“Do you feel different?”
“I do,” Linda gushed. “Like I’ve got a low level buzz.”
She shot glances at Tiffany and Pam.
“And you two beautifuls are glowing.”
“Whose idea was it to bring champagne?” Kat asked.
“It’s a union bonding, right?” Linda said. “We have to celebrate.”
They walked on top of the levee back toward the loft.
Kat bet they made quite a procession.
Harold brought up the rear, which she found odd. Colonel Jackson had indicated he had the most powerful magic, yet time and again, he didn’t demonstrate it.
Nor bully, nor push, and not much of anything except when they were under attack.
She wondered if she should use that as an example of how to be herself.
The Davenport name held a lot of sway in town, but most of it rested on the reputation of her mother and grandmother.
Now her aunt Lily was benefiting from it.
She felt good though.
Maybe not the buzz Linda said she felt, or the glow the other two were exhibiting.
Still good though, like something had been accomplished. She felt safer, and the tug of the bonds with her sisters.
And the dragon.
She couldn’t forget the dragon dragging ass at the end of their little parade.
They reached the backyard to the loft and she skidded down the embankment like a surfer on a green grassy wave.
The others followed, except Pam, who dropped to her bottom to slide on her jeans.
A red bolt zipped through the air where her head had been, missing her by inches.
She let out a squeal and threw herself into a roll.
The embankment sparked in a tiny series of crimson explosions as magic spells plowed into the ground, chasing her down.
Kat spun to the left, hands raised and erected a force barrier between her Coven and the direction she thought the attacks were coming from.
A dark body darted across the back patio, lit from the lights inside.
Linda perched on her knee and winged a spell after it.
It missed and shattered the huge pane of glass.
Most of it spilled across the sill into the loft, but a section of the pane broke forward and sliced down.
The razor sharp edge caught the calf of the fleeing assailant and sliced muscle to the bone.
It sent him sprawling on the patio.
Harold leaped on top of his back.
“Wait!” Kat screamed.
But it was too late.
Harold removed the man’s head and spine with a yank of eight inch razor sharp claws.
His yellow eyes glowed in the dark as he turned to look at her.
Kat watched for another attack.
Colonel Jackson passed by and meowed on his way to Harold.
“He says all clear,” Linda stood up and helped Pam to her feet.
“Now he says,” Kat turned in a circle just to double check.
“Why didn’t they warn us? Aren’t dog and cat sense a thousand times better than ours?”
“Meow,” was the answer she got.
“We’re upwind,” Linda said. “I don’t know what that means.”
“It means they couldn’t smell anything,” Tiffany said.
“Roll him over,” Kat told Harold.
The Tiger pawed the head in her direction and Kat couldn’t help but think of a cat with a ball of yarn.
It made her shiver.
“I wanted to interrogate him,” she told the Tiger. “Find out who sent him.”
“Your aunt sent him,” Linda said. “Isn’t it obvious?”
“We’re under a blood oath,” Kat explained.
“Which is why she went outside of her Coven,” Linda pointed to the dead guy. “Hello.”
“She’s right,” said Tiffany.
“Occam’s razor,” Pam added.
“What’s that?” Linda huffed as she peeked through the broken window pane.
“Simple is the best explanation. No conspiracy theories, no complicated situations. She tried to kill you once, she probably tried to do it again.”
“But he missed.”
“Pam was the closest to Harold,” Tiffany said. “He mistook her for you.”
Kat nodded. It made sense to her.
“Too bad we can’t ask him,” she said to Harold.
The tiger bent his nose to the man’s shattered back and took a deep breath.
“Oh god, if he eats him, I’m gonna be sick,” said Linda.
Colonel Jackson didn’t bother to hide the disgust on his feline face.
“Meow,” he stated.
“He’s getting the scent so he can be aware of it,” Linda explained.
She still looked like she was going to be sick.
“Shouldn’t the dog do that?” Tiffany asked.
Pam motioned Sheba over toward the body.
“Please,” she said.
Harold watched her approach and scooted over to give her nose room too.
“It’s like a demented Lady and the Tramp,” said Linda.
“Let’s get inside before she sends another hit man after me,” said Kat.
She opened the patio slider and ushered everyone through.
Harold pounced through the open window.
“Stop showing off,” she admonished.
Harold grinned, tongue wagging.
An orange tomcat arched through the window and padded next to him.
“Thomas?” Kat said.
“You know this guy?”
“My grandmother’s familiar,” Kat dropped to her knees in front of the feline. “Something’s happened.”
Colonel Jackson marched in front of Thomas and meowed.
They exchanged several.
“Oh Kat,” Linda said.
She rushed to the sink and threw up.
“What? What are they saying?”
“Your grandmother,” Linda wiped the back her hand across her mouth. “She’s died.”
“How?” Kat sobbed as tears sprang from her eyes.
“There was an attack-,” Linda started.
“Lily!” Kat screamed.
She rose to her feet and stalked toward the door, legs stiff with rage.
Harold padded across the floor and blocked the door.
Someone pounded on the door.
Harold glanced over his shoulder in surprise. He took a deep sniff, shook his head, and blew a blast of air out of his nose.
Colonel Jackson shook his head.
Kat called up a spell, wiggled her fingers in just the right spot to send a thin sliver of razor sharp air straight into whoever was on the other side.
She readied a force field with her mind, held it in front of her.
“Move Harold,” she ordered.
The tiger slipped around her and took a position by her side as the rest of the Coven covered the open window.
Kat opened the door.
Lily stood there with six other women. They were painted in soot, dirt, and grime, their clothes ripped and tattered.
Several were bleeding from cuts and wounds. Lily had a black eye and one side of her face was red and blistered.
“Kat?” she said.
“What did you do to Esmay?” Kat pointed, ready to unleash hell.
“It wasn’t me, Kat,” Lily said. “We were attacked. The house. It’s gone. My Coven is destroyed. We were set up.”
Lily sagged against the door frame.
“What do you mean the house is gone?”
“Kat,” Lily sobbed. “Someone blew up the house. Mother was in it.”
She slipped to the floor outside the threshold, hitching breathes wracking her body.
“We had no where to go,” she said. “No where safe. I don’t know who I can trust.”
“So you came to the girl you tried to kill,” Linda joined Kat. “Twice.”
“We’re blood bound,” said Lily. “I can’t hurt you.”
“That’s why you hired an assassin.”
“Mother made me cancel the contracts,” Lily pawed at her eyes as tears traced tracks in her grit covered cheeks.
“I’ve got a dead body in back that says something to the contrary.”
Lily looked up at her.
“Kat, I’m begging you. I swear on your Mother, my Mother, this was not me.”
Harold shifted forward and took a sniff.
He sneezed as his eyes glared into the darkness further up the street.
Colonel Jackson yowled.
“Uh, we better let them in,” Linda pushed Kat to one side and dragged Lily across the threshold.
“What?” Kat stepped back as the other six women stumbled into the wide living room.
They looked weak, beaten, battered.
“Colonel Jackson says something is coming,” Linda explained.
She slammed the steel security door shut and locked the deadbolt.
Pam and Tiffany moved to stand with Linda and Kat.
“What is it?” Tiffany breathed as they all stared at the shut door and waited.
Linda lined up with them, the five Coven members a crescent shape blocking the entry.
Find out what happened in WARE THE CATS OF WAR