Bitten (Women of the Otherworld #1)

About Daniel: Two, he hates Clay
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Five, he really hates Clay.
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Nine, he really, really, REALLY hates Clay.

Antonio-
"Just in time, Pete. Five more minutes of reading this and she'd have been in a coma."
Peter-
"Are we such bad company that you'd rather hide out in here reading that old thing?

Are you the welcoming committee? Or has Jeremy finally chained you up to the front gate where you belong?"
"I missed you too.

As I recall, I was still dressed when I fell asleep."

"Just making sure you were comfortable."

"And making yourself equally comfortable, I see.

Before we left town, Antonio pulled into a strip mall and went in to get subs and salads, leaving Clay and me half naked and bleeding in the car, and Cain unconscious in the trunk. No wonder I was anxious to get back to Toronto. Spend too much time around these guys and you become a little too nonchalent about blood-soaked clothes and bodies in the trunk

Cosmo never speaks to my life. Its surveys always ask questions like How would you react if your lover announced he was taking a job in Alaska? and jumping for joy is never one of the options. Move to Alaska? Hell, my lover was thirty-seven and hadn't moved away from home yet. Where were the questions relevant to my life?

His cheek twitched. With Jeremy, this was the equivalent of an emotional outburst.

I called. Why wasn't anyone here?"- Elena
We were here." Clay said. "Around, anyway. You should have left a message."
I did. Two hours ago." - Elena
Well that explains it. I've been out, by the gate all day, waiting for you, and you know Jer never checks the machine."- Clayton
I didn't know how Clay had known I was coming back today when I hadn't left a message. Nor did I question why he'd spent the entire day waiting at the gate. Clay's behavior couldn't be measured by human standard's of normalcy... or by any standards of normalcy at all.
Bitten

I didn't deserve Jeremy's kindness. I knew that. I suppose that was why I always questioned his motivation. In the beginning, every time he'd done something nice for me, I'd searched for a glimpse of evil behind the kindness, some nefarious motivation. After all, he was a monster. He had to be evil. When I'd realized there was nothing bad in Jeremy, I'd latched on to another excuse: that he was good to me because he was stuck with me, because he was a decent guy and maybe even because he felt some responsibility for what his ward had done to me. If he took me to Broadway plays and expensive dinners for two, it was because he wanted to keep me quiet and happy, not because he enjoyed my company. I wanted him to enjoy my company, but couldn't believe in it because I didn't see much in myself to warrant it.

I hear voices. A shout. A laugh. Clay's laugh. I strained to see through the night. Fog had rolled in from Lake Ontario, but I could hear him laughing. The concrete turned to grass. The fog wasn't from the lake, but from a pond. Our pond. I was at Stonehaven, bounding through the back acres. Clay was running ahead of me.

I'm suprised he doesn't send Christmas cards," Antonio said. "I can see them now. Tasteful, embossed veilum cards, the best he can steal. Little notes in perfect penmanship,"Happy holidays. Hope everyone is well. I sliced up Ethan Ritter in Miami and scattered his remains in the Atlantic. Best wishes for the new year. Karl.

I remember hearing myself start to whimper, a five-year-old, crouched by the side of the road, staring into my father's eyes, whimpering because it was so dark and there was no one coming to help, whimpering because my mother was back in the crushed car, not moving, and my father was lying here in the dirt, not answering me, not holding me, not comforting me, not helping my mother get out of the car, and there was blood, so much blood, and broken glass everywhere, and it was so dark and so cold and no one was coming to help.

It was awful. It was, like, walk out to the woods, Change, stand there until enough time passed, Change back. It was about as much fun as taking a shit."
"Nice analogy.

Jeremy had a plan for getting Clay back and I wasn't allowed to know anything about it or allowed to help him carry it out. As one might expect, I accepted this news with grace and understanding.
"That is the stupidest idea I've ever heard!" I snarled for the dozenth time that hour.
"I won't just sit here and do nothing.

Maturity is highly overrated.

Now, I was well aware that certain sports required certain modes of dress for protection, but I failed to see how wearing a sleeveless blouse on the course qualified as a safety hazard. God forbid the sight of my bare shoulders should send male golfers into a tizzy, knocking balls everywhere.

One part of my brain, soaring on adrenaline, insisted I could take Cain, whatever the size difference. Another part wondered where the hell Nick and Clay were. The loudest part just shouted: Run, you idiot, run!

Perfect night, wasn't it?"

"It could have been." I smiled up at him. "But you were there.

Speaking of death, LeBlanc boasted he could kill me in the waiting room. I broke his wrist. He wasn't impressed.

The show's writers had peppered the piece with words like "savage," "wild," and "animalistic." What bullshit. Show me the animal that kills for the thrill of watching something die. Why does the stereotype of the animalistic killer persist?

Because humans like it. It neatly explains things for them, moving humans to the top of the evolutionary ladder and putting killers down among mythological man-beast monsters like werewolves.

The truth is, if a werewolf behaved like this psychopath it wouldn't be because he was part animal, but because he was still too human. Only humans kill for sport.

The stairs aren't challenging enough anymore?" he asked.

Antonio laughed. "Challenge has nothing to do with it, Jer. I'd say it's the big bad wolf huffing and puffing at her door up there.

The truth is, if a werewolf behaved like this psychopath it wouldn't be because he was part animal, but because he was still too human. Only humans kill for sport.

Torn clothing littered the ground, more hung from bushes. Nick held up half a pair of white panties and grinned at me.

"Wild dogs? Or just Clayton?"

"Oh God," I muttered under my breath.

I walked over to snatch the underwear from him, but he held it over his head, grinning like a schoolboy.

"I see Paris, I see France, I see Elena's underpants," he chanted.

"Everyone's already seen much more than that," Jeremy said. "I think we can safely resume the search."

Peter plucked Clay's shirt from a low-hanging branch and held it up, peering through a hole in the middle. "You guys can really do some damage. Where's the hidden video when you need it?"

"So this--uh--wasn't done by wild dogs?" one of the searchers said.

Peter grinned and tossed the shirt to the ground. "Nope. Just wild hormones.

Uh-uh. We've played this game before. I hide. You never seek. I'm a bit slow on the uptake, but I'm beginning to sense a pattern."
- Clay to Elena

Urban survival rule 22: Never annoy an armed man.

What's the woman doing there?" he asked.

"Covering a scratch on the hood. She was cheaper than a new paint job."

He flipped through a few more pages of barely dressed women and classic cars. "Nick used to have magazines like this when we were kids. But without the cars." He rotated a photo sideways. "Or the bathing suits.

What's this?" Nick said. "Bedtime?"
No one answered him. I kept my eyes closed.
You look positively content, Clayton," Nick continued, thumping down on the floor. "That wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that Elena is cuddled up with you, is it?"
It's cold in here," I murmured.
Doesn't feel cold."
It's cold," Clay growled.
I could start a fire."
I could start one too," Clay said. "With your clothes. Before you get them off.

You'd expect that as much as a samurai would expect a kick in the balls.

You forget, darling.
I am the local psychopath.

You know, I couldn't imagine living somewhere without seasons."
Yeah?"
Real seasons, I mean. I'd miss the changes, the variety. Especially spring. I couldn't live without spring. Days like today are worth every snowstorm and slush puddle. By March, it seems like winter will never end. All that snow and ice that seemed so wonderful in December is driving you crazy. But you know spring's coming. Every year, you wait for that first warm day, then the next and the next, each better than the last. You can't help but be happy. You forget winter and get the chance to start over. Fresh possibilities."
A fresh start.