Marked by the Vampire Page 8

She crouched, peered inside. “There are going to be…things in there.”

Things? His teeth snapped together. “And there are werewolves upstairs who want to tear you apart.”

She shot through that opening. He followed her, moving gingerly as he tried to put the grate back in place. He couldn’t get it in as securely as it had been before, but he mostly managed to wedge it back up. Someone would have to look very closely to be able to see that he’d moved the thing.

He turned around and bumped right into Olivia. “I-I can’t see anything,” she whispered.

Because the tunnel they were in was pitch black. The place was old, centuries old, a tunnel that could crumble around them if they weren’t careful.

“Hold onto me,” he told her softly. “I’ve got this.” He could see everything, including the things that she’d worried about.

Her fingers clamped around his arm. “Are we just going to hide out down here? They will find us, sooner or later, or we’ll just—”

“I’ve got a plan, love. Trust me.” He advanced into the darkness.

Her nails sank into his skin. “No. Look, dammit, I get that it’s too little, too late, but I wasn’t exactly high on choices upstairs.”

He frowned down at her. She wasn’t looking at his face in that total darkness, but instead staring just over his shoulder.

“Give me something here, other than dragon—I mean, make me know that I’m with the good guy.”

Oh, but he couldn’t do that. He’d never been exactly good, not even when he’d been working with the FBI. If she only knew the things he’d done, she might just run back up to the wolves. “I work with Pate.”

“Give me more. Why are you at Purgatory? What’s going on?”

He pulled her closer. Wanted to take her mouth again but didn’t. Control. “We don’t have time for a f**king long discourse here, love. So here are the simple facts. I’m working undercover—a cover that I blew for you. And right now, I’m the only thing standing between you and death, so if you want to die, then by all means…” He let her go. “Don’t trust me.”

In the darkness, he saw her wrap her arms around her stomach. “You…you haven’t killed? Your file was all lies?”

“I’ve killed plenty.” Brutal truth. “And that’s why I’m your best hope of survival.”

She rocked back on her heels. “Have you killed innocents?”

The woman was so naive. “There are no innocents in this world.”

Her body trembled. He could see the small ripple that shook her.

With his back teeth clenched, he demanded, “Now are you coming with me or do you want to try your luck with the wolves?”

Her hand lifted, tried to find him in the dark. He stepped toward her so that she touched his chest. “He called me a djinn.”

I heard him. “Are you?”

“Am I what?”

Fuck. “A djinn?” If she was, then they were in for a whole world of trouble.

“No! I don’t—I don’t think so.” Then, softer, “Is that like a genie?”

He caught a scent drifting toward him. Familiar. Human. The warden.

Hell, hell, hell. “Come on. Now.” And they were off, moving through the tunnel at a breakneck speed, and the tunnel narrowed as they fled. Going down, down, and the scent turned heavy with mold and earth as the darkness swelled even more, ever deeper.

She didn’t speak again, and Olivia moved quickly, not asking about…things…even though he saw them scurry across their feet.

Then he could smell the salty air. The ocean. And hear the lap of the water.

“Please tell me a boat is waiting up there.” Her voice held a desperate edge.

He whirled back toward her. The water bubbled up about ten feet away. If they dove into that water, they could swim out and get to the other side of the island. A place of safety, for the moment. “Tell me,” he told her, “that you’re a good swimmer.”

Silence. Then she shook her head.

He had the worst f**king luck. “Then, love, you’d better hold tight to me.” She was trying to back away. Very much not holding tight. So he picked her up, but he didn’t toss her over his shoulder again. Instead, he cradled her in his arms. “When you need to breathe, kiss me.”


“And I’ll give you my air.”

He ran toward the water, and, with her in his arms, leapt in.


Case Killian stormed into the quarters he’d given Olivia Maddox. He grabbed her bag, rifled through it. Found nothing but clothing—and a wooden stake.

“Where the hell is she?”

He’d already made Evan talk. The idiot had been blubbering when Case left him in the infirmary…with those two doctors who were bleeding messes, courtesy of the vampire Shane.

Evan had said that Olivia would be with the werewolves—only she hadn’t been. The doctor had seemingly vanished.

Shane has Olivia. It was the only thing that made sense. The only reason why Case couldn’t find them. The vampire was unlike any other that Case had seen. Too powerful. Too dangerous.

He spun around to face the guards in the doorway. “Search every inch of this facility. Find the missing vampire and find Dr. Maddox.” His gaze fell to their weapons. “Forget the tranq. If you see Shane, kill him.” Because the vampire wouldn’t destroy Purgatory.

Case wouldn’t let him.

“And bring Dr. Maddox to me.”


Her lungs were burning. Olivia couldn’t see anything in front of her but a murky darkness, and the salt water stung her eyes as she tried desperately to make out something.

Shane had her right hand in his grip. She was trying to swim with her left hand and kick with her feet, but the current was pulling at her, trying to rip her away from Shane.

She needed to breathe.

He’d told her to kiss him when she needed air, so she turned frantically in the water, trying to get closer to him, trying to find his—

Shane pulled her against him. His other hand came up under her chin, and his mouth pressed to hers. Her lips parted, and he breathed for her. Into her. A quick burst and then he had his arms wrapped around her. He was shooting them up, up out of that darkness.

Her head broke through the water. Her mouth pulled from his and she gulped in and out desperately as she bobbed in the water.

The moon shone down on them. A million stars glittered overhead.

And the vampire held her easily against him.

“Thank you,” Olivia whispered because she knew he’d saved her life. She didn’t know what would happen next, but for that moment, they were alive. And relatively safe in the ocean.

The island that housed Purgatory was close, and Shane was already stroking them back toward it even as the waves heaved against them.

“Stop,” she said, as she tried to pull him back. “They’ll be waiting for us.”

“No, they think we’re still inside Purgatory right now and that buys us time.”

She wrapped her arms around his shoulders. Her legs brushed against his beneath the water. “Time for what? Unless you’ve got a plane hidden in your pocket…” Wouldn’t that be awesome?

“Time to get to a safe place.”

A safe place? On that little island?

“I told you before, you have to trust me.”

He’d also told her that he was a killer, but it didn’t seem like she had much choice, not unless she wanted to swim back to the mainland. And drown along the way.

So she did her best to stay with him—okay, he pulled her along, a lot, as they made their way not directly to the main shore, but to the left-hand side of the island.

“We’re going under again,” he warned her.

“Why?” The little beach was right there.

“Because that’s the only way to access the cave.”

Wait, what?

“Breathe, Olivia.”

She did.

They went under. She kicked and stroked as best as she could and blindly followed Shane’s lead. There was no choice for her anymore.

Then, too many moments later, they were breaking through the surface of the water once more. She couldn’t see anything when she came up for air, and the darkness felt suffocating.

“We’ll be safe here,” Shane said as he began to pull her toward—what, a shore? Inside the cave?

Her left hand flew out and landed on a rocky outcropping.

“Be careful,” he warned her, then he was lifting her up, sitting her on a hard, flat circle. Water poured down her body as she crouched there, and shivers rocked through her.

He came up beside her, she heard the rush of water falling off him, but even though she strained, Olivia couldn’t see him. The darkness there was too complete.

“We’ll be safe here,” he said, and the words sounded like a promise.

She pushed back her sodden hair. Her teeth were starting to chatter. “Where is…here?”

“An old cave. There was an entrance to this cave on the island once, but it collapsed years ago.” His body brushed against hers, and she jumped because she hadn’t realized that he’d sat right next to her. “Now the only way in is through the water.”

Her breath heaved in and out in too fast pants.

“There are some cracks along the cave’s ceiling, and they let air in. Maybe even some light that will hit us later. We’ll be fine here.”

“Until?” There had to be an until.

“Until we can make a run for either the seaplane or the ferry.”

The shivers hit her even harder. “The ferry won’t be back for a few more days.”

“The seaplane will be here in sixteen hours.”

Her panting stopped. Sixteen hours?

“It’s scheduled for a medical supply run then. We just have to get on that seaplane and fly off this island.”

Oh, was that all? “They’ll be watching.” They…the guards. The werewolves?

“Then we have to make sure they don’t stop us.” Said with grim certainty. “But first…” Then his hands were on her, pulling her toward him, pulling her shirt off.

“Wait! Stop!” Olivia shouted at the handsy-vamp. He’d saved her ass, yes, but that didn’t mean—

“You’re about to shake apart. The cold doesn’t do a thing to me, but it can hurt you. It can kill you.” His fingers brushed against her bare abdomen. “Now get na**d and let me help you.”

Okay, right, so this wasn’t about sex. The kiss under that stairwell had thrown her, and when he’d started to strip her, she’d assumed…Olivia cleared her throat. “You, um, can you turn around or something?”

“No.” He yanked her shirt up. Tossed it. Reached for the snap of her pants.

Olivia realized she’d lost her shoes some place in the ocean. She also slapped at his hands because he was not just going to yank her pants off.

“Olivia…” Her name was a growl. “I can help you.”

Another shiver rocked through her and she was pretty sure her teeth rattled.

“Vampires don’t feel cold like humans do.” He caught her hand, brought it up to his chest. His skin was warm, so wonderfully warm beneath her hand. “I can make it better for you. Let me help you,” he said once more.

She undid the snap of her pants. That warmth was too tempting, and she was freezing. She pushed the pants down but kept on her panties and her bra. Clothing rustled near her and she heard the slap of his wet garments hitting the rocks.

He came back to her a few seconds later. “Move back a bit. It’s flat behind you.”

She scooted back.

“And, love, you need to lose the sexy bra and scrap of panties.”

Olivia pretty much hated that he could see everything in the dark. “They stay on.”

His hands wrapped around hers and then—then she was tumbling down on top of him. Because he was lying on the flat, rough space, and she was now sprawled all over the vamp. He wrapped his arms around her even as her legs slid between his powerful thighs. He held her tightly but…carefully…and the heat of his body slowly sank into her.

Her mouth was against the curve of his shoulder, so close to the base of his neck. After their dive, he should have smelled of salt and the ocean, and he did, but, more than that, he had a rich, almost heady scent that seemed to seep into her.

He was warm and solid, and he surrounded her in that darkness. Silence swept over them as they were cocooned there, and slowly, so slowly, the tremors stopped sweeping over her.

But as the tremors subsided, she didn’t scramble off him. Olivia just kept taking in that delicious warmth as some of the terror she felt finally began to ebb. “Why do people think,” she murmured and her lips brushed over his neck as she spoke, “that vampires are cold?”

“Because the movies say we’re dead. The dead are cold. The dead don’t have hearts that beat.”

She could feel his heart racing.

“They say we have no passion.”

She could feel, um, something else pressing against her. She’d been aware of his heavy arousal from the moment he’d pulled her on top of him. There was really no missing it, especially since the vampire seemed to be very well endowed.

Though she did try to shift away from him a bit then.

He just pulled her right back against him. “But our hearts beat. We breathe. We live. We need.”

Need. The word seemed to echo around them.

“There’s something that I need right now,” he continued, his voice growing deeper, rougher, in the darkness. “Something I have to take.”

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