It was all Nolan had to say to get Sky to shrink in his seat, tucking his chin against his chest.
“Okay, Reaper is scary and not misunderstood at all,” he mumbled but popped up to continue in a stronger voice. “But Frank isn’t bad. Just food motivated. Kevin and Bob are sweethearts! They’re oversized tourists interested in all things human.”
Nolan grinned at Sky’s protectiveness when it came to the underworld minions. Would he be this protective of a dead army if he ever chose to raise one? There was a good chance the answer to that question was a very big yes.
Sky drove them farther away from town and into a rural area with winding roads that gently dipped and rose with the contours of the earth. The sky was fully dark now, but it was nice that even if his mind drifted to thoughts of vampires, he felt safe. How could he not? Two powerful witches were in the car with him.
After about ten minutes, Sky turned down a rutted, gravel driveway that meandered deep into the woods. Within seconds, they lost sight of the main road and drifted deeper into nature. What in the world was going to be at the end of this road? A little witch’s cottage that was overgrown with vines and surrounded by wildlife? A double-wide trailer? A rotting Scottish castle transplanted stone by stone to Connecticut? All of them felt like equal possibilities.
Just as his brain was conjuring up more options, the trees pulled back to reveal a quaint two-story farmhouse with a huge wraparound porch. A variety of lights on poles glowed against the darkness, shining on nearly a dozen cars parked along the driveway and in front of the house.
“What the fuck?” Red whispered. “I thought Moon was out of town.”
“Heisout of town,” Sky stated, his hands tightening on the wheel. “I got a picture from him this morning with a giant doughnut from his favorite bakery. Who the hell are all these people? Why are they here?”
Sky parked the car in the center of the driveway because there was nowhere else to put it. From behind the house, Nolan could just barely make out the flicker of flames as if someone had lit a bonfire. Shadowy figures moved through the light, and it appeared that someone was approaching them.
“You guys stay here. I’ll go check it out,” Sky commanded as he unbuckled his seat belt.
“I’m coming with you,” Nolan announced as he unfastened his own belt. There was no way in hell he was letting Sky go out there by himself against that many people. Even if he was a fucking scary necromancer who’d taken down vampires. Nolan might not know how to use magic, but he’d been forced to use his fists to get out of trouble in the past. He could do it again to help Sky stay safe.
“But—” Sky swallowed the rest of his argument at a glare from Nolan and smiled at him. “Got it. Red and Mr. Pig will stay in the car until we know what’s going on.”
“Got it!” Red agreed.
They climbed out of the small car at the same time and cut between the parked cars to stride through Moon’s front lawn. The thin lamplight outlined flower beds and young flowers that had poked through with the start of spring. At the edge of the light, wooden boxes marked where Moon likely had some other beds, possibly for vegetables or herbs. Or even spell ingredients, for all he knew.
As they stepped on the grass, a tall, broad-shouldered figure strode toward them. Nolan blinked a couple of times to find the man was shirtless and barefoot. Was he…was he really only wearing a pair of jeans? The weather was nice, but a chill had crept into the air with the setting sun and Nolan could feel the bite of cold through both his shirt and sweater.
“Hey, friend!” the stranger called out. “This is private property. You can’t be here.”
“Yeah, I know it’s private property!” Sky shouted back. “This is my friend Moon Mullins’s place. Who are you and what are you doing here?”
“Oh, shit. Sky?” Just as the stranger said the witch’s name, he stepped into the light and Nolan frowned. Why did he look familiar? He couldn’t place where he’d met the man, but he’d definitely seen his face before.
“Yeah…wait…you’re one of the Variks, aren’t you?” Sky inquired, his voice growing more confident with each word.
The man chuckled and waved a hand at them. “Wyatt Varik. I’m one of Bel Varik’s mates.”
One of? How many mates did this guy have?
But that helped place him a little. He must have seen Wyatt at the Varik manor when they were trying to free him from Christoph. That hadn’t been a good night for him, and there had been a lot of people in the room. He hadn’t caught any names besides Marcus and Aiden, and he barely remembered their faces.
A Varik was a good thing, right? They were helpful and friendly.
Wyatt turned his attention to Nolan and his smile softened. “It’s good to see you away from the Sandor clan. How have you been?”
Nolan’s face burned a bit and he shoved a hand through his hair. “I’m good. Been good. Getting adjusted to…knowing about all this…” he finished awkwardly.
Wyatt laughed warmly and nodded. “I get it. Even when you’re raised in the middle of all of it, this can be a bit much at times.”
“No offense, Wyatt,” Sky interjected. “But who are all these people? Why are you here? I got a text from my friend this morning. He’s in Boston right now. Does he know you’re here?”
“None taken. This is my pack.” He jerked his thumb to the people Nolan could see milling about in the dancing light. It was hard not to stare, but it looked as if the fire was casting across more bare skin than clothing. His eyes had to be playing tricks on him. “Moon has done some jobs for us in the past. It’s how we know each other. He asked if our pack would be willing to help cull some of the deer from his woods. The population has gotten too high recently. We’ll be here for each full moon for the next two or three months.”
Sky smacked his forehead and moaned. “Full moon. That would explain the insanity tonight. I can’t believe we didn’t notice it was a full moon.”