At the start of her next shift, Daylen walked into the large room her sergeant usually used for the short meetings before she and the rest of the officers went out on patrol. She crossed the room and sat down in an empty chair next to one of the other officers.
He turned in his seat and smiled. “One more night and then the next two days are ours. Got any plans this weekend?”
Daylen shook her head and smiled back at the man beside her. She and Nick Winston had gone through the police academy together and then had come to work in the same precinct. At first glance, Nick looked liked one tough customer with his brown hair buzzed close to his scalp and his large, muscular body. Being six foot four also helped with the illusion. But, on the inside, Nick was a sweet guy who would go out of his way to help people.
“No,” Daylen said. “No plans. I’ll probably just veg in front of the TV. How’s Allison? Any signs of that baby making an appearance any time soon?” Nick’s wife, Allison, was pregnant with their first child and due any day.
Nick shook his head. “Not yet, but Allison is more than ready.”
Daylen chuckled. “I bet she is. I think she was ready a month ago.”
“At least she hasn’t gone over her due date.”
“Well, you know what to do if she does go past it. From what I’ve read, sex apparently will jumpstart a woman’s labor.”
Nick grinned. “I told Allison about that when you told me the first time. Let’s just say we’ve been putting that bit of advice to good use.”
“I figured it would be no hardship for you.”
At that moment, their sergeant walked into the room. The other officers settled down when he went to stand at the front of the room. “All right, people. You all know what you’ll be doing tonight so I won’t keep you long. While you’re out, keep your eyes peeled for anything out of the ordinary.”
“What would that be, sarge?” Nick asked.
“We’ve had a couple of reports that a wolf, or a very large dog, has been seen in the back alleys of the nightclub district. Normally I wouldn’t take this seriously, but we’ve had more than one person call over the last couple of weeks, and the sightings have been in the same general area. This could just be someone’s pet who has gotten loose, but if you do spot it, don’t take any chances. Try to keep it cornered and then call in for animal control to take care of it. That’s it for tonight. Be careful out there.”
Daylen filed out of the room with the rest of the officers. Nick walked at her side.
“The nightclub district is your patrol,” he said. “Have you spotted a wolf lurking about?”
“None so far.” A wolf couldn’t be any stranger than that sword fight.
Lost in her thoughts, she didn’t realize Nick had been speaking to her until he grabbed her by the arm and pulled her to a stop. She saw they had reached his cruiser outside. Daylen quickly pulled her thoughts together. “Sorry, what did you say?”
Nick gave her a look that said he’d probably already repeated himself more than once. “I said if you do happen to see the wolf, don’t do anything stupid. You never know.
The damn thing could have rabies.”
“I doubt I’ll see it. And I doubt it’s a wolf. It’s more likely some mongrel stray that happens to be on the large size.”
“Even then, be careful.”
Daylen started to walk backwards toward her cruiser. “Stop worrying, mother hen.
You know I don’t do anything rash. If I don’t catch you at the end of your shift, tell Allison I said hi.”
“I will. Hopefully I’ll be calling you from the hospital over the weekend.”
“I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.”
* * *
The night turned out to be pretty uneventful for Daylen. Being a Friday night, she kept a closer watch on the patrons that filed in and out of the bars and nightclubs. Fridays tended to a lot busier, and people also seemed to drink a bit more than they did during the week. Not too often, but at times, fights would break out as well.
Near the end of her shift, Daylen made one final sweep of her patrol route. With dawn fast approaching, things had settled down for the night. As she neared the alley where the sword fight had taken place the night before, she slowed the cruiser, something she had done each time she drove by it. Not that she thought the man would be stupid enough to show up at the place where he’d resisted arrest. She just couldn’t stop herself from looking at the last place she’d seen him.
Daylen’s foot slammed down on the brake when she saw the figure of a man standing just at the opening of the alley. His long hair was pulled back in a pony tail, the ends of it fluttering in the breeze. He wore the same black duster he’d worn when she had first seen him. He waited until he’d made eye contact with her before he turned and ducked into the alley.
Not wanting him to get away from her this time, Daylen hit the gas and sped up to the alley. She slammed the cruiser into park and jumped out, slamming the door behind her.
Inside the alley, she stopped short when she swept the length of it with her gaze and found it empty.
He couldn’t have run the length of it and disappeared in that short amount of time. But then again, he’d moved incredibly fast the first time she had encountered him. Just to make sure he was indeed gone, Daylen walked down to the very end of the alley that opened onto another street. But there was no sign of him. She had to wonder if her mind had made him up since she seemed to be spending so much time thinking about him.
Just as she turned to head back to her cruiser, Daylen heard someone call her name.
She looked to the opposite end of the alley and found Nick walking toward her. She met him at the halfway point.
“Nick, what are you doing here?” she asked.
“I saw your cruiser at the curb. Considering you weren’t in it, I thought I’d see if you needed any help.”
She shook her head. “I just thought I saw something and decided to take a closer look is all. If I had seen the wolf, dog, or whatever, I would have radioed in. There’s nothing here. I thought you would have already gone back to the station. This part of the city isn’t that close to your patrol route.”
Nick gave her a sheepish grin. “Okay, I came looking for you. I just wanted to make sure you were all right. I had a bad experience with a big dog when I was a kid, and I never really got over it.”
“That’s sweet, but totally unnecessary. I’m perfectly capable of looking out for myself, as you know. Having a black belt in karate, I can pretty much kick butt when I need to, be it man or dog. Now go back to the station so you can go home and enjoy your weekend. I’ll be right behind you.” Before Nick walked away, Daylen gave him a kiss on the cheek. “That’s for thinking of me.”
A loud animal-like growl echoed through the alley. Both Nick and Daylen put their hands on the butts of their guns at the same time.
Nick swept the alley with his gaze. “Can you see anything? It sounded like it came from somewhere close by.”
They did a thorough search of the alley but didn’t see the animal that had made the growl. “Nope. Nothing. Whatever it was, I don’t think it hung around. Let’s go.”
“You don’t have to ask me twice.”
As Nick and she walked out of the alley to their cruisers, Daylen couldn’t shake the feeling that they were being watched. Before she got into the car, she looked one last time down the alley. It remained just as empty as it had been when they had left it.
* * *
Jager stood up from where he’d crouched on the upper level of the fire escape attached to one of the buildings that made up the alley walls. He’d had a good vantage point from up there to see what went on below. The shadows had also helped to hide his presence. When he’d let Daylen spot him, he’d climbed up the fire escape before she’d followed him. Being able to move faster than a mortal did have its advantages.
He’d been quite happy to watch Daylen when she’d done her search of the alley. Her scent had drifted up to him on the slight breeze, making him ache for her. His cock had hardened the instant she’d stepped into the alley. His gaze had run over her face and body. She wasn’t supermodel pretty like female werewolves were, but she was far from ugly with her full, kissable lips, high cheekbones and sharp brown eyes that didn’t seem to miss anything. Even dressed in her uniform, Jager had been able to see the faint outline of a small, curved waist and more-than-a-handful breasts. The uniform did more to hide her body than not. He wanted nothing more than to strip it off her and see what she would look like out of it. He also wanted to free her hair from its tight bun to see how long it was while he ran his fingers through it.
Then the male cop had arrived. Seeing how friendly they were with each other, Jager had had to put a tight rein on his wolf. The wolf didn’t like any other males around his potential mate. Neither had the man. Until he claimed Daylen as his own, her being around other males would make the mating urge ride him all the harder.
He’d been able to keep himself in control up to the point where Daylen had kissed the male cop on the cheek. His wolf had wanted him to rush down to the alley and warn the other male away from his mate. Jager hadn’t been able to stop the growl that had rumbled out of him.
Once he figured Daylen would have driven away, Jager headed down the fire escape.
Thanks to Dirk, he’d found out in which precinct Daylen worked. Dirk hadn’t been able to find a telephone number or a home address. Obviously being a cop, Daylen didn’t want that kind of information to be common knowledge.
Reaching the alley below, Jager took off at a fast run to where he’d parked his Camaro. From the conversation he’d heard between Daylen and the male cop, he figured she would be on her way back to the police station since it was the end of her shift. He drove to the street where it was located and parked at the curb across from it where he had a good view of the cars leaving the parking lot. He fully intended to follow Daylen home. Fifteen minutes later, Jager watched a dark blue Ford Focus pull out of the lot with Daylen behind the wheel. He quickly started his car and merged into the traffic and followed at a discreet distance behind her.
The sky had completely lightened by the time he saw Daylen pull into the driveway of a bungalow in a quiet neighborhood. He drove past the house and parked his car a couple blocks away. He’d had all day to come up with a plan to be around Daylen without her trying to throw him in jail. There was a good chance it would backfire on him, but Jager was willing to take that chance.
Getting out of his car, he quickly made his way back to Daylen’s house. When he reached it, he went to the side where the sun’s rays had yet to touch. With a quick look around to make sure none of Daylen’s neighbors would see him, Jager reached for the magic inside of him that would allow him to shift to his wolf form.
With his hand held out in front of him, Jager watched it begin to shimmer and then blur as he shifted. In a matter of seconds, a wolf with light brown fur took his place. On silent paws, he made his way over to the front door of the bungalow. He then scratched at it. When it didn’t cause any reaction from inside the house, he threw his body up against it. Still not hearing any movement from the other side of the door, he threw back his head and let out a loud howl. If that didn’t get Daylen’s attention, nothing would.