I stiffened, chagrined, while my inner wolf howled with humiliating laughter.
“Do you have to draw it all? It’s taking forever,” I snapped.
Her partially completed illustration revealed a huge, tattooed man lunging forward in the high beams of a car.
“Yes.” Savannah pointed with her pencil. “Sit. Over there. I don’t need you looming over my shoulder. He’s got a lot of tattoos. They’re hard to remember.”
Sit? Did she just command me like a dog?
My jaw ticked, and I leaned against the wall, staring out the window.
Her talent was remarkable. She could find work as an illustrator in the city, even without magic. I studied her out of the corner of my eye. Pencil in hand, she seemed calm for the first time since I’d met her, as if the images provided catharsis, or the sketching was meditation.
I smiled, pleased.
Finally, she slid the paper across the table and jabbed her finger down. “There, on his neck. I hadn’t really noticed it. There are so many other tattoos, it blended in.”
I rubbed the stubble of my chin. The double-headed wolf, same design, same location. Savannah’s recall was amazing. “They both had one. It must be important, but I don’t know exactly what it might indicate.”
She leaned back and crossed her arms. “But you know something?”
I shifted the paper in my hands, uncertain how much to say. “There are dark legends in werewolf lore and religion of a twin-headed wolf—stories that were told to haunt the moonless nights. Maybe it’s a reference to that.”
Savannah tensed. I could smell the dread creeping across her.
I took both illustrations. “This is excellent work. I’ll circulate it to all the packs around the Great Lakes and see if we get a hit. Also, I’ll have someone look into those tattoos.”
She stood. “Right. You’ve got what you wanted. Now give me my car back. I’ll pay for the magic regulator, but I didn’t authorize any other work.”
I shook my head. “Not a chance. Your car needs help. It’s on the verge of death and not safe to drive. I can’t believe it made it here. It’s like a zombie, shambling down the road.”
She tensed and looked up. “Wait. Are zombies real?”
“I want my car back.”
“When this is over, I’ll return it to you better than new.”
Her eyes flashed. “You’re holding my car hostage, just so I’ll cooperate?”
Why was this even a discussion? The jalopy barely ran.
I glared, temper rising. “So far, you haven’t cooperated much, even when it’s in your best interest. Think of it as payment for you, insurance for me.”
Savannah jutted out a hip and crossed her arms. “Why are you investigating if you’re the werewolf king? To cover things up? Also, why am I talking to you instead of the magic cops, or whatever it is they have around here?”
Werewolf king? I wanted to ram my claws into the wall. Why did she have to make everything so difficult?
Our pack’s position was perilous. Just because a few exiled dockside wolves might be involved, the Order was tightening the screws. If I couldn’t stop these abductions, they were going to invalidate our extra-legal status. We’d lose the right to practice pack law and prosecute crimes on our lands. The shame would be too much to bear.
But I sure as hell wasn’t going to share any of that information with a LaSalle.
I steadied my breathing and fixed her with an impassive stare. “It’s not a cover-up. Werewolves were involved. I have jurisdiction to pursue and punish them under the laws of our pack. Who better to hunt wolves than other wolves?”
“But why you? Shouldn’t you be sitting on some kind of throne, getting your claws manicured?”
I snarled. “Because I’m the best. Because I’ll see it done right. Or would you prefer your highly competent sheriff to handle the investigation going forward?”