- Sadie informed Gene and Iva about the fight between Damien and Quinn in their driveway earlier that morning.
- Pearl admitted to Megan’s ghost about her growing feelings for Quinn; Megan tried to persuade Pearl to focus on Damien instead.
- While visiting his mother at the mental hospital, Jude was startled to hear her start to talk about their father after she saw his birthmark.
- Duncan finally reached Pearl, who agreed to talk with him.
The Lawrence Farm, evening
Pearl Tyler was sitting across the kitchen table from her ex-husband, Duncan. She couldn’t believe he was really here in the flesh, but she had to remain calm, even though on the inside she felt like jumping out of her skin.
“Let’s get to the point,” she began icily. “You’ve wasted your time coming here. I am not getting back together with you. Hell will freeze over first.”
“You can’t be alone in your condition,” Duncan replied, ignoring Pearl’s chilly tone. “I’m grateful that you’re being taken care of, but you need to be with people you know, not strangers.”
Pearl wrinkled her nose as if she smelled something rotten. “People I know? Like you and your snotty parents? I’d rather have those ‘strangers’—and they have names—Gene and Iva Lawrence—look after me than you and my pompous, judgmental ex-in-laws. I swore to myself that I would never have to look on them again. They could give a rat’s behind about my daughter.”
“Our daughter,” Duncan quickly corrected her.
“You wanted nothing to do with our daughter, so you don’t count anymore,” Pearl angrily retorted. She stood up and began to head for the kitchen door.
“Where are you going?” Duncan demanded.
She turned around and frowned. “Not that it’s any of your business, but I need to step out and get some fresh air. This constant back and forth is making me a little woozy.”
Duncan followed her out onto the back porch. The autumn air was cool, but not cold. Pearl inhaled deeply and she could feel her mind begin to clear. Duncan watched her for a second then placed his hands on her shoulders. Reacting like she’d been burned, Pearl tore away from his touch. Duncan repeated the act, and Pearl whipped around and slapped him across the cheek, hard.
“Don’t you touch me,” she hissed. “You make me sick.”
Duncan furiously rubbed his cheek, which was now a shade of bright red. “Please don’t be angry with me. You don’t know how guilty and ashamed I am for cheating on you and abandoning you and our baby. But I’ve come to rectify everything,” he replied, his voice shaking with sadness and regret. “I want us to be a family again.”
“Do yourself a favor Duncan. Go back to Lancaster and leave me alone!” Pearl cried. “I want nothing more to do with you. What part of that can’t you understand?”
Duncan pursed his lips and hard expression came over his face. “Then I have no choice. If you won’t willingly come with me, I will contact a lawyer and sue for sole custody of our daughter.”
Pearl was floored. “Over my dead body! You won’t get to lay a finger on my daughter!”
“I could declare you an unfit mother by choosing to stay here in this hick town with strangers instead of returning to a safe, two-parent home to raise our child,” Duncan threatened.
Pearl’s face reddened with anger. “Oooh, you are such a vindictive creep! Now I know you are definitely your mother’s son. You don’t get what you want and you can’t be in control, so you try to throw your weight around and act intimidating. Well, it’s not going to work. I could contact my own lawyer and tell a judge you’re a philanderer and a deadbeat father. How do you like those apples?” she challenged.
Duncan appeared unmoved. “I’ll be in Maine for a few more days. I’m staying at a hotel in Harmony. You know my cell number if you call and change your mind about coming back to me. Otherwise, be prepared to go to court Pearl.”
“You smug bastard,” Pearl seethed. You can rot in hell.”
Duncan’s face softened. “I don’t want to do this Pearl. I love you more than anything in this world and I want you to be happy. I feel I have no choice if this is the only way I can us to reunite again. He reached out with his right arm to try to stroke her cheek, but she instantly backed away.
“If you really loved me, you would leave Maine, return to Lancaster and forget about me. Go back to Bridget and just leave me and my baby alone,” Pearl replied, fighting back tears.
“Three days, Pearl,” Duncan reminded her. Then he headed for the porch steps, which would take him around to the front of the driveway where his rental car sat. Pearl watched him disappear into the darkness. Then the tears she tried to hold back began to flow and she buried her hands in her face as she sobbed.
Quinn Nightshade and Damien Collins heard it all. They were on opposite ends of the farm, but they were close enough to hear Pearl and Duncan’s heated argument. And each man was furious at her ex-husband’s threat to take away her baby. Something had to be done…
The Nightshade home, later that night
Jude arrived home to find his brother caressing a short but extremely sharp silver dagger while sitting by the fireplace. “I certainly hope that weapon isn’t for me,” he joked.
“Not unless you’re a werewolf,” Quinn said, smiling evilly.
Jude could only shake his head. “Please don’t tell me you’re seriously going to hunt down Damien. Why would you want to kill him anyway…” Then it dawned on him. “Oh, how stupid of me… Pearl.”
“He’s the one responsible for turning her against me. Things were going well between us Jude. She was warming up to me. Just when I thought I finally had a chance to make her mine, he ruins it by telling her he loves her and saying that the only reason I want her is because she slightly resembles Megan. So she told both of us to stay away from her. He has her confused.” Quinn’s eyes narrowed into tiny slits.
“But I thought her resemblance to Megan was what made you pursue her in the first place,” Jude pointed out.
“It was at first, and I admit that. But not anymore. After one short week, I realize there’s more to her than her red hair. But as long as Damien is always hovering over her and trying to poison her mind against me, that realization will be lost. With him out of the picture, Pearl is as good as mine.”
“This is madness Quinn—absolute madness!” Jude said, his voice rising. You actually want to murder Damien over a woman? It’s bad enough you target people when you get one of your blood cravings, but to outright slay another person down in cold blood all because you’re horny—it’s unacceptable. You’re turning into Father more and more and it scares me.”
Quinn got out of his chair. “I have to do this Jude. There is no way in hell I’m losing Pearl.”
Jude placed a firm hand on his brother’s shoulder. “What about Damien’s parents? His sister? Is this desire to kill your rival worth the suffering of his family? If you do this Quinn, they will avenge his death by murdering you. They’ll know it was you. And I’m not ready to lose my brother over something as trivial as a romantic rivalry. It should be up to Pearl to decide who she wants to be with.”
“There’s more than just Damien. Duncan is here,” Quinn said.
“I know, I spoke with him—remember? But you told me Pearl wants nothing to do with him.”
“She doesn’t. But he threatened to take her baby away if she wouldn’t come back home with him,” Quinn revealed.
“What?” Jude was puzzled. “How did you find out all of this? I thought Pearl didn’t want to see you right now.”
“I went to the farm tonight to try to change her mind, and I saw her with Duncan on the back porch. I heard everything.” His face was filled with fury. “After he left, she started sobbing. The nerve of that jerk to tell her he was going to take her child—that little girl means everything to her Jude. And Pearl means everything to me.”
“But what does this have to do with killing Damien?” Jude wanted to know.
“Duncan is going to be the second man on the end of that dagger,” Quinn coldly replied. With those two gone, Pearl and I will be together. She’ll probably thank me for getting rid of her ex-husband.”
“Jesus Christ.” Jude rubbed his hands through his hair. “You’ve lost it. If you don’t stop, I’m going to have to put you in the asylum alongside Mother.”
“I’m not insane Jude. I know exactly what I’m doing.” He sat back down again, picking up the dagger he left on the chair. “Speaking of Mother, there’s been no change?”
Jude sighed. “Not when it comes to remembering us—but she started to mention Father.”
“You’re joking,” Quinn said in disbelief.
“No. She didn’t say his name, but she saw my birthmark. She remembered Father has the same one and began to tell me how evil he was.” He sat in the chair facing his brother. “Perhaps it will be just a matter of time before she remembers everything.”
Quinn got out of his chair again, clutching the dagger. “I can’t deal with this now. I have to find Damien and Duncan.” As he was heading away from the living room, Jude grabbed his arm. “Quinn, I’m begging you—please don’t do this. You don’t know how many lives you’re going to ruin, including mine, if you go through with this craziness. Don’t you care about anyone else but yourself?”
Quinn removed Jude’s arm and stared at him intensely. “Right now, the only person I care about is Pearl. Nobody is going to stop me from being with her. Not even you.” He raised the dagger menacingly.
Feeling defeated, Jude said nothing. He watched his brother gather up his jacket and head out the door.
Haven Lake, sometime after midnight
Duncan had stopped his rental car here on his way back to Harmony to pull over and think. In reality, he wasn’t going to contact a lawyer and sue for custody of his unborn daughter, but he couldn’t think of any other tactic to possibly get Pearl to contemplate going back to him. He knew deep down Pearl was going to make the best mother on the planet and he just wanted to be alongside her, helping her raise their child.
He got out of the car and looked up at the sky. The moon was bright and full. It was a blue moon, the second full moon of the month. He remembered how he and Pearl used to take walks outside and go stargazing. Maybe he could convince her to take a walk with him tomorrow to try and talk things over more calmly.
Then, he suddenly heard sounds which sounded like growling coming from behind the trees that surrounded the lake, and his body stiffened in fear. He stood completely still.
The growling got louder, and then came a horrifying roar which pierced the night air like a butcher knife striking flesh. Duncan hopped into his car. The large gray beast tore through the trees and was against the vehicle in seconds. Duncan looked up and saw the huge sharp teeth and the glowing red eyes and let out a bloodcurdling scream. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. It was a real-life werewolf.
He crawled to the passenger side of the car and the werewolf began to shake and rattle the car violently. Duncan managed to open the other door and he began to run, huffing and puffing. The creature took after him, rapidly catching up to his prey and knocking him down. The wolf lifted Duncan up so he would be face to face with his attacker.
Duncan’s eyes and mouth were wide with extreme fright. All he could see was the elongated face of a wolf, his mouth open and snarling, with saliva dripping menacingly from its teeth. The eyes were still glowing.
Duncan closed his eyes. He was sure this was going to be the end. But instead of tearing him to pieces, the monster dropped him to the ground and stood over him, as if daring him to get up. He lay there as still as a statue. Then the beast squatted down and raised its clawed hand. With one swipe, he tore off a piece of Duncan’s button-down shirt and held it like a trophy. Then with one last roar, it took off in the direction of the trees.
Duncan lay there for a moment, trying to process what just happened. He was still too scared to move, fearing the werewolf would return and finish him off. But he knew one thing—he was sure as hell getting Pearl out of this town, and the sooner the better.
Somewhere in the woods
Quinn deliberately stalked through the thick and dark forest, carrying the dagger tightly. He wasn’t sure which werewolf would be Damien but even if he got Caleb or Rhiannon or Astrid, it didn’t matter to him anyway.
He stopped walking when he heard the growling. He looked around, and a big grin broke out on his face. “Damien, is that you!” he called out teasingly. “Show yourself, you walking pile of fur!”
As if on cue, the large gray half man/half wolf appeared in front of Quinn, standing still, glaring at him with its illuminated red eyes. Quinn grinned again, baring his fangs, and raised the silver dagger. “I’m afraid your nighttime prowling has come to an end—for good.”
It just stood there, not reacting. Quinn advanced on him, flashing the dagger. Its blade gleamed in the moonlight. “This is pure silver. My father gave it to me shortly before my mother forced him away. I never thought I would have a good reason to use it—until now. The sooner you’re gone, the sooner Pearl will be mine.”
On hearing Pearl’s name, it let out a screeching, almost demonic roar, which startled Quinn for just a second. It charged towards him, and Quinn raised the dagger, prepared to strike. But the beast head butted him hard, knocking his foe to the ground and the dagger flew out of Quinn’s hands. Before he could attempt to reach it, the werewolf grabbed Quinn by the wrist and pulled him off the ground. Like with Duncan, it held him in the air for a moment then dropped him.
The werewolf roared again and slashed Quinn across his forehead with one of its sharp claws. Quinn winced as a searing pain covered his head, and he could feel warm blood ooze from the wound. In a flash, the creature was gone, back into the bowels of the forest.
The Lawrence Farm
The sounds of growling outside her bedroom windows roused Pearl from her slumber. She sat up in bed and rubbed her eyes. When her vision cleared, she looked to the windows and thanks to the moonlight shining into the glass she saw the outline of the werewolf through the curtains. She knew it was Damien.
But this time, something was different, and it frightened her. She lay there in bed, perfectly silent. He growled again and she could sense the malice. He was angry with her for rejecting his love and sending him away earlier today. She wondered if he would try to crash through the window to get at her.
He stood there for a few seconds more, his red eyes glowing brightly, burning like hot coals. Then he disappeared. Pearl let out a sigh and lay back down, pulling the comforter tight around her. But before she could relax and go back to sleep, she heard a terrifying roar which made her gasp.
Coming up next:
- Pearl and Damien share a heated encounter after she finds him in the empty stable.
- Jude advises Quinn to come clean with Pearl about his ill-fated attempt on Damien’s life.
- Duncan interrupts another close moment between Pearl and Damien and discovers Damien’s true nature; later that day Duncan also meets Quinn.