saw a squirrel. Before Jordan realized it, the nylon leash had jerked free from her grip, leaving a nasty case of rope burn. The fact that he saw her as pack leader had allowed her to recall him, but it had been close. After that, it was a leather leash, and she paid a lot more attention to their surroundings. She wasn’t sure that a stranger would be capable of doing that. “When did it happen?”
“This morning,” Mrs. Clarke said. “He slipped his collar a few blocks into his walk. The walker tried to chase after him, but he got away.” She blew her nose again. “I don’t know how anyone will know who he belongs to without his collar. And I’m so worried about him spending the night alone in the cold. I don’t know how I’ll be able to live without him.”
Jordan bit her lips, thinking through her options. It would be easy to find Rex. Montgomery didn’t have anything for her to do tonight. She knew all of Rex’s favorite places to play and run and roll in the dirt. She had introduced him to them on their walks. And if he wasn’t there, she could easily track his trail. True, it would be more easily done as a wolf than as a human. She’d have to be discreet about doing it. Elder Marcus, leader of the vampires, didn’t want her shapeshifting within the city limits of Rancho Robles. Surely he would overlook her doing it this one time?
She patted Mrs. Clarke’s hand. “Don’t worry,” she soothed. “I’m sure it will all turn out okay. Now tell me everything you know about what happened.”COLLAPSE