Winter Rain, part 14

Chapter 2

Everyone is already seated around the den when I arrive, but it still looks empty. It’s strange seeing it this way. When I was a pup, we couldn’t fit everybody in. Not by half. But things have changed.

I’m not late—no need for that drama—but I’ve shaved it as close as I can. Less chance Faolan will want words with me. I slip over and sit down beside Tara, who smiles at me. I snuggle into her, careful to avoid bumping my sore arm into anything.

Someone will notice it, eventually, but the lower key we play it, the less likely anyone will ask about it.

“Good,” Faolan says. I can feel his evil eye on me before I look up. “Now that everyone has arrived, we can get started.” But he doesn’t seem particularly pissed off. Maybe things are back to normal.

For now.

He doesn’t linger on me long. I’m not presently important enough. One of perks of being bottom of the pack: people mostly ignore you. Means you can watch them, see what’s really going on. Beneath the words.

“Tonight it’s to be a reconnaissance op,” Faolan says as he gets up from his desk.

“For that rat bastard, Rian.” He grinds the “R”. Cormac’s lip curls at the name.

“Now listen up! We’ll be following three humans, one carrying a package, the other two his bodyguards. We’re to follow them to where they deliver the package, somewhere near Britannia and the river. Then report that location back to Rian.

“Nice and simple.”

He steps over the city map and points to a spot at the edge of our territory—Grant and Longsberg, from the look of it. “We’ll be picking them up here,” he says and taps the map. “We’ll be taking over from one of Rian’s teams as they cross into our territory.

“They’ll be expecting a tail, so we’re going to give ‘em one. One they will eventually lose.” He gives me a warning look. “Conlan, Tiergan, Tara: that will be you. I trust you’ll have no problem with the assignment.”

Cormac and Brendan both snicker at the insult. But Faolan’s just being a dick. Per usual. I glance over at Conlan. He rolls his eyes.

“The rest of us will be the real tail,” he concludes, shifting his attention back to the group.

“Now, this is very important. If they make us too close to the target, we lose the drop. Period. And that’s not acceptable. That rat bastard is turning the screws on this one. Understand?” His voice drops to a growl. “If anyone on the real team gets made, you let them lose you. And you stay lost. Am I clear?”

He scans the room, and every one nods in turn.

He stops on me last. “Conlan!” he barks, still looking at me. “You’re in charge of your team.”

Fucker. This is the thanks I get.


“Everybody, you know what to do. Keep in contact. Let’s get it done.”