The Wolf Within Page 14

Pate shook his head. “Before you go back to base, I need to make sure you’re in control. If I need to cage you—”

“You’re not putting him in a cell!” Holly snapped.

But Pate’s steady gaze said that he would.

Perhaps the guy would do anything, if it kept a werewolf out of his sister’s bed.

“Do you have control?” Pate demanded. It was the same question he’d asked Holly back at her place. It was time for the guy to stop worrying about the control of others and focus on himself.

Duncan leapt forward. He snatched the gun out of Pate’s hands. Threw it across the room. “No, and neither f**king do you—”

It felt like a fist slammed into his back. A fist that was burning hot, then icy cold.

That was no fist.

His hand flew over his shoulder and closed around the dart that was embedded in his upper back. He yanked it out even as he spun and saw Elias.

Still holding his weapon.


“I’m sorry,” Elias looked miserable. He swallowed, sending his Adam’s apple bobbing. “You wouldn’t want to hurt anyone, but you would. We know how the werewolves are.”

Out to kill. Destroy. Savage.

His knees started to buckle.

Another dart hit him, this one fired from Brent’s gun. Brent, the tall, silent agent who’d been the unit’s newest recruit.

“What the hell have you done?” Holly’s frantic voice. Then she was there. Wrapping her arms around him. Trying to support him. “Duncan? Duncan!”

His eyes were drooping closed. “Don’t…cell…”

“I won’t, I swear, I won’t let them put you in a cell again. Duncan, just stay with me!”

He couldn’t. The drug was in his system. Pumping fast and hard through his blood. The drug’s effect wouldn’t last long. Just long enough for Pate to toss him into a containment cell.

Before, he’d gone into a cell willingly, because he’d been afraid of what his beast might do.

This time, Duncan wondered if Pate had plans to make a cell his permanent home.

Was that what Connor had been trying to tell him? That he’d wind up in Purgatory, too? Now that he’d done the job Pate wanted, the director might not want him around anymore.

Too late, he was already in hell. He wasn’t about to head out on a one-way trip to another prison.


He wanted to talk to Holly.

But all he could do was sink into the darkness.


“This is a mistake!”

Yeah, right, Pate had been singing that same song for the last hour. Holly didn’t look at him. She was too busy with her patient. Her unconscious patient, thanks to her brother. Duncan was on the exam table in front of her. Strapped down and still wearing his silver collar.

“The mistake was shooting one of your own men.” Jerk. What had Pate been thinking? And Elias—Elias was supposed to be Duncan’s friend. There should have been a rule there…friends didn’t shoot friends in the back with paranormal knockout drugs.

The fact that she’d been the one to create that little brew for Pate to use on his missions? That just made her feel even more miserable.

“You saw him,” Pate gritted as he paced behind her. “His eyes were glowing. The silver was burning his neck. I was afraid his control was shattering.”

Because the full moon was coming ever closer.

“He had his control.” Her fingers stroked over his arm. He felt so warm. Hot.

“And I don’t have your confidence in him.”

“He’s your agent. You should have confidence in him.”

“After the full moon…if I see that he can stay in control then…we’ll talk about confidence.”

There was something in his voice. A note that made her nervous. She glanced back at him. She and Pate were in her lab, so this was as much privacy as they were likely to get in the facility. “What are you planning?”

He shook his head.

Her gut tightened. “Pate?”

“It’s all about the moon,” he said.

The full moon that would rise with the coming night.

“After that, we’ll see what happens. Who’s a friend. Who’s a foe.”

He stalked toward her. His hand lifted. Cupped her chin. “Don’t take any more of his blood.” A low whisper. “There’s still time for you. I know there is.”

No, there wasn’t. “I can’t go back.”

He didn’t want to admit it, but they both knew the human she’d been had died in that alley a year ago.

On the night when a monster had come for Pate, but had killed her instead. They’d been walking, heading toward a restaurant after watching a movie. Everything had happened so quickly.

A man had appeared and yanked her away from Pate. The stranger had sliced open Pate’s stomach, then gone toward him with fangs bared.

“Do you ever wish you’d let him kill me?” Pate asked, voice quiet and emotionless.

Holly inhaled sharply.

And realized that they had an audience.

“Do you think about that night?” He continued, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the softest of rustles sounded behind them.

Duncan was waking.

“I-I try not to think about it.”

Pate had been on the ground. Telling her to run. Get the hell away! Don’t look back! His shout still rang in her ears some nights.

But he’d always been there for her. So she hadn’t been able to leave him. She’d had no weapon. Just her fists.

She’d jumped on his back. Pounded him. Clawed him. Gotten his attention away from Pate.

The attacker had turned and smiled at her.

She’d screamed. Fangs!

Then those fangs had been in her throat.

“You’re a terrible liar, Holly.” Pate sounded sad. “You should have let me die.”

“No.” Instinctive.

The fangs had sliced deep into her throat. Her scream had died. He’d hurt her, so badly. She’d been the one on the ground then. He’d been over her, surrounding her. Gulping, slurping, making her so sick and afraid.

Then Pate had driven a stake into his back.

“Do you…do you ever wish that I’d put that stake in you, too?” His question chilled her.

She flinched. “No.”

Some of the tension left his shoulders.

She knew how the vampire transformation worked. A vampire’s victim had to be near death. Had to be drained, then given the vampire’s blood. It was a virus. An infection. Science had perfectly explained it to her.

That night, the vampire hadn’t been able to give her his blood. Not willingly, anyway.

The vampire had still been alive after Pate’s attack. Alive, but weak. Pate had sliced open the vampire’s wrist and had forced the guy’s blood in her mouth before Holly could even think of turning away.

You’ll live. You’ll f**king live.

Only then had he ended the vampire’s life. After she’d gotten her transfusion. She didn’t really remember the specific details. She’d just opened her eyes to find that the vampire was missing his head.

I don’t want to think about that night. She hadn’t been lying about that part.

“It’s over.” Her lips felt numb. “There’s no sense looking back.”

“Sometimes, we can’t go forward until we go back.” His hand fell away from her chin. “I was selfish that night. I couldn’t let you go.”

She grabbed his hand. “And I wasn’t ready to leave you.”

His gaze held hers. They’d been together for so many years. She’d been three when her mother married his father. He’d been ten. A hero in her eyes. When their parents had died in an auto accident eleven years later, Pate hadn’t let her go into foster care. He’d taken care of her. Always.

He could be an a**hole sometimes. Overprotective. Too controlling. But he was family.

The only family she had.

“There is a cure.” His voice shook now. “It’s a virus. You said it yourself. An infection. If you can catch it, you can cure it.”

He wanted to think so.

She just didn’t believe that was the case. The virus changed the body. Mutated it. With that kind of change, all of her research was showing that there was no going back. There might never be a cure. Instead, the best she could hope was treatment—that was what karahydrelene had done—treated the symptoms so that she could function almost normally.

She stepped away from him. “Duncan isn’t going into a cell. I won’t let you cage him.”

Pate’s gaze dipped behind her. “He’ll go if he can’t stay controlled.”

She turned her head back to look at Duncan just as he snapped right through the bindings that held him. In an instant, he leapt to his feet. Hmm…he shouldn’t have been quite so agile after the dosing.

Pate’s gaze said he realized the same thing.


As dangerous as a vampire. As dangerous as me.

Holly put her hand on Duncan’s arm, stilling him before could get any closer to Pate. “He’s not putting you in a cage.”

“I won’t do it,” Pate agreed, but one eyebrow rose and he added, “I think you’ll put yourself there.” Then he headed for the double doors. “In case you’re curious…” Pate said, throwing the words over his shoulder, “the other alpha is in Containment Area Five.”

Then he was gone. Holly was all alone with her werewolf.

Not mine. Why did she keep thinking of him that way? Duncan wasn’t hers. Was he?

“I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I had no idea they were going to drug you.”

His hands curled around her shoulders. He pulled her body closer, forcing her to face him.

Did he seem…um, bigger? He did.

“Duncan, I—”

His mouth was on hers. Hot. Hard. And she just decided to forget talking right then. She kissed him back, almost desperately, as her fingers locked around his arms and her nails sank into his skin.

He had her flush against his body now. That wonderful heat of his seemed to singe her right through her clothes. She could feel the heavy thrust of his arousal. Okay, yes, he’d come out of that drugged state very aware.

Her heart raced in her chest. Her body trembled. Not with any kind of fear, but with pure eagerness.

His head lifted. His eyes were shining. Definitely not the stare of a mortal man. She didn’t care.

“Why aren’t you afraid?”

Because I’m as much of a monster as you are.

He shook his head before she could think of a response that didn’t sound so brutally cold. He wasn’t a monster. Or…hell, she didn’t think of him that way.

Even if she saw herself as the nightmare in the room.

“You’re the only one I trust here,” he told her.

Her breath rushed out. “Duncan…”

“Something’s going on. Holly, I know that alpha.”

“Well, you’ve been hunting in the city. You probably—”

“I’ve seen him in my nightmares.”

That froze her.

“Werewolves killed my family when I was just a kid.”

She knew that. That attack had been what had placed him on the path that led to Seattle’s Para Unit. He’d wanted to protect others. To stop the same fate from knocking on their doors and leaving a trail of blood behind.

“When I look at Connor, I hear the screams from the attack.”

She barely controlled her flinch.

Sometimes, when she looked at Pate, she could hear her own screams. From my attack. She’d tried to hide that weakness from him. Pate carried enough guilt on his shoulders. But after what she’d said minutes before, she knew that he already realized she saw hell when she saw him.

“I. Know. Him.”

His arms were still around her. Her nails still digging into his skin.

“Help me,” he said.

Holly nodded, and she knew that she could refuse him nothing.


Connor was caged and collared. And he looked pissed off.

Duncan marched into the alpha’s containment area. Elias was stationed near the cell door. When he saw Duncan, Elias immediately straightened to his full height. “Jeez, I’m so sorry, man—”

Duncan lifted a hand. “If you’re really sorry, then you’ll give me ten minutes with this guy. You’ll walk out, get yourself a drink, and not mention to anyone that I’m here.”

Elias stared back at him. His partner’s eyes—ex-partner—were guilt-ridden. “I’m sorry I couldn’t kill you.”

Connor started laughing from his cell. That bastard laughed a lot.

Elias shook his head. “I know it was what you wanted.”

Death? Duncan glanced over his shoulder. Holly was behind him. It had been her security card that had gotten him access to this area. Seeing as how his access had been revoked.

But she’d come with him, not hesitating even a moment when he had to sound straight-up crazy.

Maybe I am crazy. Maybe the madness of the wolf was setting in, but right then, “Death’s the last thing I want.” He figured Elias needed the warning. Things had changed. Fucking fast. “You come at me with silver, and you could be the one to die.”

Elias backed away from him. “But…your family…”

“Family…” A dark mutter from Connor. “Can’t erase their sins, can’t claw them to pieces.”

Duncan frowned at him. Connor had risen and come to stand less than a foot away from the silver bars of his cell. Connor was the only prisoner housed in Containment Area Five.

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