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    Libby Drew
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Keeper of the Rituals - 15. Chapter 15

Okay, so now I have Covid. Just can't catch a break this month.
Thank you, as always, for your thoughts and comments on previous chapters. 🥰

Happy Holidays, everyone! Best wishes for the new year!

I falter for a moment. “I don’t think you’re a fool,” I say.

Calhoun sighs and rolls his head toward Chase. Whatever they communicate, Chase’s shoulders remain tight and high, though his jaw unlocks. He nods. “Michael,” he says to me, and I hear it as clearly as Calhoun does. The warmth, the worry, and the affection. Whatever pretense we’d been keeping about being strangers evaporates with that one word.

Yet Calhoun doesn’t even twitch.

“Yeah?” I answer softly.

“I’m going to tell you some of what’s going on. Everything I can. And I want you to listen, because we still have questions. And your answers to those questions will make every difference about what happens next. Do you understand?”

Not really. In theory, maybe. I nod anyway.

We all gaze upward when something rattles on the roof. “How long will this take?” I ask, eyes still focused on the ceiling above me.

“We’ll be as quick as we can,” Calhoun says. He takes a deep breath and dives in. “We have gathered multiple testimonies that your behavior recently has been erratic. That your moods have been dark. And that your temper has been unpredictable.”

Multiple testimonies. That’s horrifying. I take a deep, stuttering breath. “I refute that completely.”

Calhoun doesn’t seem surprised. “Would you like to know who we’ve spoken to?”

Christ, no. And yes. I nod, not quite able to speak.

Calhoun extracts the small iPad from his jacket pocket, though I doubt he needs it, takes a minute to wake it up, then, finger on the screen, says, “Ms. Rory Higgins and Mr. Frank Dodds.”

I clench my teeth. I feel betrayed and more terrified than ever. These people are my friends. Not tribe, but practically family. Burning with shame and loss, I snort. “What, no accusations from Danny?”

Chase and Calhoun tilt their heads in unison. “Danny Parks?” Chase asks after a few seconds.

I’d count naming Danny as my first misstep, though it clearly isn’t. And there’s no going back now. I clear my throat. “Yeah, Danny Parks.”

“Hmmm,” Calhoun says. Strokes his mustache. I ache to yank it off his face, but as it would likely land me in jail, I breathe through the impulse. “As for the call from this morning,” he continues, as though I never interrupted, “the individual claimed, among other things, that you were hiding Mr. Kincaid’s murder weapon in the trunk of your car.”

“That would be a stupid place to keep it,” I say through clenched teeth.

“My thoughts exactly.” Calhoun spreads his hands in front of him. “It is, as you implied, all very neat and tidy. Despite that, do you understand why we couldn’t ignore this information?”

I shrug. Of course, I do. I’m not telling him that, though. I catch Chase’s eye roll from the corner of my eye. This time, when I give him the finger, I make sure everyone sees it.

Chase covers his eyes with one hand. “Jesus, Micco. You never change.”

“Who made the phone call this morning?” I ask.

Is it my imagination or is Calhoun trying to hide a smile. “The caller disguised their voice.”

Danny. I’d bet my life savings on it, if he could finagle access to a phone. This time I keep my mouth shut on my suppositions, but the cat’s out of the bag. Calhoun taps a finger against his chin. “You suspect Daniel Parks, I assume?”

I sigh. “Yes.”

“Why him?”

“He hates me.”

“Hmm.” Calhoun sets the iPad on the table. “I believe I know why.”

Me too. You’ll pay with blood, Garrett. Danny’s words. Prophetic ones at that.

“Were you aware of Sam Kincaid’s feelings for you?” Calhoun asks when I don’t take the obvious bait.

It takes a moment to scrub Danny’s voice from my brain. “I, uh…” I rub my forehead. Try to buy time. Where is Calhoun going with this? “I’ve been made aware of them. Danny said a few things.”

Calhoun doesn’t ask when, thankfully. “What did Mr. Parks say exactly?”

He said—” I glance up when another loud thump echoes down from the roof. “Danny told me Sam thought he was in love with me.”

“Sam thought he was in love with you? Or he was in love with you?”

I readjust my words. “According to Danny, Sam was in love with me. It’s just hard for me to wrap my head around it.”

“Why?”

“He never let on. Our relationship was casual. He never did anything… or said anything to make me think… that.”

Oh God, this conversation. It’s pulling me back and forth in time like a pendulum. Calhoun decides to make it worse by asking, “Are you presuming to have known his mind on this subject?” It isn’t asked unkindly, but my breathing ticks up again. Love and deception. Secrets and their consequences. I could really do without this trip down memory lane right now.

“It’s just hard for me to believe,” I say. “When I broke it off, he laughed. Said it was cool and we could still be friends.” My voice dies on the last word, the s hissing into the air like a deflating balloon. I dart a glance at Chase, and his look of anguish cuts me to my core.

Calhoun pauses, seeming to recognize we need this moment, the two of us. Then breaks the heavy silence by shifting in his seat. “Mr. Kincaid wrote you letters.”

I nod. Look to Chase. “I’ve heard.”

Handwritten letters,” Calhoun says.

I wait for more. Get nothing. “Handwritten… as opposed to?”

“Emails,” Calhoun says, bemused.

I’m a psych case, not a psychologist. I shrug. “Okay. How is that relevant?”

Calhoun jumps at the chance to tell me even more shit I don’t know. “The relevancy lies in the psychology of written correspondence, Mr. Garrett. Handwriting indicates that an inordinate amount of effort and care is put into the message. Handwriting is much more personal than standardized fonts in a text message or email.”

“Okay?”

My idiot act must be getting old. Calhoun dumbs down the information. “Plainly, he loved you. And was agonizing over the end of your relationship.”

I’ve been there. Know the feeling intimately, in fact. Apparently, Sam and I had more in common than a healthy sexual appetite, a love of spicy food and a fondness for Adele songs. I drop my eyes to my lap. “I didn’t know.”

I don’t expect Calhoun to loosen his claws over my obvious regret, and he doesn’t disappoint. “We retrieved quite a few letters from Mr. Kincaid’s residence. Beyond waxing poetic about your multitude of attributes, he also wrote extensively about changing his lifestyle for you. Getting clean. And, on multiple occasions, expressed a desire to make amends for what he did.”

“Amends for what he did.” I shake my head slowly. “I don’t know what that means. Make amends for what?”

“Just so,” Calhoun says, voice low. “That was my question.”

I have no answer to it. Before I can say so, Calhoun pivots. “What can you tell me about Charlotte Kincaid’s last will and testament?”

“Her… what?” The significance of the question catches up to me a moment later. “You mean the bequest to the refuge?”

“Yes. The eight-million-dollar bequest.”

Calhoun infuses so much sordid implication into his tone that a kindergartener would be able to connect the dots. “You think this is about money? I told you, I don’t need, or want, money.”

“Do you know the exact guidelines for the disbursement of the bequest?” he asks, dismissing my words.

I flounder. “No. Do you?”

“I do not. Yet.” That he doesn’t know bothers him, if the way his lips twist is any indication.

I look to Chase, desperate to regain my footing. All I need is a sign. I’ll take anything, even a quick tug on his earlobe. But he won’t look at me.

“Would you like to explain the bloody paper towels in your kitchen trash can?” Calhoun asks.

Sure. Why the hell not? I’m up to my neck already. At this point, I don’t feel I have much to lose by being honest. “There was a dried blood stain on my counter when I got home last night. I wiped it up with some wet paper towels.”

Calhoun blinks. Waits. I say nothing. We play the staring game until Chase interjects. “Do you have any idea where it came from?”

“No. And…” I shake my head. In for a penny in for a pound. “That wasn’t the only thing out of place when I got back.”

“No?” Calhoun’s fingers tap on his iPad.

“My laptop was out. And powered up. There was a glass of whisky on the table.”

“Maybe left over from earlier in the evening?” Calhoun suggests.

“I don’t drink hard liquor.”

“You have a half dozen bottles in the cabinet above your refrigerator,” Chase says.

That’s true. “Collected over time for various things. Most are full, if you bothered to check. The whisky… once in a while I put it in my tea.”

“Mmm.” Calhoun nods. “Cures all ills. Hot tea and Irish whisky.”

Next we’ll be trading souffle recipes. “I suppose.”

“You said the laptop was out. Had it been used?”

He didn’t say, “What were you using it for,” which I count as a minor victory. “It had.”

“For what purpose?”

Now I roll my eyes. “I’m sure you know.” Calhoun probably slobbered all over my browser history. He’d already pegged me as mentally unbalanced. The mysterious phone call that morning must have tasted like a fresh New Orleans beignet. The Psychology Today article was simply a sprinkling of powdered sugar for the top. Every part of me—body language, words, tone—borders on belligerent. I need to turn it off, calm down, find peace, but I’m just too scared.

Not only for myself. If Chase’s presence at my house last night comes to light—and it might if the direction of Calhoun’s interrogation is any indication—he’ll have some ‘splaining to do.

“Mr. Garrett? Michael.”

Pulled from my thoughts, I lift my eyes from where my hands are twisting in my lap and stare at Calhoun. “Yeah?”

“I’m going to ask you something now, and I want you to think before you answer.”

Chase snorts softly.

“Okay,” I say, suspicious.

“Please understand that I have a duty to ask this, based on your personal history, but I want to be clear that I’m not attacking you. I hope you understand that. And I hope you believe it.”

Oh, this isn’t going to be good. Mouth dry, I nod. “Go ahead,” I croak.

Chase shifts forward in his chair. I wave him off. “I’m fine.”

“Michael,” Calhoun says, “Is it possible you are suffering a relapse of your dissociative identity disorder? Is it possible you have lost time recently, and simply don’t recall some of the behavior Ms. Landis and Ms. Higgins are describing? Please take the time to consider before you answer.”

I will, to please him. But I don’t need to ruminate. Calhoun has no idea just how much time I have spent thinking about these very things. Right now, I feel the strongest I have in days. Stable and assured, even if I am scared shitless. “It’s not possible,” I say after several seconds.

“All right,” Calhoun says.

I want to add, “So maybe you should be figuring out why all these upstanding citizens are colluding and lying about me.” Even in my head, it sounds unhinged. I can’t imagine how ridiculous it would sound if spoken aloud. Calhoun, the consummate professional, skips this awkward fact and circles around to the ass-end of the mystery. “Do you keep your house locked when you’re not at home?”

“Of course.”

“Who has keys?”

I acknowledge his angle of questioning is far saner. And measurable. But neither of the people who have a key to my house would do these things. I’m sure of it. “Matthew Burke and an elder in my tribe, who has been a friend since I was a child. Billie Smith.”

“BIA Officer Burke has a set of keys to your house?”

“Technically, it’s one key,” I say. Chase stares daggers at me. “But yes.”

“Is he also a friend?”

He is so much more than that. I try to explain that to Calhoun in the briefest terms. How he raised me. Even how he saved my life, more than once. “He’s my father in everything but blood,” I say.

Calhoun accepts this. “Do you keep a key hidden outside your dwelling?”

“No.”

“And there are no other copies that you know of.”

“N—” I cut off. Calhoun raises an eyebrow. Chase leans forward, elbows on the table. “I keep an extra set of keys—to everything—at the refuge," I say. “My house, my car, the museum, and duplicates of all keys used for the enclosures.”

Calhoun goes back to typing on his iPad. “When was the last time you saw them?”

Good question. “I don’t know. Months ago? I keep them there for emergencies, not for daily use. They’re on a ring in my desk drawer.”

Chase sighs and leans forward. It’s his turn, apparently. His contribution to the conversation, however, cuts straight to the center of my heart. “Micco.” He stops, glances at Calhoun, who nods, then meets my gaze again. “Forensics came back on Sam’s injuries. The bite force on his injuries was consistent with an adult gray wolf.”

I swallow. Nod.

“As a matter of investigation, Kane was also examined.”

“Okay?”

“And there was no evidence, not even a trace, that he touched Sam. The blood on his muzzle, and on his canines and incisors, wasn’t Sam’s. And the arch size and intercanine distance on Sam’s wounds aren’t a match for Kane’s teeth.”

“They didn’t match—” I sag backward. “It wasn’t Kane that….”

“No, it wasn’t.”

My wolf died for nothing. I curse the tsunami of pain that rears up. I have enough to worry about—myself, primarily—and this distraction, this heart-wrenching fact, shatters my focus. “Fuck,” I whisper, pressing my palms against my eyes.

“I am truly sorry,” Calhoun says. “I know he was special to you, and it seems he died very unfairly.”

I hate the honest empathy I hear in his voice because all I want to do is lash out at somebody, and he’s being too much of a goddamn gentleman at the moment. “I don’t understand,” I say. None of it makes sense.

“What other animal at the refuge might have—” Chase begins, but a clamor outside derails his next question. Muffled shouting precedes a single loud and forceful knock. Then the door bursts open, slamming into the wall before any of us can move. Burke fills the doorway, a maelstrom of rage and intimidation. Behind him, his two deputies cower against the opposite wall. Jennette stands to the side, hands on hips, not cowed, but not interfering either, I notice.

Calhoun stands gracefully. “Officer Burke.”

Burke’s murderous glare focuses on Calhoun, narrowing with laser-like intensity. For a minute, I feel sorry for the guy. Calhoun, for his part, looks unaffected. I don’t know whether that’s FBI training or his southern gentleman pedigree.

“What the fuck is going on here?” Burke roars.

I actually stand and back up a step. I see Chase wants to. He twitches but rises to his feet and holds his ground. That is definitely FBI training. He knows the man’s temper as well as I do. Historically, if Burke used that tone with us, we wouldn’t hesitate. Just hightail it straight out the door and across the parking lot as fast as our adolescent legs could carry us.

“I asked you a question,” he yells, striding forward into Calhoun’s personal space.

Calhoun doesn’t give an inch. Against my will, my respect for the guy jumps a notch.

“Matthew.” Chase steps toward then, hand outstretched.

Burke rounds on him. Stabs a finger in his face. “You’ve overstepped, Chase.”

“He waived his right to tribal and legal representation,” Chase says. The words clearly pain him, but they’re fact, and I know Burke needs to hear them.

“The hell he did!” Burke yells. His thick finger pokes Chase in the chest. Calhoun’s eyes narrow, but Chase gestures for him to stay put.

“I did,” I say before the situation escalates. “I did,” I repeat when Burke swivels in my direction.

Burke throws both hands in the air. “Micco, what the fuck were you thinking?”

I was thinking I was worried about Martina and my wolves. I was thinking I had to, for once, save someone I cared about. “They said—” I stab my fingers against my eyelids, as if I could force my headache out the back of my skull. “They said they’d go to the refuge and secure the animals for me.”

Burke blinks several times, processing at lightspeed what I’ve left unsaid. “Where’s Martina?”

“No one can reach her.”

Burke chews on my words, shooting another murderous glare at Calhoun, before swinging his attention back to me. “Don’t say another word, Micco, do you hear me? I’ll go to the refuge. Check on Martina and the wolves.”

The relief weakens my knees. Burke knows exactly what to do. Or, at least, can muddle through the process with enough efficiency to get the job done. “Thank you,” I whisper. I sink back into my chair, not quite sure when I’d risen to my feet. “Thank you.”

“Keep your mouth shut, am I clear?” He slashes a hand through the air. “This interview is over. Get your asses in a car and get over to the school. It’s too late to try for Clewiston. The roads are already jammed. You don’t want to be caught on the highway.”

“Please be careful,” I implore.

Chase shrugs out of his suit jacket. “I’ll go with you.”

“I don’t need your help,” Burke spits out before leaning into Chase’s space and placing two fingers against his chest, over his heart. “Hull waxtchay okaga.”

You’re supposed to protect him.

Blood drains from Chase’s face, and his jaw goes slack. I swallow a gasp.

Calhoun can’t know what Burke just said, but clearly recognizes how it left Chase reeling. “All right now, sir,” he says, stepping forward. He curls a hand around Chase’s bicep, almost protectively. “That will be enough.”

“I have a duty to the law, Matthew,” Chase says, voice quiet but firm.

“Fuck your duty, Chase,” Burke says. His tone is placid once more. His words, anything but. “And fuck your laws.”

One deep cleansing breath later, he turns my way, adding, “I’ll see you soon. I just have to get Billie to the school, then I’ll head over to Brother Wolf.”

Chase musters his fortitude. Squares his shoulders. “Matthew, let me he—”

“No.” Burke shakes his head once, a dismissal, then storms out.

Chase’s hands curl over the back of his chair, but he doesn’t follow. Unruffled, Calhoun smoothes his tie and turns to me. “Would you like to continue, Mr. Garrett?” Another mechanical-sounding question, as though he needs to voice it but knows the answer.

“I think I’ll take the advice of my tribal representative,” I say.

“As you wish.” Another howl of wind makes its way through the hallway. In the next room, I hear glass cracking. Calhoun sniffs, countenance unstirred, but he does gesture us toward the door. “In that case, we will evacuate. Mr. Garrett, I believe the best course of action is to have you accompany one of us to the refuge. Your experience and expertise will be invaluable in getting the animals to safety.”

“I’ll go with him,” Chase says.

Calhoun nods. “Very well. I will go to the school and see how I can be of assistance there.”

It’s not until we approach the end of the hall and the front windows come into view that I can truly appreciate the havoc wreaked by the outer bands of Arlene. I’ve seen my fair share of storms and have ridden out every single one since I came to live here. In the past, I’ve been fascinated. Inconvenienced. Thoughtful. I’ve never been scared. Today, though, a niggle of unease stutters my heart for a handful of beats.

This one feels different. Dangerous and unpredictable, which its change in path has already proved.

Calhoun is in his element, apparently. Dividing the few remaining people into groups and directing them to the safest vehicles available. There’s such a flurry of activity that at first I miss the small figure ducking around bodies so she can squeeze into the building, not out. Rory.

My sharp indrawn breath alerts Chase, and he follows my gaze. “Rory,” he calls over the chaos, his upraised hand and voice catching her attention. Calhoun sees her as well and starts pushing through the crowd. We converge simultaneously.

“Ms. Higgins, you should be sheltering in place,” Calhoun says.

“I know, but…” Bloodshot eyes catch mine and she lifts a shaking hand in my direction. “I had to come make this right. Now. Before anything else happens to Michael.”

Nobody speaks. Calhoun covers his surprise and lack of prompt intelligent response by sweeping his suit jacket back and planting his hands on his hips. It’s Chase that finally does something, pointing to the quiet hallway beyond. We all go silently, and I’m momentarily jealous that Rory, of all people, has managed to leave Calhoun speechless. I’ve been trying for over a week with no luck.

Still, he regains himself quickly. “Ms. Higgins, in here please.” He directs her into the room beside the one we just left. “Chase, please stay with Mr. Garrett.” The door closes behind the two of them.

Well. Pushed out, and very deftly too. I slide my gaze to Chase to measure his irritation level. It’s negligible. He leads me into the room we’d abandoned a few minutes ago and closes the door. I frown as the latch catches, sealing us inside. “Do we have to keep it closed?”

“Yes,” Chase says, demonstrating why a moment later when he pulls me into his arms.

And this. The pleasure is immeasurable against the exuberant joys of my youth, indeterminable against the hard-won peace of my adulthood. Tactile on the surface, flesh on flesh, but unearthing so many memories and fantasies that I stop breathing, drowning under the rush of them.

He smells the same, I realize. His shape is different, but so is mine, and the way we fit together, always perfect in the past, hasn’t changed. He turns his face into my neck, drawing in a shaky breath, and his lips brush against the soft, sensitive skin below my ear. I shudder, feeling that one point of contact all the way to my toes.

One of his arms is curled around my shoulders, the other around my waist, and the fingers of both hands are on the move, stroking whatever material or skin they can reach. Keeping my knees from buckling becomes a real struggle. The hand across my shoulders lifts to the back of my neck, and then it’s pulling the leather tie free, fanning my hair across my shoulders. Chase turns his face and buries it in my hair. “God, you smell exactly the same,” he mumbles.

My own face is pressed against his shoulder, and I smile at his statement. “I was just thinking that.”

“Yeah,” he replies, but I’m not sure he really heard me the way the word comes out more breath than sound.

He proves my theory a moment later, when I try to steer his hand away from where it’s crept along the front of my jeans, mumbling an ineffectual, “We shouldn’t.” Because he doesn’t stop. Or slow down. Or even think about turning the lock on the door, which wouldn’t really accomplish anything anyway, besides providing some thin plausible deniability on both our parts. And his hands. They touch me exactly the way I always dreamed they would—like I'm irresistible and priceless and addictive—and I’m riding towering waves of lust that ebb and build, churn and break, every few seconds.

I rage at fate and the Great Spirit and my stupid fucking teenage self for robbing us of fifteen years of this perfection. Because we’ll never get that time back. And we may not even have it going forward. Jury’s still out on that, in the most literal sense.

I’m panting into Chase’s neck, utterly lost, and he doesn’t seem much better, rubbing against me, pushing until I lose my already unsteady footing and careen into the closed door, his weight pinning me in all the right places. The timing for this interlude couldn’t be worse, but not even the Great Spirit could force me to put a stop to it.

And then… I feel it. A dampness along my collarbone. Chase is crying.

Chase Becker is crying.

“You never cry,” I mutter in wonder, bleary gaze on the ceiling.

“Yeah,” he says again, voice churning with emotion. "You feel so damn good."

It’s the tears that reel my libido in. My heart won’t be corralled. Nothing new there, not where Chase is concerned, but at least I have a chance of hiding those emotions. This out of control lust, not so much, and since Chase doesn’t appear to care if Calhoun, God and everyone catch him humping his murder suspect, it’s up to me to enforce a halt. I curl my arms around his back and sooth him with nonsense sounds and soft touches.

“We really need to stop,” I whisper in his ear.

“Can’t,” he says, sounding not at all upset about it.

“Since when can’t you do anything you want to do?” I answer with a breathy laugh.

Chase sighs against my neck, but he does reel himself in. His hands lift to my waist. “Since I was sixteen. Goddamn you and your midnight confessions, Micco. All these years I believed— I thought we promised we’d never lie to each other.”

“It was just that once.”

He pulls back enough to look me in the eye, expression inscrutable. “And look what happened.”

“Yeah, okay.” I close my eyes and sigh. “That one’s on me.”

I wait a beat, then two, and am close to thinking Chase no longer appreciates my sense of humor when he barks a laugh. He tips his forehead against mine. “Tchahsee.”

“Hmm,” I reply. My brain is still spinning with very unbrotherly thoughts, but I take his hand in mine and press our scarred palms together. “Brothers. Always.”

Several minutes pass before either of us move again, and the stretch of time is so perfect I would be happy to stay rooted in it for the rest of my life. Circumstances don’t allow it, of course. The knock on the door, right at my ear, has me jumping and sliding away from Chase’s touch. Reluctantly, he lets me go. “Yeah?” he calls, running a hand through his hair.

“Chase,” Calhoun says. “We need to talk.”

Copyright © 2023 Libby Drew; All Rights Reserved.
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Thanks for reading!
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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39 minutes ago, Summerabbacat said:

Firstly, the most important issue to address. I hope you make a full recovery Miss @Libby Drew from COVID in time to enjoy the festive season. I will be sending powerful "ABBA magic" your way to aid in your recovery. Perhaps you should imagine a trip to Happy Hawaii or soaking up the sun in a Tropical Loveland to warm and nourish your body. I will send an S.O.S. to Frida and Agnetha or maybe give them a Ring Ring and ask them to sing a song fit for a Dancing Queen to aid in your recovery.

Charlotte Kincaid's will left a bequest to Brother Wolf of $8 million. Relatively straight forward one would be entitled to surmise, but what if it was not. What if there was a clause in the will that stipulated the money was to be held in trust with Sam as the trustee or held in trust with money to be made available for treatment for Sam's drug addiction. In either scenario Sam could jeopardise Brother Wolf receiving the full $8 million. Is this perhaps reason enough to eliminate Sam? I would have to say yes. Martina would likely have been the only person to know the full details of the bequest, apart from Charlotte's solicitor and Brother Wolf's solicitor. Perhaps Martina confronted Sam about this and in doing so learned of his apparent love of Micco. She may have then felt Micco a threat to the bequest too, so she kills Sam and frames Micco for the murder, thus eliminating two possible threats to the full bequest being received by Brother Wolf. Martina the murderess.

Although I am usually not in favour of the death penalty, which I understand is in force in Florida, for this case I most certainly would be as two deaths have resulted. I was not at all surprised to learn that Kane was  not responsible for biting Sam. Martina would have known Micco's special connection to Kane and may have used this knowledge to punish Micco even further. 

And the cliff hanger to end all cliff hangers. Even bloody Santa Claus would have trouble with this one. Rory was going to say something to Micco the day Martina asked him to leave Brother Wolf. I believe she may have come to disclose this to Agent Calhoun. She had best protect herself as Martina has killed once already and I don't think she will hesitate to kill again if she feels she is about to be exposed.

An epic chapter @Libby Drew.

The one common denominator tying the bequest, Sam's death, Micco's keys at the refuge, Rory, and Frank is Martina.

When Sam's bad finances came to light, I suggested he might have planned challenging the will. All he would need to question is her mental state or show undue influence. Martina could have pressured Rory and Frank to make statements against Micco and she had ready access to the refuge and the keys. Sam would have readily met her at the refuge unsuspecting her motive.

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1 hour ago, drpaladin said:

The one common denominator tying the bequest, Sam's death, Micco's keys at the refuge, Rory, and Frank is Martina.

When Sam's bad finances came to light, I suggested he might have planned challenging the will. All he would need to question is her mental state or show undue influence. Martina could have pressured Rory and Frank to make statements against Micco and she had ready access to the refuge and the keys. Sam would have readily met her at the refuge unsuspecting her motive.

Thank you @drpaladin. I do believe your reasoned argument well supports my long held belief that Martina killed Sam.

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3 minutes ago, Dan South said:

Follow the money. Side eye on Martina. DID? First mention? Story tags don’t indicate a shifter story but who was it if not ‘my wolf’ who ‘died for nothing’? 

May your COVID be mild and your new year happy. Thank you for so much entertainment this year and next and next ❤️

It was the juvenile wolf, Kane.

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Chase and Micco how long have I waited for this to happen! Do darn cool and perfect to, now the only thing is to get Micco off this rap!

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