Marked by the Vampire Page 20

“Even better…” His voice sent a shiver skating over her. “Since we aren’t in some shit-forsaken cave this time.”

His words were so unexpected that a little laugh tumbled out of her.

Surprise flashed over his face, and his eyes narrowed. “I like that.”

“What?” Her lips quirked at him. “Shit-forsaken caves?”

He freed her right hand. His fingers brushed against her cheek. “I like the dimple that you have right here.”

Her smile slipped a bit.

“And I like the sound of your laughter.”

She hadn’t exactly been laughing it up with the guy, not with all of their life-or-death drama. But this was different. This moment, the aftermath. So intimate. There were no shields between them. There was nothing at all. She didn’t need to hide from him, didn’t have to pretend to be something she wasn’t.

Her other lovers had been human. She’d always felt on edge when she was with them. As if she had to watch herself. As if I had to fit in.

When she hadn’t even realized that she was different.

“Did I prove it to you?”

She shook her head, not understanding.

He kissed her, tasted her slowly. “Did I…” Shane said against her lips. “Convince you that the desire is just as strong without my bite?”

She nodded. Her heartbeat still hadn’t returned to a normal speed.

“Good.” But there was a note in his voice that had Olivia tensing. A dangerous rumble. “Because if I don’t sink my teeth into you soon, I’ll go f**king insane.”

She turned her head. Offered her neck. Asked for what she wanted, “Bite me.”

His teeth sank into her.

The pleasure rose once more.


Midnight was at hand. The f**king witching hour. Shane stared out at the darkness. He could feel the hunters in the night. Practically sense them closing in. He’d told Olivia that the danger wasn’t over. He’d tried to warn her.

There would be no more warnings.

Sheets rustled behind him. He turned back and saw her sitting up in bed. Her hair was tousled, her cheeks flushed, and his mark was on her neck.

I want to keep her with me…forever.

For a vampire, forever was a very, very long time.

He wanted to give her a choice, but if she didn’t choose him, Shane wasn’t sure what he would do.

I just found her. I’m not prepared to let her go.

So he figured the plan had to be simple—I need to make her love me.

Okay, maybe not so simple.

“You look like you lost your best friend.” She wrapped her hands around her knees. Her hair was a dark curtain running down her back. “What’s wrong?”

There would be no point in deception. “They’re coming.”

She stiffened. “They?”

“I can smell them.” Werewolves. In his building. He was a bit surprised that they’d taken such a direct approach. He’d thought they might try for a sneak attack.

Olivia jumped from the bed, giving him one gorgeous flash of her body before she started to frantically yank on her clothing.

He had on a pair of jeans, and he didn’t move. He wasn’t feeling so frantic. More pissed, yes.

The wolves need to leave us alone.

One way or another, they would.

“We have to get out of here!” She did a little dance as she shimmied into her jeans. Then she ran toward him and grabbed his arm. “Come on!”

He didn’t move. “We don’t have to worry about any humans getting caught in the crossfire here.”

Her brow furrowed. “There are five floors below us—”

“I own them all. No one else is here.” They’d entered the parking garage and taken the elevator straight up to his apartment. So Olivia hadn’t realized how alone they’d been.

We aren’t alone now. The werewolves are closing in.

“We still have to leave, we can’t be sitting ducks—”

“I have the advantage here. The wolves were able to attack us so well at the cabin because they had the woods for cover. All of the animal scents were already there. Here it’s different. I control everything here.”

Her fingers tightened around him. Suspicion flashed on her face, but vanished almost instantly. “Control is great. Staying alive is even better. Let’s go.”

He inhaled. “Two werewolves are coming up the elevator now. A man and a woman.”

“Why aren’t we leaving?” Again, suspicion flashed across her face.

“I won’t let them hurt you,” he promised.

And he saw understanding sink in. She looked at the bed. At him. “You control everything here,” Olivia repeated his words in a quiet, hurt voice. “I-I was never free of the Para Unit, was I?”

The car had been equipped with a tracking system. Just in case she’d tried to slip away without him. She wouldn’t have been able to go far. The Para Unit would have been able to remotely disable the car.

“Bait.” She said the word like a curse. “You didn’t want to compromise the precious location of the Para Unit, so you tossed me out? To the wolves?”

She had it wrong. “No one will hurt you.” He sure as hell hadn’t tossed her anyplace.

Olivia ran from the room. He followed her, body tense. “Olivia—”

She was at the window, looking down. “It’s too high for me to jump.”

Hell, yes, five stories up was too high for her to jump.

Olivia spun around and rushed for the door. “Guess that means I have to run.”

He beat her to the door. This was the moment that they had been waiting for. The leverage the team needed. “They’re on the other side of that door.”

Her eyes were stark. “What have you done?”

He pushed her back. Opened the door. Stared at the man and woman waiting there.

It was easy enough to recognize the warden. Case Killian looked like hell, though. Deep lines marred his face. Dark shadows swept under his eyes, and stubble covered his jaw.

Shane had never met the woman who stood just beside Case, but he’d seen pictures of Chloe Quick. She was petite, deceptively fragile, with bright blue eyes and black hair that skimmed her shoulders.

“I need to see Olivia,” Chloe said softly. Then she added, “Please.” Her voice broke on the plea.

Shane lifted a brow but before he could speak, Olivia was hauling him out of her way. “Chloe? What are you doing here?”

Chloe’s lower lip trembled. “I’m so sorry…”

“Sorry? Why?”

Olivia was far too trusting. “Because, love,” Shane told her, his words an angry growl, “your friend Chloe is the one who set you up.”

Chapter Eleven

Apparently, she couldn’t trust anyone.

Chloe, Shane, and the warden—the warden!—were all pacing around the apartment like caged beasts.

Olivia sat on the couch, her spine ram-rod straight, her hands between her knees, and she tried to figure out just what the hell was happening.

“You…aren’t the bad guy?” Olivia blurted to Case.

He stopped his pacing. Winced. “No, I kind of f**king am. Especially after getting bitten.”

“He needs a cure,” Chloe said, rubbing her arms, still pacing. “Just like I do.”

“There is no cure for a werewolf bite. You know that!” Her words flew out, but…they were wrong. Because Holly had told Olivia that she had survived the werewolf bite. That she might be the cure.

Chloe swung toward her. Anger and pain battled in her eyes. “If that’s the case, then why didn’t you turn? We were both bitten when we were teens, Olivia. Both of us.”

No, she didn’t remember that. Olivia shook her head.

“You went down first. That whole pack—they came for you. You were bleeding, and I tried to help you.” Chloe lifted her hands. Claws had sprouted from her fingertips. “But they turned on me. They bit me, clawed and attacked, and then they left us…to die.”

Only they hadn’t died. “I don’t remember the attack.” Because when the first wolf had leapt at Olivia, he’d knocked her to the ground. Her head had slammed into the concrete and she’d passed out. When she’d woken, Chloe had been on the ground beside her, covered in blood.

“You had already healed when the EMTs arrived,” Chloe whispered. “They didn’t believe you’d ever been bitten, but I knew the truth.”

Shane’s hand settled on Olivia’s shoulder. He was—what? Trying to comfort her? Now? She glanced back at him. He stood behind the couch, behind her, and his face was a dangerous mask. “You told your father about Olivia,” he accused Chloe.

Olivia glanced back at her friend and saw Chloe’s head sag forward. “Yes. After I changed…I-I was desperate to go back. To be human again. I hated what I was.”

“Not like it’s a f**king cake walk for me,” Case snapped.

Chloe flinched. “I thought if my father could just get a sample of your blood, that maybe he could find out what made you different. I tried asking you directly, but you acted like you had no idea what I was talking about.”

Because she hadn’t known. And she remembered… “That’s why you insisted I give blood with you that time…” Hell, she’d thought she was participating in some kind of blood drive back then—several freaking blood drives—but all along, they’d been studying her?

Shane’s hand tightened on Olivia’s shoulder. “After he got the results of her blood work, your father knew Olivia was special, didn’t he?”

Was “special” a code word for djinn?

Miserably, Chloe nodded. “He knew she was different, but he didn’t know what she was.”

Olivia’s gaze slid to Case. “Is that where you come in? Did the senator pay you to find out what I was? To throw me in with those werewolves at Purgatory?” Only the plan had backfired, and Case had been the one bitten.

Case shook his head. “I’m not working for Senator Quick.”

Uh, oh…If he wasn’t working for the senator—

Shane’s hand slipped from her shoulder. “He’s working for the Para Unit. Another undercover agent that Pate sent in, only I didn’t learn about the guy until yesterday.” His voice was an angry rumble. “Until then, I just thought he was some dick who needed taking down. A psychotic ass**le who got off on hurting the inmates.”

Case braced his legs apart and glared at Shane. “And I thought he was some dick vampire out to destroy Purgatory. I wasn’t told he was an agent, either.”

A snarl slipped from Shane.

Case held up his hands. “So my methods are…unorthodox. The bastards in there are killers. What did you want me to do? Bake ‘em brownies? They deserved what they had coming to them.”

“Not your call to make,” Shane snapped.

Olivia’s temples throbbed.

Case’s lips thinned and he said, “Look, Pate knew there was still corruption at Purgatory. He wanted someone in with the prisoners…” He inclined his head toward Shane. “And he wanted someone keeping tabs on the guards. I found out that Evan Jurant was the one who sabotaged your collar remote and he—”

She jumped to her feet. Evan. “He was the one who left me with the werewolves.”

Case gave a grim nod. “If it makes you feel better, he’s dead now. David ripped out his throat.”

That was supposed to make her feel better? Case sure wasn’t high on social skills.

“He’s dead, I’m bitten, and David Vincent is free.”

“Damn straight he’s free,” Shane fired. “You’re the one who has been hanging around with the guy. Or do you think I didn’t recognize you when you attacked us at the cabin? Your scent was the same, whether you’re wearing the body of a gray wolf…or pretending to be human.”

“I was undercover,” Case gritted out. “I convinced David that I’d been working with Evan all along, that he could trust me and take me into his pack.”

Olivia didn’t know if she believed him. She wasn’t about to put her trust in that man.

Olivia closed the distance between her and Chloe. “Are you in that pack?” Had she been so wrong about Chloe all this time?

“No!” Chloe grabbed her hands. “I-I can’t even shift all of the way! I get stuck. I can’t control the shifts and it’s just…it’s hell.” A tear leaked down her cheek. “My dad tried to fix me, but he did something that made it all worse. I’d rather be a full werewolf than what I am now. Then at least I wouldn’t live in fear every second that I’d lose my control and hurt someone.”

Olivia wanted to believe her.

“David’s pack is working for the senator.”

Olivia glanced over at Case.

“I got in deep enough to learn that. The senator researched everything he could about your kind, Olivia, and he made sure you were pushed to your limits—so that the only way for you to survive was to bring out your djinn side.”

Fire and blood.

Case hesitated, then said, “I think he killed your mother.”

Shock rocked through Olivia. “Why would you say that? My mother died in a car accident when I was eighteen!”

“He tried to make her talk about you…about your father. He made her talk,” Case corrected. “And the car accident was just the way to cover up her death.”

Bile rose in Olivia’s throat. She’d always thought that Donald was looking out for her.

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