The Wild Ways
"The Gales are an amazing family, the aunts will strike fear into your heart, and the characters Allie meets are both charming and terrifying." -#1 New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris
Alysha Gale's cousin Charlotte is a Wild Power, who allies herself with a family of Selkies in a fight against offshore oil drilling. The oil company has hired another of the Gale family's Wild Powers, the fearsome Auntie Catherine, to steal the Selkies' sealskins. To defeat her, Charlotte will have to learn what born to be Wild really means in the Gale family...
Halfway up the back stairs, the door to the apartment on the second floor slammed open, slammed shut, and Charlie suddenly found herself facing a seriously pissed-off teenage boy—the smoke streaming out of his nostrils a dead giveaway of his mood. He rocked to a stop and glared, hazel eyes flashing gold, pale blond hair sticking out in several unnatural directions, wide mouth pressed into a thin line.
“Oh, you’re back.” The smoke thickened. “Good. You can tell Allie I don’t have to put up with this stuff!”
“She’s making you listen to Jason Mraz again?”
“What?” He had to stop and think, rant cut off at the knees. Charlie gave herself a mental high five; she rocked at pissy mood deflection. “No! She thinks I’m helpless!”
“Does she? Well, she thinks Katy Perry is edgy, so . . .” Charlie shrugged, letting the wall hold her up for a while. “Where are you heading?”
“It’s . . .” It was too much effort to look at her watch, so she settled for general and obvious. “. . . late.”
His eyes narrowed. “That’s what Allie said!”
“Yeah, but I’m not trying to stop you. Go. Fly.” She waved the hand not holding the guitar in the general direction of the back door. “It’s not like you can’t handle anything that sees you.”
“That’s what Graham said,” Jack admitted, the smoke tapering off.
“He’s smarter than he looks. Just try to handle it non-fatally, okay? I’ve had a long day, and you know Allie’ll make me come with her to deal with the bodies.”
“Bodies.” His snort blew out a cloud of smoke that engulfed his head and he stomped past, close enough Charlie could feel the heat radiating off him, but not so close she had to exert herself to keep from being burned. “Jack, don’t burn down the building,” he muttered as he descended. “Jack, don’t turn the Oilers into newts and then eat them. Jack, don’t eat anything that you can have a conversation with. This world sucks!”
He made an emphatic exit out into the courtyard, slamming the door with enough force that the impact vibrated past Charlie’s shoulder blades.
“Well . . .” Charlie lurched away from the wall’s embrace and up the remaining stairs. “. . . that explains why the door’s sticking.”
Jack loved hockey, although he thought it wasn’t violent enough. He’d spent his first season as an enthusiastic Calgary Flames fan, learning the unfortunate fact that enthusiasm wasn’t enough and devouring their opponents wasn’t allowed.
The new scorch mark on the apartment door came as no great surprise.
“Because he’s fourteen,” Allie was saying as Charlie let herself in, put down her guitar, and closed the door. “And we’re responsible for him.”
“He’s a fourteen-year-old Dragon Prince and a fully operational sorcerer.” Graham wasn’t visible, but the double doors to their bedroom were open, so Charlie assumed that Graham was out of sight in the bedroom. There were other, less mundane possibilities, but he’d probably sound a lot more freaked had Jack made him invisible, microscopic, or transformed him into furniture. Again. He’d made a surprisingly comfortable recliner. “There’s nothing out there that can hurt him.”
“You’re missing my point.” Even looking at the back of Allie’s head, Charlie could see her eyes roll. “He’s a fourteen-year-old Dragon Prince and a fully operational sorcerer.”
“That’s what I said.” Graham sounded confused.
Charlie snorted. “Dude, she’s not worried about Jack.”
Allie spun around and Charlie had a sudden armful of her favorite cousin.
At five eight, Allie was an inch taller, but she was in bare feet and Charlie’s sneakers evened things out.
“Don’t you ever knock?” Graham asked, coming out of the bedroom, charms covering more skin than the shorts. Most of the charms were Allie’s, a couple were Charlie’s, and one was David’s. And wasn’t that interesting. “Never mind,” he continued, crossing toward her, “stupid question.”
He didn’t bother pulling Allie out of the hug, just wrapped his arms around both of them and squeezed. Graham wasn’t exactly tall—Charlie knew damned well he lied about being five ten—but he was strong. Even working full time at the newspaper, he’d managed to hang on to the conditioning his previous part-time position had required. Although, why an assassin needed muscle when the big guns did all the work, he’d never made clear to Charlie’s satisfaction.
“Did we know you were coming in tonight?” he asked, dropping a kiss on Charlie’s temple.
“I did,” Allie gasped, crushed between them. “Charlie, sweetie, you stink.” A judicious elbow broke Graham’s hold.
“Yeah, twelve hours on the highway in a bus without air-conditioning will do that.”
Graham snorted. “Even to a Gale?”
A quick pit check suggested stink was an understatement. “Please, we sweat flowers.”
“Occasionally.” Charlie patted Graham’s cheek and Allie’s ass on the way to the bathroom. “If Jack starts another apocalypse while I’m in the shower, fix it without me.”
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