Home > Lure of Oblivion (The Mercury Pack #3)(8)

Lure of Oblivion (The Mercury Pack #3)(8)
Author: Suzanne Wright


No, Zander didn’t understand his wolf’s wariness at all.

Hooking his duffel over his shoulder, Zander followed her as she walked up the stairs . . . and found himself looking at a round, pert ass—it looked good in those skintight jeans.

Forcing his gaze up, he glanced around. He’d expected the proprietors to make the large house seem gloomy and play on the haunted rumor, but it was bright and airy. Paintings and mirrors hung on the white walls. The furnishings were antique and well cared for. The natural oak flooring was smooth and gave the place a rustic feel.

“It’s a big house,” he said. “You live here?”

She flicked him a brief glance over her shoulder. “Yep.”

“Isn’t it hard to share your home with strangers?” Zander would hate it. He was private and territorial.

She shrugged. “I’m used to it.”

It didn’t really answer his question, but Zander let it slide. In truth, he didn’t like inane chatter or talking for the mere sake of it, but he was trying to feel her out and understand what his wolf sensed that he didn’t. He wasn’t a friendly person, but he knew how to project a nonthreatening image so that he seemed approachable and relatable. “Our wolves will want to be free to explore your land. Will that be a problem?”

“Of course not. Have at it.” Reaching the first floor of guest bedrooms, she led them down a narrow hallway. Coming to a halt midway, she gestured at two rooms. “Here you go. Inside, you’ll each find a Welcome Hamper and a pamphlet with breakfast hours, the Wi-Fi password, directions to local places, and important contact details. But if you need anything else, just call the reception desk. I leave for work at five, but there’s always someone around. Hope you enjoy your stay.”

As she began to walk away, Zander spoke. “You really think the house is haunted?” He hoped not, because he didn’t want her to be crazy.

Her mouth curved a little. “I like it when skeptical people come here. It’s always fun to watch them freak out.” With that, she disappeared down the hall.

Bracken gave a low chuckle. “She’s just fucking with us. The story is based on a family who lived here hundreds of years ago. A father and his two daughters were killed in a fire. The remains of the house were restored, and people say that all three ghosts now haunt the place.”

Zander snorted. “Yeah. Right.” Unlocking the door, he slipped inside and closed it behind him. Gwen’s scent was present in the room. It was faint beneath the smells of clean linen, air deodorizer, and freshly made muffins, but it was no less potent.

He slung his duffel on the overstuffed armchair as he took in his surroundings. Much like the rest of the house, it wasn’t gloomy. It was warm and restful. Bamboo shades, a fleecy throw on the armchair, a brick fireplace, a wall-mounted TV, a coffee machine, and a decadent-looking king-size bed with plump pillows and a soft comforter.

He quickly unpacked his things, slipping some clothes into the antique dresser and hanging others in the closet. After placing his toiletries in the adjoined bathroom, he made a cup of coffee and stepped out onto the balcony. There was a great view of the grassy plains, water pools, nearby creek, and the moss-covered trees that bordered much of the territory.

He settled into the deck chair, letting the peaceful air slide over him. All he could hear were birds trilling, insects droning, the burble of the creek, and the muffled conversation of other guests filtering through an open window. His wolf stretched within him, wanting the freedom to acquaint himself with the land.

There was the sound of a door creaking open, and then Bracken was leaning over the partition between their balconies, a half-eaten muffin in hand. “These are damn good. How’s your room?”

“Better than some hotels I’ve stayed in.”

Bracken nodded. “Same here.” He bit into his muffin. “My wolf likes this place.”

“How did your wolf react to Gwen?”

Bracken blinked. “He likes her well enough, I guess.”

“He’s not bothered by her?”

“No. Why?”

“My wolf backs away from her.”

“Seriously?” Bracken blinked. “That’s weird. Nothing about her raises my hackles, and she doesn’t rub my wolf’s fur the wrong way either. Then again, your wolf has always acted strange when a female shows an interest in you.”

That was true. Zander’s wolf might be attracted to a female, might like her scent or her confidence or any number of her qualities, but he never wanted her. In fact, he often became irritated by female attention, especially if it was sexual. There were very few females whose company he tolerated—thankfully, those included the females of his pack.

If Zander didn’t know any better, he’d think the wolf had mommy issues or something. Still, one thing his wolf had never done was back away from a female. He’d growled. Snarled. Brooded. Turned his back on them. Hell, he’d even clawed at Zander if they annoyed him enough. But act wary and cautious? Never had he done that.

“Yeah, but she didn’t show an interest in me.” She’d acted cordial and professional. “I don’t know what to make of it. My wolf’s always been a fearless fucker. Nothing has ever thrown or shaken him. She unnerves him, and I’m not used to him being disturbed by anything.”

Bracken chewed on that for a moment. “Is he fighting you on being around her?”

“No. That’s the point. He’s not engaging. He literally just backs away.”

“That is odd. I wouldn’t worry on it, Z. You have enough to think about, like the reading of the will tomorrow . . . and just how hard we’ll have to work not to kick the living shit out of Rory.” He shoved the last of his muffin into his mouth. “Let’s go for a run. Your wolf might feel better afterward.”

Zander was counting on it.

 

 

CHAPTER THREE

 

Later that day, acting on Yvonne’s recommendation, Zander and Bracken headed to Half ’n’ Half for dinner—a place owned by Yvonne’s future son-in-law. The moment he strolled inside, Zander understood the name. The dimly lit place was half bar, half pool hall. Unlike the last pool hall he’d been to, it wasn’t dingy or fogged by cigarette smoke. There was a slight smell of tobacco, but it was drowned out by the scents of beer, leather, oiled wood, and food grilling.

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