The forth book in a five book shifter series from Red Rose Publishing, Echopharte tells of the origins and evolution of the shifters.
The ancients revered them. The colonists feared them. Today, no one believes in them. Shifters have lived and worked among humans since before recorded history.
Echopharte tells of the first community and how both good and evil have continuously shaped our society, from ancient times up to the present day.
He barely grumbled something in reply.
“Hon? Wake up. You need to see this.”
The big man opened one eye enough to see Kimmy, standing by the side of the window, intently watching something outside. He got up and padded silently over to her while avoiding showing himself in the window. “What is it, love?” He whispered softly.
“Looks like we have some new neighbors that keep odd hours.” She nodded towards the adjoining dock. “The sound of those big diesels woke me when they pulled into the dock.”
A short distance away, a large, garishly-painted ocean racing hull was tied up, its engines shut down and several men stood guard. Two other men were rushing back and forth between the boat and a plain white van with a cheap magnetic sign advertising some plumber.
“What ever you do, Kimmy, don’t turn on a light or let them know we’re here. They probably think this place is still empty. Otherwise they wouldn’t be unloading square grouper in front of possible witnesses.”
“An old Florida slang term for weed, coke and other drugs packaged into small, waterproof bundles. Offshore racers like that are used to pick up a load offshore and bring it into backwater channels like this for off-loading.” He squinted a bit before asking. “Can you read the plate on that van?”
She stared at it a moment, moving her lips silently. Then, she turned aside, grabbed a pen and wrote it on a scrap of paper. “We going to turn them in?”
“I’m not sure how much credibility an ex-con is going to have with the local narcs, but you can’t be too careful. If they bust them now, the cops might think we were in on it and helping to provide cover.” He picked up his phone from the nightstand and went into the bathroom so the light wouldn’t give up their location.
Less than ten minutes later, the smugglers closed the back door of the van. One of the guards slipped into the driver’s seat and the other two got into a BMW with dark-tinted windows. The guys that had been off-loading fired up the boat and started to back away from the pier.
The van, with the car following, had just reached the chain-link gate at the end of the warehouse when the road was blocked by a sheriff’s marked unit. Several other sets of blinking blue lights colored the night at the same instant. A siren, blue flashing lights and the brilliant white beam of a night-sun searchlight revealed a couple more boats with sheriff markings and many figures pointing rifles at the smugglers.
Not a shot was fired and in less than five minutes, the entire smuggling team was cuffed and on their way to the local lockup. Kimmy and Grego watched it all in silence.
Then the phone rang and Grego picked it up. “Hello?” He listened to the voice on the other end for a moment. “Yeah. Sure. Whatever. Come on over and identify yourself at the door.” He hung up.
Kimmy looked confused. “Come on over? Who’s coming over?”
Grego shook his head in resignation. “Better get dressed, love. We shall have the company of some cops in a moment.” He grabbed his jeans and a teeshirt.
Two of the three people at the door were uniformed sheriffs. The third fellow was a federal agent.
“Hi. I’m Special Agent Oscar Wilkes.” He shook Grego’s hand. “I’m really glad you decided to call it in.”
“I figured we didn’t have much choice. But I don’t think it was a surprise. That task force you brought to the party didn’t just pop up with five minutes notice.”
Oscar ignored him for a moment as he told the two deputies that he recognized the couple and they could go. Once they were out of earshot, he turned back to the Kimmy and Grego. “Actually I’m glad you called because it gave me an excuse to meet you in person. And of course, you’re correct in that we already knew about this drop. We had a freighter under surveillance for awhile and have been following the boat all the way from the Gulf. Your call told us they were almost loaded and we could catch them all red-handed.”
Kimmy folded her arms and narrowed her eyes at the agent. “You’re kin, aren’t you?”
He smiled and nodded. “From the special reports I’ve read, you two have been busy. First you are instrumental in ridding the world of an Otherkin serial killer and now you’re getting mixed up with Latino drug business.”
“Latino? And what’s this about a special report?” Grego looked confused. “I thought the kin didn’t believe in official paperwork.”
“You two don’t have to worry. Otherkin have been a part of the government ever since colonial times and probably before that. We keep our own set of files concerning any kin involved in a federal investigation. Which brings me to the point of this little meeting. We’d like to recruit you.”