Dangerous Cravings

A Shifter Novel (17)

by Jaden Sinclair

Riddick Adkins is a hunter and tracker as well as a full-blooded shifter. When a call comes in from an old friend to find a family member, Riddick answers and takes the job, a decision he regrets, especially after he meets his hard-headed target face to face.

Lilly Davis has been on the run for almost a year, staying a few steps ahead of the men her father worked for, but she doesn’t know how much longer she can go on.

Riddick finds Lilly, fighting off the men who are after her. She has something of theirs, something they want and are willing to kill for it.

Riddick and Lilly need to work together if they wanted to survive, but how can they when his shifter heat comes and his need for relief replaces common sense?


Chapter One


“He’s late.” Jaclyn Draeger paced the large living room, looking out the window every so many steps. “Where the hell is he?”

“He’s not late,” Dominic Vanderburg stated with a sigh. “Is she always like this?” he asked Dedrick Draeger.

“You have no idea,” Dedrick answered. “Calm down, Jaclyn. Riddick will be here when he gets here.”

“I had to track him down, and the drive here is going to take him a couple of hours or more,” Dominic added.

“I don’t see why you’re driving yourself nuts, anyway.” Dedrick groaned. “You know what the girl is like. You said it yourself. She’s a Davis, which means she’s a fighter.”

“She can’t fight this one alone,” Jaclyn said, reaching in her back pocket, and bringing out a letter. “My aunt told me things were bad. She says in her letter she told Lilly that she was to come here if anything happened to her. Now my aunt is dead, Lilly’s missing, and no telling what else that prick of a father got her into.”

“She ran off for a damn good reason,” Dedrick said.

“Yeah, her father is an asshole!” Jaclyn retorted. “That’s the reason.”

“So was yours.” Dedrick sighed again.

“You don’t understand. None of you do.”

“Understand what?”

“Nothing.” Jaclyn waved her hand in the air and went back to the window, looking out. “Never mind.”

“Woman, you are impossible,” Dedrick growled. “The girl has been on her own for years, not just months. It’s only been recently that you found out your aunt is dead, and the two of you have only seen each other, what, couple of times in how many years? You can’t expect her to come running to our house when things went bad.”

“What makes this guy the one to find her?” Jaclyn turned away from the window giving her back to Dedrick. “What makes him so damn special?”

“He’s a tracker and a damn good one,” Dominic answered. “Riddick is the best out there. Trust me.”

“Never say that to a woman,” Jaclyn stated. “It makes us not want to trust you guys for shit.”

“Then trust the dollar sign. Riddick would cost you a shit load of money to find Lilly, but don’t worry about that.” He waved Dedrick off when he opened his mouth. “He owes me a favor. He’s good, Jaclyn. She won’t stay lost for too long.”

“She’s been doing it for months now,” Dedrick countered. “She’s gotten others to try to track her down.” He hooked his thumb toward Jaclyn. “No luck. They couldn’t find shit. Not even proof that Lilly Davis exists.”

“I get the doubt here,” Dominic said.

“Do you?” Jaclyn snapped. “I’ve been trying to find my cousin for over nine months. Her father is a damn con artist that has spent his life always being one step ahead of the cops. Lilly learned from the best—him. My mother used to tell me that, when her sister ran off with him, the family just gave up and told themselves she was dead. It was easier to live with that lie than live with the hope she might come back one day.” Jaclyn hugged herself and went back to the window, looking out, waiting.

The three went quiet. Dedrick brought out a newspaper to read. Jaclyn stayed at the window, looking out, and Dominic moved around the room.

When lights flashed in front of one of the windows, everyone tensed. Jaclyn straightened up more than she already had, then looked over her shoulder at Dominic. He gave her a tight little grin and went to the door. A knock came, and Dominic opened it up.

“’Bout damn time,” Dominic said.

“Your directions suck.”

Riddick Adkins walked into the house, and Jaclyn held her breath as she took in his form, his height, his build. The man had to stand as tall as Dedrick and was just as wide in the shoulders. His arms were thick, legs long, waist narrow. He wasn’t dressed in anything fancy but in jeans that looked worn, a long sleeve shirt, no jacket in the cool night, and boots that had seen better days. His black hair was cut short and he wore a thin goatee on his chin. His eyes were dark and menacing with a touch of coldness. Jacyln felt a shiver run down her spine. When his gaze landed on her, it felt as if it was boring into her soul.

Dominic walked him into the house. “Riddick, this is Dedrick and Jaclyn Draeger.”

Riddick moved with grace, considering the size of his body. He went up to Dedrick, hand extended. They shook, then he turned to Jaclyn, shaking her hand, also. “I’m told you have someone you need found,” Riddick said.

His voice even sounded thick, in a rumbling sort of way when he spoke.

“My cousin,” Jaclyn said. “She’s been gone for months, and no one can find a thing.”

“Have a seat,” Derrick said. “Drink?”

“No, thank you.” Riddick moved to a chair and sat down with ease. “If you don’t mind me being blunt, time is money, but in your case I guess time is everything.” He picked up a leg, draping it over his opposite knee. “Who is this cousin of yours? In some trouble?”

“I—I don’t know,” Jaclyn said. She also sat down, but on the edge of the sofa. “Her name is Lilly.”

“What we have been able to find out is that her father, Jerry Bradly, has landed himself in shit so deep no shovel is going to get his sorry ass out,” Dominic said.

“Lilly Bradly, then,” Riddick said.

“No, Davis. He didn’t marry her mother.” Jaclyn rolled her eyes. “It’s a long story.”

“When was the last time you saw her?” Riddick asked Jaclyn. Jaclyn hesitated in answering, looking at Dedrick. “Ah, that long, huh?”

“She came here a few times with her mother,” Dedrick said. “After that prick beat the shit out of her mother. Since then, Jaclyn has kept in touch with them both on the phone. We’ve been trying to get them to come here, but they refused. Now her mother is gone, her father in a bunch of crap, and the girl has up and disappeared.”

“No picture?” Riddick stated. Jaclyn answered with a shake of her head. “What about last known address or anything personal of hers?”

“Here.” Dominic came up behind him and handed over a small piece of paper. “Last known address, but not sure what you’ll find there. Place has been trashed.”

“You’d be surprised.” Riddick read the note, then slid it inside his pocket. “Anything else you can tell me? Anyone after her?”

“We don’t know,” Jaclyn said. “Right now, it all just feels like Lilly doesn’t exist.”

“Father dead?” Riddick asked. Jaclyn shook her head. “Where’s he at?”

“Last we heard, out looking for her,” Dedrick said.

“Really?” Riddick raised both eyebrows. His voice had also changed, got a bit higher.

That had Jaclyn’s stomach twisting. “What?” she asked.

Riddick didn’t look at her, but at Dedrick. “What aren’t you telling me?” He sighed and rested both arms on the armrests of the chair, almost in a relaxed pose, but it screamed anything but relaxed.

“Come on, guys. You called me here.”

“I don’t have anything concrete. Just things I’ve heard when I tried to do my own searching.”

“What?” Riddick asked with a sterner tone.

“He might be involved in drugs.” Dedrick sighed. “The people he’s been working for are trying to make a name for themselves and, so far, have been doing a damned good job at it.” He rubbed his face and moved around the room. “I need a drink.”

“These people are not with the big boys then?” Riddick asked.

“No.” Dedrick shook his head and poured himself a drink. He downed half before going back to his seat. “Rumor has it, they’re working at taking out all competition. A few of the known big shots have turned up dead.”

“Drug lords. Perfect.” Riddick sighed. He stood up and looked at Dominic. “Good thing we’re friends with the shit you get me into.” Riddick moved to the same table Dedrick had and poured himself a drink.

“What’s that mean?” Jaclyn asked.

Riddick downed the whole glass before turning back around, facing Jaclyn. “It means if I didn’t like Nick here, I’d be walking out the damn door. Drug lords are the worst to be fucking with. Your Jerry Bradly has sold his soul to those pricks. They own his sorry ass, and more than likely, he will take their side over his daughter’s.”

“I—I don’t understand.” Jaclyn looked at Dedrick with a frown. “What’s he talking about?”

“I’m talking about your girl, your Lilly, might’ve seen something she shouldn’t have, and they’re after her, not Daddy.” Riddick added, “That is why she ran and is hiding.” He put his glass down and crossed his arms over his chest. “How long has this trail been cold?”

“Nine months or so,” Dedrick said.

“Then her time is close to running out.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Jaclyn snapped. “All you’ve done is talk some code bullshit. Why don’t you stop beating around the damn bush and say what you’re thinking?”

Riddick stared at Jaclyn, and she was sure it was meant to intimidate her. It didn’t.

“Okay,” he said. “All bullshit aside. Two things here.” He held up two fingers. “One, they already have her, and there ain’t no getting her back. Or...” He put one finger down. “...she is still out there, and this lucky streak she’s been on is coming to an end fast. Either way, if I don’t find her fast she’s going to be dead. For whatever reason she ran, it has put a bullseye on her, and if I’m going to find her and bring her back here safely, I’m probably going to have to get my hands dirty.” He turned his head toward Dominic. “And you’re a motherfucker for dragging me into this shit.”

“Look, I didn’t know it had to do with drugs,” Dominic said with his hands raised up.

“He didn’t,” Dedrick confirmed. “I didn’t tell anyone.”

“What kind of dirty?” Jaclyn asked low, afraid as to what the answer would be.

“These drug guys have killed to get what they want in the past,” Riddick explained. “They have no problem doing it.” He sighed and rolled his head and shoulders. “I may have to do the same damn thing if I want to find her and keep her safe. Do you have a problem with that?”

Jaclyn raised her chin, meeting him eye to eye. “Find my cousin, Riddick. I don’t give a fuck how you do it or what you do to accomplish it. I just want Lilly here, safe.”

“All right then.” He moved, going up to Dedrick, hand out. “I’ll be in touch.”

Riddick shook Dedrick and Jaclyn’s hands, then gave Dominic a dirty look as he headed for the door.

* * *

Riddick left the house with his temper rising. He should have known by the tone in Dominic’s voice, that this “favor” was going to be a bitch. He wasn’t wrong.

“Rick, wait!” Dominic called out.

“This is not a simple job, Nick,” Riddick growled, stopping when he got to his truck. He turned fast, facing Dominic. “You have drug lords that are wiping out others for territory. You know what that shit means.”

“Doesn’t mean she’s involved.”

“Her old man is.” Riddick rubbed the back of his neck and growled again. “This job isn’t going to be fast and simple like the others. This girl has gotten herself lost for a damn good reason. That is going to cost a lot of time as well as money, and I’m doing this shit for free.”

“I can cover your costs.”

“I don’t want your fucking money!” Riddick snapped. “I want you to understand and make them understand.” He indicated the house with his hand. “This is not going to happen fast. It’s going to take me time to pick up her scent.”

“If I thought you couldn’t do it, that you wouldn’t be the one to find her, I would never have called, but, man, they’re family. Jaclyn is going nuts. That girl is the only human family she has left.”

“Argh!” Riddick rubbed his face with his head down. Hands on his hips, he shook his head. “This shit is going to get dirty, man. Real fucking dirty.”

“I know.”

“Do you?” Riddick looked up at Dominic. “There’s no reasoning with people like this. No asking ‘please’ with a side of ‘thank you’. If I cross paths with them, brute force is what’s going to happen, as well as blood being drawn. Can you clean up the messes I might have to make?”

“You make it sound like you’re going to have to kill some of them,” Dominic finished with a half-laugh.

“That’s exactly what I am saying, Nick.” Riddick looked Dominic in the eye and saw the shiver Dominic tried to hide. “Look, call Justice in. Ask him to trail me for clean-up, and I’ll repay him big for it.”

“You know he’s out looking for Vashti.”

“Yeah, I know. Just call him and tell him I’ll send him word for clean-up. He does this, and I’ll owe him big.” He turned from Dominic, jerked the door open and hopped into his truck, starting it up.

“Where you going to start?” Dominic asked.

“Her house. I need a scent if I’m going to start tracking as well as a picture of what she looks like.” He nodded toward the house. “Make sure those two in there know this is going to take some time. As soon as I find something, I’ll let them know, but that female has to understand that when I find this girl, we won’t be coming back here until it’s safe to do so.”

“Will do.” Dominic extended his hand. “Thanks for doing this, man. I’ll owe you this time.”

Riddick grabbed the hand but didn’t shake it or let it go quickly. “They need to get it through their heads this is dangerous shit all of you have landed in. These people kill to keep secrets. I mean it, Nick. They need to get that through their heads.”

“I’ll make sure Jaclyn understands that. They don’t need more shit on their doorstep any more than the rest of us.”

Riddick pulled away from the house, backed down the drive, and was gone. If it wasn’t for Dominic being like family, he would have left the house as soon as he knew he would be dealing with drug dealers. Dealers killed without asking a damn thing, and Lord only knows what they would do if they discovered there were wolves among them. Wouldn’t a shifter be damn good muscle to enforce things?

The address he had for Lilly’s last known living place was a good three or maybe four-day drive, if one stopped to rest. His gut screamed at him to hurry, and he always listened to his gut.




"Dangerous Cravings" - Jaden Sinclair


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