A familiar scent invaded his lungs. Lion. Faint, yet distinctive. He was on the right path.
Long strides took him around the bar, an older structure that appeared as if it had seen several upgrades and expansions over its lifetime. An upper and lower deck graced one side. The raised level had tables, while the lower featured a live band and dance area. People moved on both, and the sharp twining from instruments as the musicians warmed up carried over the drone of laughter and conversation.
The place was packed, a good thing for those partying and an inconvenience for him. He had business to take care of that didn’t need an audience. He continued past the decks to the employee entrance. Several cars and trucks were parked near the door.
He followed the smell carrying on the breeze to a blue SUV. A child’s car seat was secured in the back. He tugged on the door handle. Locked. No matter. Going by the strength of the scent seeping from the cracked window, Megan had traveled in the vehicle recently.
He pulled out his cell and dialed his friend and fellow pride member, Devin.
“Yeah?” Devin answered.
“You were right. Megan is with her uncle. I found Josh’s car, and there are enough stuffed animals and toys in it to amuse any cub with a short attention span.”
“Have you spotted her?”
“Not yet, but if she’s here, I’ll get her.” Rafe glanced over his shoulder at the building. “And once I hand her over to you, Josh and I are having a little talk about how kids should be raised.”
“Just because the neighbor remembered seeing Megan with Josh doesn’t mean he took her to the bar. The woman said he owns the place. Maybe he’s working, and he dropped Megan off at a sitter or something.”
The idea didn’t comfort him. Actually, it’d almost be better if Josh had taken Megan to work with him. It’d be harder to carry a screaming five-year old through a packed bar than killing her sitter without bystanders nearby and walking away with their rare cub—the innocent child who had a price on her head.
“As soon as I find out, I’ll call.”
Devin’s sigh carried over the line. “Good. I want out of here as soon as possible.”
“You didn’t have to come. I could’ve brought one of my brothers.”
“You know I couldn’t stay behind, not when kids are threatened.”
Yeah, he knew that. It was an honorable trait, but Devin wasn’t exactly sane. Dropping him in a tense situation with humans close by was a disaster waiting to happen, but Rafe wasn’t their pride leader. He didn’t get to make the decisions. Kade did, and sometimes Rafe wondered if his twin thought through his dictates before issuing them.
“So, what did you find at Tony’s office?” Rafe asked.
“A whole box of documents from the lawyer who handled Megan’s adoption and…”
Rafe waited for him to finish and finally prompted, “And?”
Devin cleared his throat. “The female you smelled at Tony’s house has spent time here too.”
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