In the Service of the Wolf: Part XVI


wolf16Part I here

As soon as John left the cabin he knew he was being watched. Damn, he thought, now they have seen me. For a moment he considered going back inside and telling Alice to pack. But there was no way he could ensure her safety even then and that would certainly tip the hunters off to the fact that Alice was important.

He took a deep breath and let the beast rouse within him. He could smell them close and sense their eyes on him, almost as if their gaze was sweeping over him like radar. His muscles bunched up and the adrenaline surged within him. Easy tiger, he told himself, let’s not get carried away and give them any more ammunition. He compared himself to Adam, not for the first time, and wondered if his restraint made him better or worse than his brother.

John took a deep breath and walked openly across the parking lot towards town. The truck would be loaded up by now and he had a job to do.

“Hey,” said a voice as he reached the tree-lined verge demarking the car park. “You one of those Stone brothers?”

John stopped and scanned the vicinity without turning. There three of them, although one was a ways off, probably watching the front.

“Sure you are,” the man continued in a dry faux friendly voice.

“What of it?” John threw back over his shoulder, still without turning.

“My friends would like to talk to you is all,” the man replied.

John turned slowly and weighed the large man up. He was pushing 40 and big like a football star. His curly hair was in a losing battle between blond and grey and already thinning. He looked capable enough and mean.

“And just who are your friends?” John countered as matter-of-factly as he could manage.

“Come see,” the man grinned.

“I’ll pass,” John shrugged and turned to go.

Another man, much smaller and like an eager ferret, stepped out to block John’s way. This one was younger and dark haired with sharp features and a smug grin.

“Oh I insist,” the dry-voiced man behind John said.

“You have the wrong man,” John ventured; he could take the small man easy, even allowing for the concealed gun. But the big man would need the beast to subdue him.

“Adam, Adam Stone, right?” the big man said.

John felt his jaw tense and he nearly lost it. Always it was Adam. Instead he shrugged and said, “See, wrong man.”

“My apologies, you’re John aren’t you?” the larger man laughed and again John turned to face him.

“You have the advantage of me friend,” John smiled. It was an easy smile that hinted at friendship but allowed a measure of steel to touch his eyes.

“Makin, Art Makin,” the man’s smile was lazy now, almost as if the fake friendly game was getting boring. “I am a friend of Coleridge.”

“Of course you are,” John sighed.

The big man blinked. He was hardly aware of it but with his eyes open Stone looked cornered but when he reopened them from his blink John was in his face and mid-air.

The ferret gaped as John Stone cannoned into his friend and knocked him clear across the parking lot. “Sheeet,” he drawled, before remembering his gun. His fingers chewed fabric for the 9mm and he had to look down to untangle it.

John dropped to a crouch and weighed up the threat from the groaning man on the ground. He would be slow for a moment or two, he judged. Ferret was next. By the time Ferret drew his gun John was up close and stood relaxed in front of him an arm’s length away.

“Really,” John said incredulously and looked dismissively at the pistol in the man hands. Then one classic jaw punch put the man out for the count.

By the time Makin got to his feet John Stone was gone.

A moment later a woman ran up and looked aghast. “He took you?” she gasped.

“Oh yeah,” Makin growled.

“What about the girl then?” the woman, a petite fierce-eyed Latina, asked.

“As far as we know she is a civilian,” Makin said, “Probably just skirt. We will let Coleridge call it.” The whole time his eyes glared towards town where John must have fled to.

“What about that truck? We could…” the woman began.

Makin shook his head. “Coleridge said to just watch for now.”

“Then what was this all about?” the woman asked looking at the still stunned ferret-faced man on the ground.

“I thought it was an opportunity, but news flash: we fucked up,” Makin snarled turning on the woman.

“We did,” she sighed, but it had been Makin’s call, she hoped Coleridge would see that.

John made the store in five minutes flat. Sensing no immediate danger around the truck he made his thanks and swung himself up into the cab. Margaret Dangerfield came out to see him off.

“You want to check the…” she began.

John waved her away with a polite smile. “I’m good thanks, I am sure you did a great job,” he said.

Margaret nodded. “My respects to Augusta,” she smiled back.

John nodded and then the truck roared into life. Damn fool letting yourself get distracted, he chided himself. But the street was clear and in a moment he was tearing up Main Street and away home.


Stacy Dane finally finished her last coffee and gathered up her papers. Nancy was polite as she saw the writer to the door, but she could help shooting a harassed glance at the clock. They should be closed by now.

Outside Garrick watched the lights in the diner go out before Stacy had even cleared the door.

“All freaking day,” Adam groaned, “How much coffee can this girl drink?”

“Maybe she was waiting for someone,” Jared said dismissively, his dark gravel voice having none of the impatience of his young brother.

“Maybe,” Garrick mumbled, his eyes now fixed on the prey. This was the first time he had really seen Stacy Dane and there was something about her that made him uneasy.

“What’s wrong? You think she is in with the hunters?” Adam asked his father.

Garrick shrugged off the question.

“That’s what we are going to find out neh?” Jared rasped already making a move. “Bring the car,” he told his brother.

Adam shot a quizzical look at his father, but Garrick sat back in his seat, all his attention now on Stacy. I guess Jared is running the show, Adam decided and reached for the ignition key.

“Make sure no one is about,” Garrick said, but Jared was already out of the car and striding along the shadow side of the street matching Stacy’s pace step for step.

At the last house Stacy suddenly swung off the sidewalk and began crossing the road towards her stalker. Like a ghost Jared stopped and slunk back into the shadow of a porch. Meanwhile Adam slowly brought the car around behind him willing the car not to be noticed until Stacy had finished crossing the street and ducked down the side alley towards the motel. He did not relax even when she passed from sight and Jared followed her. Instead he sped up and made the turn to follow them.

At the sound of a car behind her Stacy half turned, but as she did so something swept her up and carried her effortlessly into the shadows. There was no time for panic and whoever had her, stopped her mouth with a large hard hand. Coleridge, you bastard, she thought, curiously unafraid. The hunter’s strong arm tactics probably posed no danger to her and he was just grandstanding.

Still she was angry and wriggled desperately against the leather vice that held her. She could smell the stale cowhide and something else: tobacco, whisky, the deeply masculine scent somehow disturbed her. Suddenly she wasn’t sure it was a regular hunter.

It took a moment more to sense that the man who held her was familiar somehow and then she was bundled into the trunk of a car.

“Damn you,” she cursed in a muffled voice once the trunk was closed.

Then she felt the car speeding away and for the first time she was afraid.


By the time Garrick and his sons reached the ranch with Stacy, John was already back with the truck-load of supplies. John Stone had wasted no time in telling Sundance about his encounter with Art Makin and Ferret Boy, as he styled him.

“They have had eyes on us since you all left,” the Navajo told him, “I have put every available gun at the perimeter and Augusta has been reorganising the place for a siege. It is good you have those supplies. Once your father gets here I doubt if anyone is leaving for a while.”

John had thought about the next full moon and the hunt. Hopefully this would all blow over by then or things could get complicated.

The men were still talking when Garrick’s party drove in. Garrick got out at once and crossed the asphalt to where the two men were standing. Seeing Sundance’s body stance and the concern etched on his face the old man said, “Yes, I smelled them.” The hunters were way too obvious for his liking. They were either supremely confident or amateurs and neither boded very well for the pack. Then to Jared and Adam he said, “Take the girl to Augusta… and Jared, make her feel welcome. She is going to be scared about now.”

Jared snorted and his face suggested that soothing the foolish woman was not high on his agenda. But Adam nodded emphatically and even gave his father a reassuring half-smile.

Stacy was blinking and confused as Adam helped her from the trunk, but before she could even speak Jared took her arm and half led and half carried her towards the house with Adam striding after them.

Garrick and Sundance watched them go before saying any more.

“So we have a siege, boss,” Sundance sighed.

“Looks that way old friend,” Garrick agreed. Then he smiled at John. “Saying some fond farewells while you in town?” The old man winked.

John frowned and wondered how his father could possibly know about him and Alice.

“Didn’t that motel have a shower boy?” Sundance chuckled.

The two older men exchanged knowing looks and grinned. John blushed. He realised they could smell Alice on him. He decided he would definitely shower before he confronted Adam; if only to be tactful.

“Dad, I had a run in with some guy called Makin. He and two others were waiting for me outside the motel,” John changed the subject.

Garrick glared, his eyes flickering in his head as if a thousand thoughts were running through his mind. “They openly attacked you?” he asked with some urgency.

“I didn’t exactly give them the chance. But I think they were about to take me to their leader,” John explained in a grim voice.

“Shit,” his father sighed and then waving his son away, “This is escalating too fast.” Then he took Sundance by the arm and began leading him to one side. You had better fill me in as to what has happened while I was in town,” he said as they walked away leaving John to wonder what he was going to tell Adam.


Stacy was bundled into a room without ceremony cursing and fighting all the way.

“Who the hell are you?” she raged slapping at a grinning Jared who marched her just ahead of him.

“I think you know who we are, I think you know far too much,” his voice steel cold.

“Jared,” Adam cut in, “Back off a bit will you?” the younger man was concerned that this was overkill.

“Yes Jared, please leave her to me,” came a woman’s voice.

Looking around and expecting to see a dungeon, Stacy was surprised to be confronted with a large ranch kitchen and a rather stern but gently smiling woman who appeared to be in her 40s. She knew at once she was looking at Augusta Stone, the matriarch of this strange clan and Garrick Stone’s wife.

“Who the hell are you?” Stacy decided to play dumb.

“I’m Augusta, and I will thank you to moderate your language young lady,” Augusta said in a frim maternal voice.

“My language, are you kidding, what the hell lady? I just got jacked off the street and…” Stacy snarled.

Augusta held up a hand and glared at the girl. “I know that this is all very unfortunate, my husband seems to think you are friends with Mr Coleridge, but please moderate your language, I won’t tell you again.” Then to Jared and Adam she said, “You can go now gentlemen.”

“Okay mom,” Jared said, looking like he was free of a tiger.

Adam snorted in amusement and both men left.

Once they had gone Stacy relaxed and turned to confront her new captor. She was in. After all these months she had hit the god-loving mother load. Now maybe she could use this to her advantage. “So what the hell is this all about?” she snarled and squared up to Augusta.

Augusta sighed and shook her head in disappointment. Then she reached out to steady the excited young woman with both hands on the girl’s shoulders. “Listen, I think you know who we are. I think you have been interfering in our family business for some time now. You, my dear young woman, are somewhat out of your depth. For that reason I will cut you a tiny bit of slack. But I warn you if you were my daughter and used language like that, then I would turn you over my knee and bare your little bottom for a good sound spanking. Believe me young lady, you are not too old.”

Seeing hard cold honesty written in the older woman’s face Stacy quietened down and visibly gulped. I am not your daughter, she thought, nor am I about to let you spank me like I am a kid, but she said none of this. She opted instead for, “Yes Ma’am.” Yes ma’am, are you going lame?

“Better,” August smiled and lifted her firm hands from the woman. “Now let me explain. You are to be our guest for a week or two. Here there are rules and you will obey them. I know this is a huge inconvenience and I won’t embarrass us both by inviting you to lie by asking too many questions of you now. I have a good stout hairbrush and some soap for liars as well as cursing and you don’t want to find that out.”

Stacy glowered at the woman, unsure if her blushing was from anger or something else. In any case, she felt an odd gooey feeling in her tummy that reminded her for some reason of her grandmother.

“You are either in league with our enemies or you are unwittingly in danger from them. Either way you are safer here. Do you understand?” Augusta continued.

“Not really,” Stacy sighed. “But what the h-heck, I guess for now I have no choice.”

“Good girl,” Augusta said warmly. “Now you must be hungry.”

To be continued

4 Responses to “In the Service of the Wolf: Part XVI”

  1. 1 Kim B

    Just to say I am really enjoying this story. 🙂

  2. Love every chapter. Just got caught up

    This is extremely hot and smoldering.
    Please more and more


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