Home > Soul Mate(6)

Soul Mate(6)
Catherine Bybee

On occasion, Nick would join Ron and his wife Nancy for dinner and special occasions. Nick considered him a friend more than a colleague.

“I believe all the pertinent information is there, Ron. If something doesn"t meet with your approval...”

Ron brought his hands in the air and shook his head. “I never said I didn"t approve.”

“Then what is this about?” Now Nick was confused. Ron"s body language didn"t give the impression he was angry. In fact, if Nick didn"t know better, he would swear there was a grin hiding behind his stiff exterior.

“This Pierce woman, she"s the same person you pulled files on the other day, right?”

“Yeah.”

Ron rubbed his chin, as if in debate with himself. “She"s a beautiful woman.”

It wasn"t a question.

Nick narrowed his eyes at his boss. “You know her?”

“I wouldn"t say that.”

“Exactly what would you say?” And why the hell are you being evasive?

Instead of answering his question Ron asked, “Are you involved with her?”

“I don"t see how that is any of your business.”

Now Ron did smile. “Beautiful, not like my Nancy mind you, but stunning in her own way. You can"t even tell she"d been attacked by wolves when she was eighteen.”

“Wolves? The report said dogs.”

“Humm.” Ron nodded his head, unaffected by the inconsistency of his statement. “Wasn"t there a report of a wolf helping the child escape her kidnapper?”

Ron was leading him somewhere, without saying where.

“I put the child"s statement in the file.”

“Yes, you did.” Ron stood to leave. When he reached the door, he turned around and glanced to the ceiling. “I wonder how far a wolf can smell or hear their prey?”

“I"m not sure, why do you ask?” Damn it, what are you getting at? Nick knew better than to come right out and ask. Like he told Kari, the FBI didn"t acknowledge privacy, even within their very own walls.

“I wonder if there"s anything in our files. Let me know if you find the answer.”

“I will.”

Smiling, Ron walked out of the room.

Nick watched him leave, his cryptic words echoed in his mind.

Not wasting time, he clicked into the department classified files and opened a second monitor to the internet. Nick had a sneaking suspicion that the facts of the Pierce murders lay in the details.

After typing in wolves, dogs and murders along with Kari"s name and that of her parents, he cross-referenced to unsolved cases. Ron wouldn"t have led him to something wrapped up tight.

A warning screen popped up saying it would take over an hour for the files to pull out of archives. They dated back to the borough"s inception.

While waiting, Nick used the information superhighway to learn more about the woman who kept him up at night.

Once the department files finished downloading, Nick clicked into the one that flashed classified. It wasn"t password protected, which surprised him. After Ron"s hints, he guessed his boss was the reason for the ease in obtaining access.

The screen flickered, and in slow motion an image emerged that had Nick"s jaw hitting the floor. “Son of a bitch.”

At one in the morning, Nick picked up the phone and woke Ron Patterson from his comfortable sleep.

The bastard deserved it.

“Yeah?” Ron"s sleep-filled voice answered the phone.

“It"s Murdock. I"ve been called away on a family emergency.”

“Really?” A small clicking noise came over the wire. Almost like it was bugged. “I"m sorry to hear that.”

Damn the man, he knew exactly what he faced, but didn"t give a clue.

“When can we expect you back?”

“I"m not sure. I"ll keep you posted.”

Ron cleared his throat. “California"s nice this time of year. Take some of your vacation time if you need to.”

Sneaky bastard. Ron knew he didn"t have family in California.

“I"ll call when I"m back in town.”

“You do that.”

Nick ended the call and picked up the phone again.

Kari slammed the file cabinet closed and cursed when she noticed a broken nail.

“Damn,” she mumbled bringing her finger up to her mouth and sucking on the sensitive exposed skin.

She"d put the Carter file in archives, having given the man what he needed.

He in turn gave her a hefty check for her efforts.

It beat the alimony he would have shelled out if Kari hadn"t found his wife in bed with another man, a boy toy Mr. Carter"s money supported without his knowledge.

Usually, Kari would be satisfied with a case coming to a close, but lately she found little joy in her work.

Dee found her more times than not deep in thought and distracted. Nick"s constant phone calls only added questions from her little sister, questions Kari didn"t want to answer.

She suspected that Dee realized her big sister"s heart pined for the man behind the voice. But sisterly love kept her from forcing the issue, for which Kari was eternally grateful. Kari would have caved and blubbered like a lovesick girl if Dee had pressed. That behavior wasn"t something she did very often.

Maybe she should take some time off, she mused. Even now, she could smell him as if he were in the other room.

Kari sighed and walked out of the small stockroom and straight into an armload of roses.

In painful slow motion, Kari"s eyes traveled from the beautiful variegated roses up and onto his thrust out chest until finally her eyes met and locked with his.

“I didn"t think I"d be able to pull that off.” Nick"s sexy voice was playful and light. “With that sixth sense thing you have going, I figured you"d know when I hit the state.”

Her heartbeat thudded in her chest like a hammer. Butterflies flapped their wings in her stomach, but she tried to push the pleasure aside. He shouldn"t be here. “What are you doing here, Nick?”

“I had to see you again. I missed you so much.”

“You shouldn"t...”

Placing a finger on the tip of her lips kept her from talking. “You"re like a drug and I"m in need of a hit,” he whispered close to her ear.

“Okay, big sister,” Dee laughed from her desk as she stood and grabbed her purse. “This is where I leave. Nice meeting you, Nick.”

“A pleasure meeting you, too.”

Kari sent Dee a killer look of abandonment, which was met with another laugh and a sashaying butt as she marched out the door. “Traitor.”

Once the door closed, Nick picked up her hand and made her take the roses.

“Do you like the flowers?”

“They"re beautiful.”

“With a sniffer as good as yours, I needed all the help I could get. Besides, my mom always says flowers make women smile even when they don"t want to.”

Kari embarrassed herself when her lips slid into a grin. “Oh, Nick. What are you doing? It was better the other way.” Painful, but better.

“You mean the sleepless nights and snapping at my colleagues way? I beg to differ.” He shifted to the door and locked it after turning the sign to „closed".

“What are you doing?”

“I don"t want to be interrupted.”

“Please, Nick.”

“You know I almost called my boss a bastard last night when I woke him up after midnight.”

Needing to sit, Kari leaned against her desk for support. The sight of him again had her questioning her resolve. Looking like he"s slept on a plane, with wrinkled clothing and a jaw that hadn"t seen a razor in at least twenty-four hours, Kari wondered if he even bothered to pack a change of clothing before rushing to California. “Aren"t you curious as to why I wanted to call my boss a bastard?”

Snapping out of her deep thoughts she asked, “Is he?”

“No, not really.”

“Okay, why did you want to call him nasty names?”

Nick walked up and traced a hand down her face. She leaned in, unable to stop herself. He smelled so damn good.

“Because he knew all about you before I did. It sucks when the boyfriend is the last to know.”

“Boyfriend? Nick, I already told you…“

“I have to be your boyfriend before we get married.”

She jumped away as if burned. “What? Nick I can"t get married.”

His cocky grin sparkled all the way to his eyes.

“Wait a minute. What do you mean when you say your boss knows all about me? The FBI is spying on me?” Oh, god. What does he know?

Her mouth went bone dry while blood rushed to every nerve ending in her body. When the hair on the back of her neck stood on end, it reminded her of when she was on the hunt in wolf form. This is bad. Really, really bad.

“See, you"re too smart.”

“What is it, Murdock? What do the Fed"s know about me?”

He rocked back and folded his arms across his chest. “You know-the whole furry full moon thing.”

The blood in her head dropped to her feet, she stumbled off the side of the desk and found her chair before she fell. “I don"t know what you"re talking about.”

How, how did he find out?

“Once I put aside the fact that werewolves were real, everything fell into place.” He rattled on like he talked about his favorite kind of pizza. He"d uncovered her deepest, darkest secret and acted like it was nothing.

“Werewolves?” Her voice was hardly a whisper.

“It"s the reason you pulled away, isn"t it?” He came around to her chair and rested his hands on her knees. “I wonder if anyone in your life knows the truth.

Does Dee?”

Everything cracked her deception and lies all stacked up against her came crumbling down like a house of cards.

“No, she doesn"t.” Tears welled, threatened to spill.

“Why not?”

“She wouldn"t understand. No one would understand.”

“Really? Because I do.” Nick"s thumb brushed away the moisture from her cheeks, his touch caring and tender, and not at all what she expected. “You must have been terrified the first time.”

Like flood gates opening the tears fell in sheets. She hated the female weakness, but years of loneliness and solitude with her secret weighed heavy on her heart. Nick"s eyes caught hers in concern.

“I thought I was dying the first night I changed. I thought I"d survived the attack only to die of a seizure.”

“But you weren"t dying. In fact, you were growing.”

“Yes, into an animal. Just like the ones who killed my parents.” When he didn"t say anything, she went on. “The first night, once I realized what happened, I wandered the streets, hid in alleys. When I screamed, the sound came out in a howl. I didn"t know if I would change back, Nick.” She pulled in a shaky breath.

“But you did?”

“Yes, I did. Over the years I learned to use what those as**oles did to me. I could hear things, even on nights the moon wasn"t full. I could smell things like fear. Do you know what fear smells like, Nick?”

“No.”

“Putrid. Rancid garbage smells better than fear. I learned to use my affliction for good. But sometimes, it feels purely evil.”

Nick gazed at her with understanding eyes. “I"ve had to use my gun with lethal force six times in my career. Every time I feel that evil you"re describing.

Your weapon is different, that"s all.”

She let out a sob of relief. He gathered her in his arms and held her while she cried out her years of loneliness and frustration.

When she finally grabbed hold of her emotions, his cotton shirt was soaked and streaked with mascara.

She brushed her hand over the damage she inflicted. “I"m sorry.”

“It won"t be the last time you cry on my shoulder.”

“Nick, about us...“

He kissed her before she continued. First to keep her quiet she knew, but then her body started to warm. She felt his heart beating in time with hers.

He moved his lips to her neck. “Did you know that werewolves mate for life?”

“What?”

“The files over at the borough are very informative. Classified, but informative.” He continued his trail of fire.

“Mate for life,” she murmured with pleasure.

“Some files say it"s more of a soul mate kind of thing.”

“How do you know that means us?”

He slowly undid the first button of her blouse. “I smell you everywhere. My nights are interrupted with images of you, us, na*ed and laughing. You are my air, Kari. If that doesn"t sound like soul mate then I don"t know what would. Once you turn me like you, I"ll make love to you every night of the month to prove it.”

“Nick, you don"t mean that.” She drew back.

“Yes, I do.” He leaned in and kissed the worry from her face. “I love you, Kari.

If you give me half a shot, I"ll prove it every day.”

Her heart swelled with joy. And for the first time in her life she looked forward to the next full moon. “I love you too, Nick. I didn"t want to, but I couldn"t stop myself.”

“Does that mean you"ll marry me?”

“You won"t mind having a wife who needs to shave her whole body?” she laughed.

“We can move to Sweden where the women don"t shave.”

“I think that"s Switzerland.”

He moved in to kiss her again. “Does that mean yes?”

Placing both hands on the sides of his face, she stared deep into his beautiful laughing eyes. “Make me your wife, and I"ll make you my mate.”

His lips crushed to hers and sealed her answer with a kiss. “We make a great team.”

“Forever.”

The End

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