Marcus' words to Desiree proved Harry's vocal command for control was slipping. That and Desiree was now back in her werewolf furred shape despite the commands and drugs. Our intentions of negotiating for safe passage from this corner of Kentucky were slipping further away the longer we stayed. I didn't think the other werewolf pack that had just slunk away would simply go home and not return. Nope, I figured a full out territorial war was quickly being fueled by our presence.
"Natasha, why don't you and Renee check Randy Zova for a cell phone?" Harry made his request sound like a suggestion. We all knew better.
Randy looked disgusted by the idea of two females -- much less vampires -- even coming near him not to mention touching his body. Yeah, he didn't get out with ladies from the looks of things. Hell, his 'dates' were more than likely only those he could maim and trap. Randy was one sick werewolf who abused his strengths and power because he liked to watch his victims squirm. He obviously had never been told not to play with his food.
I wasn't any happier at the idea of putting my hands on him either and thankfully didn't have to, as Harry had correctly figured out what would be Randy's reaction.
Randy yanked out a cell phone from his right front pocket and thrust it to Renee nastily snapping, "Here."
I thought how when the two sets of competing Kentucky werewolves had approached us at Renee's old home they all had been in their fur shapes except Randy. Once Carlos told us none of the two packs of werewolves were high enough up to truly negotiate anything, Harry had quickly gathered that the only human approaching us must have had a way to contact his alpha werewolf -- hence the cell phone requested. Harry smiled as Renee held Randy's cell to him with her left hand, her right still holding one of her Civil War swords as did mine. The South may have lost the War but the swords Renee had given Harry and me were more than able to making a few fatal corrections. Randy did seem to have enough self-preservation to figure out that a vampire with steel blades could decapitate him quickly.
Randy growled, "Why do you need my cell phone?" Proving once again he wasn't overly burdened with intellect as far as I was concerned.
Harry smiled with a hint of fangs -- reminding Randy who really was the top predator in the yard -- said, "To call your boss, naturally. I wouldn't want him thinking you were overstepping your authority by not following orders."
It was obvious to me then that Harry had picked up on something from Randy that wasn't above board. The carefully plucked eyebrows alone struck me as weird enough, but there definitely was an undercurrent running through Randy's posturing. But it wasn't the grooming issue from Harry's slight smile.
Carlos said, "The alpha's number should be in the contacts as the first ICE number. Even a pup like Randy should obey the pack's rules." There was a hint of a question to Carlos' comment. I wondered what the story was behind the tensions between them. Marcus could barely control his ill humor with Randy, and Randy had threatened the other pack with dismemberment, so I could see the problems. Marcus was a lieutenant while Randy seemed to be lower in the hierarchy of weres. I really should have read up on the werewolves but there wasn't much I could do now about my lack of research. Simon, my Master, would have my neck if he knew how deficient my education truly was.
Renee said softly to me, "What's an ICE number?"
I whispered back, "In Case of Emergency phone numbers. They are useful in accidents for contacting family members or in the case of werewolves overstepping their boundaries letting their pack know where to pick up the corpse."
A light growl came from Randy but he smartly kept his mouth shut.
Harry flipped open the phone and began to toggle through the contacts.
"No ICE numbers listed but there is one contact listed as the 'King of the Pricks' that strikes me as the likeliest of numbers." Harry said dryly.
Randy paled as all the other pack werewolves turned to him snarling and growling. Yes, Randy had quite the way with words and obviously there weren't deep pack bonds of friendship between him and his furred companions. He stepped slightly closer to our group, giving ground, which I didn't think was one of the best choices for a werewolf, but what did I know since I was a vampire?
"That was a joke," he fumbled for a toehold out of the pit he'd suddenly found himself dropped into by his own arrogance.
"Sure," Marcus was delighting in the werewolf's discomfort. We all could smell the fear rolling off him and all us could hear the lie in his words. Werewolves and vampires had heightened senses, but I think even a human would have noticed Randy's stench of fear.
Harry held the phone to his ear after he dialed the contact. I knew we all could hear the werewolf answering given our hearing. Something like private phone conversations were impossible around vampires and werewolves. The whispers between Renee and I had been heard but with the tensions whipping through the crowd pretty much ignored. It wasn't like either of us much cared if we offended the hostile werewolves. Vampires made quick work of werewolves as a rule.
This call wasn't being ignored by any of us. Well, maybe Desiree wasn't paying attention since she was cowered behind Marcus in her werewolf shape. He had his hands full with a gun in his right hand and the stressed out werewolf licking his left hand. She knew she'd screwed up by shifting but I didn't think she had the desire much less the energy to shift back to a human shape.
"Speak." Came the command on the other side of the cell phone.
Harry smiled saying, "Sorry, I'm not your dog to command."
A long stretch of silence as the 'King of the Pricks' absorbed the ramifications of Randy's cell being used by someone not in the pack.
"Who is this? What's happened to Mr. Zova?" Again I could hear that he was not exactly grasping the totality of the situation at hand in my personal opinion.
"Ah, Randy Zova seems to think he has some type of power. Is he your pack representative?" Harry's voice had dropped to a low growl. A pause on the other end drew out as the unnamed werewolf tried to figure out precisely what was happening.
Carlos allowed a smile to chase across his features. I didn't know if he even knew which werewolf was the leader of Randy's group but obviously Carlos was appreciating Harry's handling of the call.
Renee looked disturbed by something. She tilted her head to better hear the conversation with a marked intensity on her face.
Finally a reply came from the unseen werewolf leader, "Randy is not allowed to negotiate for the pack. He is to bring back any terms promptly." It was a nice gambit.
Harry laughed, "I don't think Randy will be the tool for negotiations. He seems to have some issues with authority and I don't trust him."
That was fair enough but still Randy bristled and looked put out by the comment. I wouldn't trust Randy as far as I could throw him. And as a vampire that was a bit further than the average human. Harry had vampiric strength and some serious muscles so I knew that Harry could throw him a tad further than me -- say like halfway down the street -- before good old Randy would hit the ground.
"Ah, well, I see you do know Randy," a trace of humor on the other end of the phone.
Renee audibly gasped then said, "Scott -- Scott Lambert?"
We all heard the responding gasp from the cell phone.
Harry relinquished the phone without hesitation Renee had some history with the alpha leader and that could turn the situation around without having to end in bloodshed.
I caught Marcus' eyes -- he wasn't averse to killing this pack any more than I was. Desiree was at his feet curled tightly into a ball ignoring the vampires and werewolves equally.
Her ears were nearly flat to her skull and her tail was tightly tucked under her haunches. Yet, I knew she'd easily leap to attention if Marcus snapped his fingers in her face. She still seemed a bit zoned out from the werewolf tranquilizers that he'd been slipping her ever since we'd left Southern California. That seemed light years ago rather than a few time zones.
"Hey, Scott, so you are the alpha out here." Renee wasn't so much as asking a question as she was greeting the were on the line.
His laughter was rich and suddenly I recalled her sexual romp in the house her thoughts had unconsciously leaked out earlier. Oh shit -- this was the human she'd had in her bed. Hell, the damn locket probably was a trinket he'd given her. I wondered if he'd been a werewolf when she'd bedded him. Maybe that was why Kenyon had picked her to be the first recognized union between the vampires and werewolves. Maybe she'd been a fur fucker. My thoughts twisted darkly.
Harry caught some of what I was thinking and slightly shook his head. He wanted me to calm down and wait. I wasn't jumping to conclusions without a reason but short of opening up and letting Harry read my thoughts I couldn't see how to tell him. After of second of thought I did just that.
A stunned look passed over Harry's face in a flash then he shut down and simply absorbed all I'd seen from Renee earlier. His face relaxed, as he grew used to my thoughts and image patterns I was throwing at his mind. I broke off the flood of information as we both watched Randy beginning to shape shift.
Marcus noticed Randy's attempt and snarled.
Desiree pounced upwards lading fully on Randy's human shape -- claws and teeth fully extended. Her bite was millimeters from his face. The snap of her jaws caused the closer weres to drop to all fours and tuck their tails. Desiree was mad and excited -- a bad combo with weres.
Desiree wasn't tightly wrapped to begin with and then flipping back and forth between her werewolf and human shape was adding into the pressure. She was no longer asking Marcus' permission to continue with her attack on Randy. She was on her own.
Randy was caught between shapes. It was obviously not intentional to be frozen mid-shift. His face was filled with all too human terror. His paws were a mish-mash of claws and fingers, useless to fight with much less defend himself in any manner. His pack was not lifting a paw to aid their mate. In fact, one of them had a gleam of enjoyment rippling through his features. His eyes met mine and were quickly dropped; rarely do werewolves meet eyes. The submissive-dominance traits of werewolves were strongly beaten into the creatures.
Renee was still on the phone with Scott and he was asking her what was happening.
She said, "Randy decided to shift. Desiree, one of our weres he was nearest, objected." Pretty true.
Desiree heard her name and was distracted just a second. That was all it took for Randy to push away from her and finish shifting. Marcus laughed and said, "Have at it, Desiree."
She growled deeply and went for Randy's throat.
Randy wasn't a pretty werewolf but he was larger than Desiree. But he wasn't insane and that was the deciding factor. Desiree kept biting and clawing at the werewolf. Fur and blood was flowing richly calling us all.
Scott was still trying to find out what was going on but Renee wasn't answering. She was fanged out and loving the fight. Harry shook his head and waited.