The Wolf Within Page 16

And here was going to be another revelation that wasn’t easy to give. “I…I got the ME from your hometown to fax me the autopsy reports for your parents.”


“I should have told you first but…” But what if she’d been wrong? “Duncan, the man who died, he wasn’t your father.”

But Duncan shook his head. “He was. That was my family. My mother. My father. My—”

“Do you remember them? Or do you just remember…” She hated hurting him. “Do you just remember that the cops told you that your parents were dead?”

His silence was her answer.

“You don’t remember your life with them, do you?”

His jaw locked. “I don’t remember anything before the blood and screams.”

He was ripping out her heart. She couldn’t stand for him to be in pain. “You were alone with their bodies for…for three days.”

His pupils expanded, turning his blue eyes almost totally black. No trace of gold showed in his eyes then.

“The ME…he told me that one of the cops found you in the closet. You were covered in blood. The woman in the house—”

“My mother.”

The pain in his voice made her ache. “Her body was found outside of the closet. It appeared as if she’d locked you in, and then she’d been killed outside of the door.” The ME's reports had said that her blood had slid under the crack near the bottom of the closet door.

Duncan had been trapped in that darkness as the blood came toward him.

All alone.

Three days.

She blinked away the tears in her eyes. She wasn’t shaking him now. Just holding him and wishing that she could take all of his pain away.

“How do you know he wasn’t my father?”

“Duncan, you know what happens when a werewolf dies in human form.”

“The teeth and claws come out.”

Because at death, it was if the beast inside was dying, too. The body shifted back to human form, but the beast didn’t totally vanish. The claws and teeth always stayed out in death. “I saw…I saw the pictures taken at the scene. The man who died then didn’t have claws. There were no fangs either.” MEs had been covering up those little telltale signs for years, and she’d even taken the step of calling the retired ME, Louis Hall, to make sure that her suspicions were correct.

“Hell, no, lady,” he’d told her, voice grousing with age. “I know a werewolf when I see one. Had two of ‘em cross my table. Scared the hell out of me at first. That slaughter? No, those were two humans who died.”

Darkness had filled Duncan’s gaze. The same deep rage that had burned from Connor’s eyes.

“He knows what happened to them,” Duncan muttered.

Yes, she suspected that Connor knew a great deal.

“I’m going to make him tell me.” He spun away from her and rushed for the doors.

But those doors were already swinging open. Pate stood there. With Shane and Elias at his back.

“Duncan.” Pate’s gaze swept over him. “I’m going to need you to come with us.”

“Get out of my way, Pate,” Duncan snapped. His hands were at his sides. His claws? Most definitely out.

Pate shook his head. “Don’t make us do this the hard way.”

Duncan laughed. “Like there’s any other way now.” He pointed toward the doors. “That a**hole in Containment Five knows about—”

“You mean your brother? The alpha werewolf who’s been clawing his way through the town? That a**hole?”

She could have slugged Pate right then. Holly marched toward him. “You tapped into my computer.”

He nodded. “And your phone line.”

Jerk. She should have known he’d pull tricks like that.

But Pate’s stare actually seemed to hold real sympathy as it turned back to Duncan. “In the morning, I’ll let you grill the guy as long as you want. But the moon is going to start rising soon. Your first full moon. And I can’t take chances with this night.”

“Scared I’ll hurt you?”

“No, scared you’ll hurt her.” Pate’s attention shifted to Holly, then back to Duncan. “The wolf will be in control. What do you think he’s gonna want most?”

“Not me,” Holly said. That had all the guys looking at her. She licked her lips. “Blood. Revenge.” That was what she’d seen in Duncan’s eyes.

“I want to talk to Connor.” Duncan’s voice had deepened. Roughened. Goosebumps rose on her arms.

“In the morning. When the moon is down, and your control is one hundred percent set.” Pate’s mouth firmed. “I have to make sure you control your beast tonight, and that he doesn’t control you. Duncan, you know the first full moon transformation is supposed to be hardest.”

“The one that tells me if I stay sane?” Duncan’s voice made the chill she felt even worse. “Or proves that I’ll be psychotic, just like my brother?”

She so wished she’d never used that word. “Duncan…”

His head inclined toward her. She could see his fangs. So what? She had fangs of her own. Holly reached for his hand. “You can talk to him tomorrow.”

There were no transfer orders on Connor yet. Duncan would get his answers. They had time.

“Just come with us for tonight,” Pate said. “We’ve got a secure cell waiting for you.”

“Like the last one?” Duncan mocked. “I ripped right through those bars.”

Pate’s cheeks flushed. It looked like Shane fought a smile. Elias…he paled.

“You’re going in the holding room tonight.”

The holding room? She sucked in a sharp breath. The holding room was the paranormal equivalent of solitary confinement. No windows. Walls reinforced with a combination of silver and steel. One door. Thick. Heavy. An eight by twelve foot prison.

There was only one light that shone from the ceiling in the middle of that room. It was normally where the most dangerous paranormals were kept before transfer. Where Connor probably would have been housed, if Pate hadn’t been so worried about Duncan’s transformation under the full moon.

Holly’s whole body was tight with tension. “That’s a little extreme, don’t you think?” She didn’t want Duncan locked up. The collar was bad enough. “He’s one of ours.”

“That’s why I’m doing everything I can to keep him safe and to keep him from hurting anyone else.” Pate rolled his shoulders. “How do you think he’ll feel, Hol, if he wakes up tomorrow and finds the dead bodies of his fellow agents around him?”

“That’s not—” Holly began.

“It could happen,” Duncan said at the same time.

No, it couldn’t. Why did she have more faith in the guy than he did in himself?

Her hold tightened on him. “You’re not like that.” Not like Connor.

“It’s time to find out if I am.” He pulled away from her. Damn him, he pulled away. Then he glanced back at Pate. “Take me to holding.”

“No!” Holly sprang between the men. “He’s wearing the collar. Just let him stay here. I can keep an eye on him tonight, I can—”

Duncan’s hands closed around her shoulders. He turned her toward him. Kissed her.

Not a hard kiss.

Not wild.

Not what she’d expected.

Soft. Controlled.

He has control.

“I won’t hurt you,” he said.

No, he wouldn’t. That was what she was trying to make them all understand. If the idiots would just listen to her.

“Stay away from me tonight,” he said as his gaze held hers. “Connor might have set this in motion, but I’ll be damned if I lose what matters most to me.”

Her heart slammed into her chest. Wait. Was he saying that she mattered? That it wasn’t just sex and need?

But then he was pushing her behind him. Heading away with Pate. And Pate was glancing back over his shoulder and giving her a hard glare. “Shane,” Pate ordered, “make sure that Holly gets home safely tonight.”

The home that still sported a broken window? That reeked of safety.

“Make sure she doesn’t go near holding,” Pate added.

Shane gave a little salute and sauntered toward her. “Guess we’ll be getting cozy tonight.”

Duncan froze. Then he turned and gave Shane a glare that would have singed most men. “You f**king won’t.”

Shane gulped. “Uh, right…I meant…” He straightened quickly. “I’ll keep her safe, promise.”

Duncan held his gaze. “You’d better.”

Then Duncan was gone. Pate was gone. Elias hurried after them.

Holly found that she couldn’t move.

“He’ll be okay,” Shane said, voice soft.

Her gaze cut toward him. Shane could play the carefree card pretty well. He’d done it plenty of times, but she knew there was a whole lot more going on beneath his surface. He had his share of deadly secrets, too. Most of the agents in the Para Unit did. It took a certain type to hunt monsters.

“He’s strong. If any man can hold back a beast, it’s him.” Shane exhaled on a rough sigh. “You get your gear together, and when you’re ready to go, you just tell me.”

Holly shook her head. “I’m not leaving.”

Shane winced. “How did I know you’d say that? Shit, does this mean we’ll both be bunking down in the lab tonight? Because those gurneys make for crappy beds.”

She wouldn’t be bunking anywhere. She’d be keeping an eye on Duncan.

“What is it with you?” Shane asked as he came a bit closer to her. “Shouldn’t you hate him…you know…seeing as what you are?”

That had her gaze flying right back to his.

“Your secret’s out,” he murmured. Then he tapped his teeth. “And when Duncan kissed you a minute ago, your fangs came out, too.”

Horrified, she slapped a hand over her mouth. She hadn’t even felt the burn of her teeth. How had that happened? She’d been so careful, for so long.

“Don’t worry,” Shane assured her. “You’re not my first vamp. I figure if you haven’t gone for my throat by now, you aren’t going to.”

She shook her head. “I-I’m not.” Her fangs had come out. The karahydrelene definitely wasn’t in her system any longer. If it was, her fangs would have stayed in check. Without the drug, she’d have to learn normal control—well, normal vampire control, or she’d give herself away to more than just Shane.

His gaze searched hers. “How long ago did you change?”

“It’s been a year.” It felt like so much longer.

“Is that why you’re here?” His hand lifted and waved around the room. “Hiding with the monsters?”

“The prisoners are—”

He laughed then, a rough sound that she wouldn’t have expected from him. “Who says I’m talking about the prisoners?”

She could only stare at him in surprise.

“The agents…why do you think we’re taking the cases?” He stalked toward her, closing in. “You should look beneath the surface more often, Dr. Young.”

His eyes…the color seemed to deepen as she gazed at him.

She also realized that his southern accent—the South Carolina drawl that sometimes dipped beneath his words—was gone.

And then he flashed his own fangs.

Startled, no, terrified, Holly jumped back. She opened her mouth to scream, but had no chance. Shane had shoved his hand over her lips.

“Now why would you want to do that?” Shane whispered. “I would have thought that you’d be thrilled to find yourself with one of your own.”

His right hand was over her mouth. His left wrapped around her body and pulled her close against him.

His body was strong. Powerful. And his teeth…those were the fangs of a vampire.

One of your own.

She swallowed back the lump of fear and stared up at the vampire who’d worked beside her for months.


Duncan marched into the holding room. The lone light shone down from above. Bright. Stark.

“It’s just for the night,” Pate said from behind him.

Duncan looked back at him. “Unless I go crazy…” Psychotic. That had been Holly’s word.

Pate waved away Elias. The other agent’s face tensed, but, with one last, regretful glance at Duncan, he eased away. Pate waited until that agent had vanished, then he said, “Do you feel the wolf inside?”

Yes. Clawing to get out. Duncan nodded.

“When you were a wolf before, did the man inside have control, or was it the beast that ruled?”

“The man.” He’d still been there, no, he’d been the beast. They hadn’t been separate.

Maybe they never had been.

My brother. If his brother was a werewolf, if his father had been, then didn’t that mean the beast had been in him the entire time? “I am the wolf,” he muttered, clenching his teeth.

“And what does the wolf want?” Pate’s question was careful, emotionless.

Duncan realized he was staring at his clenched hands. He looked up and saw Pate staring back at him with hard eyes.

“Do you want revenge? Blood?” Pate demanded as he stepped closer. “Or do you want her?”

He wanted it all. “Connor will tell me about my family.”

“You sure you want to know? Maybe some things are better left in the dark. Knowing that your brother has been killing for years, with no remorse—”

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