"Do you know all the werewolves?"

He smiled. "I know the Alphas. We have yearly meetings with all of them. I know most of the seconds and thirds. One of the things we do at the meetings is update the pack memberships. The Alphas are supposed to keep the Marrok informed when people die, or when new wolves are Changed. If my father had known so many wolves were gone, he would have investigated. Though Leo's lost a third of the pack membership, he's done a fair job of replacing them."

He gave back the list she'd written  -  a number of names, including hers, were also checked. "These are all new. From what you've told me, I'd guess that they are all forced Changes. The survival rate of random attack victims is very poor. Your Leo has killed a lot of people over the past few years in order to keep the number of his pack where it is. Enough that it should have attracted the attention of the authorities. How many of these people were made wolves after you?"

"None of them. The only new wolf I've seen was that poor boy." She tapped the paper with her pen. "If they didn't leave bodies and spread out the hunt, they could have easily hidden the disappearance of a hundred people in the greater Chicago area over a few years."

He leaned back and closed his eyes, then he shook his head. "I don't remember dates too well anymore. I haven't met most of the missing wolves, and I don't remember the last time I saw Leo's old second except that it was within the last ten years. So whatever happened was after that."

"Whatever happened to what?"

"To Leo, I'd guess. Something happened that made him kill all the women in his pack except Isabelle and most of his older wolves  -  the wolves who would have objected when he started attacking innocent people, or quit teaching new wolves the rules and rights that belong to them. I can see why he'd have to kill them  -  but why the women? And why didn't the other Chicago Alpha say anything to my father when it happened?"

"He might not have known. Leo and Jaimie stay away from each other, and our pack is not allowed to go into Jaimie's territory at all. The Loop is neutral territory, but we can't go north of here unless we get special permission."

"Oh? Interesting. Have you heard anything about why they aren't getting along?"

She shrugged. There had been a lot of talk. "Someone told me that Jaimie wouldn't sleep with Isabelle. Someone else said that they had an affair and he broke it off, and she was insulted. Or that he wouldn't break it off and Leo had to step in. Another story is that Jaimie and Leo never got along. I don't know."

She looked at the checks that marked the newer wolves in her pack and suddenly laughed.



"It's just stupid." She shook her head.

"Tell me."

Her cheeks flushed with embarrassment. "Fine. You were looking for something that all the newer wolves had in common. I was just thinking that if someone wanted to list the most handsome men in the pack, they would all make the cut."

Both of them were surprised by the flash of territorial jealousy that he didn't bother to hide from her.

It was probably a good time for the waiter to come in with the first course of food.

Anna started to move her chair back to where it had been, but the waiter sat his tray down and took it from her, seating her properly before he got back to setting out the dishes.

"And how have you been, sir?" he said to Charles. "Still haven't given up and moved to civilization?"

"Civilization is vastly overrated," Charles returned as he put the sheets of paper into his notebook and shut the cover. "As long as I can come up once or twice a year and eat here, I am content."

The waiter shook his head with mock sadness. "Mountains are beautiful, but not as beautiful as our skyline. One of these days I'll take you out for a night on the town and you'll never leave again."

"Phillip!" A bird-thin woman stepped into the room. "While you are here chatting with Mr. Cornick, our other guests are going hungry."

The waiter grinned and winked at Anna. He dropped a kiss on the woman's cheek and slipped through the door.

The woman suppressed a smile and shook her head. "That one. Always talking. He needs a good wife to keep him in line. I am too old." She threw up her hands and then followed the waiter.

The next twenty minutes brought a series of waiters and waitresses who all looked as though they were related. They carried food on trays and never said anything about it being odd that two people should eat so much food.

Charles filled his plate, looked at hers, and said, "You should have told me you didn't like lamb."

She looked at her plate. "I do."

He frowned at her, took the serving spoon, and added to the amount on her plate. "You should be eating more. A lot more. The change requires a lot of energy. You have to eat more as a werewolf to maintain your weight."

After that, by mutual consent Anna and Charles confined their conversations to generalities. They talked about Chicago and city living. She took a little of a rice dish and he looked at her until she took a second spoonful. He told her a little about Montana. She found he was very well spoken and the easiest way to stop a conversation cold was to ask him about anything personal. It wasn't that he didn't want to talk about himself, she thought, it was that he didn't find himself very interesting.

The door swung open one last time, and a girl of about fourteen came in with dessert.

"Aren't you supposed to be in school?" Charles asked her.

She signed. "Vacation. Everyone else gets time off. But me? I get to work in the restaurant. It sucks."

"I see," he said. "Perhaps you should call child welfare and tell them you're being abused?"

She grinned at him. "Wouldn't that get Papa riled up. I'm tempted to do it just to see his face. If I told him it was your suggestion do ya suppose he'd get mad at you instead of me?" She wrinkled her nose. "Probably not."

"Tell your mother that the food was perfect."

She braced the empty tray on her hip and backed out the door. "I'll tell her, but she already told me to tell you that it wasn't. The lamb was a little stringy, but that's all she could get."

"I gather you come here often," Anna said, unenthusiastically picking at a huge piece of baklava. Not that she had anything against baklava  -  as long as she hadn't eaten a week's worth of food first.

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