Creed's Claim(9)

By: Mina Carter

Inside, things went from bad to worse. The place was crammed to the rafters with people from town. Familiar faces that Kait had known all her life, like Marvis who taught elementary, and George from the store. She looked around the room, spotting face after face…hell, even Sheriff Anderson was in here, looking at her with the dark eyes she’d come to associate with whatever the hell cult this was.

None of them wore the friendly smiles she was used to seeing, though. Instead, they were all viewing her with suspicion.

The sheriff was the first to speak. “She saw? She knows what we are?”

Lilly nodded. “She saw enough, yes. There was no avoiding it. The intruders didn’t care they were revealing themselves to humans.”

There was that use of “human” again. As though these people weren’t. Kait took a tiny step toward her friend’s side. She seemed to hold some authority in whatever weird setup this was. Hopefully that would help and get them all out of here in one piece.

“She knows and she’s not married to one of us.” Anderson’s voice was not friendly. “You know the law as well as I do, Enforcer. She has to die.”

She had to die.

Kait froze in place, feeling like her feet were rooted to the floor. Her heart pounded in her ears. Did he really just say…? Her world stopped turning. All of her attention focused on that one little sentence. Surely this was taking roleplay a little too far?

Lilly inclined her head. “I do and she isn’t. Yet.”

At that, Kait’s head snapped around to look at her. “Yet?”

Lilly gave a warning shake of her head, her attention on Anderson. “You know how delicate bringing someone into our world is, since your brother had to bring his wife in. It’s a long process, and not completed quickly…unless rushed by other circumstances. Unforeseen circumstances like this.”

“You mean to tell me someone was bringing her in?” Anderson frowned, standing. “Who?”

Kait didn’t miss the tension rolling around the room as he advanced on Lilly. She didn’t back down, though, glaring up at him. A shiver seemed to cover her skin, as though something moved underneath it.

“Who, Enforcer?” the sheriff demanded. “Or I’ll do your job for you. Or maybe,” he looked over, raking a glance down Kait that made her feel sick. “I’ll claim her myself.”

The door opened and closed behind them but Kait daren’t take her eyes off the little interplay between Lilly and the sheriff.

“Touch her and die,” a deep voice said behind her.

A deep, familiar voice. Creed.

With a gasp, Kait whirled around. Creed stood behind her, but this was Creed as she’d never seen him before. He’d always had that bad boy edge, an indefinable aura of danger that had drawn her like a bee to honey, but now he radiated lethality. His usually blue eyes were darkened, the color eaten up by fury as he looked at the other man.

“Kaitlyn Turner is mine. Always has been. Always will be. Anyone has a problem with that, they can take it up with me in the pit.”

* * *

Thanks to the call from Bennett, Creed knew that he was walking into a hot situation, and humans finding out about the bears in their midst was about as hot as it got. The clan, all clans, had rules everyone was required to abide by or get the Itan, the bear badass in charge, and his enforcers breathing down their necks. Enforcers like Creed and Lilly, whose fragile feminine form was the best concealment for the meanest she-bear Creed had ever known. Head Enforcer for the Itan, they all took orders from her.

All apart from Anderson, who was a dickhead. He’d had an issue with Lilly ever since she’d been named as Head, always niggling at her decisions and inciting others to argue with her. Creed wasn’t an idiot. The guy’s request to become an enforcer had been turned down several times. He was too volatile and irrational to enforce their laws, no matter what his role in human life was. The fact that his badge meant diddly-squat in the lodge obviously really bugged the shit out of him.

So, he’d expected a shit-storm when Bennett had called him into the lodge, even though he was technically rostered off tonight, but not this. Never this. As soon as he’d opened the door, Kaitlyn’s scent had hit him like a truck doing Mach 1, and the situation went from a possible bust up with a couple of local hotheads right through to outright murder if anyone so much as looked sideways at her.

Like the way Anderson just had. Rage filled Creed, boiling over to consume every cell in his body in a lightning fast reaction. His bear, normally placid and hard to reach, was there, just under the surface to feed him its strength as he glared the other man down.

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