I picked up the phone, “Liam, back to me already.”
The werewolf on the other side was not Liam, “Liam’s a little busy running an errand for me. I’ll meet you where you usually meet him at.” Dom didn’t even wait for me to acknowledge the message before he hung up. Something had him agitated and I was guess it had to do with my message and why he’d taken Liam’s phone to call me. This wasn’t boding well.
But before I got up from my table I typed one sentence that was the ultimate truth. ‘I am in love with Alex Kennedy.’
I closed down the app and headed for Hell’s Kitchen.
When I arrived carrying a stuffed toy and a blanket with two bags the men standing behind Dom’s booth seat at the end of the row started laughing. I set Drake’s things down and slide them into the booth before me setting the blanket and Snoopy on the table near the window. I didn’t bother giving his men a glare. I didn’t care what they thought.
Dom looked at the stuffed toy and then back at me. “What kid you saving now?”
I gave him a wry grin. “A dragon and her mate I brought in for bank robbing have a son. I promised to take care of him.”
“Like you take care of Abby and Liam.” He nodded and snapped his fingers and his minions stopped laughing abruptly with muttered apologies.
“I don’t think you know about Val, so I wanted to be the one to tell you, he’s been ferrying information between dragons of The Last Phoenix.”
“How do you know that?” Dom asked in his burly voice.
“I found Val’s number in her phone.”
“He could have been hooking up with her.” Dom smirked.
“No, she was mated. Dragon’s mate for life.”
“So do wolves.”
“Which is why you aren’t married.” I grinned at him.
He frowned. “You know nothing.”
“I know that the love your life was killed by Venatori. They say it was collateral damage. They didn’t know anyone was left in the building when they burnt it to the ground.”
“You believe them?” Dom asked.
I shook my head. “No. I don’t believe they checked at all. I believe that they thought it was empty while your queen slept. I do believe it was an accident, but it’s not an excuse.”
“That’s one thing I can always count on with you, Nox Sétanta. The absolute fucking truth, even if it makes me want to rip your fucking head off.” Dom smiled at me. “But I won’t. Not even if you had said you believed them. They are your people. All you know. All you love.”
“Funny thing, there is very little I love about the Ventori or anyone in the Venatori. I can count the number on my fingers and toes of those whom I care about. Though the number is growing as my nieces and nephews are born. My life is out here.” I didn’t want to say it to Dom, but I’d give up the Venatori life if Alex asked me to. I don’t know what the fuck I’d do. And I know I’d go fucking crazy, but I’d do it. There was nothing keeping me there.
Dom chuckled. “I know that look.”
“I’d rather not talk about it.” I returned back to our topic at hand, “I am sorry the Venatori caused you sorrow. You know I would have done all that I could have.” I sighed. “The Venatori don’t know Val is involved yet, and I don’t intend to tell them if he gives me all the people he’s been ferrying information from. My Dragon will take the fall, no need to put one your wolves in harm’s way.”
“You couldn’t save her?”
I shook my head. “She was caught on camera breathing fire. But I have reason to believe this was bigger than just a bank robbery gone awry. You know they don’t care why, but I do. She was dead either way. They have another team on it. I was brought in because I survived Dragon’s fire, and I know the City. They are preparing her trial. I saved her son. It was all I could do for her.”
Dom nodded. “Thank you for looking out for even a scumbag like Val. He’s missed the last few hunts. Now we know why. Guilt or too busy to come with us, either way. And he’s not picking up his phone.”
“So call him, the other way.” I said. “If he doesn’t come willingly I will have to put in an order so I can hunt him down. And if I do that in connection with the bank robbery they will kill him too. I know you don’t like to pull the Alpha card, but I need him here. And you know I don’t hunt without a mission.”
One of the minions behind Dom snickered, “Except Il Cane.”
I smirked, “Except Il Cane, but that’s about the challenge of it all.”
Dom took a deep breath and nodded. I felt his power rise, it felt like a cold chill but so warm and welcoming. The need to obey was strong but he wasn’t calling me. He was calling Val to him. The men behind him bowed the heads as the power was sent out into the world. Dom frowned, “He’s resisting me.” He reached the edge of the table and his hand pressed mine to the table and I felt a surge of energy through me. Dom’s eyes were on mine instantly and he pulled harder and the men behind him went to a knee. Their hands on a shoulder of the Alpha.
And just like that the power fled and Dominic Olmos was staring at me like I was something he’d never seen before. “Sheridan has always said you were an Alpha in your own right. Says that you don’t know your potential. Fuck, Nox, what was that?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know. I didn’t feel anything else after you touched me, not even the call of your power.”
“You shouldn’t feel my power Nox. You’re Feras. You should be blind to it. Like I should be blind to your’s.”
“But you aren’t. But I’m also the first Venatori you’ve stood next to long enough not to throw excessive power around with to get a reaction.”
Dom smirked. “Touché. Val is on his way. Why don’t you have something to eat, on me.”
“I just ate, but I’ll take a coffee.”
Dom raised his hand and the waitress I didn’t know came over and asked, “What can I do for you honey?”
Dom pointed at me and I smiled at her, “Well, Duckling, I’d like a black coffee.”
Dom added, “He’ll also take whatever his usual is here to go.”
She looked at him confused which made me laugh, “I don’t usually come here now on this day, Chrissy knows my regular. Don’t think she does. Is Jay on?”
She nodded. “You betcha, don’t leave this place while it’s open.”
“Tell Jay Nox wants his regular and he’ll take care of it for you.” I said.
She frowned, “You don’t want to repeat it?”
Dom interrupted, “Darling, he’s a regular, you should know it. You know mine and I come her even less than he does.”
She blushed. “That’s different.”
I laughed, “She likes you Dom. Got a crush on the big bald latino. I can’t say as I blame her.”
Dom let out a loud guffaw. “Darling, just go tell Jay and bring us his coffee. And make it snappy.” Dom was bristling with power but she was human. Though she did what she was told, and scurried off to the kitchen to talk to Jay.
“You know she can’t feel the power right?”
Dom laughed, “It was unintentional, I was tired of her annoyances.”
I smiled. “Short of temper.”
Dom nodded, “It’s part of my charm.”
“It is.” My coffee arrived and the waitress looked at me, “You’re savory pastry will be ready in a few minutes.”
I sipped my coffee and we waited. Small talk wasn’t much of our thing even when we were in debrief mode.
I drained my coffee just as Val walked in. I didn’t see him but I smelled the musty smell of wolf which Val was giving off, he was suitably cowed. I wondered how close to changing he’d come. Weak therians didn’t suffer well when they fought their Alpha’s call. I felt Dom’s power rage as he saw Val walking towards us.
Normally I’d have moved over but I didn’t have room to with Drake’s bags in the seat. And Dom didn’t move over. And Val was on his knee before he spoke, “I’m here Alpha.”
“Only took ten phone calls and a calling for you to come.” Dom said.
“I’m sorry.” Val pleaded, “It won’t happen again.”
“Nox tells me you are working with Dragons?”
Val paled, “No… sir, it’s… ” Val let out a sigh, “Yes, sir.” I could feel Dom’s power prickling at me, I couldn’t imagine what it felt like to the pack. The men behind Dom were standing with their backs straight and it looked like a challenge just to be doing that.
I put my hand on Dom’s across the table which drew his stern gaze to me. I nodded to the men behind him and he looked at them and there was a slight coloring of his face but it was gone just as fast as it was there making me doubt if I’d actually seen it. But the power lessened and Val relaxed as did Dom’s men behind him, one of them even gave an audible sigh of relief which earned him a glare from Dom.
“I want the names, contact information whatever you have of all The Dragon’s people you’ve been ferrying messages between.” I said to Val.
He looked up defiantly at me. The look was almost one of hatred, I’d ratted on him, and that was almost as good as killing him in his eyes. I sighed. “Look Val, either you give me the information freely, or I file a hunt order so I can get the information from you a little more violently. And since it’s in connection with a violation of the Clandestine Providence, you won’t survive the order.”
“You would threaten me in front of my Alpha?” Val sneered.
“It’s not a threat, Val. It’s the truth, a fact. I already told Dom the deal. He called you to me to spare your life, not that it’s worth it, but I don’t want to see you dead if I can help it. So give me the information.”
“I can’t. He’ll kill me.” He said.
“And I won’t?” I asked.
Val looked at Dom in fear. Dom shrugged. “You know why Il Cane is afraid of him?”
Val looked at me and frowned, “Yes. The true death.”
Dom chuckled, “It’s means Final Death, but that’s not why she fears him. That’s what she calls him, because she knows if she were to go rogue she would trust that he’d do the deed.”
Val looked at me and sneered, “He doesn’t have it in him.”
Dom backed up in his chair with his hands up and looked at me. “Do you what you have to.”
I only smirked. “I don’t have to do anything. I’ll just make a call, get that order of execution drawn up and then I’ll just give you to the two guys I’m working with. Give me a second.” I pulled my phone out of my pocket and I started scrolling through my contacts looking for Dae’lin’s number. I knew I the number I didn’t need to use the contact. But it was for the show. I found it, dramatically hit the call button and then put it on speaker.
It only took one ring before Dae’lin answered, “What Nox?”
“Nice to hear from you too Dae’lin. But there is no time for pleasantries, I have some news about the dragon case I’m working with legal. I think she was in league with someone and that it was a bigger job than we think it was.” It was all the truth.
Van hung up on her, “Fine. I’ll tell you.”
I snickered and redialed Dae’lin, “Sorry, it’s a bit late for that.”
Dae’lin answered, “Nox what the hell!”
“I’m sorry, something interrupted us. I’ve got to take care of it, I’ll see you when I get back and fill you in.”
“You are so annoying.”
“I know but you love me.” I grinned, “See ya Duckling.” I said then hung up as Dae’lin was calling out my name angrily at the endearment.
“So Val. Names and numbers and I’ll omit your involvement, and let Dom deal with your unsavory dealings with Dragons.”
He grabbed a napkin and Dom handed him a pen and his two men took Val to another table for him to write down all the names.
“You have such a way with words.” Dom said then he sipped at his water.
“Just the truth.” I said
“You are one scarry mother fucker, Nox. I don’t know why your people look down on you. I swear you are the only thing that keeps peace in the city. Il Cane, her son, the council members, they all kept a shallow peace until you came.”
I shrugged. “I don’t think it’s me.”
Dom laughed, “You wouldn’t. But I do. 5 years and you’ve got me protecting vampires.”
“Chris shouldn’t need protecting from his own kind. Most vampire resent what I did for him.”
“Only because they know if they go rogue you’ll kill them. New vamps are the only ones that cause problems here. Same as us. You get that. You give us a chance, they’ll understand eventually. They have long lives and they can get outta Dodge if they don’t like it.”
“And the threat of Il Cane will keep them in line.”
Dom laughed, “Or the Prince. He’s more likely to come after someone for messing with you.”
I grinned. Ant was very much like a body guards and had threatened a few vampires who thought they could manipulate me with ease. I didn’t know why we’d struck up a bond, but we had. It was a lot more than just a friendship.
Val’s chair scraped against the floor as he moved it back. He cowered as he moved towards us the napkin held out in his hand like he was offering me tribute. I took it and saw a bunch of numbers written down on it. There were no addresses. “This is all I have. No names, no addresses. We always meet someplace different.”
“Is the guy who keeps giving you the job listed here?” I asked.
Val shook his head, “No. He always left a dead drop and paper notes that he told me to burn after I’d done each job.”
“Where’s the deaddrop?” I asked.
Val held out his hand and in askance and I handed him the napkin. He quickly jotted down an address. I asked, “How do you know to pick up?”
Val sighed, “I check everyday.”.
“Keeping doing that.”.
Val called. “But…”
“Keep doing it Val or he’ll suspect you. You don’t want that do you?” He shook his head. “I need you to act normal but if you get another job you need to tell Dom. And he’ll tell me.” I didn’t say or Liam will, which was more likely. Dom rarely came himself. Today was an exception, mostly because I’d asked for him.
Dom grabbed Val by the ear. “Anything else to tell him?”
Val shook his head, “No Alpha.”.
“Good, let’s go.”. He said as he tugged the cowering wolf by his ear towards the door. I watched as Dom released his ear and the lesser wolf fell in behind and Dom’s two goons followed them. It was a strange wolf parade.
Now I had more leads to follow.