My favorite scene of Hidden Magic

Copyright © 2018 by India Kells

All rights reserved

Hunter had been driving toward the coast until another call from one of the patrol cars made him switch course to go back into the mainland again. Twice the phone rang from Asher, but Hunter ignored the calls, preferring the line to be free for the cars following them to call in case their trajectory changed.

Brant didn’t utter a word as they drove at breakneck speed and Hunter was just as silent. Although he never liked being trapped in the small metal contraptions, he had to admit that the human cop knew how to drive one. The landscape passed at such a speed, it was difficult to recognize anything, but it still wasn’t fast enough for Brant.

When they received the last call, telling them that the kidnappers’ car had turned into an unmarked dirt road, Hunter’s driving grew even more reckless, and he started talking. Telling Brant not to kill the men, that he needed them alive, so they could be interrogated, but the werelynx stayed silent in the passenger seat. He wouldn’t lie or give his word when he knew he couldn’t keep it. Kat’s safety and well-being were paramount, and he couldn’t guarantee what he would do once that was settled. The feline inside him had a thirst for blood, and even with the three men dead at his feet, it may not be enough to quench it. The only reason he wasn’t already on a rampage was the certainty that Kat was still alive and breathing, but that wasn’t enough for Brant to let any of the men live.

Hunter grew quiet once more as they approached their destination. Immediately, Brant lowered his window and started to smell the air. It was getting colder, and the lower temperature didn’t help to convey scents at all. Not in his human form at least.

The unmarked patrol cars were parked on the main road with one of the officers waiting for them. Hunter stopped on the side as they both ran toward him.

“I sent the other guys on surveillance. There’s only one house there that’s quite large. I’ve already requested to find out who owns it. SWAT is on their way, and should be here within the hour.”

Hunter took out his gun, looking at Brant. “Too long. The victim may not have that time. We need to get her out now. Advise your men.”

The other officer didn’t seem impressed. “You have no jurisdiction here, detective.”

Hunter’s look didn’t leave any room for doubt. “She’s one of mine and I protect mine in Easthallows. You can work with us or keep out of our way. Understood officer?”

The man wasn’t happy about how Hunter stretched his authority but nodded. “I have one man at the back of the house, and one on each side. We’ve only seen the three kidnappers so far and the victim, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anybody else inside.”

When Hunter looked at Brant, he knew what he was thinking. If they could get closer to the house, they would know how many people were in there.

“Stand ready. And tell your men I want the bastards alive. All of them, unless they’re a direct threat to the hostage.”

Brant knew the message was directly addressed to him, but again, he stayed silent.

Once the instructions were given, the three men made a wide circle to the left toward the house. They hadn’t walked more than twenty feet before Brant caught a whiff of Kat mixed with four distinct odors from the men inside, plus the two strangers from the bakery, although it was diluted, meaning they probably weren’t on the premises anymore.

Getting his emotions under control, he let his animal take over, shimmering just below the surface, examining the surroundings, listening for anything that could give him a clue to help prepare for the attack.

Just as the house came into view, the officer signaled that he would join his colleague on the right, leaving Brant and Hunter alone.

“How many?”

Brant took his time to be certain of his answer. “I only detect four of them plus Kat. Same with the scents.”

“I’m serious, Brant. I need them alive. Don’t kill them unless it’s to save Kat.”

“I can’t make that sort of promise.” And without waiting any longer, Brant started to make his way toward the house. Hunter stayed close, probably less for his own protection than to make sure he could keep an eye on him. Remaining within the cover of the trees, he checked the front entrance that was probably guarded. Same with the back one. For a house this size, it was the obvious entry choices. There wasn’t a side entrance, only one wide window leading to the basement. When he looked at the human cop, he saw that they both agreed.

The only problem was that they would be visible from the moment they left the trees to when they reached the house. The light that reflected on the panes of glass made it difficult to see if anyone was watching. Brant had to move until he got a clearer view.

Reassured nobody had seen them, Brant dashed out from the cover of the trees and ran, Hunter on his heels. One quick look at the basement window confirmed that it was empty. Hunter checked some more, mouthing something about an alarm, before nodding and working on the locks. It was an older house which worked in their favor. Once it was open, they both slid inside.

Immediately, Brant noticed something. Although he could still smell Kat’s presence, alive, inside the house, something was missing. The stench of her fear. It had followed her from what he could remember at the bakery as well as at Merritt’s house and inside the car. But not here. What did that mean?

Pushing that question aside, Brant preferred to focus on the fact that she was still breathing. Any other questions could be analyzed later.

Hunter was already headed to the stairs leading up. Two men murmured, and he couldn’t detect anything from the third or fourth or from Kat.

Gun drawn, the human cop took a look at him and Brant nodded. He was ready for anything if it meant his Kat would be safe. Both were careful not to make any sound as they went up. The staircase ended at a closed door. Hunter tested it to find it unlocked. Another look from him, obviously asking if he could sense anybody just outside that door.

Brant slid beside the man, closing his eyes. Without knowing the house and its layout, it was tricky. There were two people on the main floor and two others above their heads, which was probably the attic. Unless they opened the door and Brant took a whiff, it wasn’t possible to know where everybody was. However, if he had to follow his instincts and nose, Kat was probably upstairs.

They heard someone walk silently past the door, their footsteps heavy and purposeful. There were no other sounds from the attic.

When silence returned, and the house stopped creaking, Brant moved.

He felt more than saw Hunter ready to attack. He may have only been human, but he had a way of moving without making a sound. Even better, he seemed to let him lead, which Brant respected. And it was for that reason that as soon as they saw the first man, he refrained from ending his life, and only deprived him of air until he fell unconscious to the floor. Hunter was quick and only clubbed the second one unconscious.

It was far from satisfying in Brant’s opinion, but there were still two more scumbags in the house after all.

Climbing the stairs, it was easy to locate the breathing and beating hearts. His entire being wanted to focus on the soft tempo of Kat’s heart, but he couldn’t until they had eliminated the threat to her.

The stairs led to an open area, so he couldn’t get as close as he would have liked. It took a minute for Hunter to join him. He didn’t know why it took him so long, maybe he’d been communicating with the other humans outside.

“We can’t leave her like this.” The male’s voice sounded more annoyed than concerned. “This wasn’t what we expected. If we can’t get what we want, why keep her? It’s a lot of trouble for nothing in my opinion.”

Brant’s blood boiled at the words, but he was bidding his time. But through the haze of fury, he didn’t recognize either of the two men’s voices he had seen at the bakery, although his nose told him they had been close to them at some point.

“I know, but maybe if we wait a little more, she will come to her senses.”

“And what if it’s only a ploy? For all we know it’s a trick. She may be trying to fool us.”

“That’s why we’re keeping her here for the time being. Tomorrow, if she’s still like that, we’ll try a little pain. She’s cute enough to keep us entertained until we grow tired of her. Might as well turn a bad situation into a good one. And if we’re lucky, I know a couple of guys who are looking for a permanent housekeeper, if you get my drift.”

The evil laughter echoing in the attic was drowned by Brant’s roar of fury as he launched himself against the first man. The moron only had time to turn in his direction before Brant took his body and swung it against the wooden wall with such force, a sickening crack resonated before he fell limply on the floor.

The second one took out his gun and aimed, but Brant didn’t care, his lynx wanted blood and no amount of bullets would be able to stop him.

Before he could reach him and tear his throat out, thunder boomed, and the man fell like a tree before him. It was only a second later that Brant realized that Hunter had shot and killed him.

Senses on high alert, Brant examined the room, listening to Kat. Even if the fight had only lasted mere seconds, he realized he hadn’t heard her speak or scream. He knew she was there, her heart and breathing, as well as the smell of her skin confirmed her presence, but something was wrong.

“Are you all right?”

Brant ignored Hunter as he moved toward a door. A wall divided the space and there was no doubt Kat was on the other side. Maybe she was bound, or wounded... The idea terrified him, and he had to get to her.

The door was unlocked, and a window shone light into the small space. There she was, on a chair, sitting facing the window, her back to the door.

She was alive. That single fact was almost enough to bring him to his knees. There were people running downstairs now, but he couldn’t care less as his entire being was drawn to the woman in front of him.

As he rounded the chair, he realized that she wasn’t bound to it. She was sitting there, facing forward, hands on her lap. Immobile and eerily quiet.

People came rushing up the stairs, and he heard Hunter barking orders, but he didn’t mind. When he rounded the chair and finally saw Kat after the most agonizing moment of his life, he couldn’t move as he looked into her eyes. They were unseeing, and white as snow.

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