Keystone Novel: Book Two
Cherry Newman hasnât been home in years, her successful career with Keystone has kept her away from her family. A panicked phone call from her mother has her rushing home to help in any way she can. Little does she know that what she thought would be a simple investigation turns into much more. Her brothers mysteriously disappear and she canât help but suspect the worse. She recruits the devilishly handsome Jericho Trewes to help her with her with her mission.
Jericho Trewes had been looking for a pack to call his own ever since the tragic death of his parents. He thought heâd found it with the Mooreâs but his whole world comes crashing down once again when the enticing Cherry Newman saunters into his life. Her questions leave him doubting everything heâd been told. She makes him believe he could have a family of his own but at what cost?
âYouâre going to live to regret that, Boo Boo!â Cherry ground out through clenched teeth as she lay flat on her back. The result of being tossed across the room by a three-hundred-pound grizzly shifter who was currently lumbering toward her. Cherry placed her hands on the ground above her head and brought her knees to her chest and kicked out, bringing herself to her feet into a low crouch. He hadnât slowed, continuing to barrel toward her with the force of a locomotive. Cherry threw her leg out and swept the shifter to the mat, where he crashed to the floor, successfully knocking the wind from him.
âJe-sus!â The bear wheezed, clutching his chest. âIâll never frickinâ learn!â
Tucker Peters was one of her best friends, but he was also her colleague. Keystone was a shifter-run government organization that ensured that their community not only thrived, but remained protected, be it from humans or fellow shifters. Just like their last assignment; shifters were showing up dead in prominent human communities, and the evidence led them to Blackford. Caleb Marsh, also one of her best friends, had been able to gain information using local shifters, but not before a young female was taken. Turns out she was Calebâs mateâs sister, bringing the wrath of not only her family, but the whole Blackford shifter community down on the kidnappersâ head. The ring had been destroyed and the guilty parties dealt with accordingly. No fuss no muss. Quick and lethal was the way Cherry preferred it.
âYou really gotta stop projecting your planned attack.â Offering her hand, he grasped it and she pulled him to his feet. âGranted, that toss took me by surprise.â She absently rubbed the back of her neck, finally feeling the aftereffects of their sparing, and judging by the cringes Tucker expressed, sheâd gave him a fair share of bumps and bruises.
Tucker dragged his hand across his face, wiping the sweat from his eyes. âHow âbout we call it a day. We gotta meet up with Caleb and Jess in forty-five minutes at The Pint.â Lifting his arm, he gave himself a quick sniff. âIâm gonna grab a quick shower, Iâd prefer not to smell like death. Kelseyâs going to be there, and I donât want my stench to chase her away.â He turned and started toward the menâs locker room, tugging his shirt over his head in the process.
âDude, your stench is the least of your worries when it comes to that girl.â Laughing, she turned on her heel and bolted for the womenâs change room just as she felt Tuckerâs bundled up T- shirt hit her square in the back of the head.
âSmartass,â he hollered.
Still smirking, Cherry grabbed a towel and headed to the showers, determined to ease the kinks in her back and shoulders. She set the temperature, stepped under the spray, and sighed in pleasure as the hot water worked on her newest aches and pains. Resting her forehead against the cool tile wall, she let the water wash over her.
The sound of her cell phone ringing snapped her out of her stupor. âBark at the Moonâ by Ozzy Osbourne happened to be the ringtone sheâd set for her father, John Newman. The joke wasnât lost on her father. He may be a stern Alpha to the Newman pack, but when it came to Cherry he was wrapped around her little finger. He always had a smile and a warm hug waiting for her whenever she came home.
Quickly, Cherry shut the water off and wrapped the towel around herself. âIâm coming, Iâm coming,â she said to no one in particular. Just as she reached her locker, the phone stopped ringing. âDammit!â Picking the phone up, she couldnât believe sheâd missed five calls, and two voicemails. Cherryâs stomach dropped, her family didnât have a habit of phoning that many times unless there was a family emergency. She dialed her voicemail, holding her breath, and listened to the first message.
âShit!â her mother, Jane Newman, cursed. âSheâs not answering. Should I leave a message?â A deep murmur echoed through the speaker as someone replied in the background, but she couldnât make out what theyâd said. âI havenât heard the bloody beep ... wait ... shit, hey honey itâs Ma,â her mother continued, âI need you to call me back when you get this. Itâs about your brothers. The little turds are in trouble.â The mumbling in the background sounded again, âWhat? Am I supposed to lie to her? Sheâll find out soon enough.â With a sigh, her mother returned to the phone. âSorry, Iâm back. What was I saying? Oh yeah, if you could call...â The message timed out and cut off her mother mid-sentence. It wasnât like Cherry had the rest of to understand what her mother wanted her to do.
Deciding to ignore the second voicemail, Cherry punched in her fatherâs cell phone number and waited for someone to answer. After three rings, her mother finally answered, âHello?â
âCherry! Iâm so glad you called,â she exclaimed. âHow are you?â The false happiness in her motherâs voice made Cherryâs hackles rise. Sheâd always been able to tell when someone was lying, and her mother was definitely putting on a faÃ§ade about the whole situation. Aware she was trying to make things sound less dire then they actually were really pissed her off. Her mother always tried to protect her even though Cherry was more than capable to handle anything.
Cherry scrubbed her free hand over her face, trying to calm herself. âIâm fine Ma,â talking a breath, she continued, âYou didnât call me to catch up on my personal life, so what has Tweedledee, Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber gotten themselves into to nowâ Her motherâs subtle growl on the other end of the receiver gave Cherry a slight pause. She didnât tolerate lip on the best of days, and Cherry chose a terrible time to snipe about her brothers. Her mother must be going insane with worry, and she was being inconsiderate to her feelings. âIâm sorry Ma, I didnât mean to upset you.â
âItâs okay.â Her mother sighed again, the obvious weight taking its toll on her. âSometimes itâs hard to understand what goes through their vacant heads. What you donât understand is that itâs hard not to worry about you kids. Itâs not like I can shut it off.â
âI know.â Cherry now felt thoroughly guilty. âTell me whatâs happened.â Taking a quick glance around the locker room to ensure she was alone and out of earshot, she put her phone on speaker. Grabbing another towel, she began to dry off.
âOkay, so last week Isaiah met this female wolf at The Den.â The shifter run bar in her hometown of New Haven vaguely rang a bell. âAnd you remember how the boys were always saying they wanted to venture out on their own.â Cherry absently nodded, even though her mother couldnât see her. âWell, this female obviously peaked Isaiahâs interest because the next thing I know, heâs gone.â
Isaiahâs sudden departure could definitely be described as out of character, he wasnât reckless, nor heartless. Heâd be fully aware of how much this would kill their mother. Disappearing without a phone call or even a note went against everything Cherry believed about her brother. It just wouldnât happen.
âI didnât think anything of it, knowing that, one day, my boys would leave me, but two days ago Joesph and Ren left without a word. When I went to The Den and asked Davey if heâd seen any of them lately, he started to act cagey and scared. Told me to leave it alone and come to terms that the boys had left the pack.â Her mother cleared her throat and continued, âThe thing is I can come to terms with that, but what I donât understand is why they havenât contacted me or your father. Itâs not like them to leave without saying a word.â The worry evident in her motherâs voice.
âSo, youâve tried calling their cells?â
âThatâs the other weird thing, I found all but one of their cell phones. Isaiahâs isnât here.â Her brothers were notorious for keeping their cell phones within reach at all times. Isaiah was the worst by far. Sheâd be hard pressed to remember a time where he didnât have it with him. Which at the moment would be a godsend. If he still had it on him she would be able to track his whereabouts easily enough.
âSo how long have they been gone?â Cherry was all business and grabbed a pad of paper and a pen from her gym bag.
âIsaiahâs been gone for almost two weeks, and Joesph and Ren have been gone a week.â
âIs there anything else missing from their rooms? Anything else seeming out of place?â Cherry asked. Jotting down everything not wanting to miss a single detail.
âThey took some clothes, but I checked their âsecretâ cash stashes and theyâre still there. Oh, and their trucks are gone too.â Cherry could hear her mother rummaging through a room as they spoke.
âAre you in one of their rooms now?â
âYou have to get out of there now.â Keystone Cherry was on the job, and she needed to gain control of the situation as soon as possible. âIâll be there tomorrow, and their rooms have to be the way you found them. I might be able to spot something you missed. Iâm going to talk with Tucker and Caleb tonight, and Iâll get a track on Isaiahâs phone. Iâll head out as soon as I can and Iâll try to be there no later than tomorrow evening.â Her mother sighed in relief. âAnd Ma, donât worry. Iâll find them.â
âI know, baby girl. Youâve always been the best tracker.â
âI love you. See you soon.â
âLove you too.â With that, Cherry hung up the phone and finished dressing. She was on a mission, and God forbid anyone who tried to stand in her way.
Megan lives on seven acres of land in rural Alberta, Canada and enjoys the simple country life. Paranormal romance allows her to create the places and characters she has always wanted to read about. She enjoys bringing her stories to life every chance she gets. When she isnât writing sheâs spending time with her husband and daughter whether itâs camping, riding ATVâs or just hanging out at home. Her family is the most important thing to her.