Low Midnight Page 26

And that was why Layne was so happy to see a monster hunter show up. Gift from God or something. Cormac frowned. “So he’s a werewolf, that’s what you think? How can you tell?”

“Trust me, if you met this guy you’d know he isn’t human. I can pay you, Bennett. Take this monster out, I will pay you.” He pulled a stuffed white envelope out of his jacket pocket. “Look, here—half now, half when you take care of it.”

He’d been planning this out, the speech and everything.

The smart thing would be to walk away. But that was a very thick envelope. Just a few years ago, this was how Cormac made his living. Layne knew his going rate, and the envelope looked thick enough to hold just that. Time was Cormac would have considered this his duty. His calling. Now, he didn’t think anything at all. He suspected Layne was wrong about this guy being a werewolf in the first place—this didn’t sound like one of Kitty’s pack, and they were right at the edge of her territory. She knew all the werewolves in the region. He wondered if she knew about any lone wolves out this way.

Cormac ought to just walk away, he knew he should. These people, this life—most of them ended up either in jail or dead. He didn’t owe them anything. He didn’t need them for anything. He should walk, even if it meant not learning a single thing more about the old Milo Kuzniak, or Amy Scanlon’s book of shadows. It wasn’t worth it.

But what if …

He couldn’t tell if that was him or Amelia.

Cormac took the envelope, ran his thumb over the hundreds inside, guessing there was about three or four thousand, and put it in his inside jacket pocket.

“I’ll check it out,” Cormac said. His mouth was talking but his brain hadn’t quite caught up with him. “Let you know if the guy really is a werewolf and take care of it for you.”

“Sounds fair.”

Layne held out his hand, and Cormac shook on it.

Chapter 11

ROGUE WEREWOLF. Add another mystery to the list. He was starting to lose track.

I’m taking notes for you. Amelia’s wryness made him think she was joking.

Heading back north after dusk, he stopped for gas station coffee. He had a feeling he was going to need a lot of coffee over the next few days. Jess Nolan, another blast from the past. He wondered if Ben had kept track of any of that crowd and knew what they were up to? But asking would involve telling Ben what he was up to.

Layne hadn’t told him anything more about his operation and Cormac didn’t ask, because that was how these things worked. He didn’t need to know how many heavies Layne had working for him, whether they were staying in the house with him, or what their plans were. The less he knew, the better, because nobody would point to him as a witness and think he needed to be taken out—or called on to testify.Staying out of a courtroom for the rest of his life was a fine goal.

Ben complicated things when he called while Cormac was driving back north.

“You checking up on me?” Cormac said.

“Just seeing how you’re doing.” The casual statement was laden with subtext, a mountain of concern and curiosity.

“I got a piece of paper, that’s the only thing that’s changed between last week and this week.”

“Funny thing how a piece of paper can make a difference. Ask me how I felt when I signed the marriage license. Humor me, Cormac—how are you?”

I might have taken on a job hunting a werewolf.… “I’m fine. Following up a couple of leads on this thing down in Manitou. It’s gotten complicated.”

“Complicated how? Anything I can do to help?”

“I’m trying to solve a hundred-year-old murder, and it looks like the guy left a few loose ends. It’s just complicated. I’m fine.”

“You say that enough, I may start to believe you.”

He sighed. “What do you want me to say, Ben? That I’m thirty-seven years old, and since I didn’t expect to live past thirty I’m not sure what to do with myself but I’m just going on the best I can?” That was more words than he usually said when he wasn’t explaining something. He felt suddenly tired.

He didn’t know if Ben was going to answer with something serious or flippant. He hoped flippant, because Cormac wasn’t much up for serious.

“I guess that makes you just like everyone else, huh?” Ben said after a pause.

“I guess so.”

A long silence while Ben waited for him to say more, when he knew very well that Cormac wasn’t going to say anything.

“Be careful,” Ben said finally. “Call me if I can help.”

Cormac hung up.

He hit the south end of Colorado Springs and exited the interstate at Highway 24 to head into the foothills. He’d seen Kuzniak’s old claim during daylight hours. Now it was time to see it at midnight. See if any ghosts came wandering out.

The moon was half full. He always knew the moon’s phase, had paid close attention since he was a kid and his father started taking him hunting. His father always bought almanacs that marked the phases and circled the nights of the full moon with a thick black marker, because he almost always went hunting then. You kept track of the moon long enough, you could almost start to feel it. You always knew where to look for it, and knew if it was going to be just a smidge past full, or a sliver of new, hanging like a smile in the western sky. He still kept track, partly because it was habit and partly because of Ben and Kitty. He wanted to know when they were going out, on full moon nights.

Prev Next