Lycan Packs 1: Lycan Instinct
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by Brandi Broughton
Category: Romance/Suspense/Thriller EPIC eBook Award Finalist
Description: When a murderer leaves a trail of nude, high-profile bodies across Chicago, Detective Mackenzie Lyons must decide whether to trust her instincts about a mysterious philanthropist with secrets he'll do anything to protect. Rafael Stone heads a team of vigilante shape-shifters tasked to stop rogue Lycans from harming people or revealing Lycan existence, even if that means breaking "human" laws. In Lycan Instinct, Mackenzie takes a twisted journey to catch a killer that evidence indicates might be Rafael--a man who makes her pulse race and her mind question where the line is between duty and love, truth and myth.
eBook Publisher: Cobblestone Press, 2006
eBookwise Release Date: March 2007
225 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [458 KB]
Reading time: 266-373 min.
"Lycan Pack 1: Lycan Instinct is the first installment in what is sure to be an explosively remarkable series by Brandi Broughton. With a cast of characters and a suspenseful plot, readers cannot go wrong with this one. Lycan Instinct is definitely one to add to your permanent bookcase and has this reader recommending it to every reader that loves a great shape-shifting story."--5 Angels & Recommended Read-Jessica, Fallen Angel Reviews
"Yes, sir." Sylvia Waters hurried to keep up with his longer strides. "One other thing, sir. A police detective was in the lobby asking to speak with you. I had Frank tell him to call for an appointment."
Rafe stepped into the elevator. "Interesting."
It took less than a minute for the elevator to descend to the lobby. He spent that time pondering why the police wanted to speak to him. Soliciting for a law enforcement retirement fund most likely. There'd been no rogue Lycan activity in the Chicago area since he'd founded the Lykos Institute and clearly claimed this part of the country as his sole territory.
"Your limousine's here, Mr. Stone."
"How's the family, Frank?"
"Just fine, sir. Suzy's expecting again." The security guard stepped around his desk and pushed the door open before Rafe could do it himself.
"Again? What's this one make? A dozen?"
"No, sir." Frank laughed. "Six, unless it's twins again."
"A half dozen, then. You have my sympathies and heartfelt congratulations." He shook the guard's hand, bemused by an unexpected sense of envy. "Give Suzy my best."
"Will do, sir."
Rafe nodded at Simon when he pulled open the car's door. He ducked inside, and then froze as the door closed. Seated across from him was a honeyed blonde vision in tanned leather and worn denim. With one arm draped across the back seat, her bomber jacket exposed a gun in a shoulder holster and a shiny badge tucked in at her slim waist.
"Rafael Stone?" The hair at his nape stood alert as the smooth, cultured vibration of her voice resonated through him.
He laid his briefcase aside and eyed the woman who'd so effectively slipped passed his security. He breathed deeply, taking in a pleasant, albeit unique, mix of scents. Leather, coconut, and aloe. Rafe's gaze lowered over the V-neck of her white, button-up shirt, past enticing breasts to the badge again. His jaw set. The call to his chief financial officer would have to wait.
"Were you expecting someone else, Detective?"
Feeling the car pull away from the curb, he watched her ponytail sway and asked, "May I ask how you gained entry to my limousine?"
"Don't fire the driver over it. He doesn't know I'm here."
"But then, part of his job is to know who is in here."
"I had a fellow police officer hassle him about double parking. As far as distractions go, it was enough."
"Ah. Creative." He made a mental note to instruct Simon on the importance of keeping the doors locked. "You have me at a disadvantage, Detective. You know my name, but I don't know yours."
"Mackenzie Lyons, Chicago PD."
"Unusual police procedure, Detective Lyons. Should I contact my attorneys?"
Her smile was subtle. Sly. "That depends. Have you committed a crime you'd like to confess to?"
Amused, he cocked an eyebrow. "I confess only to being intrigued by your presence here. To what do I owe for the pleasure of your company?"
"Homicide, Mr. Stone."
"I beg your pardon?"
As if she sensed a challenge, she planted her sneakers on the floor, leaned forward, and propped both forearms on her thighs. The move hid her gun, but unveiled an alluring bit of cleavage. Annoyed that he'd noticed, Rafe kept his eyes fixed on her watchful blue gaze.
"I'm investigating an apparent homicide. Last night, a man's body was found in a filthy alley on the Southside."
"And you wished to speak to me about this unfortunate individual because...?"
"He was dumped there after being a tofu snack for an animal, the four-legged variety."
Rafe knew his face showed no sign of the sudden anger and surprise he felt. The anger he could deal with, but the surprise was an unusual sensation. Few people ever caught him off guard. But this curious detective seemed to have an uncanny ability for doing just that.
Could a rogue Lycan be hunting his territory without his knowledge? He'd have to call his brother immediately.
"I'm afraid I still don't understand what that has to do with me. Would I know the man? Do you have his name?"
"I understand you founded the Lykos Institute."
He noticed how she avoided answering his questions and wondered where she was heading with this interrogation, so he chose his words with caution. "My brother actually oversees the daily operations, but yes, I started L.I. and have an active interest in it."
"And this organization specializes in knowing anything and everything there is to know about dogs?"
"Ah, I see. Yes, you could say that. Lykos is a non-profit educational institute that promotes the humane treatment of canines, both wild and domestic."
"What about the kind that can kill a man?"
"I assume we're talking about domestic breeds only? Like many of the larger domestic breeds, wolf packs are certainly capable of harming humans, although such attacks are rare. More so, here in Illinois ... and in Chicago." He let his skepticism show in both voice and look.
"Rare or not, at least one animal--maybe more--used a man for a chew toy last night. What about training a dog to kill?"
"That's possible. There have been unscrupulous men who trained dogs for such brutal ventures as dog fights. Some animals have even been known to turn on their handlers, often with deadly consequences. The goal of most dog training programs, however, is far different."
She leaned back in her seat again and crossed her arms. "Obedience training?"
Rafe nodded. "Among other things. For instance, we sponsor programs that teach dogs how to attack ... to protect ... for purposes such as those used by your K-9 officers. They're taught how to track and subdue, not kill." He paused, watching for any shift in her expression. "Were you able to collect any physical evidence that could be linked to an animal?"
The change was subtle, but he saw it. The slight narrowing of her eyes, the tiny tilt of her head, the alert tenseness of her body. "Why do you ask?"
He shrugged as if the matter was of minor import. "Like humans, animals have unique DNA. That or hair samples could be used to make a connection between a suspected animal and your victim. L.I. has an extensive database, and our staff has years of experience in tracking and identifying various breeds of canines. If you'd like a professional consult concerning any evidence in the case, I'm quite certain we could assist." He would make sure of it.
"That's very generous."
"Why don't I have my brother contact you?"
The limousine slowed to a stop.
Mackenzie pulled out a business card. "His name is?"
"Gabriel." Rafe took the card from her and resisted the urge to touch her hand. Was her skin as soft as it appeared?
"I look forward to speaking with him."
Yes, he must contact his brother very soon. If another Lycan was around, he doubted a cover-up would easily fool this detective. The door opened, and he reached for his briefcase.
"Mr. Stone, how many properties do you own in the city of Chicago that use guard dogs for security purposes?"
He paused, peering at her. She was good, and dangerous. He'd wager a million at least that she could already name every piece of property in question. Probably had the list in a pocket somewhere. "Quite a few. They are very effective as preventative measures. I'd have to check to be certain of the exact number, but if you like, I could fax you a list."
"Thank you. I'd like that."
Rafe exited the vehicle and ordered a surprised Simon to return the detective to her car, which was most certainly parked somewhere near his offices.
"That won't be necessary."
"On the contrary, I insist. Good day, Detective Lyons."
As he watched the limousine pull away, he flipped open his cell phone.