Dark Blood Page 29

“That’s bullshit, Zev. We believe in morals and ethics, not killing our own kind or murdering other species.”

“Yet here you sit, lying in wait to murder a young woman who has done absolutely nothing to you. You were waiting to wound a wolf just to use the animal as bait, knowing she had enough compassion to come to try to save it.”

The accusation was harsh, but he felt harsh. He felt like shaking Damon until his teeth rattled and then taking him out behind the proverbial barn to beat some sense into him. What was wrong with his people? Lycans were good people, not fanatics who killed without thought.

“I wasn’t going to shoot a wolf,” Damon mumbled.

“But someone gave you the orders to shoot them,” Zev insisted. “That was part of your mission. Draw out the woman by using one of our wild brethren.”

Damon sighed. “It didn’t make any sense, but someone has to pay for killing Daciana.”

“I told you, you idiot, she isn’t dead. And really, Damon, killing Skyler wouldn’t bring her back if she was. What possessed you to join with these people? You have a brain, why weren’t you using it?”

Damon didn’t answer.

Zev was fed up with the entire thing. “If you had lifted that rifle at either the wolf or Skyler, I would have staked you on the spot, and you would have deserved it.”

Damon sank back on his heels. “I don’t know why I joined them.” He sounded confused. “You’re right. This goes against everything I believe in. It isn’t like me not to check facts. This goes against the code of the Sacred Circle as well. We don’t condone violence. Self-defense, yes, but not murder. Not luring a girl out into the open and shooting her.” He dropped his arms and turned toward Zev. “What the hell is going on with me?”

“What part of ‘stay exactly the way you are’ didn’t you understand?” Zev asked quietly.

Damon placed his hands, palm down, on his thighs. “I’m not a threat. I want to see Daciana. Maybe she can figure out what’s really going on.”

His voice rang with truth. Zev didn’t know what to believe. He never would have thought that Damon would join in a murder.

He’s telling you the truth, Branislava said. I hear it in his voice.

I hear it, too, but that doesn’t mean a damn thing, mon chaton féroce.

Branislava heard the hurt in his voice. This man had been his friend—a close friend. Zev felt betrayed by him. Not just him, but his entire species. He’d spent his life doing his duty, protecting his kind and first they had turned on him and then shamed him with their actions, and now there was betrayal.

Zev lived by a strict code of honor. He expected little in return for his service, but he did demand loyalty. The pack was always about loyalty and this man somehow was equated, in Zev’s mind, with his pack.

Bring him before the council, let them decide what to do with him, she suggested. If one of them is behind this, wouldn’t they stick up for him?

Not necessarily. He was very reluctant to present Damon to the council for judgment, not after what happened to Dimitri. The council members had sworn Dimitri was safe and well cared for, but in reality he’d been sentenced to the worst fate—the cruelest of all deaths any Lycan or enemy could suffer. Granted, Dimitri was mixed blood, considered the dreaded Sange rau, an abomination that had been outlawed centuries earlier. Even so, Zev trusted few people and, at the moment, even fewer Lycans.

Branislava sighed. Dimitri strode toward them, looking tall and authoritative. She exchanged a long, guilty glance with Skyler. They had saved the young female wolf, but at a great price. She would forever be a part of Skyler and Dimitri’s pack.

“Shadow insisted,” Skyler said, both hands buried in the fur of the female. “He says she’s his chosen mate.”

“And you didn’t help that along?” Dimitri demanded, looking from one to the other.

“Is there a way to influence an alpha wolf?” Branislava asked.

“If there is, the two of you would figure out how,” Dimitri said. He dropped into a crouch beside the female’s body, running his hands over her. “She’s changing inside.”

“She’s been convulsing,” Skyler said. “I tried to help her, block the pain. She’s silent and stoic, panting her way through.”

Dimitri’s hands were very gentle as he stroked them over the female wolf. “Our little misty girl is beautiful, I’ll give you that much.”

“That’s a good name for her,” Skyler said.

Shadow crowded closer, touching his nose to the female. Misty’s gaze clung to his and then included Skyler and Dimitri as if she knew they were part of Shadow’s pack.

“The Lycan bodies have to be incinerated. All five of them, or six if Zev disposes of the last one,” Dimitri said. “Do you think the two of you can do that?”

“Skyler can stay here with you,” Branislava said. “I know where each is located and I can get the job done. She should be with Misty.”

“The silver weapons have to be collected,” Dimitri cautioned. “And after the bodies are incinerated, it’s best to bury the ashes deep so no one will find them.”

Branislava nodded. “I understand. I’ll do it. Zev knows the last Lycan and he’s very upset. I don’t know what he plans to do with him.”

“If you need help, Bronnie,” Skyler volunteered, “Dimitri can handle this.”

“I don’t. I’ve practiced calling down the lightning and I’ve gotten fairly good at it.” She could use more practice if truth be told. She was determined to be an asset to Zev when he hunted rogue packs and vampires. She couldn’t imagine that he would do anything else.

Fen and Dimitri had imparted the stories of the Dark Bloods to both Skyler and Tatijana. They were extraordinary warriors, both the males and females of that line. It seemed that every lifemate was as well, as if that fierce soul called to the soul of another fierce warrior.

She was Dragonseeker and proud of her lineage. Claimed by a Dark Blood, she refused to be less than all the women who had come before her. She would be at Zev’s side for every battle and she would learn to do the things necessary to be safe, and to ensure that he was as well.

Mon chaton féroce, there is no other woman like you and no other that will ever do for me. That is not simply your Carpathian lifemate talking to you. That is Zev Hunter, mixed blood, Tirunul and Dark Blood. Lycan and Carpathian. I fell for you long before I knew what a lifemate was.

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