Halloween Werewolf howls and yowls, shapeshifter lovers.
I'd planned to continue Kailla, new human lady in town, and Thundercloud, my silver god-wolf... their mating-love story. I was planning to write their Halloween Eve date at The Bohemian Thunder Club.
However, it turns out the fate of Talbot's Peak hangs in the balance. Damien, the werewolf thug-alpha who is Dante's sire—the vicious werewolf who originally took over the town of Talbot's Peak—is back in town with a particular vengeance for town mayor, Gil. Damien has a message, one that can't be refused... once the warning has been delivered, our beloved mayor must decide which path he chooses.
But here's the back story...
Damien, Werewolf Godfather For Halloween
Dante took long moments to look each of his Guardian Protectors in the eye—six of them sat before him in a semi-circle. Their emergency meeting inside his Secure Room, had been intense. They'd discussed options, solutions...offered various opinions. The future and safety of every shifter and supernatural who lived in Talbot's Peak hung in the balance, and the angry frustration was palpable—as if a rival pack of werewolves chewed on him.
"Yeah," Dante conceded to his trusted inner circle, "I like the squirrel man. Gil has been good for the Peak. But as you say, it might be time for him to either resign as mayor. Or we'll do a recall election. Let the people decide if they want to trade state money for the freedom to run their own lives."
Shoving his hand through his hair, Dante growled a sigh, and sat back. "Holy freakin' howls, my desk is covered with complaints, actual written letters. The Peak's email system almost blew up. Glad we don't do the social media thing–-too much NSA exposure. But scat hell," Dante snarled, "I couldn't walk around the club without my shifter and supernatural patrons stopping me, and pointedly saying Gil was looking damn good as dinner—fried, boiled, baked, spit-roasted over a campfire, charcoaled, barbequed, smoked slowly...you name it. And those were the polite folks."
Dante paused, his rumbly chuckle dry, with little mirth. "My staff finally did an email campaign to let everyone know we fooled the mayor and friends into believing it was state money—that they and their loved ones were still safe from prying state eyes—from state regs and rules—from inspectors."
"Like we need inspectors breathing down our necks, telling us how to run our businesses. You run a bad business here. No customers. Real simple."
Dante swore real sparks flew from Kalindi's eyes. The owner of the local ice creamery was normally angel-gentle. Except when riled. Then her goddess side super-stormed, lightning included.
"Quite a psy op to accomplish that mission—deceiving Gil, Louie, and Vernon. Then, driving off those two undercover agent posing as a state officials." Delvezio wolf-snarled, baring his teeth briefly. "All that time I and my team could have made deals, brought in more organic produce and products. As it was I had to let some good offers go."
"Temporary setback, Del." Leaning forward, Dante clapped his Greek cousin on the shoulder. "By the Wolf Moon Mother, we'll make up for it," he assured. "Politics is a bloody fight no one wins."
"It's been gawd-awful hunting down, and erasing all the cyber tracks. Again." Ezzy, hacker extraordinnaire, spoke in a clipped manner. She crossed her arms, and angrily tossed her waist-long red tresses. "Someone with the moniker, poindexter, is out to infiltrate Talbot's Peak via the state's computer system. Whoever this poindexter is, he's behind handing out the money grants. Just discovered that before this meeting."
"Poindexter." Dante crunched the name between his partially emerged fangs.
"We're game-planning how to sniff him/her/it out, and observe...before going in for the kill. Gotta know who is pulling the strings from the cyber shadows."
"Keep me in the know," Dante commanded. "Minute by minute, if necessary."
"Will do, wolf boss man."
Dante barked out a growl. The thought slid into his mind like a weasel thief in the night. "Maybe, we'll sic this poindexter on Gil, Louie, and Vernon. The true danger of this situation might sink in, seep through those thick skulls of theirs—if their computer systems are compromised. If you, Ezzy, and your team, aren't around to save their butts. As you do daily."
"And thanks to Ezzy," Kitty gave a nod to the fox shifter woman, "to all of our Guardian teams, everyone is still safe and sound in Talbot's Peak. And, that's the only reason I haven't given Gil, Louie, and Vernon, a good cat-clawing—drawn serious blood. At least, not yet."
Dante fastened his gaze on his Kitty as she fumed. Her gorgeous eyes glowed dangerously. With time, patience, and his love, his mate had discovered her power.
"And thanks to Delvezio," Kitty gave him a wide smile, "we did fool those 'mansion-trio' fools into believing they were getting their precious money from the state. What the scat-attachment is to believing the establishment really cares about the folks in this town is beyond me. Especially in this day and age of massive *out the big fat wazoo* corruption. What? Do those three have father-issue complexes? And need a daddy-state?" Kitty snorted a sarcastic yowl, then folded her arms. "Louie is lucky I didn't call him out with his infamous meat cleaver. He's double-lucky I was too busy convincing good families not to move out of Talbot's Peak. To wait until we could sort this all out."
"I even gave Louie and Vernon the head's up," Kalindi spoke up. "That they were about to lose their strong customer base because of a possible exodus out of the Peak. That all of our business would suffer."
About to respond, Dante opened his mouth just as the emergency buzzer sounded. He sprang off his chair, leaped the few steps, and jerked open the door. His long-time trusted friend, White Fang, the super wolf, didn't wait for an invitation. He slipped inside fast. Dante secured the door.
"Your sire is on the outskirts of Talbot's Peak." Even as he spoke, White Fang spun and faced Dante. "Minutes ago I spotted Damien and three of his top pack enforcers while flying perimeter patrol. His limo is unmistakable."
"Yeah, black as the tar pits. Long as a giant's casket," Dante growly affirmed.
"Long story short, I directed the ole super hearing. Mayor Gil is about to get one spookalooza visit. Although," White Fang paused for a beat, "on the positive side, roadkill wasn't mentioned."
"I told those know-it-all idjits that Damien wouldn't take kindly to them compromising the Peak with state money." Kitty rushed to Dante's side.
"Even with the tunnel speeder, I won't get there in time." Dante gripped the door handle.
"I'm on it." White Fang flashed out the door, saying, "I'll intervene if it looks like Gil is about to wear a pair of cement boots."
Damien settled himself in the mayoral chair. He tested out the swivel mechanism, then gave a derisive snort which became a low growl. "I should have brought my own chair. This is only fit for a piss-pathetic squirrel playin' at being town mayor. Scat moon, it stinks like nuts in here."
"Lights on, boss?" one of his enforcers asked.
"Naw. I want the squirrel to sweat. Shadowy monstrous figures and all. It's the Halloween season."
"We're werewolves, boss...what's with the shadowy figure business?"
"More godfather like, boys... but put your werewolf masks on, in case the mayor needs some more convincing. Now shut up. I hear the squirrel pattering up the steps."
Damien leashed his own inner werewolf. Tight. Hard. It wouldn't serve his purpose to fang-shred Gil into bloody bits. The unspoken truce between him and his disowned son—one *son of a wolf* formidable rival—served Damien's current plans.
The door opened, and Damien watched the squirrel man walked inside. "Dante? You wanted an emergency meeting? What's wrong?"
On that cue, one of Damien's enforcers slammed the door shut. Gil jumped like a squirrel whose tail had been bitten, and whirled to the door.
"You're not going anywhere, mayor. If you value that squirrel-human hide of yours, you'll hear me out."
"Who–who–who...?" Gil sounded like a distressed owl. Damien almost guffawed in a howl.
"Damien's the name. Remember that name, mayor?"
Silence. Utter silence. The squirrel man froze as if he'd been bodily tossed into an icy river.
Rising to his full height, Damien gestured to the chair. "Have a seat, mayor. Let's keep this civilized."
"Civ–civ-civilized?" Gil crept toward the chair, his beady eyes crisscrossing.
"My disowned son, is far more generous than I..it appears." Damien resumed his seat, posturing himself like the godfather from the movie of the same name. Once Gil managed to perch on the edge of the chair, he continued. "As I understand it, you were given sufficient funds for your...what is it? ... the Autumn Nip and Romp Fun Festival?"
"Close enough," Gil squeaked out.
"I also understand his mate—that cat woman—explained in no uncertain terms why it was unwise to accept funds from a state agency... yet, you did so."
"It was forced upon..."
Damien bolted uprigh, pinning the shrinking Gil with his gaze. "Do you know why I took over this off-the-map town?" he boomed in werewolfian.
"Uh...uh, no...but, isn't that what wolves do? Take–take over territory?"
Damien uttered a short irritated growl. "Of course, we do. Scat, I thought walnuts were good for brain health. Don't you eat enough walnuts, mayor?"
"I'll...I'll eat more."
Damien stalked in front of the puny desk, then glared down at the scrunched up were-squirrel who still maintained his human form.
"Granted," Damien huffed in a pant of breath, "I am an ego maniac. So a drug-dealing psychiatrist will tell you. Yes, owning a town is ferociously appealing. But do you have any clue whatsoever why I really decided on this dangerous *get hunted down* move in the human-ruled world?"
Gil shook his head, his lips a straight line, as if they'd been permanently glued together.
Again Damien drew in a large breath, reminding himself the mayor was not particularly tasty. "I wanted to build a safe harbor, as they say. A safe den for my family, my pack. My grandpups. You," he shoved his finger in Gil's face, "you, and that *thinks he's tough* rat, and that turncoat scat-brain, Vernon, are endangering my family, my pack. My grandpups."
Striding to the side of the room, Damien tightened the leash on his werewolf, stopping his shift. "You don't get it, squirrel. Talbot's Peak only survives and grows as a safe town for you, your family—for shifters, and Lupa knows what kind of other supernaturals—because my disowned son makes certain everyone is protected. He, and those who surround him protect this territory from invaders you wouldn't dream about in your worst nightmares."
"When you have a moment, mayor, you might want to think about this scenario. If my disowned son decides to build his own town, how many in Talbot's Peak would pick up, leave immediately? I've been told his Pleasure Club can already accommodate the current population, should there be one of those prepper, *end of the world* emergencies.
"If your peanut brain is capable, think about this possibility. All my disowned son has to do is choose a suitable location, send in the planners and builders. He could replicate this place in less than a year, given his resources. You," Damien spun to Gil, "would have to rely on state aid, state handouts to help your rapidly lessening population. Count on the slackers, not many of them, to be at the head of any line with their paws out.
"Also, mayor, do give this consideration." Damien straightened his suit jacket, an imitation of Marlon Brando in "The Godfather". "You have no standing army to protect yourself from those who are only too willing to destroy every shifter on Earth." Damien paused for effect. "It's doubtful Mr. Turkle and his gun-toting clan would come to your rescue."
Damien sauntered toward the door. He tipped his invisible hat. "Good luck, as they say, mayor. Oh, as a matter of course you might want to know those were not state funds that were 'forced' upon you... or, an offer you couldn't refuse. You, and the chef rat, and that wolf turncoat, were duped, bamboozled, played during that recent meeting with my disowned son. Yeah scat, I got my own official sources. But gotta give that black-sheep son of mine a big paw-slap of credit. Turns out he's a fang off the ole werewolf block when it comes to deception—when it comes down to protecting his pack, and the pack's territory."
"Ah," Damien spun from the door. "Almost forgot this warning, mayor. Quite neglectful of me. Should you, and your friends, decide to go with the system, as they say, I plan to immediately establish my complete dominance over Talbot's Peak. Roadkill reports in the Guts and Butts Gazette will skyrocket, let's say. You should also know a new version of the werewolf mammoth merely awaits my command.
"Of course, my disowned son, and his Guardians, would try to protect you, all of you remaining Peakites. However, he, they will be weakened by rebuilding, by providing homes for those who leave this town. After all, my disowned son's first alpha responsibility will be to those loyal to him." Damien loosed a bark of diabolical-sounding laughter. "Let the werewolf wars begin.
"Confidentially, mayor, for your squirrel ears only, my black-sheep son is too powerful to fight jaw to jaw. Yes, I admit it. I failed to put the dominant-bite on him soon enough—due to my underestimation of his alpha abilities. And, rule number one, I don't start wars I could lose.
"One more little tidbit, a nut tossed your way, mayor. Look at it this way. Do you want to live under the alpha protection of my disowned son? Or, beneath my much less benevolent protection?"
A huge wolfish grin split Damien's face as he strolled through the door one his enforcers immediately opened. "Trick or treat, Mayor Gil."
"Scat! I didn't get to go werewolf on the lousy squirrel..."
"Next time, Deboner, next time. I promise."
Wishing you love and passion on the wild side ~
Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance