Written in Red Page 91

Sam howled.

Someone pounded on her front door.

Meg hesitated, rememories of bad things happening when someone answered a door flashing through her mind. Then, reminding herself that she was safe in the Green Complex, she hurried to the door. It was probably Vlad checking to make sure she and Sam had gotten home all right. Or maybe Henry had come home in the past few minutes and wanted to let her know he was close by.

But when she opened the door, Elliot Wolfgard stepped inside far enough to prevent her from closing the door. The hatred in his eyes froze her—more so when Sam bounded in from the kitchen, trailing the leash because she hadn’t had time to remove the harness.

“Sam,” he said, still looking at Meg. “Come with me.”

Sam whined and looked at her.

“Sam,” Elliot snarled.

“It’s all right,” Meg told the pup. “Simon will be home soon.”

Elliot scooped up Sam. “Once I get him settled, I’ll be back. I have some things to say to you.”

As soon as Elliot went down the stairs, Meg closed the door and hurried to the phone.

“Tess?” she said as soon as the other woman answered the phone.

“Meg? Is something wrong?”

“Elliot Wolfgard was just here. He took Sam back to Simon’s place. Was it all right to let Sam go with him?”

A pause. “In human terms, Elliot is Sam’s grandfather, so there’s no reason why the pup can’t go with him.”

Then why didn’t Simon ask Elliot to watch Sam? “All right. Thanks. Have to go. Someone is at the door.”

“Call me when your visitor leaves.”

She hung up without promising to call and hurried back to the door.

Elliot stepped inside, leaving her to shiver because, once again, he wasn’t far enough inside for her to close the door.

“The enforcer may be willing to protect you, but the rest of the Wolves will never forgive what you’ve done,” he snarled. “As far as I’m concerned, you’re barely useful meat, and I am going to do everything I can to have you running before the pack as prey for what you did to Sam.”

“I haven’t done anything to Sam!”

He slapped her face.

“Enjoy your evening, meat. You won’t live to see many more of them.”

He went down the stairs, leaving her shaking. A few moments later, she heard Simon’s front door slam.

She was going to die in the Courtyard. She’d known that since the first time she’d set eyes on Simon Wolfgard.

She swallowed convulsively, but her mouth kept filling with saliva. She barely made it to the toilet before she threw up.

* * *

Vlad flowed over the snow toward the Green Complex, ready to spend a quiet evening at home. Blair was on his way to pick up Simon and the two guards who had gone with him, Nathan Wolfgard and Marie Hawkgard. If the weather forecast was right about Lakeside getting another foot of snow this evening, the drive home would be slow going.

After hearing that report, he had sent Heather home, closed Howling Good Reads, and locked up the social center. Tess had already closed A Little Bite, and Run & Thump, along with the rest of the Courtyard businesses, had closed an hour after that. But a bar across the street from the Courtyard was still doing a brisk business. He had fed sufficiently on two delightful girls who claimed they had missed their bus and were in the bar drinking while they waited for the next one. He was suspicious about their reason for being in the bar, but he had no doubt they’d been drinking, because he was a little drunk from the alcohol in their blood.

If the weather had been milder, he would have let the girls find their own way to the bus stop, since it was within sight of the bar. By itself, the amount of blood he’d taken from each of them wouldn’t do more than make them tired. But the police officer, Lieutenant Montgomery, paid attention to the Courtyard now, and Vlad didn’t think Simon would appreciate questions about two girls falling into a drunken sleep and dying in a snowdrift so close to where the Sanguinati lived—especially when there was no reason for the girls to die. So he flagged down a cab and paid the driver to take the girls back to their residence at the nearby tech college.

He wasn’t sure he liked thinking of humans as something other than useful prey or concerning himself with their welfare once he was done with them, but with humans stirred up about whatever had happened in the western part of Thaisia, being considerate of the prey here was just healthy self-interest.

As he flowed into the Green Complex and headed for his apartment, he became aware of sounds coming from Simon’s apartment. Sam was howling, an unhappy sound. Probably meant that Meg wanted some time to herself or wasn’t interested in taking any kind of walk with the temperature dropping and the snow falling so heavily.

Passing his own door, Vlad shifted into human form and walked over to the stairs leading to Meg’s apartment. Since the cold and snow didn’t bother him, he would offer to take the pup for a walk. That would at least give them all a bit of quiet.

Her front door stood open.

Shifting back to smoke, he flowed up the stairs and into her apartment. No sign of intruders. No sign of struggle. He flowed into the kitchen and found nothing. Nothing in her bedroom.

Shifting back to human form, he hesitated outside the bathroom door.

“Meg?” he called softly. “Meg? Are you in there?”

“I— Yes, I’m here.”

Ignoring how many ways he might upset a human female by entering a bathroom uninvited, he pushed open the door, then rushed over to her. The room smelled of vomit, which he found repulsive, but not of blood. No injuries then, just illness.

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