Written in Red Page 29

Suicide by Wolf. She’d heard the phrase plenty of times. Now she understood what it meant. But if she didn’t push Simon now, she’d never get another shot at Meg.

She debated for a moment, then decided whiskey breath would suit this little drama. After all, no human in the bookstore would expect someone to start a confrontation with a Wolf unless that person was a little drunk. And she thought Asia Crane, SI, would be the kind of investigator who would have a checkered past and the need to have a daytime drink once in a while.

She needed to write these ideas down for the day when she met with Bigwig to discuss her TV show.

She got out of her car and strode to Howling Good Reads. As soon as she walked into the store, she balled her hands into fists and shouted, “Simon Wolfgard! You get your butt over here! I have words to say to you!”

Several people dropped books. Then an awful silence filled the bookstore when Simon appeared. Asia hoped the lenses of his glasses were picking up some kind of light that made his eyes look glowing—and red.

Before he got too close, she launched her verbal attack. “Simon Wolfgard, you are meaner than a rabid skunk!”

“You were where you didn’t belong!” he roared.

“Well, pardon me for trying to be friendly! I just dropped by to introduce myself and give your new employee a bit of a welcome. I didn’t realize she was forbidden to have a simple conversation with another human. It’s plain as plain that poor girl has some challenges.” Asia tapped her temple. It didn’t matter if Simon understood the gesture; all the humans in the store would recognize it and assume he had hired a feeb. “And then when someone takes an interest in her, all you do is make threats. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if she slips away some night and doesn’t come back because of the way you treated her. Do you know what you are, Simon?”

“No,” he growled. “What am I?”

“You’re nothing but a bully with fangs! A human would have to be desperate to work for someone like you!”

“You were willing to work for me—and do more.”

Her face heated, but she lifted her chin. “That was before I realized you Others mimic humans to get what you want, but you don’t know anything about what’s inside a human.”

Simon bared his teeth. “We know what’s inside a human. Tasty bits. Especially the heart and liver.”

Her knees weakened and her heart pounded. Her voice quavered, but she shifted to quiet and dignified when she said, “I have nothing more to say to you.”

She walked out of the store. When she reached the parking lot, she bolted to her car, braced a hand on the hood, and threw up.

Fear and whiskey aren’t a good mix, she thought as she drove to her apartment. She would take a hot shower, put on some comfy clothes, and indulge herself by watching her favorite movies for the rest of the day.

In a couple of days, she’d go back to Howling Good Reads and see if she had a shot at spending time with the new Liaison.

At least she accomplished one thing. If Meg Corbyn disappeared one night, for whatever reason, everyone would figure she was running away from Simon Wolfgard and no one would make much effort to find her.

* * *

Meg sniffled and sorted mail. She didn’t have enough money left to run again, so she had to hang on to this job long enough to get paid.

She glanced up when the door to the back room opened but didn’t say anything until Tess stood on the other side of the table.

“Mr. Wolfgard left his coffee.” She glanced at Tess, then focused on the mail. She remembered seeing green in Tess’s hair yesterday, but not the red. Was changing hair color some kind of hobby? And if it was, why was Simon snapping about her hair?

Tess pursed her lips as she studied the insulated, covered mug. “Actually, he brought that for you.”

Startled, Meg looked up.

Tess nodded. Then she said gently, “What happened, Meg? You’ve been crying, Simon’s riled up, and the Crows just told me that Asia bolted out of here like the whole pack was on her heels.”

“I was starting to sort the mail when she came in and introduced herself. She said Mr. Wolfgard had promised she could have this job, but he hired me instead. So she was curious about what I did besides sign for packages.”

“Did you tell her?”

“I said I sorted the mail for the Courtyard.”

“Did you tell her anything about who is in the Courtyard? Mention any names?”

Meg shook her head. “I guess it’s natural for people to be curious about this place, but offering to help me sort the mail seemed too forward. But some people are like that,” she added defensively. “Outgoing and chatty. Harry from Everywhere Delivery is chatty too, but Jester didn’t say talking to Harry was wrong, and I did tell Asia I needed to get back to work. She shouldn’t have sat on the counter or swung her legs over, but people do that when they want to chat. They sit on a piece of furniture and swing their legs.”

Now that she wasn’t as scared, Meg started to get mad. “Then Mr. Wolfgard showed up and threatened to bite Asia’s leg. So she ran off, and she’ll probably never come back.”

“Do you want her to come back?” Tess asked.

“I have questions,” Meg countered. “Things I can’t ask him.”

Tess raised her eyebrows. “He’s a Mr. Wolfgard and a him?” She sighed. “What kind of questions?”

“I didn’t see a place in the Market Square to wash clothes. Am I supposed to wash them in the bathroom sink or . . .” Going to a laundry beyond the Courtyard wasn’t something she wanted to consider.

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