The man gave a gruff laugh.
"Don't act so surprised. You knew I was watching you."
Yeah, but why? What do you want? Who are you?
Zeke squirmed, and I saw the man gave him a shake to quiet him.
"That was an impressive fight," he went on. "If you ask me, you won the moment you bit him. Only scum like him would do something like poke you in the eye."
"Screw you!" Zeke grunted, still trying to pry the werewolf's arm loose.
"Shut up!" he spat, and Zeke grunted. "I'll deal with you in a minute."
He turned back to me. "Dalton's not keeping a very low profile, is he?"
You know D.K.? How? Stupid freaking wolf mouth, keeping me from talking…
"I guess I can't blame him, though. Gremlins are a nuisance, at best. When they join together in gangs, it can lead to serious trouble."
He paused for a second when I blinked. "There's a stream a little ways off to your left. Go there and wash your eyes out."
Though I still wasn't sure if I could trust him, I did as he said. That meant leaving him alone with Zeke, but I got the feeling a gremlin was about as dangerous as a cotton ball to this guy. Just as he'd said, I found the stream a couple minutes' walk away. I changed back, taking some small comfort in knowing there shouldn't be anybody nearby to see me, and washed my eyes out. It took a few minutes, but the cold, clean water eventually made the stinging go away, and the tears stopped. I also took a minute to wash the blood off my face.
"Much better," I said before changing again and going back to where I'd left him. I may have wanted answers, but I wasn't ready to stand naked in front of him for them yet. And with Zeke there too? Forget it!
"We have a lot to talk about," he told me, as if I hadn't even left. "First of all, you're probably wondering who I am."
No kidding, I thought, but my ears perked up all the same.
"You can call me Stark," he said. "I'm… well, you could say I've taken a special interest in you."
Why would you, I thought, but then paused. It's because I was a Silverblood. That had to be the reason. With everything else that had been going on, I had completely forgotten.
Stark nodded seriously, somehow knowing what I was thinking. His dark eyes were reading my mind, I was sure of it.
"We can't talk about it here, though," he said. "Too much risk of being overheard. We'll meet again later."
I growled in frustration. I wanted answers now!
"I know it's hard, Amber," Stark said. "Trust me, I do. But you have to report back to your alpha, though, don't you?"
D.K.! He and the others were still waiting for me back at the G-Nomes' house. If I didn't come back soon, they'd come out to look for me. The last thing I wanted at this point was to be caught in the middle of the woods with a wolf that wasn't in our pack. Tyler would think I'd lied to him about not knowing Stark, and D.K…. I didn't even want to think about what he might decide was going on.
"You came out here chasing him," Stark said, nodding towards Zeke, who was still struggling in vain against the bigger man's strength. His shoulder was leaving a blood stain on Stark's Dr. Pepper shirt. "Take care of him and then get back to Dalton."
"No, no," Zeke said, his eyes widening with panic. "Please, don't! Seriously, I'll do anything!"
Stark ignored him. "Give your pack time to calm down after the hunt. Tomorrow night, come to the burger shack next to the funeral home."
I shivered. That was the funeral home I'd saved Kimberly from.
"You'll need to be in human form, of course," he went on. "It'll be easier to talk that way. Now…" He unhooked his arm from Zeke's neck and threw him to the ground in front of me. "Deal with him."
With pleasure! I thought as my predator's instincts came back in full force. Zeke screamed as my teeth tore into him, tasting his blood. I knew that when I looked up again, Stark would be long gone.
NEXT TIME: Stark. That's a cool name, right? Stark. Staaaaaaaaaaarrrhhhhhhggggglsdthdsjsdhk. Amber doesn't have time to think about it, though. She has to get back to her pack- and Kimberly.