Mercy Thompson


Release date: March 7, 2017

In the #1 New York Times bestselling Mercy Thompson novels, the coyote shapeshifter has found her voice in the werewolf pack. But when Mercy’s bond with the pack—and her mate—is broken, she’ll learn what it truly means to be alone...

Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes—only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe...

Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise...

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EXCERPT (from the first chapter)

I died first so I made the cookies.
They were popular fare so I needed to make a lot. Darryl had gotten me a jumbo-sized antique mixing bowl last Christmas that probably could have held the water supply for an elephant for a day. I don’t know where he found it. If I ever filled it entirely, I’d have to have one of the werewolves move it. It ate the eighteen cups of flour I dumped into it with room for more, all the while piratical howls rose up the stairway from the bowels of the basement.
My smaller mixing bowl, the one that had been perfectly adequate until I married into a werewolf clan, I filled with softened butter, brown sugar and vanilla. As I mixed them together, I decided that it wasn’t that I was a bad pirate, it was that I had miscalculated. By baking sugar-and-chocolate laden food whenever I died first, I’d succeeded in turning myself into a target.
The stove was at temperature, I found all four cookie sheets in the narrow cabinet that they belonged in—a miracle. I wasn’t the only one who got KP duty in the house, but I seemed to be the only one who could put things in the same place (where they belonged) on a regular basis. The baking pans, in particular, got shoved all sorts of odd places. I had once found one of them in the downstairs bathroom. I didn’t ask—but I washed that motherhumper with bleach before I used it to bake on again.
I thought I was good to go when I found the baking pans. But when I opened the cupboard where there should have been ten bags of chocolate chips, there were only six. I searched the kitchen and came up with another one in the top cupboard behind the spaghetti noodles which made seven. Seven bags of chips was leaner than I liked for a double-quadruple batch, but it would do.
What would not do, was no eggs. And there were no eggs.
I scrounged through the fridge for the second time, checking out the back corners and behind the milk where things liked to hide. But even though I’d gotten four dozen eggs two days ago, there was not an egg to be had.
There were perils in living in the de facto clubhouse of a werewolf pack. Thawing roasts in the fridge required the hiding skills of a WWII French Underground spy working as a secretary in NAZI headquarters.
That same egg-and-roast-stealing werewolf pack was currently downstairs enthralled in games of piracy on the high seas of the computer screen. There was irony in how much they loved the pirate computer game—werewolves are too dense to swim. Coyotes, even coyote shifters like me, can swim just fine—except, apparently in an Instant Spoils: The Dread Pirate’s Booty scenario because I’d drowned four times this month.
I hadn’t drowned this time, though. This time, I’d died with my stepdaughter’s knife in my back.
“I’m headed to the Stop and Rob,” I called downstairs. “Does anyone need anything?”
It wasn’t really called that, of course, it had a perfectly normal name that I couldn’t remember. “Stop and Rob” was more of a general term for a 24-hour gas and convenience store, a sobriquet earned in the days when the night shift clerk had been left on his or her own with a till full of thousands of dollars. Technology—cameras, quick-drop safes that didn’t open until daylight, and silent alarms had made working the night shift safer, but they’d always be Stop and Robs to me.
“Ahrrrr,” said my husband Adam’s voice, traveling up the stairs. “Gold and women and grog!” He didn’t play often, but when he did, he played full-throttle and immersed.
“Gold and women and grog!” echoed a chorus of men’s voices.
“Ah, listen to them,” said Mary Jo scornfully. “Give me a man who knows what to do, instead of these scallywags who run at the first sight of a real woman.”
“Ahrrrr,” agreed Auriele while Jesse, my stepdaughter, giggled.
“Swab the decks, ye lubbers, lest you slide in the blood and crack your four-pounders,” I called. “And whate’er ye do, don’t trust Jesse at your back.”
There was a roar of general agreement and Jesse giggled again.
“And Adam,” I said, “you can have gold and you can have grog. You go after another woman and you’ll be pulling back a stub.”
There was a little silence.
“Argh,” said Adam. “I got me a woman. What do I need with more? The women are for my men!”
“Argh!” roared his men. “Bring us gold, grog and women!”
“Men!” said Auriele sweet-voiced. “Bring us a few good men.”
“Stupidheads,” growled Honey. “Die!”
There was a general outcry because, apparently, someone had.
I took Adam’s SUV. I was going to have to figure out what to do for a daily driver. My precious Vanagon Syncro was getting far too many miles put on her and her transmission was rare and more precious than gold on the secondary market. I’d been driving her ever since my poor Rabbit was totaled, and the van was starting to need more and more repairs. I’d looked at an ‘87 Jetta with a blown engine last week. They wanted too much for it, but maybe I’d just have to pony up.
The SUV purred the couple of miles to the convenience store that was ten miles closer to home than any other store that was open at this hour of the night. The clerk was restocking cigarettes and didn’t look up as I passed him.
I picked up two dozen over-priced eggs and an equally overpriced bag of chocolate chips and set them on the counter. The clerk turned away from the cigarettes, looked at me and froze. He swallowed hard and looked away—scanning the barcodes on the eggs with a hand that shook so much that he might save me the effort of cracking the shells myself.
“You must be new?” I suggested, running my ATM card in the reader.
He knew who I was without knowing anything important. I found the limelight disconcerting, but I was slowly getting used to it. My husband was Alpha of the local pack, he’d been a household name in the Tri-Cities since the werewolves first admitted their existence a few years ago. When we’d married, I’d gotten a little of his reflected glory, but after helping to fight a troll on the Cable Bridge a couple of months ago—I was at least as well known as Adam. People reacted differently to the reality of werewolves in the world. Sensible people stayed a certain length back. Others were stupidly friendly or not-so-stupidly afraid. The new guy obviously belonged to the latter group.
“Started last week,” the clerk muttered as he bagged the chocolate chips and eggs as if they might bite him.
“I’m not a werewolf,” I told him. “You don’t have anything to fear from me. And my husband has put a moratorium on killing gas station clerks this week.”
The clerk blinked at me.
“None of the pack will hurt you,” I clarified, reminding myself not to try to be funny around people who were too scared to know I was joking. “If there’s ever any trouble you can call us—” I found the card holder in my purse and gave him one of the pack’s cards, printed on off-white cardstock “—at this number. We’ll take care of it.”
We all carried the cards now that we’d (my fault) taken on the task of policing the supernatural community of the Tri-Cities, protecting the human citizens from things that go bump in the night. We’d also been called in to find lost children, dogs and, once, two calves and their guard llama. Zack had composed a song for that one. I hadn’t even known he could play guitar.
Sometimes the job of protecting the Tri-Cities was more glamorous than others. The livestock call, in addition to being musically commemorated, had actually been something of a PR coup, photos of werewolves herding small lost calves back home had gone viral on Facebook.
The clerk took the card as if it was going to bite him. “Okay,” he lied.
I couldn’t do any better than that, so I left with my cookie making ingredients. I hopped into the SUV and set the bag on the passenger seat as I backed out of the parking space. In retrospect, I wondered if his strong reaction might be due to something that had happened to him—a personal incident. I looked both ways before hopping out onto the road. Maybe I should go talk to him again.
I was still worrying about the clerk when there was a loud noise that robbed my breath. The bag with the eggs in it flew off the seat and hit me with a loud bang and foul smell—and then there was a sharp pain followed by…nothing.
I think I woke up several times, for no more than a few minutes that ended abruptly when I moved. I heard people talking, mostly men’s voices, but I couldn’t understand what they were saying.
When I finally opened my eyes, I couldn’t see anything. I might not have been a werewolf, but a shapeshifting coyote could still see okay in very dim light. Either I was blind or wherever I was had no light at all.
My head hurt, my nose hurt, and my right shoulder felt bruised. My mouth was dry and tasted bad, as if I’d gone for a week without brushing my teeth. It felt like I’d just been hit by a troll—though the right shoulder pain was more of a seat belt in a car thing. But I couldn’t remember…even as that thought registered, memories came trickling back.
The run to our local Stop and Rob—the same all-night gas station slash convenience store where I’d first met lone and gay werewolf Warren all those years ago. Warren had worked out rather well for the pack…I gathered my wandering thoughts and herded them down a track that might do some good. The difficulty I had doing that—and the nasty headache—made me think I might have a concussion.
I considered the loud bang and the eggs and realized that it hadn’t been the eggs that had exploded and smelled bad, but the SUV’s air bags. I was a mechanic. I knew what blown air bags smelled like, I don’t know what odd effect of shock made me think it might have been the eggs. The suddenness of the accident had combined the related events of the groceries hitting me and the air bag hitting me into a cause and effect that didn’t exist.
As my thoughts slowly achieved clearness, I realized that the SUV had been struck from the side. Struck at speed to have such a great effect.
I took stock of my situation without moving. My face was sore—a separate and lesser pain than the headache—and diagnosed the situation as with having been hit with an air bag or two that didn’t quite save me from a concussion or its near cousin. The sore right shoulder, was just where the seatbelt would have grabbed me.
Probably all of my pain was from the accident…car wreck, I supposed, because I was pretty sure it hadn’t been an accident. The vehicle that hit me hadn’t had its headlights on—and if it had been a real accident, I’d be in the hospital instead of wherever I was.
My body was convinced it was a room-sized space despite the pitch-darkness. The floor was…odd. Cool—almost cold—and smooth under my cheek. The coolness felt good on my face, but it was robbing my body of warmth. Metal. It didn’t smell familiar—didn’t smell strongly of anything or anybody, as if it had been a long time since it was put to use or it was new.
A door popped open while I was trying to figure out where I was. A light clicked on, making all of my speculations useless because illumination was suddenly effortless. I was in a room that looked like a walk-in freezer—all shiny silver surfaces. I’d jerked when the door opened so it was no good trying to pretend to be unconscious. The next best thing would be to face whoever it was on my own two feet.
I rolled over in preparation for doing that very thing, but before I could do more, I had a sudden and unexpected bout of dry heaves that did my head no good at all. When I lifted my head and wiped my mouth with the back of my hand, I noted that there were two men standing in the doorway frowning at me. Neither had made any move to help—or, at least that I noticed, reacted at all.
I dry heaved a couple of extra times to give myself a chance to examine the invaders of my walk-in freezer cell.
The nearest man was tuxedo-model beautiful, with dark curling hair, liquid brown eyes and a thousand-dollar suit that managed to show off the muscles beneath without doing anything so crass as being tight anywhere. There was something predatory in his gaze and he had that spark that made one man more dominant than another without a word being said.
I’d been raised by werewolves, I knew an Alpha personality when I was in its presence.
The other man was at least fifty pounds heavier and three inches taller with a face that belonged to a boxer or a dockworker. His nose had been broken a few times and over his left eye was the sort of scar that you got when someone punched you in the eye and the skin around the socket split.
His eyes were brown, too, but they were ordinary eyes except for the expression in them. Something very cold and hungry looked out at me. He wore worn jeans and a tight-fitting Henley-style shirt.
Visually, I could have been dropped into a scene in some Italian gangster movie. There was no mistaking the Mediterranean origins of either one.
My nose told me the real story. Vampires.


    “You might as well come out,” I said to Lenka the werewolf. That way I’d know where she was, and I could head for the garden wall in a direction that gave me a head start. “I know you’re there.”

She’d meant for me to scent her. She wanted me afraid. A low growl filled the air soft enough not to be heard in the house. I think it was supposed to be scary, too—which it was, but not because I was afraid of the sound of her voice.

I remembered her crazy eyes and was scared. Fear was good. Fear would make my feet faster.

“I live with werewolves,” I reminded her. “Hiding doesn’t make you more frightening.”

The wolf who rounded the corner of the walled side of the roofed area was too thin, and her fur coat was patchy. But her movement was easy, and the fangs she showed me as she snarled were plenty long.

I’d grown up hearing the old wolves talk about how much more satisfying it was to eat something while its heart pumped frantically from terror. Some of the old wolves who came to live out their last years in the Marrok’s pack were not kind.

“Hi, there,” I told her casually—and then I bolted for the wall surrounding the yard.

I smell mostly human to a werewolf’s nose, especially if I haven’t recently been running around on coyote feet. Human is a smell with enough variability that unless they know what I am, werewolves mostly chalk up the bit of odd in my smell to that. Vampires, I don’t know as well.

I was betting that the vampires here didn’t know what I was. That they thought I was human. I’d very carefully left it out of the mini biography I’d given Bonarata, and it wasn’t widely known. My best-case scenario was that she would think I was a human woman trying to run for her life, penned inside the yard because, outside of a few martial artists and acrobats, the walls were enough to keep most people in.

I don’t get super strength or scary points. But speed is my friend, and I caught her flat-footed because she thought one thing was happening when it was really something else. She thought I was running from her—and I was just trying to get up some speed.

I ran for the wall. I don’t know what she thought I was doing, but she chased me hard for most of the distance. But as I approached the giant stone wall that surrounded the grounds, she slowed, anticipating that I would be stopped by it.

A few months ago, a bunch of the pack had been at Warren’s house watching a Jackie Chan movie, I don’t remember which one because we were having a marathon, and Jackie just ran up a wall like magic. Warren had a wall around his backyard. Someone stopped the movie, and we’d all gone out and tried it. A lot.

The werewolves had gotten moderately proficient, but my light weight and speed had made me the grand champion. The trick is to find a corner and have enough speed to make it to the top.

Instead of stopping at the wall, I Jackie-Channed it up the stone surfaces and leaped over. I caught the werewolf totally by surprise.

I don’t expect Bonarata and she watched old martial arts movies together. It didn’t seem like that kind of relationship.

Her pause meant that the wolf, who could have caught me because as agile as I’d learned to be imitating Jackie Chan, going up was still slower than going forward, had missed her chance. I didn’t intend to give her another.

I changed to coyote as I came off the top of the wall. I’m not a were-anything. It takes them time to change from human to wolf. I could do it—well, in this case I could do it in the time it took me to drop off the wall.

I landed on four feet, running as fast as I could down a narrow road that was walled on both sides. I had no idea where I was, but out was a good direction, and I didn’t hesitate as I headed one way. Nor did I slow or look behind me.

I didn’t need to. My ears told me when she landed on the outside of the wall. I could hear her running behind me, her claws giving her better purchase on the ground than mine did. Werewolves had huge freaking claws, and she was using them to give herself traction like the big cats do.

Experience had taught me that I was faster than most were- wolves. Most, but not all. It was my bad luck that she wasn’t one of the slower ones. She was closing in on me by inches.

I watched for a cross street, a change of some sort that would allow me to use my small size to my advantage, but there were only stone walls and stucco walls and cement walls and tall, solid gates. So I ran as fast as I could and hoped that I had more endurance, that her sprint would slow faster than mine.

I don’t know how long we ran through the night streets. On a moon hunt, the pack would run for four or five hours at a time, for the sheer joy of it—so, outside of a few lingering aches from the wreck, I was in good shape. Better than she was, half-starved as she appeared.

Certainly in better shape than I would have been after being Bonarata’s guest for weeks. I’d have to thank Charles if I made it out of this alive.

Eventually, condition counted. I started to pull away from her, very, very slowly. About that time, the walls on either side of the road fell away, and I found myself running along a country lane with vineyards rising on gentle hills on both sides. There were still fences, but that was okay, I could deal with fences—vineyards were a godsend. There are vineyards all over the Tri-Cities. I know about vineyards and werewolves and coyotes.

I slipped through the bars of the ornate steel gate and ran along the length of the first row of grapes. I think she knew what I was planning—maybe she’d hunted smaller prey in this very vineyard before—because she sped up and closed the distance I’d opened between us. But, once again, she was too late.

I would have hated to face her if she’d been in top condition, if she hadn’t been ­half-crazy. But if she hadn’t been Bonarata’s pet . . . mistress . . . something, she wouldn’t be trying to kill me. Grapes are grown in rows. The path between rows is kept clear, and it is easy to run through the vineyard from that direction. But the grapevines are trained to spread tidily on a wire or rope fence, so running through the vines themselves is difficult—unless you are a coyote. The fence the vines are grown along leaves plenty of space for a coyote to slip through between strands. I turned into the vineyard.

After the second row, I got a feeling for the spacing and didn’t have to slow or shorten my stride as I ran through the gracefully draped vines.

The werewolf was a lot bigger than I was. She had to jump every row. It wasn’t the additional effort that won the race for ­me—it was just that every time she jumped was that much time she wasn’t propelling herself forward. It slowed her down, and it required more energy.

She was moving roughly ten times as much mass as I was, which hopefully would tire her out faster though that didn’t seem to be happening with any appreciable speed, even given her poor condition. I kept waiting for her to break down the row and run on the road beside the vineyard instead, where her speed would be less hampered than mine was. But she just kept following me as if she was incapable of more tactical thinking.

By the time I reached a road again, ducking beneath the tall hedge-and-fence that the werewolf would have to vault over, I’d gained nearly forty yards. This road traveled straight uphill for about a half mile, then, from the sign beside the road, intersected with another road.

The last steep bit I managed by ignoring my tiredness and occupying myself with the very important decision of whether to continue straight or turn left or right. My life hung in the balance, but I had nothing to draw upon to make the decision an informed one. The high hedge lined both sides of the road I was traveling on, and I could not even see the new road.

I hesitated a moment . . . one second and two, right at the intersection. I glanced over my shoulder and saw the satisfaction in her eyes. My indecision had given her the hunt. She was still stronger than I was, and the long uphill stretch had eaten most of the lead that the vineyard had given me.

She was so busy seeing me as her prize, she didn’t pay attention to anything else. So when I bolted across the intersection, she did, too—and the bus that I’d waited for hit her and rolled over the top of her with both sets of wheels.

Mercy has escaped her captors, and is doing her best to flee. She knows very little about her enemies, and has stolen a few clothes and an e-reader with internet connectivity. Her panicked flight has brought her to Prague. With some trepidation she enters a small internet cafe . . .
In Prague, apparently, they do not use euros. They use something called koruna. Also in Prague—or at least in the little wifi restaurant in Prague—people are kind.

There were ten people in the restaurant, including the staff: five Czech women, three Czech men, and two Russian tourists, both women. We spoke roughly a dozen languages between us, though I might have missed one or two, but no one spoke English.

One of the Russians spoke a little German. She didn’t have quite as much as I did, though to be fair, my German tends to be Zee German—what is not centered around cars and things mechanical is closer to the language spoken in Iceland (which hasn’t changed in the last thousand years) than anything spoken in modern Berlin. So maybe her German was fine, and mine was the problem.

I think she understood that I had gotten separated from my tour—which is the story I made up on the spot. My bus, I explained, had gone on to Milan with my luggage and things. I was going to use my e‑reader to get on the Internet and call home. Home would then relay information for me.

It was actually useful that none of them could speak to me because it reduced the lies I had to tell them. And also made it harder for them to offer me a place to stay—which is what I think one of the Czech men was offering. No one appeared worried, so I don’t think he was offering me what it looked like he was trying to.

They (collectively, it felt like) took my twenty-euro note and, after consulting a cell phone for the current exchange rate, carefully counted out 550 koruna in various bills and coins. The waitress brought me out a soft drink and a thick sandwich, waving away my attempts to pay her.

I pulled out my e‑reader (stolen) and turned it on. There had been no charging cable, or I’d have taken it, and the power bar on the screen told me I’d have to be fast—which was interesting with an e‑reader that probably had less than half the computing power of Adam’s watch. Setting up a generic e‑mail account at one of the big anonymous servers—CoyoteGirl was taken as were several variants—took up too much time. I needed something that would cue the pack without attracting attention. I didn’t have to just worry about the vampire, I was pretty sure that various government agencies were doing their best to keep track of our correspondences.
 1COYOTELOST worked.

I wrote a short e‑mail that said:

Dear People, 
Prague is lovely this time of year. You should visit.


I sent it to everyone in the pack (and a few out of it, like Zee’s son Tad and Tony) whose e‑mail addresses I remembered. Then I turned the e‑reader off to conserve its battery. I ate the sandwich and drank the soda.

Just before I turned it off, the e‑reader had told me it had 20 percent power and I should plug it in or it might shut itself off. I knew I should leave the café, wait a few hours, and come back. That’s what I’d planned to do.

But the lure of contacting home was too strong.

I told myself I needed to know about the Prague werewolves. If I could round up some support from them, it could be useful. If not, then I could hop a bus for somewhere else and try again. Waiting until later might not be practical, I reasoned. I’d run across the scent of three different werewolves on the way here. In a city the size of Prague, with only one pack, that either meant that the pack was centered in Old Town or that they were hunting me.

Even if they didn’t know about me, the kidnapped by the Lord of Night but subsequently escaped mate of the Columbia Basin Pack Alpha, coyotes don’t smell like dogs—not quite. Eventually, if I kept running around on four feet, they’d get interested and track me down. I had gotten lucky last night, and I didn’t like to rely on luck. I needed to know if the Prague werewolves were tied to the Lord of Night right this minute.


I turned on the e‑reader and checked my e‑mail.

I had one response from, it said:

OMF**KING G*D*MN Flyingf**kingMonkeys. WHERE? Are you safe? How did you get away? DID you get a f**king way?

The asterisks were his, apparently his work had had a discussion about swear words in professional e‑mails with him. Being Ben, he’d actually increased the swearwords, but added asterisks. It made me laugh even as my eyes watered with relief. Of course Ben would be checking his e‑mail—computers were his job.

Prague. As ever. As usual. Yes. What can you tell me about our coworkers in Prague? Considering dropping in for consult.

Ben was from Great Britain originally, so he might actually have more insight into the werewolves here than I did.

Hairyb*ttbunnies, girl. Good for you. Prague boss is dangerous bast*rd. Has a real h**don for the boss at your first job. No one but the two of them knows why that I ever heard—and there has been a lot of discussion about it. So someone is suppressing information. It wasn’t helped when we came out of the closet— ­something our colleague in Prague was very unhappy about. Can you avoid?

Okay, so there was bad blood between the Alpha here and . . . the boss at my first job. If I called the werewolves coworkers, then my first job would be the werewolf pack I grew up in. So Bran. Well, that could explain why I thought there was an issue with the Alpha here. I might have overheard a conversation sometime. It wouldn’t have been important to me at the time, but I’d filed some alert concerning the Prague Alpha.

Is he working with the Italians?

E‑mailing back and forth wasn’t as good as texting. The anonymous e‑mail server took its own sweet time downloading.

No. But the next closest company, in Brno, is. They were a part of Gévaudan and are now running scared of Prague. Am on phone with Sam’s brother right now. Sam’s brother says that Prague CEO, Libor, might get a kick out of helping you as a One‑Up‑Manship move on Sam’s father—and because he hates Italians more than anyone. He owns bakery in Old Town. Don’t know address. My boss is headed to Italy. Does he know you are visiting Prague?

Ben was on the phone to Charles, the Marrok’s son who was, among a lot of other things, an information guru. If he said Libor was a good bet, I’d take it.

He knows I’m on my own, and he can find me via GPS if he needs to find me.

He’d know that GPS was our mate bond because that was one thing it was pretty consistently good at. The e‑reader gave me another warning.

Out of battery on borrowed e‑reader, sorry.

I sent the e‑mail, then the e‑reader died. I wasn’t sure if it had had time to upload my last message or not. I turned the device off and slipped it back into my backpack. As I got ready to go, one of the men—I think he was the restaurant manager—brought a bag of food to the table and gave it to me.

He was an older man with kind eyes, a rumbly voice, and he smelled of cigars and coffee. He said something solemnly as if he were making a vow, reaching out and gently brushing my bruised cheek. Behind him, the older woman who had brought out my free lunch wiped away a tear.

I had no idea what he said, but my nose could smell the memory of his sorrow and his sincerity now. I felt like a fraud for a moment, deluding these people into believing I needed help. And then I remembered that I’d been violently kidnapped, hauled to Italy and was now wandering Prague with one stolen set of clothes, 550 koruna, which translated to a little more than twenty dollars, and a defunct e‑reader. Maybe I did need their help.

I stood on my tiptoes and kissed his cheek. The whole place burst into applause.

People are pretty cool.


Release date: 8 march 2016

Mercy Thompson has been hailed as “a heroine who continues to grow and yet always remains true to herself.”* Now she’s back, and she’ll soon discover that when the fae stalk the human world, it’s the children who suffer…

Tensions between the fae and humans are coming to a head. And when coyote shapeshifter Mercy and her Alpha werewolf mate, Adam, are called upon to stop a rampaging troll, they find themselves with something that could be used to make the fae back down and forestall out-and-out war: a human child stolen long ago by the fae.

Defying the most powerful werewolf in the country, the humans, and the fae, Mercy, Adam, and their pack choose to protect the boy no matter what the cost. But who will protect them from a boy who is fire touched?

*Library Journal

Chapter 1

I sat up in bed, a feeling of urgency gripping my stomach in iron claws. Body stiff with tension, I listened for whatever had awakened me, but the early-summer night was free of unusual noises.
A warm arm wrapped itself around my hips.
“Mercy?” Adam’s voice was rough with sleep. Whatever had awakened me hadn’t bothered my husband. If there were something wrong, his voice would have been crisp and his muscles stiff.
“I heard something,” I told Adam, though I wasn’t certain it was true. It felt like I’d heard something, but I’d been asleep, and now I couldn’t remember what had startled me.
He let me go and rolled off the bed and onto his feet. Like me, he listened to the night. I felt him stretch his awareness through the pack, though I couldn’t follow what he learned. My link to the Columbia Basin werewolves was through simple membership: but Adam was the Alpha.
“No one else in the house is disturbed,” he told me, turning his head to look at me. “I didn’t sense anything. What did you hear?”
I shook my head. “I don’t know. Something bad.” I closed my fist on the walking stick that lay against me. The action drew Adam’s eyes to my hands. He frowned, then crouched beside the bed and gently pulled the walking stick away.
“Did you bring this into bed last night?” he asked.
I flexed my fingers, frowning with annoyance at the walking stick. Until he’d drawn my attention to it, I hadn’t even realized that it had, once again, shown up where it shouldn’t be. It was a fae artifact—a minor fae artifact, I’d been told.
The stick was pretty but not ornate, simple wood shod in etched silver. The wood was gray with age, varnish, or both. When it had followed me home like a stray puppy the first time, it had seemed harmless. But fae things are rarely what they seem. And even very minor artifacts, given enough time, can gain in power.
It was very old magic and stubborn. It would not stay with the fae when I tried to give it back to them. Then I killed with it —or it had used me to kill something. Someone. That had changed it. I didn’t know what to do with it, so I’d given it to Coyote.
My life so far has been a learning experience. One thing I have learned is: don’t give magical things to Coyote. He returned it, and it was . . . different.
I opened and closed my hands several times; the fierce knowledge that something was wrong had faded. Experimentally, I reached out and touched the walking stick again, but my fear didn’t return.
“Maybe I just had a nightmare,” I told him. Maybe it hadn’t been the walking stick’s fault.
Adam nodded and set the walking stick on the top of my chest of drawers, which had become its usual resting place. Shutting it up in a closet had seemed rude.
He came back to the bed and kissed me, a quick, possessive kiss. He pulled back and looked at me, to make sure I was okay.
“Let me just take a look-see around the place to make sure.” He waited for my nod before he left me alone.
I waited for him in the dark. Maybe it had been a nightmare, or maybe something was wrong. I thought about the things that could be triggering my instincts—or things I was worried about.
Maybe something was wrong with Tad and Zee—that would explain the walking stick’s presence in my bed. The walking stick could be concerned about them—they were fae. At least Zee was fae.
When one of the Gray Lords who ruled the fae had declared independence from the human government, the fae had retreated to their reservations. Zee, my old friend and mentor in all things mechanical, had been forced to go to the Walla Walla reservation, which was about an hour away.
The fae barricaded themselves inside the walls the government had built for them. For a month or so, they’d let the humans figure out that the walls weren’t the only things that protected the reservations. The Walla Walla reservation had all but disappeared, hidden by illusion and magic. The road that used to lead to it no longer did. Rumor had it that when people tried to find it by airplane, the pilots forgot where they were going. Satellite photos were a gray blur for an area far larger than the reservation had occupied.
Then they released some of their monsters upon the human population. Fae that had been held in check by their rulers were let free. People died. The government was trying to keep a lid on it, to avoid panic, but the media were starting to notice.
I closed my hands again on the gray wood of the walking stick lying across my lap, the one that Adam had just set on the top of the chest of drawers. The walking stick moved on its own, though I’d never managed to catch it in the process.
I hadn’t worried about Zee a whole lot at first—he can take care of himself. Tad and I had been able to contact him now and then.
Tad was Zee’s son. Half-fae, product of a mostly failed experiment by the Gray Lords to see if fae could reproduce with humans and still be fae, Tad hadn’t been required (or asked) to retreat to the reservations. The fae had no use for their half-bloods, at least not until Tad had demonstrated that his magic was powerful and rare. Then they’d wanted him.
Seven weeks he’d been gone. Without Tad, I hadn’t been able to activate the mirror we’d been using to contact Zee. Seven weeks and no word at all.
“Is it Tad?” I asked the walking stick. But it sat inert in my hands. When I heard Adam on the stairs, I got up and put it back on the chest.
Sitting at the kitchen table the next morning, I paged through yet another catalogue of mechanic’s supplies and made crabbed notes on the notebook beside me with page numbers and prices.
I hadn’t forgotten last night, but I could hardly sit and do nothing, waiting for something dire to happen. I had no way to contact Zee or Tad. I also had no way to tell if the walking stick had caused my panic over something real, or if I’d had a nightmare, and that had called the walking stick.
If something dire was going to happen, in my experience, it would happen whatever I was doing—and waiting around was singularly useless. So I worked.
The wind rustled the pages gently. It was early summer yet, cool enough to leave windows open. A few more weeks, and the heat would hit in full force, but for now we only had the occasional windstorm to complain about. I flattened the page and compared the specs of their cheapest lift to the next cheapest.
We’d managed to scavenge some tools out of my shop when a volcano god toasted it, but a lot of things got warped from the heat—and other things got demolished when the rest of the building collapsed. It would be months before the shop was up and running, but some items were going to take a few months to order in, too.
Meanwhile, I sent a lot of my customers to the VW dealership. A few of my oldest customers—and a few of my brokest customers—I had bring their cars out to the big pole building at my old place. It wasn’t really tooled up, but I could take care of most simple issues.
Music wafted down from upstairs out of Jesse’s headphones. Her door must have been open or I wouldn’t have heard them. The headphones were an old compromise that predated me. Jesse had told me once, before her father and I got married, that she suspected that if she were playing Big Band music or Elvis or something, her dad wouldn’t have minded her playing it on a stereo. He liked music. Just not the music she liked.
She also told me that if she hadn’t told him that her mother let her play whatever she wanted (true—you don’t lie to a werewolf, they can tell), he probably wouldn’t have been willing to compromise on the headphones. Werewolves can hear music played over headphones, but it’s not nearly as annoying as music over speakers.
I like Jesse’s music, and I hummed along as I sorted through what I didn’t want, what I wanted and didn’t need, and what I needed. When I finished, I’d compare the final list with my budget. After that, I expected that I’d be sorting through what I needed and what I absolutely needed.
Above Jesse’s music, I could hear male voices discussing the pack budget and plans for the next six months. Today was, apparently, a day for budgets. Our pack had money for investments and to help support the wolves who needed help. Our pack because though I wasn’t a werewolf, I was still a member of the pack— which was unusual but not altogether unique.
Not all packs had the resources that we did. Money was a good thing to have in a werewolf pack. Werewolves had to work to control their wolves, and too much stress made it worse. Lack of money was stressful.
It was a fine balancing act between helping the people who needed help without encouraging slackers. Adam and his second, Darryl, and Zack, our lone submissive wolf because he was the one most likely to hear if someone in the pack was in trouble (in all senses of that word), were upstairs in the pack meeting room — Adam’s office being too small to accommodate two dominant wolves.
I couldn’t hear Lucia, the sole human in the room. She was there because she had taken over most of the accounting for the pack from Adam’s business’s accountant. She was quiet because she wasn’t yet comfortable enough with the werewolves to argue with them. Zack was pretty good at catching what she didn’t say and relaying it to the others, though, so it worked out.
Lucia’s husband, Joel (pronounced Hoe-el in the Spanish tradition), sighed heavily and rolled over until all four paws were in the air and his side rested against the bottom of the kitchen cabinets a few feet away from where I sat at the table. Joel was the other nonwerewolf who belonged to our pack.
He was black, but in the strong sunlight, I could see a brindle pattern. Like me, he wasn’t a werewolf. His induction into the pack was my fault, though it had saved my life and probably his. Instead of turning into a werewolf—or a coyote like me—he sometimes regained his human form and sometimes took on the form of a tibicena, a giant, very scary beast that smelled like brimstone and had eyes that glowed in the dark. Mostly, though, he looked like a large Pressa Canario, a dog only slightly less intimidating to most people than a werewolf, especially if the people weren’t familiar with werewolves. We were hoping that someday he’d get control of his change and be able to be mostly human instead of mostly dog. We were all grateful that he wasn’t stuck in the form of the tibicena.
Curled up next to him, and nearly as big as Joel, Cookie, a German-shepherd mix, gave me a wary look. She was a lot better than she had been the first time I met her, as a victim of severe abuse who’d been rescued by Joel and his wife. Still, she avoided strangers and tended to view any abrupt movement as a cause for concern.
The sound of an unfamiliar car in front of the house pulled my attention away from the merits of a four-post lift over a two-post lift. Joel rolled over and took notice. Upstairs, the men’s voices stopped. There was no doubt the car was for us because our house was the last one on a dead-end, very rural street.
It wasn’t the mail carrier or the UPS lady—I knew those cars, just as I knew the cars the pack usually drove.
“I’ll check it out,” I told Joel, knowing Adam would hear me, too. I was halfway to the front door, Cookie at my heels, when someone knocked.
I opened the door to see Izzy, one of Jesse’s friends, and her mom, who was carrying a large, teal, canvas bag. Izzy usually drove herself over, I wondered if there was something wrong with her car—and if I should offer to teach her how to fix it.
“Hey, Ms. H,” said Izzy, not meeting my eyes. “Jesse’s expecting me.”
As soon as she spoke, Adam and his budget brigade (as Darryl called them) went back to work—they knew Izzy, too. Izzy slid around me and—“ escaped” was the only word that fit-up the stairs. Cookie bolted after her—Izzy was one of her favorite people.
“Mercy,” said Izzy’s mom. I couldn’t for the life of me remember her name. While I was fighting with my memory, she continued speaking. “I wonder if you have a few minutes. I’d like to talk to you.”
It sounded ominous—but Izzy had just run upstairs, so it couldn’t be one of those “I’m sorry but I just don’t feel safe with my daughter coming over here knowing there are werewolves in the house” talks. Those usually happened over the phone, anyway.
“Sure,” I said, taking a step back to invite her in.
“We’ll need a table,” she said.
I led her back to the kitchen, where Joel had stretched out, big and scary-looking, across the floor, until the only way to the kitchen table was over him. I opened my mouth to ask him to move, but Izzy’s mom stepped over him as if he’d been a Lab or a golden retriever.
Joel looked at me, a little affronted at her disregard of his scariness. I shrugged, gave him a small apologetic smile, then stepped over him, too. Izzy’s mom sat down at the kitchen table, so I sat down beside her.
She pushed my catalogues away to clear a space, then pulled out a slick, teal-colored spiral-bound book the size of a regular notebook with “Intrasity Living” scrawled in gold across the front.
She placed it gently, as if it were a treasure, on the table, and said, in an earnest voice, “Life is short. And we’re not getting any younger. What would you give if you could look ten years younger and increase your energy at the same time? That’s what our vitamins can do for you.”
Holy Avon, Batman, I thought, as worry relaxed into annoyance-tinged humor, I’ve been attacked by a multilevel marketer.
Sounds from the upstairs quieted again, for just a moment, then Darryl rumbled something that was nicely calculated to be just barely too quiet for me to pick out. Adam laughed, and they went back to talking about interest rates. They had abandoned me to face my doom alone. The rats.
“I don’t take vitamins,” I told her.
“You haven’t tried our vitamins,” she continued, blithely unconcerned. “They’ve been clinically proved to—”
“They make my hair fall out,” I lied, but she wasn’t listening to me.
As she chirruped on enthusiastically, I could hear Izzy’s voice drifting down from Jesse’s room. “Mercy is going to hate me forever. Mom’s gone through all of her friends, all of her acquaintances, all of the people at her gym, and now she’s going after my friends’ parents.”
“Don’t worry about Mercy,” said Jesse soothingly. “She can take care of herself.” Jesse’s door closed. I knew that with the door shut, the kids were too human to hear anything that went on in the kitchen short of screams and gunfire. And I wasn’t quite desperate enough yet for either of those sounds to be an issue.
“I know there are other vitamins out there,” Izzy’s mother continued, “but of the twelve most common brands, only ours is certified by two independent laboratories as toxin-and allergen- free.”
If she hadn’t been Jesse’s best friend’s mom, I’d have gently but firmly (or at least firmly) sent her on her way. But Jesse didn’t have that many friends—the werewolf thing drove away some people, and the ones it didn’t weren’t always the kind of people she wanted as friends.
So I sat and listened and made “mmm” sounds occasionally as seemed appropriate. Eventually, we moved from vitamins to makeup. Despite rumors to the contrary, I do wear makeup. Mostly when my husband’s ex-wife is going to be around.
“We also have a product that is very useful at covering up scars,” she told me, looking pointedly at the white scar that slid across my cheek.
I almost said, “What scar? Who has a scar?” But I restrained myself. She probably wouldn’t get the Young Frankenstein reference anyway.
“I don’t usually wear makeup,” I told her instead. I had an almost-irresistible need to add “my husband doesn’t want me attracting other men” or “my husband says makeup is the work of the devil” but decided that any woman whose name I couldn’t remember probably didn’t know me well enough to tell when I was kidding.
“But honey,” she said. “With your coloring, you would be stunning with the right makeup.” And, with that backhanded compliment, she was off and running, again.
Izzy’s mom used “natural” and “herbal” to mean good. “Toxin” was bad. There was never any particular toxin named, but my house, my food, and, apparently, my makeup were full of toxins.
The world wasn’t so clean-cut, I mused as she talked. There were a lot of natural and herbal things that were deadly. Uranium occurred naturally, for instance. White snake root was so toxic that it had killed people who drank the milk from cows who had eaten it. See? My history degree was useful, if only as a source of material to entertain myself while listening to someone deliver a marketing speech.
Izzy’s mother was earnest and believed everything she said, so I didn’t argue with her. Why should I upset her view of the world and tell her that sodium and chloride were toxic but very useful when combined into salt? I was pretty sure she’d only point out how harmful salt was, anyway.
She turned another page while I was occupied with coming up with more toxins that were useful-and I was distracted from my train of thought by the picture on the page. A mint leaf lay on an improbably black and shiny rock in the middle of a clear, running stream with lots of water drops in artistic places. It made me a little thirsty—and thirsty reminded me of drinking. And though I don’t drink because of an incident in college, I sure could have used something alcoholic right then.
Come to think of it, alcohol was a toxin—and useful for all sorts of things.
“Oh, this is my favorite part,” she said, caressing the dramatic photo, “essential oils.” The last two words were said in the same tone a dragon might use to say “Spanish Doubloon.”
She reached into her bag and pulled out a teal box about the size of a loaf of bread. In metallic embossed letters, “Intrasity” and “Living Essentials” chased each other around the box in lovely calligraphic script.
She opened the box and released the ghosts of a thousand odors. I sneezed, Joel sneezed. Izzy’s mother said, “God bless you.”
I smiled. “Yes, He does. Thank you.”
“I don’t know what I would do without my essential oils,” she told me. “I used to have terrible migraines. Now I just rub a little of our Gaia’s Blessing on my wrists and temples and “poof,” no more pain.” She slid out an elegant, clear bottle that held some amber liquid and opened it, holding it toward my nose.
It wasn’t that bad. I admit my eyes watered a little from the peppermint oil. Joel sneezed again and went back to sleep. But from upstairs came a gagging noise and loud coughing. Ben wasn’t here, and I didn’t think Zack was the type. I’d have thought Adam and Darryl would both have been more mature. If I had any doubt that they were teasing me, it would have been dispelled by the way they were careful to be just quiet enough that Izzy’s mother couldn’t hear them.
Joel looked at me and let his tongue loll in an amused expression. He stretched, got up, and trotted up the stairs, doubtless so that he could join in the next round of fun. Deserter. Cookie gave me a mournful look and then bolted after Joel.
“Gaia’s Blessing contains peppermint oil,” Izzy’s mother said unnecessarily because that was the one making my eyes water, “lavender, rosemary, and eucalyptus, all natural oils, blended together.” She capped it. “We have remedies for a variety of ailments. My husband was an athlete in college, and for twenty years, he’s battled with jock itch.”
I blinked.
I tried to keep my face expressionless, despite the laughter from upstairs, as Izzy’s mother continued, apparently unaware of the meaning of TMI. “We tried everything to control it.” She dug around and pulled out a few bottles before coming up with the one she wanted. “Here it is. A little dab of this every night for three days, and his jock itch was gone. It works for ringworm, psoriasis, and acne, too.”
I looked at the bottle as if that would keep inappropriate images from lingering. It helped that I had never met Izzy’s father, but now I hoped I never did.
The bottle label read: “Healing Touch.” I wondered if Izzy’s mother’s husband knew that his jock itch was something that his wife brought up in her sales pitch with near strangers. Maybe he wouldn’t care.
She opened that bottle, too. It wasn’t as bad as the first one.
“Vitamin E,” she said. “Tea tree oil.”
“Lavender,” I said, and her smile wattage went up.
I bet she made a mint on her multilevel marketing. She was cute, perky, and very sincere.
She pulled out another bottle. “Most of our essential oils are just one oil-lavender, jasmine, lemon, orange. But I think that the combination oils are more useful. You can combine them on your own, of course, but our blends are carefully measured for the best effect. I use this one first thing, every morning. It just makes you feel better; the smell releases endorphins and wipes the blues right away.”
“Good Vibrations,” I commented neutrally. I hadn’t been pulled back to the sixties or anything; that was what the label on the bottle read.
She nodded. “They don’t advertise this, mind you, but my manager says that she thinks it does more than just elevate your mood. She told me she believes it actually makes your life go a little smoother. Helps good things to happen.” She smiled again, though I couldn’t remember her not smiling. “She was wearing it when she won a thousand dollars on a lottery ticket.”
She set the bottle down and leaned forward earnestly. “I’ve heard-but it hasn’t been confirmed-that the woman who started Intrasity”— she pronounced it “In-TRAY-sity”—“ Tracy LaBella, is a witch. A white witch, of course, who is using her powers for good. Our good.” She giggled, which should have been odd in a woman of her age but instead was charming.
Her comment, though, disturbed me and made me pick up the bottle of Good Vibrations. I opened it and took a careful smell: rose, lavender, lemon, and mint. I didn’t sense any magic, and mostly if magic is around, I can tell.
LaBella wasn’t one of the witch family names, as far as I knew, but if “Tracy the Beautiful” was her real name, I’d have been surprised.
“Now this little gem”— Izzy’s mother pulled out yet another bottle—“this is one of my favorites, guaranteed to improve your love life or your money back. Does your husband ever have trouble keeping up?” She held up a finger, then curled it limply downward as her eyebrows arched up.
The silence from upstairs was suddenly deafening.
“Uhm. No,” I said. I tried to resist, I really did. If Darryl hadn’t said, “Way to go, man—for a moment I was worried about you,” I think I could have held out. But he did. And Adam laughed, which clinched it.
I sighed and picked an imaginary string off my pant leg. “Not that way. My husband is a werewolf, you know. So really not, if you know what I mean.”
She blinked avidly. “No. What do you mean?”
“Well,” I said, looking away from her as if I were embarrassed, and I half mumbled, “You know what they say about werewolves.”
She leaned closer. “No,” she whispered. “Tell me.”
I had heard the meeting-room door open, so I knew that the werewolves could hear every word we whispered.
I let out a huff of air and turned back to her. “You know, every night is just fine. I’m good with every morning, too. Three, four times a night? Well . . .” I let fall a husky laugh. “You’ve seen my husband, right?” Adam was gorgeous. “But some nights . . . I’m not on the right side of thirty anymore, you know? Sometimes I’m tired. I just get to sleep, and he’s nudging me again.” I gave her what I hoped would come out as a shy, hopeful smile. “Do you have anything that might help with that?”
I don’t know what I expected her to do. But it wasn’t what happened.
She nodded decisively and pulled out an oversized vial with “Rest Well” written on the label. “My manager’s father, God rest his soul, discovered the “little blue pill” last year. Her mother just about divorced him after forty years of marriage before she tried this.”
“God rest his soul” meant dead, right? I took the vial warily. Like the others, it didn’t feel magical. I opened it and sniffed. Lavender again, but it was more complex than that. Orange, I thought, and something else. “What’s in it?” I asked.
“St. John’s wort, lavender, orange,” she said briskly. “This isn’t quite chemical castration, but it will bring your life into balance,” she said, and she was off on her sales pitch as if the phrase “chemical castration” was a common concept—and something one might consider doing to one’s husband.
And she looked like such a nice, normal person.
I sniffed the vial again. St John’s wort I knew mostly from a book I’d once borrowed about the fae. The herb could be used to protect yourself and your home against some kinds of fae when placed around windows, doors, and chimneys. If it protected against the fae, maybe I should see if we could get it somewhere and stockpile. Maybe we could grow it. Lucia had our flowerbeds looking better than they had in years, and she was talking about putting in an herb garden somewhere. St. John’s wort was an herb.
Eventually, Izzy’s mother finished her sales presentation and began the hard sell.
I have a strong will. I didn’t join up to sell Intrasity products to all my friends. She could say it “wasn’t a pyramid scheme” all she wanted, but that’s what it was. When she offered a 10 percent discount for names and phone numbers of friends, I thought about giving her Elizaveta’s name. But I wasn’t all that keen on sending a perfectly nice woman to the scary witch. I also wasn’t sure that the witch really counted as a friend.
I would let Elizaveta know that Tracy LaBella was styling herself a witch to sell her products and let the old Russian deal with it herself.
So I paid full price for one normal-sized and one oversized bottle of Rest Well, which was Izzy’s mother’s entire stock. I mostly bought it because it was funny, but also because I intended to see what kind of an effect the St. John’s wort would have on a fae.
With Zee and Tad stuck on the reservation, I might need something to use against the fae.
I also bought a small vial of Good Vibrations. I hadn’t intended to, but Izzy’s mother gave me five percent off because she’d used it as a demo. I could give it to Elizaveta to make sure it wasn’t really magical. It wouldn’t hurt anything if I tried a little of it myself first.
It was when I bought some orange oil that I acknowledged that Izzy’s mother had beaten me. But the orange oil smelled really good. Izzy’s mother told me it was supposed to promote calmness—and it worked in cookies. I’d used orange extract in brownies before, but Izzy’s mother said the oil worked better.
I saw her out and put my back against the door once I closed it. Adam cleared his throat. I looked up to see him halfway down the stairs. He was leaning against the wall, arms folded as he did his best to appear disgruntled. But there was a crinkle of a smile at the edge of his eyes.
“So,” he said, shaking his head. “I’m too much for you. You should have said something. We might be married, Mercy, but no still means no.”
I widened my eyes at him. “I just haven’t wanted to hurt your feelings.”
“When I give you that little nudge, hmm?” His voice took on a considering air. “Come to think of it, I’m feeling a little nudge coming on right now.”
“Now?” I whispered in horrified tones. I looked up toward Jesse’s room. “Think of the children.”
He tilted his head as if to listen, then shook it. “They won’t hear anything from there.” He started slowly down the stairs.
“Think of Darryl, Zack, Lucia, and Joel,” I said earnestly. “They’ll be scarred for life.”
“You know what they say about werewolves,” he told me gravely, stepping down to the ground.
I broke and ran—and he was right on my tail. Figuratively speaking, of course. I don’t have a tail unless I’m in my coyote shape.
I dodged around the big dining table, but he put one hand on top and vaulted it, right over the top of Medea, who was taking a nap on top of the forbidden territory. She hissed at him, but he ignored her and kept coming after me. I dove under the table and out the other side, sprinted through the kitchen, and bolted down the stairs, laughing so hard I almost couldn’t breathe.
He caught me in the big rec room, tripped me, and pinned me against the floor. He kissed my chin, my neck, my cheek, and the bridge of my nose before he touched my lips. He put our game right out of my mind (along with any ability to form a coherent thought), so when he said, “Nudge,” it took me a second or two to figure out what he was talking about.
I dragged my thoughts from my enervated and trembling body and thought about how many people would know what we were doing down here. “No?” I said hesitantly.
“What happened to not hurting my feelings?” he asked. Even though his body was evidently as excited as mine, and his breathing harder than our little chase merited, there was amusement in his eyes.
“Izzy, Jesse, Darryl, Zack, Lucia, and Joel happened,” I said. If my voice was husky, well, I think anyone in my situation would have had trouble keeping her voice steady.
He rolled off me but grabbed my hand as he did, so we lay side by side on our backs with our hands clasped. He started laughing first.
“At least,” he said finally, “being a werewolf means I never have to worry about jock itch.”
“Every cloud has a silver lining,” I agreed. “Even being a werewolf has its upside.”
I expected him to laugh again. But instead his hand tightened on mine and he sat up and looked at me. He pulled my hand to his lips, and said, “Yes.”
Of course, I had to kiss him again.
We went upstairs after that kiss, so i didn’t end up embarrassing myself. Sure, there were sly grins from the peanut gallery, but since nothing happened, I was able to keep from blushing as Darryl and Zack got ready to leave. Adam and the others had apparently concluded their business while I was finishing up with Izzy’s mother.
Darryl kissed my hand formally, and said, “You are endlessly entertaining.”
I raised my eyebrow and gave him a “who me?” expression. Of course, that only made him laugh, his teeth flashing whitely in amusement. Darryl was a happy blend of his African father and Chinese mother, taking the best features of two races and combining them. A big man, he could do scary better than anyone in the pack, but with a grin on his face, he could charm kittens out of trees.
Zack gave me a hug good-bye. Our only submissive wolf, he had been really . . . skittish and worn when he first joined the pack a few months ago. But as he’d gotten used to us, he touched us all a lot. Some of the guys had been taken aback when he’d started, though his touch had nothing to do with sex. But no one wanted him sad: a happy submissive wolf balanced the dominants and lowered tempers. So they’d learned to accept Zack’s ways.
I returned Zack’s hug, and he slipped something into my pocket that felt like one of the vials I’d just bought. He stepped back, looked me earnestly in the eye, and said, “To protect you from the nudge.”
Darryl high-fived him as he stepped out on the porch. It made Adam laugh.
After I shut the door on the miscreants who didn’t live here, I turned around to see Lucia, Joel at her side, standing in the doorway to the kitchen with her arms crossed and a big grin on her face. I frowned at her.
“Don’t worry,” she said earnestly. “I didn’t hear the whole thing, but Zack courteously kept me apprised as it was happening, so I wouldn’t feel left out. Why didn’t you tell her to go away before she got started?”
“Because she’s Izzy’s mother—and that sort of thing can have repercussions for Jesse,” I told her.
“And because you didn’t want to hurt her feelings,” said Adam. “Which is why multilevel marketing works. And you bought the oil because you want to see if there’s real magic involved because you’re worried about her,” said Adam.
I met his eyes solemnly. “No.” I patted my pocket. “I bought the orange oil for brownies, and I bought that other as a shield for the nudge attack.”
He raised an eyebrow. “So, do you wear it, or do I?” he asked.
I frowned at him. “I couldn’t actually tell from her story, but I’m afraid it might be fatal for you.” Her manager’s father had gotten a “rest in peace” after his name when she was talking about him, after all. “I figure the way it works is that I put it on me. Then I’ll smell so strongly that you’ll stay away until you are really desperate.”
He threw his head back and laughed. Adam . . . Adam tried to downplay it with a military haircut and clothes that were subtly the wrong color—I’d just figured that one out—but he was beautiful. Like magazine-model beautiful. I didn’t always see it anymore, the inside being more interesting than the outer package, but with his eyes sparkling and his dimple flashing . . .
I cleared my throat. “Nudge?” I said.
Lucia laughed and turned back toward the kitchen. “Get a room,” she said over her shoulder.
Adam? He took a predatory step toward me, and his phone rang.
So did mine.
I checked the number on my phone, intending to let the voice mail catch it, but when I saw who was calling, I answered it instead.
“Tony?” I asked, walking away from Adam so my conversation wouldn’t get mixed up in his. Adam was talking to Darryl, whose voice sounded urgent.
“I don’t know if you and Adam can help us,” Tony said rapidly. In the background, sirens were doing their best to drown out his voice. “But we have a situation here. There is something, a freaking-big something on the Cable Bridge, and it is eating cars.”
“You and Adam” was short for “please bring a pack of werewolves out to take care of the car-eating monster.” If they were asking for the pack, they must be desperate.
“Mercy,” said Adam, who, unlike me, apparently had no trouble keeping track of two conversations at the same time, “tell him we’re on our way. Darryl and Zack are almost on-site.”
I repeated Adam’s words, then said, “We’ll be right there.”
I hung up and started out the door. The Cable Bridge, which had another name no one remembered, was about a ten-minute drive from our house.
“Mercy,” said Adam tightly. The last time we’d faced down a monster, I’d almost died. It had taken me six weeks to stand on my own two feet, and it hadn’t been the first time I’d been hurt. The werewolves were two-hundred-plus pounds of fang and claw who mostly healed nearly as quickly as they could be hurt. I was as vulnerable as any human. My superpower consisted of changing into a thirty-five- pound coyote.
He still had nightmares.
I looked at him. “You’re going to be a werewolf. Darryl is going to be a werewolf, and I’m assuming Joel is going to be a monstrous tibicena, spitting lava and looking scary. I think you need someone on the ground with the ability to shout things like “Stop shooting, those are the good guys.”.” I took a deep breath. “I won’t promise not to get hurt. I won’t lie to you. But I do promise not to be stupid.”
His cheeks whitened as he clenched his jaw. His eyes shadowed, he nodded slowly. That was the deal that we had, the thing that allowed me to give up my independence and trust him. He had to let me be who I was—and not some princess wrapped in cotton wool and kept on a shelf.
“Okay,” he said. “Okay.” Unself-consciously, he stripped out of his clothes because it would be easier to do that here than in the car. “Joel? Are you coming?”
The big black dog, who already looked a little bigger, padded out of the kitchen. I wasn’t certain how much control Joel had about what shape he wore except that it wasn’t much. We needed to get to the bridge before he started melting things in the car—the tibicena was a creature born in the heart of a volcano.
I opened the door, stopped, and ran up the stairs. I opened Jesse’s door without knocking.
“Monster on the Cable Bridge,” I said. “Police are requesting assistance. Stay home. Stay safe. We love you.”
I didn’t give her time to say anything, just bolted back down the stairs to Adam’s black SUV, where the others waited.
We were going to fight monsters.



“Okay,” I told Tony. “You should have two other werewolves here already. Adam’s called in the rest of the pack, but it might take a half hour or more to get anyone else here. What do you need?”
“Can you kill this thing? Failing that, we need to keep it on the bridge until the National Guard gets here—about two hours at last check,” Tony said grimly.
He leveled an opaque look at Joel. This was Joel’s first public appearance as a member of the pack. To Tony’s credit, having a black dog that looked as though he’d been half-formed out of burning charcoal didn’t seem to faze him long. He barely even paused before he continued to speak
“It doesn’t seem to be inclined to leave the bridge, thankfully. At least here it’s contained, but it has amply demonstrated that it’s staying on the bridge because it wants to be there. Nothing we’ve been able to do does much more than annoy it.”
Adam gave me a sharp look.
“I’ve got this,” I agreed. “You and Joel can go find whatever’s playing matchbox cars on the bridge.”
Adam started out, then hesitated and turned back, Joel attentive at his side. My mate looked me in the eyes, his own golden and clear.
“I know,” I said feeling his emotions sing to me through our mating bond. He should be able to feel mine, too, but sometimes words matter. “I love you, too.”
He turned and ran, the efficient lope of the beginning of a hunt rather than a racing stride. Joel kept pace at his hip.
Tony cupped his hand under my elbow and tugged me over to the gathered police officers, some in uniform, some in business casual, and some in whatever they happened to be wearing when they got the call. I recognized a few faces, recognized more scents, and Detective Willis, who was regarding me with an expression I couldn’t read.
“Don’t shoot the werewolves and the tibicena,” I told him — because that was the main purpose of my coming with Adam. “They’re the good guys.”
“Tibicena?” Detective Willis tasted the unfamiliar word, but that wasn’t enough to hold his attention for long He turned to look at the bridge, not at Adam and Joel, who had slowed to take advantage of the cover provided by the strewn-about cars. “What can you tell us about the thing on the bridge? Why can’t we shoot it? It doesn’t seem to do anything to it.”
“I don’t know what your monster is,” I told him. “I haven’t had a chance to see it yet. The tibicena is the scary, black, doglike creature running beside Adam. Adam is the werewolf, and the tibicena is a friend. Please tell everyone not to shoot them, okay?”
Willis gave a quick look at Adam and Joel, then frowned and narrowed his eyes, as if he’d finally realized that Joel wasn’t just a weird werewolf. “That thing is a tibicena? What the hell is a tibicena?”
“My friend,” I said coolly. “Who is risking his life to help out.”
Willis grimaced at me. “Don’t take offense where none is meant, Mercy Hauptman.” He put a hand to his face and pressed a button I couldn’t see because he said, “Do not. I repeat. Do not shoot the scary black dog . . . doglike creature. Don’t shoot the werewolves, either. They are on our side, people.”
Tony, who’d followed me over to Willis, said, presumably to me, “We have a couple of SWAT snipers up on top of the Lampson Building and a couple more on top of the Crow’s Nest on Clover Island—for all the good that’s doing us.”
Clover Island was a boating-and-tourist mecca just west of the bridge, lots of boats, lots of docks, and, on the tiny island itself, a hotel, the Coast Guard office, and a few restaurants. The Crow’s Nest was the restaurant on the top floor of the hotel. “They can’t get a shot, the wind is too high.” His voice was cool and controlled. “Pasco’s got a couple of marksmen up on their side of the river, too. At this rate, we’re more likely to shoot each other than whatever that thing is. And given how effective our bullets have been, it wouldn’t matter anyway.”
“He’s over the hump, and I haven’t been able to see it,” I said. “What’s it look like?”
“King Kong,” said one of the officers I didn’t know. “If King Kong were green and covered in moss with a nose set higher than his eyes. And it is well and truly a him because that part isn’t green.”
“Like Christmastime,” agreed a woman I’d seen before but hadn’t been introduced to . “Red and green.”
“That’s more than I saw,” said a guy in sweats with a long streak of dried blood on the sleeve. “I was too busy getting out of there with my battered civilians.”
“What’s it doing?” I asked. “I mean, why is it still on the bridge and not somewhere else? Have the werewolves been keeping it on the bridge?”
“If it wanted off the bridge,” said an officer grimly, “it would be off the bridge.”
“Adam’s people are doing a fine job of keeping it occupied,” said Tony. “According to the Pasco police, they’ve been distracting it whenever it seems to be thinking about heading off. But it really doesn’t seem to want off.”
The guy in bloody sweats spoke up. “One of the victims I escorted out said it just stopped and ran back to the middle of the bridge. It’s been back on our side a couple of times, Pasco, too— but mostly seems to be hanging out in the center section.” He looked at me. “That thing was coming right for me, and this big black guy ran past and hit it with a baseball bat. I figure I’ve played baseball most of my life, and I never saw a human swing a bat like that. Broke the bat, which I have seen, but not like that. He saved my life and the lives of the four people I was helping off the bridge, too. Is he one of your guys?”
Darryl. Darryl carried a baseball bat in his car, a baseball bat and a baseball. In Washington, it was illegal to carry only a baseball bat in your car. Darryl wasn’t out as a werewolf at his work. I suppose that cat would be out of the bag after today.
“Probably,” I said.

  “It’s not stupid to be afraid of the fae,” said Mary Jo hotly. “No?” Honey disagreed. “But that’s not what makes you stupid, Mary Jo. You aren’t arguing with Mercy because she’s wrong, you’re arguing with her because you don’t know who she is. You still think she’s some dumb bimbo who seduced our Alpha and stumbled into a stupid magic trick that allowed her to become part of the pack. That she is a mistake. That she is a weakness.” She looked around the room. “Idiots. Every one of you. We drove a volcano god out of our territory, and you are afraid of the fae?” She made a noise. “Oh, that’s right. It wasn’t us—it was Mercy, wasn’t it? She put herself between Guayota and us. She nearly died to protect us— and you are all still wondering if she should be a member of our pack.” “She is a weakness,” said Darryl reluctantly. “Guayota saw it, too. She was the first of us he went after.” “And she defeated him,” Honey said. “She drove him out of her garage.” “Tad and Adam defeated him,” Mary Jo said. “That’s a theme here, isn’t it?” said Honey. “Mercy stands up for what is right—and her friends back her up.” She paused. “Why do you think that is?” Her lip curled when no one said anything. “Because they know she’ll have their back in return. Pack is about not standing alone. About having people you trust to have your back. There is not another person in this room that I would rather have at my back than Mercy.” “What about Adam?” asked Mary Jo instantly. “Not excepting Adam,” Honey told her stoutly. “Your pardon, Adam, if you find that offensive. But because you are our Alpha, you have other considerations, other responsibilities. Mercy, once she has your back, she has your back.” Adam didn’t open his eyes. He just waved her apology away. “Offering sanctuary to the fae boy was the right thing to do,” Honey said. “He’d given aid to our fellow pack member. It is right and proper that he ask for something in return.” “And Joel wouldn’t be a member of the pack who needed help if it weren’t for Mercy,” said Mary Jo fiercely. Honey opened her mouth, but Adam spoke first. “Enough,” he said, and his voice was silky- soft.“Sit down, Honey.” She sat, but her mouth was screwed up in anger. Adam opened his eyes and surveyed the room with bright gold irises. “Y’all are mistaken about the reason for this meeting.” His Southern accent was unusually thick. It should have made his anger sound softer, but it didn’t. Beside me, Warren’s mouth quirked up. “We are not here to discuss Aiden and the sanctuary he was promised. We are not here to discuss the fae in any way, shape, or form. We are here to discuss Mercy. And your attitude toward my wife. My mate.” He rocked to his feet and began pacing slowly back and forth. “Mercy is a tough, smart woman. She can defend herself—I do not have to protect her. She is not weak or dependent or needy. She doesn’t need the pack. She doesn’t need me.” I shot to my feet. “That’s not true,” I said hotly. He tilted his head a little, his eyes meeting mine. His eyes softened. “I misspoke,” he said in a steady voice. “She doesn’t need me to make sure she has enough food or a place to live—that is my privilege, but she doesn’t need me to do that. She doesn’t need me to keep her safe or to make her a whole person. She doesn’t need me to do anything except love her. Which I do.” Well now, I thought, abruptly breathless. I nodded at him and plunked down in my seat before my weakened knees gave out. After I sat down, Adam started that slow pace back and forth again. It was a hunter’s gait. When he spoke, it was even more quietly than he had before. “When she agreed to be my mate and when she agreed to be part of the pack, I understood that she would not welcome my standing between her and you. She’s defended herself all of her life, and she is capable of defending herself from you when she cares enough to do so.” He stopped and looked around, an eyebrow raised in challenge. Warren coughed the words “blue dye” into his hand. Adam’s smile flickered into being, then disappeared. “She has rightfully earned the reputation, that goes back to her days in the Marrok’s pack, of being someone people respected. No one in Bran’s pack wanted to get on her bad side because Mercy always comes out on top. And she has acquitted herself very well in my pack, defending herself from whatever you’ve thrown at her. But today on the bridge, I discovered something.” He let the pause linger. “I’m done with it.” All hint of softness was gone from his voice. “I am done with listening to you attack my mate while she is trying to save you. Again. I called this meeting to give notice. If I hear or hear about any of you saying anything to my mate that is in the least bit disrespectful, I will end you. No warnings, no second chances. I will end you.” And he walked through the aisle left between the chairs and out of the room without looking me in the eyes. Darryl stood up in the silence and addressed the room. “Adam has authorized both Warren and me to help anyone who wishes to leave this pack in light of this announcement. Do not go to Adam. I assure you that he is quite serious.” I sat where I was, dumbstruck. On the one hand— that was pretty sexy. On the other— holy cow. He couldn’t do that. I’d just started making real inroads into the general prejudice of the pack. He’d silenced them. My life was going to be hellish, full of people who hated me but couldn’t say anything out in the open so we could hash it out. It would just fester. “For what it’s worth,” Warren said to me, “if he hadn’t done that, I think Honey would have. And that would have been a disaster.” He looked at my face. “It’ll be okay, kid.” I opened my mouth. “He can’t do that.” Ben grinned at me. “Oh yes, yes he could. This isn’t a democracy, Mercy. That was brilliant.” I shook my head. “That was a disaster.” “How so?” asked Mary Jo, who had gotten up and was standing in the queue to get out of the room. “And I mean that respectfully, Mercy.” She didn’t sound sarcastic, but it lurked in her eyes. “He can’t dictate how people feel,” I said. “Some people need to shut their mouths in order to use their brains,” said George. He sounded . . . thoughtful. I stared at him. “And I’m beginning to think that I’m one of them,” he said. “I think . . . I think that you’re right. The Tri-Cities is our territory. If we don’t police our territory, then who could blame the fae for thinking we wouldn’t do anything when they sent a troll through downtown? It never occurred to me that the pack wouldn’t help. I saw Darryl up there, and thought, ‘Good, they’ve made it.’ And if I know that— maybe we should make sure that the rest of the world knows it, too. It might stave off incidents like the one we had today.” He crouched so his head and mine were at an equal height, ignoring the way that meant he blocked the path out of the room. “Honey was right,” he said. “If it had been Darryl up there on the bridge, promising the sun, moon, and stars, we’d all have backed him. And you not only outrank Darryl, you’ve proved that you deserve that rank to anyone who isn’t an outright idiot. We should have backed you. And now we will.” “This isn’t a third-world dictatorship,” I said. “Yes,” said Mary Jo slowly. “Yes, it is, Mercy.” Her voice softened. “It has to be. We are too dangerous. Controlling our wolves is much, much easier when we are a pack, following a leader. This needed to happen a long time ago.” Warren stayed by me as the room cleared of strangely happy werewolves. When Honey made it to us, she slid into the row of chairs in front. She pulled out one chair and stacked it on its neighbor, then took another and turned it around until she faced us. She sat on this one, crossed her legs at the knee, and waited, bland- faced,for the room to clear. Under her gaze, it cleared a little faster than it had been. Darryl gave her an ironic salute as he passed, which she returned.

Novels in this series

The series currently consists of the novels:

Moon Called

Mercedes "Mercy" Thompson is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy's next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she's fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy's connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water...

Blood Bound

Under the rule of science, there are no witch burnings allowed, no water trials or public lynchings. In return, the average law-abiding, solid citizen has little to worry about from the things that go bump in the night. Sometimes I wish I was an average citizen...

Mechanic Mercy Thompson has friends in low places-and in dark ones. And now she owes one of them a favor. Since she can shapeshift at will, she agrees to act as some extra muscle when her vampire friend Stefan goes to deliver a message to another of his kind.

But this new vampire is hardly ordinary-and neither is the demon inside of him.

Iron Kissed

I could smell her fear, and it satisfied something deep inside me that had been writhing under her cool, superior gaze. I curled my upper lip so she could get a good look at my sharp teeth. I might only weigh thirty or so pounds in my coyote shape, but I was a predator...

Mechanic Mercy Thompson can shift her shape - but not her loyalty. When her former boss and mentor is arrested for murder and left to rot behind bars by his own kind, it's up to Mercy to clear his name, whether he wants her to or not.

Mercy's loyalty is under pressure from other directions, too. Werewolves are not known for their patience, and if Mercy can't decide between the two she cares for, Sam and Adam may make the choice for her...

Bone Crossed

By day, Mercy is a car mechanic in the sprawling Tri-Cities of Eastern Washington. By night, she explores her preternatural side. As a shapeshifter with some unique talents, Mercy has often found herself having to maintain a tenuous harmony between the human and the not so human. This time she may get more than she bargained for.

Marsilia, the local Vampire Queen, has learned that Mercy crossed her by slaying a member of her clan—and she's out for blood. But since Mercy is protected from direct reprisal by the werewolf pack (and her close relationship with its sexy Alpha), it won't be Mercy's blood Marsilia is after.

It'll be her friends'.

Silver Bone

Being a mechanic is hard work. Mercy Thompson, for instance, just spent the last couple of months trying to evade the murderous queen of the local vampire seethe. And now the leader of the werewolf pack, who's maybe-more-than-just-a-friend, has asked for her help. A book of fae secrets has come to light and they're all about to find out how implacable - and dangerous - the fae can be.

OK, so maybe her troubles have nothing to do with the job. But she sure could use a holiday...

River Marked

Mercy Thompson is a shapeshifter, a talent she inherited from her long-gone father. And she's never known any others of her kind. Until now. As Mercy comes to terms with this new information, an evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River. Something deadly is coming, facts are thin on the ground and Mercy feels ill at ease.

Frost Burned

Mercy Thompson's life has undergone a seismic change. Becoming the mate of Adam Hauptman - the charismatic Alpha of the local werewolf pack - has made her a stepmother to his daughter Jesse, a relationship that brings moments of blissful normalcy to Mercy's life. But on the edges of humanity, a minor mishap on an ordinary day can turn into so much more. After an accident in bumper-to-bumper traffic, Mercy and Jesse can't reach Adam - or anyone else in the pack for that matter. They've all been abducted. Through their mating bond, all Mercy knows is that Adam is angry and in pain. Outclassed and on her own, Mercy may be forced to seek assistance from the most unlikely of allies: the vampire seethe.

Night Broken

An unexpected phone call heralds a new challenge for Mercy. Her mate Adam’s ex-wife is in trouble, on the run from her new boyfriend. Adam isn’t the kind of man to turn away a person in need—and Mercy knows it. But with Christy holed up in Adam’s house, Mercy can’t shake the feeling that something about the situation isn’t right.

Soon, her suspicions are confirmed when she learns that Christy has the farthest thing from good intentions. She wants Adam back and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen, including turning Adam’s pack against Mercy.

Mercy isn’t about to step down without a fight, but there’s a more dangerous threat circling. Christy’s ex is more than a bad man—in fact, he may not be human at all. As the bodies start piling up, Mercy must put her personal troubles aside to face a creature with the power to tear her whole world apart.

    Graphic Novels


    1. Homecoming

    This is an original story line, dealing with events that happened soon after Mercy's arrival in the Tri-Cities.
    I changed several details to make the graphic novel work. Small things mostly, but an astutue reader will see some inconsistencies. The comic Mercy is going to be slightly different than the "real" Mercy. Changes need to be made to tell a good story in a different medium, and I want the comics to be enjoyable reads. 


    2. Moon Called: Part 1 

    Moon Called is the first book in the Mercy Thompson series. I worked with Dynamite comics to adapt the novel to a graphic format. So, if you want to take a peek at Mercy's world, and want some pictures with your words, this one's for you!
    By the way, this cover is one of my favorites. It was drawn by Amilia Woo, who also drew much of the interior art. The production schedule for these comics was demanding, but it shows what an artist can do if the time (and budget) permits! 


    3. Moon Called: Part 2

    4. Hopcross Jilly   

    An original story in Mercy's world, but focusing Jesse (Mercy's step-daughter). The pack was out for a quick run at the full moon, and came across a ritual burial site . . . It's a creepy mystery written to take advantage of the graphic medium!
    We're proud of all the graphic novels, but we're particularly happy with this one. Both the story adaptation and the artwork are top-notch.



    Main characters

    Mercedes Athena "Mercy" Thompson is the protagonist of the Mercy Thompson series. Mercy Thompson is the daughter of a Blackfeet Indian (Joe Old Coyote) and a white teenage mother (Margi). She is a "Walker" (a Native American shapeshifter not linked to the moon) who turns into a coyote, a gift she inherited from her father. 

    Her father, a rodeo man, he died a few days after consummating his relationship with her mother.

    One day, not too long after Mercy was born, her mother went to her crib only to find a small coyote pup in her place. Afraid and unsure how to raise her, her mother took her to friends of an uncle, who had been a werewolf. This is how she came to be raised with the pack of Bran, the Marrok of the werewolves.

    Mercy is described in the novels as being of average height, around 5'6", and average weight with long, straight, dark brunette hair (often kept in braids). She has a muscular build from karate training, and tanned skin. Identifying marks include a tattoo of a coyote paw print on her belly, below her navel, and buckshot scars on her behind. In coyote form, she weighs 32 lbs. When her adoptive parents died she was fourteen, it happened 17 years ago that makes her 31 years old.

    Mercy Thompson Comic

    Mercy is described as being stubborn, headstrong, independent, hardworking, thoughtful, and caring. She can change between human and coyote form easily. In coyote form, she is capable of running at fast speeds and has increased sight in the dark. In both human and coyote form, she has an increased sense of smell and a resistance to some forms of magic. It has been shown that she has the ability to see (and control) ghosts. It is explained that this is the reason Walkers are so rare. Vampires have hunted them down to prevent them from being "vampire hunters" because wherever vampires live, there are usually ghosts of victims to reveal them.

    She works as an auto mechanic and is a deliberate bad neighbor, keeping increasingly decrepit and dismantled cars on her lawn to irritate Adam.

    Crushworthy Characters: Adam Hauptman | Fandomania