Low Midnight Page 14

A hesitation. “That’s rough. I’m not sure I can tell her anything useful.”

“I think she’s just looking for a connection. The news about Amy seemed to hit pretty hard.”

Kitty had a good heart. A big heart. If she thought she could help, she couldn’t not help. That instinct had kept her as the alpha of the Denver werewolf pack the last several years. He felt like he was taking advantage.

“I’ll talk to her,” she said. “I’m happy talking to her. And can I just say I told you, you should have let me come along from the start.” She was smiling. Poking at him. He ignored her.

“We also need to talk about the book of shadows. Amy’s aunt says she can interpret the code, and I think I believe her.” I believe her, Amelia added. “We’re pretty sure she’s telling the truth. But she wants something in return.”

“That’s kind of fairy tale. What is it, you have to guess her real name or you have to give her your firstborn?”

That … he never knew how to respond to her jokes.

“She wants me to solve a hundred-year-old murder.”

“That sounds like … fun? Do you have a chance of actually solving it?”

“I’m mostly trying to decide if it’ll be worth it. You think we can figure out the book of shadows without her help?”

“Her help would make it a lot easier. If she can help. Might not hurt to dig a little, just to see. I’m kind of curious.”

“Then I’ll start digging. See where it goes.”

“Call me if there’s anything else I can do.”

“Yeah, will do.” He clicked off, and boggled yet again at the reality of his current situation: he had backup. He was calling people to ask for help. And they were willing to give it, gratis. He’d opened himself up to Amelia, and he’d had to open himself to the rest of the world. His instinct was to shut it all back down. Flee to the hills, go back to what he knew.

Too late for that, I think.

That wasn’t what bothered Cormac. Getting comfortable with it all—that was the weird part.

Chapter 6

KITTY FREED up her schedule the very next day and rode with Cormac down to Manitou Springs. She was uncharacteristically quiet during the trip, spending most of the time fidgeting, picking at her fingernails. Remembering, he expected. The disaster that had killed Amy Scanlon hadn’t been all that long ago. Kitty’s gaze had turned inward.

He found parking a block away and led her to the souvenir shop’s front.

“This is it, huh?” she said, looking up at the MANITOU WISHING WELL sign overhead, arms crossed. Her hair was up in a sloppy ponytail, fringes of it hanging down around her ears and tanned cheeks. “Seems so ordinary. You say it’s a couple of witchy types?”

“Something like that. Readyfor this?”

She sighed. “Yeah.”

A bell on the door rattled as they went inside. He watched her reaction—her nose flared, taking in scents, and she tilted her head and examined the space. Lupine movements, slightly odd if he hadn’t been used to them by now.

“I suddenly want to buy everyone I know a T-shirt,” she murmured, looking around at the collection, Colorado flags on pastels, lots of pictures of deer and columbine blooms. She gave a wry smile to one that showed a romanticized picture of a howling wolf, along with the words COLORFUL COLORADO. Wild wolves hadn’t lived in the state for decades.

“I think they’ve got a spell on the place for that,” he said.

Her brow furrowed. “Really? Nice.”

The cat, Esther, was sitting on the glass counter again. When it saw Kitty, it arched its back, hissed loud enough to echo, then spun and dashed away. Kitty stared after it, blinking.

“Was that a cat? A hairless cat?” she said. “A hairless cat that evidently hates me?”

“She’s a good judge of character,” Frida said, emerging from the back room. She leaned both hands on the glass and nodded at him confrontationally. “You’re a man with two auras and now you bring me a werewolf?”

Cormac hadn’t remembered mentioning that about Kitty; of course, Frida could just see it.

“Hi,” Kitty said, waving a hand. “Nice to meet you, too.”

“Judi wanted to talk to her,” Cormac said, then stepped out of the way.

“Who is it?” Judi asked, coming from the back of the store, feather duster in hand. “Wait a minute, I recognize you—aren’t you the werewolf who shape-shifted on TV?”

Kitty turned to him. “See? We already know what the first line of my obituary is going to say.”

He wished she wouldn’t joke about obituaries.

When she looked back at the women, her smile was bright and amiable. The radio personality coming to the fore, a useful mask for situations like this. “I’m Kitty Norville. Cormac said you wanted to talk to me about Amy.”

Both women seemed to deflate. Like they hadn’t believed he would really bring Kitty to talk to them. She was the eyewitness, tangible proof that Judi’s niece was well and truly gone.

“I’ll go make some tea,” Frida said softly. She glanced at Kitty, and her gaze fell. Frida squeezed Judi’s hand as she passed by.

“We have some chairs, if you’d like to sit down.” Judi led them toward the back of the shop, near the crystals and bookshelves, where she arranged a couple of folding chairs that had been tucked to the side. Kitty took the offered seat, and Judi sat across from her, but not too close—enough to read her face, not close enough to touch.

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