Excerpt from Dark Legacy Book Five - Bonus Book
If you haven't read EVIL NATURE then it's best not to read these chapters
Reece, Andre, Nathaniel and Tom raced through the hazy legion of tall trees in hot pursuit. They couldn’t allow the creature to get away from them this time. They were determined to capture it. By the time the small group reached the edge of the wooded clearing, the monster had stopped in the center. Haloed by the full moon, its reptilian, multifaceted skin glistened under the milky veil of light. The full moon had a lot to answer for. It governed many supernatural creatures, and this snakelike monster was one of them. Sarah, Ed, Nathaniel, and Lozano were on the opposite side of the circular, overgrown grassy knoll awaiting the PI’s order to move in. The plan had been to lure… or chase the creature here and encapsulate it in a hidden trap already in place beneath the layer of debris. And it had worked.
They were one man down, as Todd had resigned not long after Charlotte’s death. He couldn’t handle the constant reminder that she would never be coming back. Reece figured the ex-detective had been in love with her and that had motivated him to join their team. He would’ve been an asset to their cause, but the PI understood why he couldn’t stay. Grief did strange things to people, sometimes, and Todd had to deal with it in his own way. Who knew what the future held, although it had already been six years and no word from him. Maybe when he came to terms with the loss, if you ever truly get over losing someone, he might change his mind and come back. The door would always remain open.
Reece tapped the communication device in his ear. “Everyone move in slow and steady. We want to catch the motherfucker this time.” He glanced over his shoulder. Tom nodded and morphed into wolf form. The PI wouldn’t take any chances with his son’s life. “Ok, let’s do this.”
Ed, Sarah, and Lozano emerged from the towering pines and stopped at the perimeter of the clearing. “Now what?” the chief asked.
“Spread out. And be careful. You know what this thing can do.” He’d seen it spit venom at a cop and melt the flesh clean off the guy’s skeleton before what remained dissolved into a sticky puddle of red goo. That’s why they were covered from head to foot in dark blue protective gear, the kind that resisted acid and any other flammable liquids, except for Tom. His sheer size and speed would protect him. His son had adjusted well to his new life. It had been a struggle, initially, but now that he could turn at will it made his life a whole lot easier and a lot less painful. When the PI had had the father/son talk with him (and not the sex talk), Tom had remembered being taken from Charlotte’s apartment at the age of ten and driven in the trunk of a car out to the cabin in the woods. Reece and his team had raided that cabin to rescue him and his mother from the Alpha, who turned out to be Tom’s biological father, Dan McCredie.
It had been a shock to everyone, but an even bigger one for Charlotte who had ended up shooting Dan in the head because he’d planned to massacre them all. He’d been stunned when she’d pulled the trigger, the look on his face before he hit the ground causing her to throw up at his feet. She had never really gotten over the fact that their son would, on his sixteenth birthday, turn into a werewolf. And she had felt betrayed by the man she had once loved for lying to her all those years ago about what had happened to him that night in the alley. He’d attacked his partner and had not been bitten by something huge and fast as he had claimed.
This reptile demon had somehow managed to escape hell, which meant the rift had fractured again. Sarah’s incantation had held for six, almost seven years, but they had known it would only be a matter of time before the otherworldly creatures found another way to infiltrate the human world once again.
Nathaniel depressed the trigger on the device in his hand that resembled a small TV remote and the roped cage whipped up around the creature, causing it to struggle against its restraints.
The group moved in, Sarah shooting it with the tranquilizer gun several times to make sure she knocked it out.
“Let’s get this thing loaded and out to the facility where it won’t be able to do anymore damage,” Reece ordered.
“You don’t wanna kill it?” Ed asked, a deep questioning frown furrowing his already wrinkled brow.
“Not yet. We need to study it. Take samples of its venom and see if we can come up with something that can be turned into an immunization for everyone’s benefit. We don’t know if this is the only creature here. If there are more of them then we’re in serious trouble.”
“Ok, if you say so.” Ed shrugged. “But if I had the choice I’d finish it.”
“I get where you’re coming from, Chief, but if we can create some kind of preventative, a way to stop the potency of their venom, it will save a lot of lives.”
“Yeah, yeah, I get your point.”
Reece’s gaze moved around the bordering trees. “Where’s Tom?”
Andre crossed the clearing to the PI. “I gave him the backpack so he could get dressed.”
Ed, Lozano, and Nathaniel loaded the creature into the van. “Will you meet us out there?” the black vampire asked.
“Yeah. I want to drop Tom off home first then I’ll head out.”
Tom joined the group, slinging the gray backpack over his left shoulder. “I wanna come with you.”
“You’ve got homework, don’t you?”
“I’ll do it when we get home. Come on, Dad, I’m part of the team, aren’t I?”
Reece reached out and gripped his son’s solid bicep. “Of course you are, but…”
“But you’d prefer I go home, act like a regular teenager, and do my homework, right?”
“I just want you to have as normal a life as you can. Your mom would want that.”
“Mom’s not here, Dad, and I know what’s out there. Don’t treat me like a kid. I can help.”
“You have been helping.”
“Then what’s the problem?”
“Yeah, Daniels, what’s the problem?” Ed asked, walking up to the pair. “What’s the problem about what?”
“Dad won’t let me come out to the containment facility with you guys. He’s taking me home to do my homework.” Tom folded his arms and let out a frustrated huff.
Ed cleared his throat. He didn’t want to get between father and son. “Yeah, well, maybe you should listen to your dad. He only wants what’s best for ya.” The older man gave Reece a sheepish glance. Normally, he’d agree with Tom. He was old enough to be involved in all aspects of their work, especially being a werewolf and all, but he knew it wouldn’t sit well with the PI if he sided with the boy.
“Argh!” Tom threw his hands up and stalked away.
“Thanks, Chief, I appreciate the support. I know you don’t agree with me but…”
“Yeah, well, I think he’s old enough to participate in the other areas of the job, but who am I to tell you what to do. I work for you now, not the other way around.” He shrugged.
Sarah came over to the pair. “What’s going on?”
“Tommy… Tom wants to come out to the facility with us but Reece told him he has to go home and do his homework.”
Sarah’s gaze moved to the PI. “When are you going to allow him to grow up?”
“Wait a minute…”
“No, you wait a minute. You allow him to come on raids with us, put his life in danger with us, but you won’t let him come out to the containment facility? I don’t get it. What could possibly happen to him out there?” She frowned into his eyes.
“Look, I’m trying to do what I think is best for him, what I think Charlotte would want. His father died out there, and Charlotte was the one that killed him, remember?”
“Yes, I do. But it was a long time ago, Reece. And you know Charlotte would want him to be his authentic self not a watered down version of who he is. He’s a grown young man, or haven’t you noticed? And a werewolf. He’s stronger than any of us put together and he has the brains to accompany that strength. Give him a chance to be around the things that are important to you, to be a part of your world. That’s all he wants.”
Reece couldn’t argue with that. Sarah had a point. He let out a heavy sigh. “Ok. He can come.”
“Hey, Tom, you’re dad says you can come,” Ed called out across the clearing.
Tom bolted through the tall grass and threw himself at his dad in a tight man hug. “Thanks, Dad!” His face beamed. “You won’t regret it.”
“No problem.” Reece wasn’t so sure about that.
“Charlotte!” Reece sprang from his pillow, eyes darting around the shadowed bedroom, his raspy breathing the only sound in the silence, his heart thumping against his ribs, beads of cold sweat dotting his brow. He hadn’t dreamed about his dead fiancée in a long time. His jumbled, sleepy thoughts wouldn’t adhere. He threw back the covers, stumbled out of bed, padded barefoot over to the window, and looked up at the clouded moon.
What had prompted the dream? He frowned at his ghostly reflection in the pane of glass and attempted to recall what it had been about.
A knock echoed into the room, startling him, and he jerked his gaze to the back of the door. “Come in, Tom.” He knew it had to be his son because no one else shared their home.
The young man’s handsome face, etched with concern, peered around the door. “Are you ok?”
“Yeah. Just a dream.”
“You called out mom’s name.” Tom remained in the doorway, hand on the door knob.
“Oh. You heard that, huh?” He turned around and crossed the room to his son.
“I couldn’t help hear it, Dad. It was pretty loud.”
Reece pulled Tom into a tight man hug and held him for a moment before speaking. He felt some of his dreams were omens, they had been in the past, and he didn’t have a good feeling about this one. Something unexpected would arrive on their doorstep. He could feel it. “Sorry I woke you.”
“It’s ok.” Tom eased out of his dad’s embrace. “Are you gonna be ok? Do you wanna talk about it?”
Reece gave his son a thin smile. “Yeah, I’ll be ok. And, no, I don’t want to talk about it, but thanks for asking. You go back to bed and get some sleep. You’ve got school tomorrow.”
Tom eyed his dad with a curious frown before turning on his heel and heading down the hallway to the stairs. He’d chosen the attic for his bedroom because he thought it would be the coolest space in the house. Before climbing the staircase, he glanced back along the hall at his dad standing in the doorway.
“Night, Dad.” A ripple of apprehension slithered through Tom’s gut. Neither of them had dreamt about his mom in ages.
What did his dad’s dream mean?
A week later, Reece stood at the front door, key in hand, wondering how he would explain to his son what had occurred an hour ago. He filled his lungs with air, breathing deep in through his nostrils, then blew it out in a whoosh. A sigh followed. Charlotte had been dead for over six years. And even though it had been that long, he still couldn’t get his head around the fact he would never see her again. He missed her every single day. He reached across to push the key into the lock but before he could the door swung open and their son, Tom, stood in the entry hall. No longer the little boy Charlotte had known and loved, he’d be seventeen in a few months, had gone through his transformation, and stood just over six feet tall. A young man she would never get to know.
“How’d you know I was home?” Reece asked as he stepped across the threshold, giving his teenage son a man hug before closing the door.
Tom shrugged. “I heard the Mustang before it reached our street.”
The PI stared into his eyes. “Your wolf hearing is pretty acute these days.”
“Yeah, I guess.” He shrugged again. “What’s for dinner? I’m starved.”
Andre had given Reece Adrian’s house so he could raise Tom in a home environment. He had told the PI he couldn’t imagine himself living there. It nurtured too many memories for him and he liked the apartment he and Reece had lived in together, which he shared with Enrique Lozano, once sheriff at the Las Vegas Metro Police Department, now full-time paranormal PI with Double D Investigations. Despite the rift being sealed, there were still flickers of supernatural activity from time to time, smaller creatures that had somehow managed to remain. And the team also took on regular PI work in the interim to keep the business afloat.
“Can I talk to you about something first?” He gripped his sixteen year old son’s shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze.
Tom’s frowning gaze wandered his dad’s face. Something’s up. “Sure, what about?”
“Let’s head to the living room.”
“Ok.” He followed Reece up the carpeted stairway, along the hall, and into the large room with a balcony.
Reece motioned to the burgundy, buttoned sofa that had belonged to Adrian. He didn’t have the heart to get rid of the author’s furnishings so decided to use them instead. “Have a seat.”
Tom gave his dad a quizzical stare. “Am I in trouble? Did I do something wrong?”
“Of course not, buddy, I just need to tell you something important. And kinda… strange.”
“Oh, ok. What is it?” He backed up to the sofa and dropped down onto it, resting his elbows on his knees, hands hanging between them.
Reece sat down in one of the matching armchairs opposite. “I met someone today…”
“That’s great, Dad. You need to start getting out and having a social life. You’re always working and...”
Reece raised his hand to stop his son from speaking. “Not like that.”
“Oh.” Tom fidgeted with his fingers. “What then?”
“You remember the lawyer that handled your mom’s affairs after… when we found out you could live with me?”
Tom nodded, an expression of worry crossing his young, handsome face. “I can still live with you, can’t I?” He scooted forward on the sofa.
“Yeah, you’re stuck with me, warts and all. You’re not going anywhere.”
Tom smiled and then frowned. “Good. So what do you want to tell me?”
“Phillip Pembroke called me today and asked me to come over to his office.” He had no idea what he should tell his son about the woman he’d met at the lawyer’s firm.
“And? Come on, Dad, just tell me will ya.”
Reece stared into Tom’s eyes for a long time, not answering. He couldn’t believe it, so how would his son take the news. How would he react when he met the woman?
“Dad?” He leaned across and whacked Reece on the knee.
“Tommy, It’s difficult to…”
“You haven’t called me that in a very long time.” He stood up, walked around the coffee table and crouched in front of his dad, his concerned frown deepening. “What’s going on?”
Reece let out a huge sigh. “When I got to Mr. Pembroke’s office a woman who claims to be your aunt was waiting to see me.”
“My what?” Tom shifted up and sat on the corner of the coffee table. “But mom said she didn’t have any siblings.”
“I know what mom said, but apparently she did. They’d been estranged for years. I don’t know all the details yet, but…”
Tom’s frown deepened even more and his stomach did a nervous flip flop. Something didn’t feel right. “So, why did you have such a hard time telling me? If she is related to me that’s a good thing, isn’t it?”
“Of course. But there’s something you need to know about her before you see her.”
“She’s here?” Tom’s eyes widened.
“Yes. She’s waiting in her car outside the gate.”
The young man’s eyebrows knitted together. “You’ve never been this way with me before, Dad, why are you acting so weird?”
Reece stood up, Tom did too, and the PI grabbed his son by the back of the neck and pulled him into another tight hug.
Tom eased his tall frame out of his dad’s embrace. “Dad? Come on. Tell me.”
COMING IN 2021
Check out the series here
© 2021 M. A. Anderson
Bella Luna Books, Australia
All rights reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or otherwise, without written permission of the Author.