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Streetwise by Shelby Morgen and Marteeka Karland

Streetwise

Memphis Heat, Book 2
by Shelby Morgen and Marteeka Karland

Changeling Press

eBook ISBN: 06199-01991

When Officer Butch Carson and his rookie trainee, Regan “Sundance” O’Mally, are caught between the MPD and the Russians, they have no one they can turn to but each other. The more they learn about being werewolves, the tighter their own bond becomes. And the more determined they are to stop the assassins who nearly added them to the growing list of victims.

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Chapter One

“Nothing says white trash like a street brawl.”
“You think we should stop them?”
Butch Carson munched on his steak sub, not overly concerned. “Hell, no. I’m betting on the redhead.”
Regan winced as the shorter blonde woman fisted the redhead’s braid and yanked for all she was worth. “We should call the cops.”
Butch arched an eyebrow at his new partner. “We are the cops.”
“You know what I mean. Kiddy cops. Child Services. We’ve got to do something. Look at that poor little boy. He doesn’t need to see this.”
Butch sighed. “You ever worked with Child Services? I don’t think that’s necessary. He can’t be as traumatized as he would be with a visit from Child Services.”
Regan turned to give him that look — the one with the brows all squished together and the lips getting thin. A look like that had led to his last divorce. “You don’t want to do the paperwork.”
“What makes you think I’d do the paperwork? That’s what rookies are for. I’ve got seniority.” She didn’t laugh, so he sighed again and stuffed what was left of his sub back in its paper. “You’re not going to let this go, are you?” He pointed at the couple in the alley. “You know what that kid looks like to me?”
She wrenched the door open, hand on her radio. He jumped out of the car, running after her, but the rookie was already in over her head. “Requesting backup, South Main and Vance,” Butch keyed as he ran after his partner — and the couple retreating down the alley. The dead-end alley. Out of sight of the main street. “Fuck.” Some days he hated being right.
“Butch?” He knew Regan saw the trap now, too. She was trying to keep the fear out of her voice. “What — what do they — what does he look like to you?”
All pretense of their scuffle gone, the blonde and the redhead turned to face them, dropping down on all fours, lips furled back to reveal wickedly sharp teeth. The little boy dropped to the asphalt between them, bawling his eyes out. Another, older wolf moved through the pack that had appeared out of nowhere, surrounding them, scooping the kid up to whisk him out of harm’s way.
Butch crouched low, pistol at the ready. “Bait. He looks like bait.”
Regan’s voice went stiff and formal. “It’s been a pleasure serving with you. Even if I did get the Sundance nickname all over the precinct because of you.”
“Fuck that,” Butch swore. “I’m not going down without a fight. Whatever the hell they are, they breathe. They can still die. Aim for the eyes, and don’t stop till you run out of lead.”
“Well, at least we won’t have to listen to any more Sundance jokes.”
* * *
“You’ve stumbled into a turf war,” Sanderson drawled. “Memphis is ours. We don’t know why the Russians are here, either. Yet. But we will. So the question is, cop, whose side are you on?”
Jarod looked down at Belle, pulling those FBI sweats back over her head. “That’s easy. Mine.”
From behind the big blond Alpha, another, shadowed figure stepped forward. Jarod’s world turned upside down again. “Colonel?”
Sanderson’s lips peeled back in a snarl. “You FBI, kid? Or are you still Memphis PD?”
Jarod shook his head. “Memphis PD, born and bred. MPD will always come first. No one asked me about this FBI gig. Just shoved it down my throat.” He glanced back at the colonel, wishing someone would tell him what the fuck was going on.
Colonel Roberts grinned at him. “Welcome to the Fraternal Order of Police. Memphis style.”
“But… Sanderson.” Jarod glanced over at the grizzled wolf shifter. “I arrested you.”
“Undercover. Need to know. You didn’t. Not then.”
“And now?”
“Now there’s a lot you two need to know. Let’s get down to work.”
* * *
Belle chewed her lip, looking down at the pair in recovery. “Damn it, Jarod, this is the third time this week. We’ve got to put a stop to this.”
“Yeah, well, at least the ranks are stronger.”
She didn’t appreciate his cheeky grin. “Not funny. You know how this whole werewolf thing turned our lives upside down. Sundance there is a rookie. She had her whole life ahead of her.”
“She still does.” Jarod shrugged. “And now, no one will call her the Sundance Kid anymore. Or if they do, I’m certain she can… take care of it.”
Belle slugged him in the shoulder. Hard as his muscles were, she knew it didn’t really hurt, but he made her feel better by pretending it did. “I’m serious.” She huffed out a breath, trying to blow a strand of hair out of her eyes. “If we knew exactly what we were dealing with concerning the Russians, I might not feel so badly. As it is, we’re not so much circling the wagons as chasing our tails.”
“Literally.”
She punched him again, for good measure. “Smart ass.”
“Ow! Stop hitting me!”
“Stop being a shit.”
Jarod’s expression went dead serious. “You know, I’m not even sure there are any Russians.”
Jarod might be an ass, but he was an astute ass. If his gut told him something was off about the Russians — besides the whole werewolf thing — then she trusted him. Not that she’d give him the satisfaction of ever agreeing with him. “If not the Russians, then who?”
Jarod shook his head. “I don’t know, but it’s too convenient. We need more werewolf cops to handle this situation, and in three days we got three new teams. All single. All married to the job.” He looked down at the clipboard in his hands. “And all veterans. Just like us. Combat trained. Well, all but Sundance there, and she’s an Air Force vet. Maybe she doesn’t have a lot of street experience, but I wouldn’t call her the typical rookie.”
“Three teams we couldn’t have handpicked better. Someone has put a lot of thought into this.” Belle crossed her arms over her chest, studying Jarod. She knew that look.
“Yeah. And I don’t like it one bit.”
“That makes two of us. What you wanna do about it?”
“I’m ready to stop playing chase the rabbit. Time we turned the tables on these cop hunters. Let’s show ‘em what real wolves look like.”
“I suppose you have an idea here?”
“Yeah, I think I do.”
* * *
Butch rolled groggily to his feet. “What the fuck.” He had the most annoying sensation of being too tall for his equilibrium, like he’d been stretched. He shook his head, trying to clear the cobwebs from his brain, but that didn’t help at all.
“Don’t do that. You’ll puke.”
Regan was coming out of the bathroom, towel in hand, dressed in gray sweats and an incredibly tight tee that said MPD across her chest. Under other circumstances he’d have really appreciated the view.
At least he assumed it was a bathroom. The place was unfamiliar, but the layout looked like a standard military hospital room, two beds to a unit, bathroom, lockers, a window it’d be useless to try to open, and a door to the ward. But without knowing where he was or how he’d gotten there, it wasn’t safe to assume anything. He started to shake his head again, then decided to heed her warning. “Where are we?”
“Not sure, precisely. Door’s locked. Decided against breaking it down. Figured being able to stand upright was my first priority. You remember anything at all? From back in the alley?”
“Yeah. Maybe.” He’d kind of hoped he was wrong. “Werewolves?”
“Yeah. Kid was there for bait. We opened fire, but they kept coming. I was sure we were dead. Then there were sirens… “
And that’s where his memory got a little fuzzy. Or he hoped it did. “The cops. The ones who jumped out of the patrol cars… “ Butch swallowed hard. “Our backup. They were wolves, too.”
“Yup.”
“Fuck.” He didn’t want to remember what came next. “We’re fucked, aren’t we?”
“That’s about the size of it.”
“Why would cops… “
Regan raised one eyebrow. “You gonna tell anyone you’ve just seen two werewolf packs rip each other to shreds?”
“Fuck no.” He stared at her pensively. “They… did something to us. Turned us, didn’t they?”
She nodded. “Pretty sure I remember looking down at my paws right before I passed out.”
Yeah, that was the part he was trying to avoid. “Who the hell would I tell?” He looked around the room again, the pieces coming together, despite the way he wished they wouldn’t. “We’d end up… here.”
She tossed him the towel. “Water’s hot. Helps get your head wrapped around being upright again.”
The towel was damp, and it smelled like her. Wasn’t the first time he’d noticed her scent. She always smelled sweet and pungent, like fresh flowers, and something more. Something decidedly her. He buried his face in the towel and pulled in a deep breath. He’d noticed, but not like this. Not like his whole body was alive with the smell. His cock rose to full attention, and he realized belatedly he was standing there naked. Not that he cared all that much. A lot of things that used to matter didn’t seem so important now. “Damn, you smell good.”
“Good thing one of us does. You smell like wet, muddy dog.”
Butch wrapped the towel around his waist and headed for the bathroom. He stopped in the doorway. “Where’d you find those sweats? I’m going to need something to put on after…“
Regan’s expression had gone feral. Lord, he’d had no idea the woman could strip that fast. And how the hell had she managed to get that close without him hearing her move? “We’ll worry about clothes later.”
“Yeah?” He swallowed hard. “You sure about that?”
She shoved at his shoulders, as if to knock him backwards out of the doorway. “Anyone ever told you, you have a gorgeous body, Butch?”
“Yeah, in the showers at Camp Pendleton, right before I broke his face.”
Regan’s laugh was low and sexy. “Well, I’m not a guy, and somehow I don’t think you’re gonna break my face. Be a shame.” She tugged on the towel, and it dropped to the floor. “A hard-on like that would be a terrible thing to waste.”
Damn it, there were rules. “I’m your training officer.”
“I noticed.”
She nipped the point of his chin, and he stifled a groan. “I’m not allowed –”
“To use your position and power to influence me?”
Her bare breasts raked his chest, and his cock slapped his belly. “Something like that.”
“I don’t recall anything in the rookie handbook about werewolves. I think this kind of changes all the rules.” She sprang at him like a cat, and he had to catch her as she wrapped her legs around his waist, or let her slide down, far lower than he wanted her to go.
His cock smashed between them, the head pinned against what felt like an inferno. “God, you’re hot.” He lifted her ass a little higher, rubbing that delicious heat against the ridge of his cock head, moving slowly, his hips flexing to drag himself over her wet folds. “Are you trying to take advantage of me?”
“I might be. But you still stink.” She lowered her face to bump his head to the side, pointing him at the shower. “That way. Unless you want to put me down. I can walk.”
“This is a lot more fun.”
Butch hefted Regan up a little and walked them both the few feet to the walk-in shower. Somewhere between the sick malaise of waking up and the tip of his cock centered on his partner’s pussy, his equilibrium had managed to level out just fine. In fact, he couldn’t remember ever feeling better. He felt stronger, more alive than he had in years. “What a rush. I haven’t felt like this since I got out of boot camp.”
Regan laughed against his neck as she nibbled her way down. “Like fucking a woman in the shower?”
“Like I could do one handed handstands again, or run twenty-five miles without getting winded. Or fuck the most beautiful woman God ever put on this earth for hours. Maybe all three at once.”
If he’d called her beautiful a week ago, Regan would have argued with him, even though she’d wanted him to hit on her. Near-death experiences had that effect on her. Now she grinned, flashing sharp, white teeth at him. “Put me down. You need your hands free.”
To prove her point, she ground her nipples against his chest. The soft scrape of skin on skin sent shivers down his spine. He let her slide down to the shower floor, taking his time, enjoying the slow travel of heat everywhere their bodies touched. She turned to get the water, dragging her ass across his cock, and a groan escaped, despite his best attempt to hold it in. “Oh, fuck me,” he muttered. “I am so fucking fucked.”
“Eloquent,” Regan managed, sputtering with laughter. “That’s pretty damned near poetic, for a Marine.”
“Woman, do you have any idea how hard I’ve been, trying not to stare at that ass for the last three months?”
Hot water streamed down over their heads, and she straightened, taking her time with the move, wiggling her ass invitingly. “Really, I had no idea.”
OK. So he was dense as a rock. “You had those fucking uniform pants tailored, didn’t you?”
“Hell, no.” Her grin was pure vixen. “I ordered ‘em two sizes too small.”
He groaned again, either at her comment or her hands as they wrapped around his cock, her fingers working shampoo into the coarse hair around its base and down over his balls. His shoulders hunched at the shudder that tore through them, and his hold on his sanity came close to shattering. “That’s not the only place that needs shampoo.” He was damn proud of how steady his voice sounded.
“Yeah?” She reached for the bottle and squirted some more in her hands, her tits scoring two lines up his chest as she stretched to reach the top of his head. “Hair down there’s longer. Should call you Buzz instead of Butch.”
Her nails scraped his scalp, and for a moment he forgot how to speak. “‘s not.”
Snot? What?”
“‘s not a nickname. Butch. Mom was a Redford fan.”
“I can see that. Broad shoulders. Long legs. Tight ass.” Her hands sculpted him as she cataloged. “What’s not to love?”
He should have argued — mentioned something about a face that looked like he’d been kicked by a horse at a young age — but it’d been way too long since a woman had touched him, and longer since a woman’s touch had made him want to let go of his well-known control.
Maybe never.
Speaking of control… Butch picked Regan up and set her ass on the handicapped railing. “Last chance,” he warned her. “You want me to back off, say so now.”
“Back off?” Regan barked. “Back off? You’re an idiot, you know that? I’ve been trying to get you in my bed for the last three months. I’ve done everything but dance naked on your lap, and that was my next move, except I wasn’t sure you’d notice.”
He shook his head, bemused. “You haven’t picked up a pencil I didn’t notice. Why do you think I tried to get Cap to transfer you?”
“’Cause I’m a screw up?”
He nipped her shoulder, harder than he might have if he hadn’t heard the hurt in her voice. “You were top of your class.” He kissed the point of her collarbone and traced that ridge across to her neck, laving the flutter of her pulse with his tongue. “If you were in another precinct I’d have asked you out before the ink was dry on your transfer papers.”
“Oh.”
He wasn’t sure if the sound was understanding, or her reaction to his tongue in the hollow between her breasts. He licked across to her left nipple and sucked it between his lips, clamping it there with his teeth, and flicked his tongue over the very tip, circling, then swiping over the tip experimentally.
Regan’s fingers flexed in his hair, not finding enough to hold on to. Her hands dropped to his shoulders, grasping now, digging in with all her newfound strength. “Ohhh.”
Yup. Definitely a moan.

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