Michaels watched the man limp out of the bullpen. Rather than draw attention to himself by talking to himself, he picked up his cell phone. “Alright, explain?”
To his surprise, her voice actually came over the phone rather than simply getting into his head. “That guy was a witch.”
“Like the one the other day?” Not really a comforting thought.
“No. Alright, simple explanation. There are two kinds of witches. The full kind, which are what most think of. Cast spells, brew potions, ride broomsticks. Then there are those that are just gifted, like Laura is now or will be as soon as we can figure out her gift.”
“And that guy?”
“Just gifted, but surprisingly strong. Some serious mojo there.”
“You think that guy might be on Gabe’s level?” Also not a comforting thought, though the fact that the guy needed a cane to walk raised a few more questions.
“No, but tough enough that…” She made a sighing sound. “Alright, no good way to put this. I’m going to need you to go out and get laid.”
“You want me to keep witches out of your head, you’re going to need to get it on. I kind of gave Gabriel a migraine this morning and considering there is a werewolf in town we —”
“We need him at 100%.” He rubbed his forehead. “Fine.”
“And it’s you or Laura and —”
“I said fine.” He managed to keep his voice low. “How the hell does Gabe manage to talk to you without letting people on?” It would have been nice to be able to ask her questions with the guy still here. Letting him walk out might have been a mistake.
“He has an internal monologue, you tend to think out loud. It’s kind of like an introvert extrovert thing.”
“Can you follow that guy?”
“Uh…” She was quiet for a moment. “Well, actually, no.”
“You follow people all the time. You even follow multiple people at a —”
“I told you, the guy has some mojo. And whatever it is, he’s a blank slate to me. Only reason I could detect anything about him was I was already in your head when he showed and you were looking right at him.”
“If I’d known that, I’d have followed him out of here.” Michaels exhaled. “Fill Gabe in.”
“Put this on.” Laura shoved a piece of red cloth at him.
Gabriel raised an eyebrow. “Why?”
“Because I’m a girl with needs.” Laura rolled her eyes.
A look revealed the cloth was a mask. “No.” He handed it back to Laura.
She glared, then turned around. “Ted.” She handed him the mask. “Make them wear these.”
Ted looked down at the scrap of red cloth. He held it up, revealing that Laura had actually embroidered around the edges with gold colored thread. He shrugged, and offered it to Gabriel. “Put this on.”
“No.” Gabriel shook his head.
“Sorry, Laura.” He offered it back to her. “I gave it my best shot.”
“AGH!” Laura threw her hands up into the air and then flung herself onto the sofa. “And I still don’t have any superpowers!”
“Where’s Michaels?” Ted frowned.
“Oh, we were making silver bullets and Erilon had to help a lot since I don’t actually know how to focus my mojo yet, and she’s still kind of low from laying the smackdown on the witch so she sent Michaels out to get laid so we can kick wolf ass.”
“Do you ever find it annoying that such statements actually make sense?” Ted scratched his head.
“Little bit.” Gabriel shrugged.
“We made a dozen of the bullets though. It was pretty cool. Michaels taught me how to work a centrifuge and I didn’t explode it or anything.” Laura grinned.
“Michaels owes Erilon a thank you.” Gabriel chuckled.
“I think that’s kind of what he’s out doing right now.” Ted tried not to smile.
“Gabriel.” She stood up. “How did you figure out what your superpower was?”
“I…” He frowned. “I don’t know. It was just there. I thought some things were normal until I realized they weren’t.”
“You mean whatever my power is I could be doing it already and not even notice?” She folded her arms.
“Ugh.” She let herself fall backward onto the couch again. “So my superpower is melting all Michaels’ kitchen utensils.”
“I know…” Ted chuckled. “I just bought him new ones.”
“Yeah, uh…” Laura squirmed.
“How the hell did you melt those?” Ted stared.
“I told you.” Laura shrugged. “It’s my superpower.”
At least this time Erilon was keeping the commentary to a minimum. And to his surprise, he was actually having a good time. Diana had flown in for a job interview only to quickly realize it had been a complete waste of her time. She was anxious to salvage something out of the trip, even if it was just an evening of seeing the sights.
Which meant he was drinking on the beach under the pier and talking about old cars. “Isn’t it illegal for us to have open bottles on the beach?” She looked down at her beer.
“I’d arrest us…” He took a long drink of his own beer. “But I’m off duty.”
She laughed. “Ahhh…” She smiled playfully. “Does this mean no handcuffs?” She leaned toward him. “No laying down the law?”
Michaels laughed, then leaned forward and met her lips. “I could arrest you for —”
“Nope.” She pounced, knocking him onto back. “I’m placing you under citizen’s arrest for uh…” She tilted her head, then shrugged. “Public indecency.” She frowned. “Wait. Hang on.” She started unbuttoning his shirt, then continued down to unfasten his belt. “There. Now I’m arresting you for public indecency.”
“I think this qualifies as entrapment.” He slid his hands under her shirt.
“You have the right to remain silent.” She kissed him. “If you can.”
“You got me.” He returned the kiss before he began unzipping her dress. “Take me in.”
“With pleasure.” She sat up and managed to give him a smile that was both nervous and mischievous. “I don’t suppose you actually have your handcuffs with, do you?”
Go for it, pet. What the hell. He reached into his back pocket, and offered her the cuffs.
“Put this on.” Ted offered Gabriel the mask.
“Tell me you’re kidding.” Gabriel took it from him.
“Put that on…” Ted smiled. “And take everything else off.” His smile widened when Gabriel began obeying the command. Once the doors closed and it was just the two of them, Gabriel always did as Ted told him. Watching that beautiful man submit to him never failed to send a thrill up his spine, and after figuring out how to pace himself it had been enough to eliminate the need for any medicinal aid. And letting Gabriel come twice for each time Ted himself got off seemed fair enough. His lover was a superhero, after all.
Gabriel tied the mask in place before looking up at Ted again. It covered the upper half of his face and hair, and Laura apparently did know a couple things about embroidery. There was an emblem of some kind in the center of the mask, above Gabriel’s eyes. It looked like a shield with devil horns curling atop it. Ted sat down in the recliner. “Crawl to me, tough guy.”
That command, too, was obeyed, and there was some heat in Gabriel’s smile as he turned his head to kiss the side of Ted’s knee. Ted ordered him to turn around before grabbing rope and binding his wrists to his elbows. Then he made Gabriel bend over the table before spreading his legs and securing his ankles. “Now that I have you at my mercy…” He caressed Gabriel’s hip, trailing a finger across his buttock and then up his back. “What should I do with you?”
“I’ll never talk.” Gabriel’s voice was that low growl that always delighted him.
“We’ll see about that.” Ted took off his belt. “By the time I’m done with you, superhero.” He patted Gabriel’s ass. “You’re going to sing.” It was possible he’d make that literal. The man did have a lovely singing voice when he could be convinced to use it.
Diana collapsed next to him, panting. It took him a few moments to catch his own breath. “Have I convinced you of my innocence yet?” He glanced up at where she’d cuffed his hands to part of the pier.
“I’m thinking of pressing charges.” She ran her hand down his chest. Then she sighed, and reached up to unfasten the cuffs. “Except I have to be at the airport in three hours.” She exhaled. “Damn.”
“This was fun.” He reached over and ran his fingers through her hair.
“I’m not…” She laughed. “I mean I don’t normally…”
“Imprison and interrogate officers of the law?” He raised an eyebrow. He considered telling her it had been a first for him. If Erilon wasn’t there to keep an eye on things, he’d never have considered letting a one night stand, or anyone else for that matter, handcuff him to anything. It had been strangely thrilling. You’re welcome.
“Pick up strange men and handcuff them to piers and…” She chewed her lower lip. “This was fun.” She laughed again, then exhaled. “A lot of fun.”
“Let me drive you back to your hotel?” He started looking around for his pants.
“Thanks.” She hesitated a moment. “Look, um…” The words came out of her in a rush. “The odds of me being back this way anytime soon are really low but just in case could I get your number?”
“You beat me to asking by about two seconds.” He laughed before writing his cell phone number on the back of one of his cards and offering it to her. She quickly did the same with one of hers. “Now, um…” He looked around. “I don’t suppose you remember where you threw my shirt, do you?”
“I, uh…” She stood, then gave him an apologetic look before pointing. His shirt was caught three posts down in the seawater. “Sorry.”
“Eh, I never liked that one anyway.”
Gabriel sat bolt upright. “What…” The phone started to ring, and next to him Ted stirred.
Pet, Michaels is in trouble.
“What kind of trouble?”
I don’t know.
Ted fumbled for the phone. “Hello?” He sat up. “Laura?” Ted’s eyes widened. “What do you mean somebody grabbed Michaels?”
I don’t know. I was talking to Laura and then it was like there was a black hole behind the house. Laura heard a commotion. Michaels yelled for her to run.
“Laura, are you safe?” Ted spoke into the phone, then just clicked the speakerphone button.
“I think so. They grabbed him and dragged him out of the yard. I wanted to go see the car but Erilon told me to stay put, she’d handle it.”
I… Her voice trailed off. I’m sorry, pet. I screwed up.
“What do you mean?” Ted tossed Gabriel his pants.
I told Laura to stay put because I thought I could follow Michaels the way I always do but…
“But whatever this black hole thing is stopped you?” Gabriel narrowed his eyes. Michaels was a cop, and not a little man. Which meant whoever targeted him meant serious business. His partner was in trouble. “That guy from the police station earlier?”
That’s my guess too. I think there it was just ambient but this time he was actively trying to block anything from… She was starting to sound angry. There were two of them. I got that much. And Gabriel?
It was serious. She almost never used his name. “What?”
The guy that grabbed him was a werewolf. An alpha. That’s why I told Laura to just stay put.
“A werewolf has Michaels?” Laura sounded panicked.
“You made the right call, Erilon. Laura, we are on our way to you right now.” Gabriel jerked his pants on.
“What are we going to do?” Ted gave him a wide-eyed look.
“We are going to get you and Laura someplace safe.” He picked up his gun, then the silver bullets Laura had given him. He hesitated a moment. If they grabbed Michaels, they’d know who he was and if they saw him using his abilities… He grabbed the mask. “Then I’m going to go get my partner.”