Crescent Moon (Chapter 36)

Adam leaned against the wall just inside the room. He wore jeans, a sleeveless shirt, tennis shoes. His bracelet gleamed dully in the half-light from the hall.

Now that I thought about it, he hadn't had that bracelet on in the cage. Then again, something like that could fall right off your paw.

"How did you get out?" I demanded.

Confusion nickered over his face. "Out?"

I cast a glance at Luc, who was staring back and forth between us. I needed to get Adam away from the boy, especially since I might have to kill him.

"Let's discuss this outside."

"Fine." He gave Luc a stern glare. "Stay here."

Adam headed for the front of the house, and I followed, fingers surreptitiously unzipping the compartment that held the silver knife.

Outside, the night was completely dark. The moon was gone; the sun wasn't yet up. I pulled out the weapon, tightening my fingers around the hilt. "I'm taking Luc."

Adam faced me, saw the knife, and laughed, "Didn't we do this already? I'm not a werewolf."

He was so different from the man I'd left in the swamp. Sure he looked and sounded the same, but the snakelike coldness had left his gaze and the nasty smirk no longer twisted his mouth. When he spoke he didn't say evil, hurtful things. At least not yet.

"I saw you change," I said.

Something flickered in his eyes. "When?"

He didn't deny it, and even while I'd seen the truth, believed it, too, somewhere inside I must have been hoping for a miracle. "You don't remember?"

"Just tell me when and where."

"About an hour ago. Where Charlie died. I left you in a cage."

He cursed.

"How did you get out?" I repeated.

He ignored my question, clenching and unclenching his fists in great agitation.

"Adam! I'm not going to let you hurt Luc."

Fury spread across his face, and quick as a forked tongue, his hand shot out and grabbed the knife by the blade, taking it away with an ease and quickness that was mind-boggling. He flipped the weapon end over end and it stuck in a fence that separated the trailer park from a used-car lot.

I fought the urge to run. "I'm not leaving without him."

"You aren't leaving with him, either. He's my son."

"You lied to me."

"I he all the time, cher. Anymore I wonder if I even know what's a lie and what isn't."

"You said you weren't the loup-garou!"

He sighed. "I'm not."

"And I should believe an admitted pathological liar?"

"Believe what you want."

I had a thought Maybe the loup-garou wasn't harmed by silver. Maybe all the tests I'd run on Adam had been a waste of time. Hell, maybe he could slip through bars, or at the least bend them with his superhuman strength.

Adam started for the trailer.

"Where are you going?"

'To tell Sadie I'll be back in an hour. I have to go into the swamp."

"What? Why?"

He ignored me, disappearing inside for a few moments before coming out again, then grabbing me by the arm. "You're going with me."

I tried to pull away. "I don't mink so."

He could easily strangle the life out of me and toss me into the swamp as alligator bait. I was starting to think he'd done it before.

His grip tightened. "I leave you here and you disappear with Luc. I don't have time to search for you. I can't leave New Orleans until the new moon comes."

I was so surprised he'd admitted that, I allowed him to shove me into the passenger seat of my car, where I promptly got a dart gun up the ass. I moved the paraphernalia out of the way as he skirted the front fender, then got behind the wheel.

His gaze flicked over the gun. "So that's how you did it"

I didn't bother to answer.

He picked up the weapon, checked the ammo, found it empty, and tossed the thing into the backseat.

"Why are we going into the swamp?" I asked.

"I have something to do."

"I don't suppose I can convince you not to."


"Frank Tallient will wonder what happened to me. When he gets here – "

"He's coming?" Adam's voice deepened, and the glare he shot my way was downright cold. This was the man I'd left in the cage. "What did you do?"

I swallowed and forced myself to answer. "I told Frank where he could find the loup-garou."

Adam cursed. "When was that?"

"Less than an hour ago."

Some of his tension eased. "We'll be there before him."

"He'll raise a stink if he can't find me. You can't leave Luc alone."

"What are you talking about?"

"If you kill me, you'll fry."

The death penalty was alive and well in Louisiana, though I didn't know for certain if they actually fried people anymore, or how often.

"You think I'm going to kill you, cher?"

"You've killed before."

"I've risked more than I've ever risked in my life to protect you," Adam said softly.

"I don't understand."

"You will."

We remained silent for the rest of the drive to the mansion, as well as the hike into the swamp.

The sun was up. The day was going to be another scorcher. Nevertheless, I couldn't stop shivering.

Adam was insane, if not a werewolf. He was going to kill me and probably everyone I'd spoken to about him. Cassandra, Detective Sullivan, Frank. Had he killed Mrs. Favreau?

He'd most likely killed Charlie, the mystery stranger, and Mrs. Beasly. Such carnage was beyond my comprehension.

But what really made me ill was the idea of leaving Luc in Adam's care. What would happen to the child with a monster for a father?

I stepped into the clearing first, stopping so abruptly, Adam nearly ran me over from behind.

The cage was still there; the lock was still locked.

And Adam was still inside.