Memphis Heat 2: Streetwise|
Marteeka Karland and Shelby Morgen
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Copyright ©2013 Marteeka Karland and Shelby Morgen
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"Nothing says white trash like a street brawl."
"You think we should stop them?"
Butch Carson munched on his steak sub, not overly concerned. "Hell, no. I'm betting on the redhead."
Regan winced as the shorter blonde woman fisted the redhead's braid and yanked for all she was worth. "We should call the cops."
Butch arched an eyebrow at his new partner. "We are the cops."
"You know what I mean. Kiddy cops. Child Services. We've got to do something. Look at that poor little boy. He doesn't need to see this."
Butch sighed. "You ever worked with Child Services? I don't think that's necessary. He can't be as traumatized as he would be with a visit from Child Services."
Regan turned to give him that look -- the one with the brows all squished together and the lips getting thin. A look like that had led to his last divorce. "You don't want to do the paperwork."
"What makes you think I'd do the paperwork? That's what rookies are for. I've got seniority." She didn't laugh, so he sighed again and stuffed what was left of his sub back in its paper. "You're not going to let this go, are you?" He pointed at the couple in the alley. "You know what that kid looks like to me?"
She wrenched the door open, hand on her radio. He jumped out of the car, running after her, but the rookie was already in over her head. "Requesting backup, South Main and Vance," Butch keyed as he ran after his partner -- and the couple retreating down the alley. The dead-end alley. Out of sight of the main street. "Fuck." Some days he hated being right.
"Butch?" He knew Regan saw the trap now, too. She was trying to keep the fear out of her voice. "What -- what do they -- what does he look like to you?"
All pretense of their scuffle gone, the blonde and the redhead turned to face them, dropping down on all fours, lips furled back to reveal wickedly sharp teeth. The little boy dropped to the asphalt between them, bawling his eyes out. Another, older wolf moved through the pack that had appeared out of nowhere, surrounding them, scooping the kid up to whisk him out of harm's way.
Butch crouched low, pistol at the ready. "Bait. He looks like bait."
Regan's voice went stiff and formal. "It's been a pleasure serving with you. Even if I did get the Sundance nickname all over the precinct because of you."
"Fuck that," Butch swore. "I'm not going down without a fight. Whatever the hell they are, they breathe. They can still die. Aim for the eyes, and don't stop till you run out of lead."
* * *
"You've stumbled into a turf war," Sanderson drawled. "Memphis is ours. We don't know why the Russians are here, either. Yet. But we will. So the question is, cop, whose side are you on?"
Jarod looked down at Belle, pulling those FBI sweats back over her head. "That's easy. Mine."
From behind the big blond Alpha, another, shadowed figure stepped forward. Jarod's world turned upside down again. "Colonel?"
Sanderson's lips peeled back in a snarl. "You FBI, kid? Or are you still Memphis PD?"
Jarod shook his head. "Memphis PD, born and bred. MPD will always come first. No one asked me about this FBI gig. Just shoved it down my throat." He glanced back at the colonel, wishing someone would tell him what the fuck was going on.
Colonel Roberts grinned at him. "Welcome to the Fraternal Order of Police. Memphis style."
"But... Sanderson." Jarod glanced over at the grizzled wolf shifter. "I arrested you."
"Undercover. Need to know. You didn't. Not then."
"Now there's a lot you two need to know. Let's get down to work."
* * *
Belle chewed her lip, looking down at the pair in recovery.
"Damn it, Jarod, this is the third time this week. We've got to put a stop to this."
"Yeah, well, at least the ranks are stronger."
She didn't appreciate his cheeky grin. "Not funny. You know how this whole werewolf thing turned our lives upside down. Sundance there is a rookie. She had her whole life ahead of her."
"She still does." Jarod shrugged. "And now, no one will call her the Sundance Kid anymore. Or if they do, I'm certain she can... take care of it."
Belle slugged him in the shoulder. Hard as his muscles were, she knew it didn't really hurt, but he made her feel better by pretending it did. "I'm serious." She huffed out a breath, trying to blow a strand of hair out of her eyes. "If we knew exactly what we were dealing with concerning the Russians, I might not feel so badly. As it is, we're not so much circling the wagons as chasing our tails."
She punched him again, for good measure. "Smart ass."
"Ow! Stop hitting me!"
"Stop being a shit."
Jarod's expression went dead serious. "You know, I'm not even sure there are any Russians."
Jarod might be an ass, but he was an astute ass. If his gut told him something was off about the Russians -- besides the whole werewolf thing -- then she trusted him. Not that she'd give him the satisfaction of ever agreeing with him.
"If not the Russians, then who?"
Jarod shook his head. "I don't know, but it's too convenient. We need more werewolf cops to handle this situation, and in three days we got three new teams. All single. All married to the job." He looked down at the clipboard in his hands. "And all veterans. Just like us. Combat trained. Well, all but Sundance there, and she's an Air Force vet. Maybe she doesn't have a lot of street experience, but I wouldn't call her the typical rookie."
"Three teams we couldn't have handpicked better. Someone has put a lot of thought into this." Belle crossed her arms over her chest, studying Jarod. She knew that look.
"Yeah. And I don't like it one bit."
"That makes two of us. What you wanna do about it?"
"I'm ready to stop playing chase the rabbit. Time we turned the tables on these cop hunters. Let's show 'em what real wolves look like."