There’s nothing quite like roaring down the open, flat expanse of a South Dakota highway on the back of a Harley to make a person feel a certain kind of bond. All I’d have to do was let go. I could tip off the back of the bike and end up a splatter--not unlike the jumper/drop victim from the clock tower. I squeezed Mac’s waist tighter as the ground zipped under my feet at insane speeds.
But, thanks to this odd sort of trust I suddenly felt, I finally asked Mac, “How did you meet Devon?”
Mac glanced back at me, his ruby-red hair whipping in the wind. It occurred to me that he must have preternatural hearing to be able to understand me through the helmet and over the sound of the engine, because he answered, “I bit him.”
I’d thought so. They’d seemed close at breakfast, and then Mac’s comment about how Devon usually sat in the seat I currently occupied—well, it just made sense, didn’t it? “Was he already a vampire?”
There was a little chuckle that I felt ripple through the taut muscles of Mac’s stomach. “Yeah. I wasn’t the easy meal he was hoping for, I guess.”
It seemed to be a perennial problem for Devon. He’d made the same mistake when he’d bitten Spenser, too.
We passed another motorcycle and Mac gave the driver a little wave of acknowledgment.
Seeing the gesture pass between the two bikers made me think about what Mac had implied about his life, how the bite he’d received had caused him to have to leave home and follow the pack, perpetually on the road.
“How come Devon doesn’t travel with you?"
“Food chain issues,” Mac said, signaling his turn off the highway. We exited onto the main drag and headed toward Pierre and my basement office at City Hall’s morgue. “Devon’s not like us. He’s not human. He needs to eat stuff that we don’t. Plus, the point of the pack is protection. A vampire doesn’t need protecting from anyone.”
Mac seemed to be able to read my thoughts. He snarled a bit as he said, “Or so we thought. Turned out, Devon needed protection from himself, the idjit. And he’s my responsibility. Jesus.”
I could hear the mix of exasperation and self-recrimination in Mac’s voice, and all I could do was nod. I felt the same way about Devon. I tended to think Devon got what he deserved: karma. Even so, I felt sorry for the guy.
Glancing back at me again, Mac gave me a little wan smile. “Thanks for taking care of him for me.”
Now it was my turn to chuckle darkly. “I blinded him.”
“I’m sure he deserved it,” Mac said, returning it attention to the road. “It was still nice what you did. Checking in, like that.”
“He didn’t do anything. He was just in the way. I can’t really control my magic.”
Mac was silent for a long time. Finally he muttered, “Witches need packs.”
I couldn’t’ve agreed more. I was told that the familiar was supposed to take the place of a wolf pack, acting as a mentor and protector. I should have had that in Valentine, but thanks to the masking spell/smell of my demon stepmother, he’d been delayed coming to me.
But, that wasn’t the only problem.
Mac articulated it perfectly when he added, “Too bad most human beings are dicks.”
Hardly anyone looked askance when I stepped off the back of a Harley in front of City Hall. A few of the clerical workers who were having their lunch on the capitol steps gave me a brief, uninterested glance. I guess it was getting around that I hung with an unusual crowd.
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Alex Connor thought that being the South Dakota Hughes County Coroner was going to be a boring cushy job. She didn't count on the fact that her first case would leave her with a magical, living tattoo and awaken her latent magical powers. Now she'...