A Bear's Protection(3)

By: Roxie Noir



“What did the police say?” Amelia asked, her voice barely controlled.

Cora shook her head, her lips pressed together. “That they can’t prove it’s him, of course,” she said.

“They mean they don’t want to prove it’s him,” Amelia said.

She clenched her jaw and looked out the window at the brick buildings lining Main Street. Cora knew that look: when they were kids, that look would have preceded Amelia throwing her coffee cup through the plate glass window, then running off to fight whoever had hurt her little sister.

Unfortunately for them, Cora and Amelia weren’t from one of the wealthiest families in Charlesville, Virginia, and if Amelia beat someone up, she’d definitely go to jail.

No matter how much he deserved it.

“Did they even check for fingerprints?” Amelia asked.

“They made a whole show of it,” Cora said. “Didn’t find anything. They wouldn’t even increase the restraining order to a thousand feet.”

“You’re kidding me,” Amelia said. Her voice started to rise. “This asshole sends you a picture of you sleeping with a goddamn hunting knife in the frame and they won’t do anything?”

“That’s Charlesville’s finest,” Cora said bitterly. “I’ve been switching motels every couple of days to get away from him and they won’t do a thing.”

“That’s un-fucking-believable,” Amelia said. She leaned in. “Cora, I’ll hunt him down for you. I’m not kidding. Nobody fucks with my baby sister like this.”

Cora flipped the photo over so it was face down on the table, and then pinched the bridge of her nose between her thumb and forefinger.

You promised yourself you weren’t going to get mad about this again, she thought. You can’t let him control you like this. That’s what he wants.

She forced a smile.

“If you go to jail for murder, who am I going to call about getting red wine stains out of my carpet?” she asked Amelia, trying to sound lighthearted.

Amelia didn’t take the bait.

“Come on, Mealy,” Cora said, using the nickname that she knew her sister hated. “You’re the only one I’ve got. Don’t go to jail.”

“Stay with me,” Amelia said. “If he tries anything, he’ll meet the business end of Dad’s old hunting rifle.”

“I can’t do that to you,” Cora said.

Amelia just sighed and looked down.

“He’s not going to follow me across the country,” Cora said. “Besides, I’ve always kind of wanted to live out west. It’ll be fun.”

Amelia made a face.

“But do you have to move all the way to Cascadia?” she asked. “It’s so far away.”

“It’s the first place I got a job offer,” Cora said. “I’m going to be copywriting for a boutique marketing firm in Granite Valley.”

Amelia still looked worried.

“What if you’re moving out of the frying pan and into the fire?” she asked. Her mug of coffee was almost empty and she picked it up and swirled it around as she spoke. “You know what they say about shifters.”

Cora raised her eyebrows.

“Which is?”

Amelia leaned in.

“They’re a bunch of sex perverts, Cora,” she said, lowering her voice. “I see it on the news all the time. There are all these exposés about shifter sex parties and stuff.”

Cora narrowed her eyes. “You need to watch the news less,” she said. “You know none of that is true, right?”

“What if it is, though?” Amelia gave her sister a pointed look. “The triad thing is true.”

“Mealy, they’re just people,” Cora said.

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