“Mmm-hmmm,” he said as he guided me to a group of silver vans.
One more glance over my shoulder confirmed that I’d been imagining things. I hadn’t seen him. He didn’t know I was here. No one knew but the wolves and my friends.
My hands shook as I tried to get my backpack off. One of the other wolves tried to help me with it, but one look from Mr. July, and he disappeared into another van.
Mr. July stepped behind me, lifting my backpack easily from my shoulders.
Why not let the other guy help? Even after my stint at St. Ailbe’s, wolves baffled me sometimes.
“Hop in.” He motioned toward one of the vans. The other wolves were climbing into the vans on either side of us, but Muraco got into the center van. I followed his lead, sliding onto the bench next to him.
The drool-worthy one threw my pack in the back of the van as I sat and busied myself with buckling my seatbelt.
Mr. July slid the van door shut and I jumped. I grasped my chest and then laughed softly at myself as he got into the passenger seat in front of me.
I was losing it. Imagining Matt here. The combination of high altitude and no sleep was a killer. A good twelve hours of shut-eye and everything would be right as rain.
For a second I relaxed back into my seat, and then I realized where I was. In Peru. With a bunch of wolves and not a witch or coven member in sight should I need them.
I glanced at the four wolves in the van with me. I sure hoped none of them were biters. Because as much as Teresa said she liked her new way of life, I really, really didn’t want to be a werewolf.
Trusting these wolves would either be my salvation or turn out epically bad. With as much bad as I’d had thus far, I hoped I was swinging toward the good. But something told me I might not be so lucky.
Mr. July turned in his seat and gave me a wink.
Maybe being a wolf wouldn’t be so bad…
He grinned, as if he could read my mind, and my cheeks grew hot. Then he started full-on laughing as he turned back to face the road.
Oh boy, I’m in so much trouble.
Cusco felt old. Not like any place in Texas—with its freshly paved roads and new buildings. The ancient stone streets rattled the tires on the van. The tiny roads felt even tinier with the buildings crowding in against them. There was barely enough room for the cars to pass, and with added pedestrians, I was convinced we were going to hit something—or someone—before we made it to our destination.
We cut through a little courtyard that was all lit up—it had to be the town center. A Catholic church took up one portion of the square. I made a note of it. I loved to sit in old churches. I didn’t pray that often, but my soul felt quiet and relaxed in them. A fountain stood in the center of the square. Spouts of water flowed down from the top feature—a bronze man holding some sort of scepter.
People crossed into the street without looking and tourists and locals mixed together, enjoying the early night. It was nice to see so many people filling the square. The town felt alive. Vibrant. If my head weren’t pounding with a headache I would’ve asked to be let out here and walk the rest of the way. It was a shame just to pass it by.
“Almost there, princess,” Mr. July said from the passenger’s seat.
He turned just enough so that I could see his face. “I call it like I see it.”
“Great,” I muttered. He thought I was a spoiled, rich girl. I was neither rich nor spoiled. Was that really the vibe I gave off? Maybe I’d been rude to him back at the airport?
Well, I couldn’t change what must have been a bad first impression, but I could help how I acted from here on out. I had no idea what to call him. Something told me he wouldn’t appreciate being called Peruvian Hottie. “We were never introduced properly. I’m Claudia de Santos. And you all are?”
“Pedrico,” said the wolf sitting in the seat behind me.
“Andrés,” said the wolf who was driving.
But Mr. July hadn’t answered yet. “And what’s your name?”
“Lucas,” he said simply.
“Lucas?” I wasn’t sure why, but it didn’t fit him. Usually the name fit in with the aura. But not his. He felt more…handsome? No, that wasn’t it. Regal? Not quite right. More something…
“Yup.” He paused. “Why don’t you believe me?”
I hadn’t realized I was broadcasting my emotions. “I guess I figured you’re Peruvian. Shouldn’t you have a name more exotic than Luke?”