Marked by the Vampire Page 16

Sunlight hadn’t weakened him. “Ancient,” she whispered back. “Just how ancient are we talking here?”

“The Vikings thought we were gods.”

Okay, definitely much older than she’d thought.

“I don’t need as much blood to survive as other vampires do. Sunlight can never hurt me, but I do have a weakness. One.”

His stare seemed to pierce straight through to her soul. “What’s that?” Like he was going to tell her.



“Is it really a good idea to leave them alone together?” Connor asked as he glanced at the cabin’s closed door.

Eric Pate shrugged. “It’s the best idea we’ve got. You saw the way he was with her. There’s no way Shane will let that woman out of his sight.”

Connor rubbed his jaw. “Yeah, I saw the way he went for my throat and that shit wasn’t normal.”

Holly and Duncan had gone back to her lab, another cabin located within the shelter of the trees.

“She’s doing something to him,” Connor continued, voice rasping. “Twisting him up somehow.”

Yes, Eric was afraid that was happening. But maybe he could use the changes. Maybe he could make them work… “I need you to take perimeter duty. If anyone comes this way, you’ll smell them long before we see them.” Because Connor was an alpha werewolf. Powerful, with senses far better than any human could ever dream. “We can’t let anyone else get Dr. Maddox.” And he knew that was exactly what would happen. She’d be tracked. Taken. Used.

Shane won’t let that happen. Or at least, the vamp had better not.

“You really think the werewolves are coming?” Now Connor sounded as if he were looking forward to the fight. Wolves and their bloodlust. They were almost as bad as vamps.

“Yes.” And he thought the mastermind of this twisted plot was coming, too.

Senator Donald Quick.

He’d been suspicious of that smug bastard for too long. The guy had been so determined to cage the dangerous paranormals, ignoring all of Pate’s arguments.

Quick had been the one to first push the FBI to set up a Para Unit. The senator had seemed so good, on paper.

But when Eric had met the fellow in person…

I didn’t trust him.

Connor turned away, but before he could leave, Eric grabbed his shoulder. “You and Duncan…you going to be okay working so closely with him?”

Connor’s laugh held a bitter edge. “Are you trying to see if I still want to kill my brother?”

Yes, he was. The two men were brothers—brothers with one very vicious past.

“Relax,” Connor told him. “Right now, the only guy scheduled for payback from me…that’s Shane. The vamp is gonna get an ass-kicking when this mess is clear.”

But Connor hadn’t looked at Eric when he gave that little speech. Eric knew Connor was still tangled up on the inside.

Once upon a time, a time not so long ago, Eric and his agents had hunted Connor. They’d sent him to Purgatory.

And Eric had realized how very easy it was to mistake the good guys for the bad. Especially when there really wasn’t a difference between them.

“Make sure you don’t go after your brother again because Holly would be angry.” And Holly was his family. Eric’s only family. A step-sister who meant more to him than anything else. “Then I’d have to kill you.”

Connor shook his head, as if he were trying to decide if Eric were serious or not. He was dead serious. When it came to Holly, he always was.

When he was sure his message had been received, Eric let go of the werewolf.

Then he stalked after Holly. He needed that blood work, ASAP.

He also had to figure out a permanent solution for the Olivia Maddox problem. Because there was no way he could let a djinn run loose on his watch. No damn way.


“Certain individuals are…” Shane’s laugh was rough. Hell, explaining this wasn’t going to be easy. Especially since he pretty much just wanted to growl out You’re mine. Only that wouldn’t be civilized.

He’d lived through plenty of uncivilized times.

He’d also already scared Olivia enough.

He could keep himself in check. Mostly.

“Certain individuals,” he tried again, “make better…mates for vampires.”

Her lips were red from his mouth. Moist. He wanted to take those lips again. Wanted to sample the blood that rushed through her veins.

“Did you just say ‘mate’?”

He nodded. “I’m sure Holly could explain it with her biology. Science can explain away nearly all the magic these days.” Nearly. Thanks to science, vampirism was some sort of virus that humans caught. Werewolves could be harnessed and controlled with silver collars. Once, though, things had been different. Villagers had run from the monsters that stalked their nights. They’d run from him.

He ran his tongue over the edge of his fangs. Whenever Olivia was near, his fangs sharpened, as if preparing for a bite. And he sure could use a bite now.

Would she come for him again? Shudder and moan with pleasure when his fangs pierced her?

“I told you…” Shane murmured. “I was born this way. That means any children I have…they’d be like me.”

Her eyes were so wide. And deep.

“I aged normally until my thirtieth year, until my body was in peak condition, then time seemed to stop for me.”


“Only certain women can mate with me. Women like you. Women of power who are very, very rare.”

She shook her head.

“My kind has fought for mates. We’ve slaughtered, battled, because we know how valuable you are.”

“I’m not your mate.”

She could be.

“I don’t want another.” A f**king telling sign for him. “The thought of drinking from another woman repels me. Your blood is in me, and it makes me need you. Makes me need more.” His fingers were still at her throat. “It makes me want to take everything you have to give.”

Her pulse raced beneath his touch.

“You like the bite, Olivia. You love it. You were meant to be with a vampire. A perfect mate.” As he’d thought before…a vampire’s wet dream. “That’s why you always had the fascination with monsters. Because you were drawn in, something inside of you recognized what you wanted—”

“Stop.” Her voice was low, shaking. “I’m some kind of genie, you’re a Viking vampire, and now I’m supposed to mate with you?”

Actually, he’d been around since before the Vikings. And she was the first female that he’d felt the bond with.

He’d been warned before…

You’ll drink from her and want no other.

His father’s words. Of course, he’d had to kill that ruthless bastard on a battlefield one thunderous night. The bloodlust had been too strong within his father. He’d gone on another rampage.

So many bodies. Men. Women. Children.

Shane had stopped his father, once and for all. He’d taken his head, right after his father begged for mercy.

You never showed your prey any mercy. Those had been Shane’s final words to the man who was far more devil than vampire.

Shane tried to shove that memory away. The past didn’t matter. Olivia mattered. She was his present. His future. Everything that he needed.

“You’re wrong.” Her voice was soft, but he heard her perfectly. “You’re so wrong about me. The reason I studied the monsters wasn’t because I was drawn to them. It was because—”

When she stopped, he just waited.

“Because there’s darkness in me.” Whispered. Such a quiet confession. “I can feel it sometimes, pushing to get out. The darkness is there, in half forgotten dreams that haunt me. In nightmares that seem too real. In—”

A werewolf’s howl split the night. Shane surged to his feet because he knew that howl belonged to Connor—and the guy was sending up a warning signal.

He headed for the door.


Shane glanced back. Olivia had jumped from the bed. She had the sheet wrapped around her because after the wreck, they’d needed to cut her clothes away.

“What’s happening?”

There was only one reason Connor would send up an alarm like that. “Company.”

“And you’re leaving me here? No, you can’t do that.” She motioned to the floor. “Get rid of the marks. Let me out! Let me come with you!”

But she’d tried to run from him before.

The howl came again, and…he could hear growls drifting on the wind. More than one beast was hunting in the darkness.

“I’m not leaving you,” Shane told her. As if he would. They were past that now. She had far too much value to him. “I’m making damn sure no one gets to you.”

Then he yanked open that door and rushed out to face the beasts who mistakenly thought they’d take her from him.


Olivia’s jaw dropped. One minute, Shane had been telling her that he was her mate or some other fated nonsense, and in the next instant, he’d left.

While she was basically stuck there, naked.

Hell, no.

Olivia started searching the cabin, or as much of it as she could. Howls and snarls were sounding in the distance, and goosebumps pretty much covered her skin.

Clothing was her priority. She couldn’t face whatever threat was out there while she was bare-assed naked.


A bag was on the floor. She opened it, and found a t-shirt and jeans inside. Her size. Yes! Maybe the clothes had come from Pate. He struck her as the resourceful type. Right then, she didn’t care who’d brought them. Olivia was just glad they were there. She jerked on the tennis shoes that were in the bottom of the bag and stood up.

That was when the silence hit her. No more growls. No more howls. Nothing.

Olivia crept toward the door, or rather, as far toward it as her invisible cell would allow. “Shane?”

No answer.

She bit her lip. She wanted to scream for him, but a scream would just give away her location. Right, like the werewolves can’t smell you!

Her nose twitched then, because she’d just smelled something. Something that smelled a whole lot like…fire.

She whirled around. Saw the flash of flames right outside of the cabin’s window. That flash grew, grew…and suddenly, fire was eating up the side of the cabin and rushing toward the ceiling.

She opened her mouth and screamed as loud as she could. “Shane! Shane, I—”

A werewolf leapt through the fire and came straight at her.

Chapter Nine

Shane shoved back the werewolf who’d just gone for his throat. He heard bones crunch when the wolf hit the ground, but he didn’t care.


They weren’t just facing off against one or two wolves. Not just that bastard David or the warden…a whole pack had attacked them. A pack that had closed in quickly—a pack that wasn’t stopping.

Connor was in werewolf form. Fighting fiercely. Biting. Clawing.

Duncan was near his brother. Slashing with his own claws and protecting Connor’s back.

Holly was outside. Firing silver bullets at the beasts and Pate—

“Fire!” Pate roared.

Hell, yeah, Shane knew about the fire. He could smell it, too. The pack had come in from the east, and they’d torched the med cabin first. Duncan had gotten Holly out of that place with a bellow of fury.

The wolves who’d been foolish enough to try and hurt Holly were dead on the ground.


Olivia’s scream reached him over the fury of the flames. He whirled and saw the fire shooting up from her cabin. No!

Two wolves tried to take him down.

They were the ones to fall, and they didn’t get back up.

He kicked in the door of the cabin. “Olivia!”

She was on the floor, backing away from two wolves who stalked toward her. One was a big, hulking white wolf. A wolf with bright eyes that were fixed solely on Olivia. The other beast was a heavy, muscled gray wolf with bright, blue eyes.

The white wolf was familiar to Shane. He’d seen that beast on Purgatory. That beast had been hunting them both there.

David. The bastard had tracked Olivia to the mainland.

And the fire was spreading around the cabin. Too fast.

“Get away from her!” Shane lunged for them.

The white wolf sprang away from Olivia and came at Shane with his fangs snapping. Shane caught the beast’s mouth, slammed its jaws shut and then threw the wolf right toward the flames.

The white wolf—David—howled in agony, and rolled, trying to put out the flames that spread on his fur.

“Stop!” Olivia’s cry. “Stay back!”

Shane whirled. She had a broken chair leg in her hand and she was shoving it against the gray wolf. But the beast wasn’t stopping.

Above Shane, the ceiling gave a low, long groan. He looked up and saw the flames rolling overhead. Shane knew the ceiling was going to collapse. Shit, Pate had said something about djinn and fire. Blood and fire?

He used his strength and raced toward Olivia. He caught her, shoved her back, but a force field seemed to rip her right out of his hands.

The markings on the floor… the f**king bottle cage that Pate had set! It was still trapping her. “Olivia!”

She was on her hands and knees.

He shoved away the markings, smearing them in a frantic fury.

The gray wolf locked its mouth around her leg and hauled her back toward him, just as the ceiling gave way and fire rushed down on them.

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