Marked by the Vampire Page 13

Her breath blew out in a hard rush. “The senator…I’ve known him for years. He helped me get some grants that I used with my research—”

“That tells me nothing about your relationship with other paranormals.” Pate’s voice was flat.

“I-I don’t have a relationship with other paranormals.”

Pate glanced at Connor, then back at Shane. Finally, his considering gaze returned to Olivia. “How did you learn of the existence of paranormals? That little bit wasn’t in your file, though I am starting to realize that file of yours…data in it was no doubt faked. Perhaps by your friend, the senator.”

Olivia licked her lips. “I saw werewolves attack when I was a teenager, okay? Th-the senator’s daughter, Chloe, she and I went to school together. We were friends.”

Pate waited.

“We were walking home together one night when the werewolves attacked. It was a pack of them, and they closed in on us as we screamed.”

Shane’s teeth were fully extended in his mouth. Fucking werewolves…

“You weren’t bitten,” Pate said as he studied her with avid interest. “Obviously.”

“No.” Voice softer, she said, “I wasn’t.”

“And I’ve never heard anything about the senator’s daughter being a werewolf.”

Olivia’s mouth closed. Because Shane was watching her so closely, he saw the faint flicker of her eyelashes.

And Pate must have seen that telling movement too, because he pounced and asked, “Is Chloe Quick a werewolf?”

Olivia just stared at him.

A long sigh slipped from Pate. “You are making this too hard.”

“Chloe Quick is my friend.”

Pate circled around her, like a lion, closing in on his prey. Shane didn’t move.

“You want to find out why monsters attack…” Pate mused. “The senator is supporting you, giving you upclose and personal access to the monsters. Why? Why is he doing that? Is it because you both want to help Chloe? She’s changed, she can’t control her beast, and you’re trying to save her?”

“Chloe doesn’t need saving,” she said softly.

“Who does?”

Olivia jerked back against the chair. “We all do. My research can help so—”

“I’m done with this.” Pate waved his hands in disgust. “I don’t have time to waste this way.” He nodded toward Shane. “Bite her. Make her talk.”

“No!” Olivia’s desperate cry. Her gaze jerked to him. “Shane, no!”

“Do it, Shane,” Pate said. “Then you can make her tell us what we need to know.”

That was the way things were supposed to work. But this wasn’t a typical situation. “My bite doesn’t work on her.”

“What?” Shock was clear on Pate’s face.

Shane brushed back Olivia’s hair, revealing the faint marks he’d left on her neck. His marks. “Controlling her that way isn’t an option.”

The room got very, very quiet then. Shane knew Pate was absorbing the full magnitude of this revelation. As ancient as Shane was, he should have been able to control anyone or anything.

There were only a handful of vampires who could claim to be older than Shane. And with the vamps, age brought power.

“A djinn,” Pate said. “Sonofabitch, I didn’t want that shit to be true.” Then he turned and reached for the instrument table. He picked up the knife. “I guess we have to do this the hard way.”

“St-stop!” Olivia shouted.

“Pate…” Connor began, a nervous edge in his voice.

“I’ve never met a djinn. The last one was supposed to have been killed about twenty years ago, after he went on a killing spree and took the lives of everyone in his path. Humans. Werewolves. Vampires.”

Olivia shook her head. “I’m not…I’m not!”

Pate was staring down at the gleaming edge of that silver knife. “If she’s a djinn, we have to bind her power so she can’t hurt anyone.”

“I’m not hurting anyone!”

Pate advanced with his knife.

“Stop it!” Olivia shouted again. “I’m not some genie! I don’t live in a bottle! I don’t grant wishes!”

The knife was getting close to her. Pate was less than a foot away. “That’s not how it works,” Pate told her softly. “Real djinns are dark, governed by need and passion. They like the surge of wild power that fills them every time they use their magic. Lives don’t matter to them.”

“That isn’t me!”

“There is no bottle to bind you. Your powers are controlled another way. Blood and fire.”

Her breath was coming in fast, frantic heaves. Shane could see the shudder of her chest.

“If you control a djinn, you have enormous strength. The djinn can grant your wishes. Give you anything and everything you want. Your every heart’s desire.”

The knife was held easily in his hand.

“Or the djinn can twist your desires,” Pate murmured, a dark edge in those words. “Turn your wishes and dreams into nightmares.”

“Shane…” Olivia’s gaze locked on his. “Help me! Please!”

“No one can help you now,” Pate told her, “not if you really are a djinn.” And he lunged forward with the knife.

Chapter Seven

Olivia screamed and turned her head to the side because she didn’t want to see that knife coming at her. She expected to feel the blade slicing across her skin. Expected to feel the white-hot pain as it sank into her.

Instead, she heard…a pained grunt. The clatter of something falling onto the floor.

The thud of flesh hitting flesh.

She cracked open one eye and turned her head.

Then she cracked open both eyes.

The knife was on the floor.

Pate was pinned to the wall by a seriously enraged looking Shane, and the other guy—Connor—was trying to pull Shane off his prey.

She twisted her wrists, jerking and pulling, trying to break free of the cuffs so she could get out of there while she had the chance.

“Let him go, Shane!” Connor snarled.

Shane tightened his hold on Pate’s neck. “You never hurt her! You don’t go after her with your knife! She’s mine!”

That deafening roar pretty much terrified Olivia. She jerked again at the cuffs, but she wound up falling and her chair crashed to the floor. At that sound, all of the men turned to stare at her.

Her gaze met Shane’s. Her terror doubled right then, because the man he’d been before was gone. The vampire was fully ruling him in that moment. She could see it. His eyes had darkened with power. His teeth were fully extended and wicked sharp.

The chair had broken beneath her. She scrambled to her feet and made a mad dash for the door—

Except she didn’t get to the door. She got right to the edge of those strange markings on the floor, and it was as if she’d just slammed into some kind of invisible wall.

“Not…going…anyplace…” Pate gasped out. “Djinn!”

The cuffs bit into her wrists. Her hands were still behind her back, and those cuffs seemed to hurt her more with every second that passed. “What’s happening?” There was nothing there, nothing she could see, but Olivia was trapped.

The past rose around her again. She could see the blood. Hear the screams…

But I can’t get to them. I’m trapped. Trapped!

Shane let go of Pate. Shane’s glittering, too dark eyes were on her. Hungry. Possessive.

“Welcome…” Pate said, his voice stronger, “to your bottle, djinn.”


Connor dragged Shane out of the cabin, and a still wheezing Pate followed them. Pate slammed the door shut behind him, then he glared at Shane. “What the f**k was that? I was just going to nick her a little because I needed her blood!”

Shane tried to pull back his control, but it was gone. He kept seeing Olivia. Her fear. Smelling her fear. Hearing her pleading voice.

Shane…Help me! Please!

“Mine now…” He barely recognized his own guttural voice.

“Oh, shit.” Pate shoved him hard. “Just how much blood did you drink from her?”

Not enough.

“Yeah…” Connor drawled as he put his hands—claw-tipped hands—on his hips. “Somebody needs to explain to me just what the hell is going on. One minute, I think I’m rescuing a human, the next thing I know, we’re imprisoning a genie? A genie?”

Shane’s gaze returned to the cabin’s door. He took a step toward that door. Toward Olivia.

Pate shoved him back once more. A shove too strong for a human, but then, Shane knew all too well that Pate wasn’t as mortal as he pretended to be. “Get your control back!” Pate snapped.

Shane bared his fangs at the man. “Never come at her with a knife.”

Pate’s eyes closed. “She’s messing with your mind. I heard that her kind might be able to do that. Blur reality. Get you to see and feel what she wants…” His eyes opened, and Pate pointed to the dock. “Go for a long walk, vamp. Find someone in the next town to drink. Get some space from her, and you’ll get your control back.”

He didn’t want control. He wanted Olivia.

A twig snapped as Connor advanced on them. “I’m still waiting for an explanation.”

“And I’m trying to stop him from tearing us both apart!” Pate threw back.

Shane was definitely in the mood for a fight.

“Walk it off,” Pate advised him, and his eyes flashed then. Not deepening like a vampire’s, but swirling with colors. “Walk. It. Off. Go find someone else to bite.”

And he did want to bite. Fury and bloodlust tangled within him. The fury had risen so suddenly, so strongly when Pate had actually gone toward Olivia—everything had altered in that instant. He took a step toward the cabin, but found Connor blocking his path.

“You heard the boss,” Connor muttered.

“Not my boss…” Shane threw back. Time to stop playing games. As far as he was concerned, he’d paid his blood debt to Pate. More than paid that shit. “Move.” A warning. Either the werewolf moved from his path or Shane would be moving him.

“Don’t you see?” Pate asked him. “This isn’t you! This is what a djinn can do! They are born of darkness, bound to the dark always. She’ll twist your emotions. Make you turn on your friends.”

He hesitated. Shane knew the emotions he was feeling weren’t normal. Back at that cabin, he’d been seconds away from ripping out Pate’s throat.

He tried to hurt Olivia.

A growl broke from Shane.

“That’s why the djinns were killed instead of revered. They were too dangerous. They’re dark, evil at their core.”

Shane shook his head. That wasn’t Olivia. She wasn’t evil.

Sanity tried to push through his rage. He attempted to piece this puzzle together and he spoke slowly, “She…doesn’t know.”

Correction, she hadn’t known.

He sucked in a deep breath. Another. Forced himself to turn away from that cabin. To take a few steps away.

“Are you coming back to us?” Pate asked him softly.

Shane managed a jerky nod.

And he took a few more steps away from the cabin.

“Her desperation must have done it.” Pate sounded as if he were figuring out a puzzle, too. “She’s got you in her web, and her panic hit you.”

No, her panic and fear had enraged him. Shane jerked a hand over his face. He could still feel Olivia’s pull. He wanted to go back in that cabin and be with her. “She…didn’t know.” Of this, he was sure. “Not…before Purgatory.”

Pate’s expression was calculating. “Then someone suspected what she was. What better place to push out her darkness than in the middle of Purgatory?”

Someone had sent Olivia to the wolves. Literally. “The senator…”

“If he knew what she was…or suspected…Purgatory would be the perfect place to break her.”

Shane’s hands were fisted at his sides.

“If the werewolves in Purgatory had control of a djinn,” Pate said softly, “just what do you think they’d do with her?”

Use her to destroy. He swallowed, tasting the ash of fury on his tongue. “Is a djinn really that powerful?” Because he’d never come across one, not in all of his many, many centuries.

“Civilizations are said to have fallen because of them.”

He shook his head.

“Fuck,” Connor’s voice was a rough rasp. “Maybe you should have led with that Intel, boss.”

“They were all supposed to be dead.” Pate started to pace. “I know because I damn well read the files that the FBI had on them. Twenty years ago, they were hunted to extinction. The last djinn went out in a fury of fire and blood.”

Connor whistled. “So what the hell are we supposed to do with her?”

Shane’s head turned toward the cabin. He could hear the faint sound of crying from inside that cabin. Crying and…

His name.

She was whispering his name.

Shane took three fast steps toward her. Both Connor and Pate jumped in his path. “You need distance, buddy,” Pate told him quietly. “Distance and someone else’s blood.” He huffed out a breath. “Look, Holly is already en route, okay? She’ll run some tests on Dr. Maddox and find out exactly what we’re dealing with here.”

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