The Wolf Within Page 17

“Do you think I’m like him?” Duncan cut through his words. His muscles had tightened.

“I think you’re a dangerous man,” Pate said softly. “But I knew that about you the moment we met.” Pate turned away. “Let’s see what the night brings. We’ll both find out just how dangerous you can become.”

Suspicion had filled Duncan’s heart. With the news of Connor, well, his whole life had changed. He wasn’t sure what to believe now. Who to believe. “You should have told me,” Duncan muttered. The whole time that he’d been in the Para Unit, he’d been a ticking time bomb. Just waiting to get bitten.

“What would have been the point?” Pate asked. Werewolves walk the earth. You could have been bitten at any moment, walking to the store or even going to a bar.” Pate shrugged. “You knew we were battling paranormals. The choice to join the group was yours.”

The silver burned against his neck. “Did you want me to change?” The question that mattered most. No, the question that mattered most was…did you set me up to change?

Because he was realizing that Pate would go to almost any extreme in order to get what he wanted.

“Having a werewolf on my team would be an advantage,” Pate said as he gave a faint nod.

The sonofabitch wasn’t even acting like the loss of Duncan’s humanity was a big deal. Shit.

“But there are other werewolves out there who could have joined the unit. Fully transformed werewolves who aren’t psychotic.” Pate lifted one brow. “So no, I didn’t throw one of my own men—”

“To the wolves?” Duncan snapped.

“Just so I could up my paranormal power scale for hunting.” His lips twisted into a dark smile. “Trust me, I’ve already got plenty of paranormal power in the unit.”

Was he talking about Holly? Or someone else?

The answer was in Pate’s eyes. Someone else.

“The monsters aren’t always the enemy,” Pate said as he turned away once more. “Sometimes, they’re the men fighting right beside you.” Then he was gone. Locking the door.

Sealing Duncan inside the room.

The light shone down from overhead.

Duncan exhaled slowly and tried to remember a time before monsters. A time when he’d had a brother.

A family.

A life.

But it had all been washed away in a tide of rising blood.


“Seriously, if you keep looking at me like that, I might bite you just for the hell of it,” Shane said as his gaze narrowed on her. “Don’t tempt me.”

She blinked.

“I’m not going for your throat. I had plenty of opportunities.” He tilted his head to study her. “Of course, we are all alone now. The others are far away, and I bet you’d never even have the chance to scream.”

She shoved him away. Actually, she threw him away. The guy flew back about five feet and crashed into her instrument tray.

He laughed as he rose. His dark, rumbling laughter made goosebumps rise on her arms.

She glanced around desperately, looking for something wooden. But when Pate had made her lab, he’d been sure to keep the wood to a minimum. In case anyone found out the truth about her, he hadn’t wanted them going all stake crazy.

“I do like a woman with bite.” Shane took a step toward her.

Holly bared her fangs at him. “Take another step, and you’ll find out just how much bite I have.”

He didn’t take another step. He just—appeared right in front of her. She blinked, and he was there. Then he grabbed her arms. Held her tight. “You are just a beginner in my world.”

Dark. Deep. The easy going mask was totally gone, and she stared up into his eyes, seeing the darkness that she’d always sensed with him.

“A vampire’s power comes with age. Your bite can never compare to mine.”

In his gaze, she saw the cold promise of death. “Wh-what do you want?”

His hold eased. “To keep you safe.” He pulled in a breath. His fangs receded. His stare started to look a bit less like the grim reaper’s. “That is my job, right? What Pate told me to do?”

“Does Pate know about you?” He couldn’t. No way. He—

“Of course. Why do you think he recruited me?” His tongue ran over the edge of his teeth, as if checking to make sure the fangs were gone. “If you’re going after monsters, doesn’t it make sense to have your own paranormal arsenal to fight them?”

Her heart thudded too hard in her chest.

“But what I don’t understand is why Pate isn’t using you more. Why keep you here, locked away, when you could be fighting in the night with us?”

“B-because he wants me to find a cure. He wants me to be human again.”

“There is no cure for us.”

“Not yet.” Her chin lifted. “But I’m working on it. Vampirism is a virus. We were created. We can be cured.”

“Is that Pate talking or you?”


“What if we don’t want to be cured?”

That was the question she’d hoped he wouldn’t ask. In the back of her mind, she’d wondered if Pate wanted to completely eradicate all of the vampires by making them human again. No choices. Just a cure.

“Pate was holding back on me.” Anger beat in Shane’s words.

Now she was the one to grab him. Her fingers locked around his arms, and she forgot her fear. “Wouldn’t you go back, if you could?”

“Hell, no,” he said with absolute certainty. “Why do that? I’ve got more power than most can ever imagine. I don’t age. I don’t die. I can control any human I want. I’m not decomposing in a grave. I’m not—”

“But everyone around you will die. All of those you love.” Her fear.

A muscle jerked in his jaw. “When I find someone to love, you can bet that I won’t let her die.”

There was a cold promise in his words.

She believed that promise. “What if she doesn’t want to live forever?”

He didn’t speak.

Maybe he didn’t have an answer for that question.

“Look, Shane, I need—”

The lights flickered over them. Flickered, then flashed off as the room sank into darkness.

She jerked away from Shane.

“What the hell?” His footsteps shuffled away from her.

“The generator will switch on,” she assured him, fumbling as she made her way to the desk. Vampires didn’t have enhanced vision like werewolves. They couldn’t see in the dark. Unfortunately. Vampires were physically strongest during the time when their vision was weakest.

When the sun rose, their strength depleted. That was why she tried to sleep during the day and spend all of her late nights in her lab.

From a few feet away, Shane swore. She heard a bang, as if he’d run into something.

Seconds ticked by, and the generator didn’t come back on.

It should have come back on. Protocol was that the generator automatically took over power control in five seconds.

It had been thirty seconds. She’d counted every second.

“It’s not coming on,” he muttered. He was farther away now, a good ten feet by the sound of things.

Then, before she could speak, Holly heard a howl. A long, angry howl that seemed to shake the building.

“Connor said that Duncan would lose everything,” she whispered. And Connor’s pack of wolves had attacked the facility before. Were they doing it again?

She rushed for the door. Rushed for Duncan.

But found herself caught in Shane’s tight grip.


The lone light in the room shut off. The darkness came, surrounding him. Duncan lunged forward instinctively. His hands slammed into the wall. The silver burned him, and he yanked back his hands.

He remembered another time. Another place.

More darkness.

More walls that held him inside.

Only then…then there had been blood, too. The wet blood that had slid under the door.

Help me! Duncan!

He’d heard that cry, but hadn’t been able to help.


His hands lifted again. Slammed into the door. His eyes had adjusted to the darkness, adjusted so quickly, and he could see clearly now. When he’d been blinded before…

I couldn’t help because I was already in the closet. She locked me in.

The screams for help had been coming from outside of the closet. From outside, where his mother had been dead.

Where his brother had watched her die?

A howl echoed from deep in the facility. Long, angry.

The beast in him wanted to respond.

He wanted out of that room.

Out of the darkness.

His fists pounded into the door. The silver burned, but he kept pounding. Kept pounding.

Help me! The scream that he could still hear.

The door wasn’t giving. The collar around his neck f**king burned.

Collared. Like an animal.

Because he was.

The silver bit into his skin, burned hotter as if…as if someone had increased the intensity.

His hands rose to his neck. Clawed against the collar. The silver was hotter, and the collar was tightening around him.

Now he knew why the other wolf had howled.

He was crying out, too, screaming and howling in fury.

Because some bastard was torturing him in the dark. And that torture, it drove the man back, even as the beast clawed for his freedom.

Chapter Nine

“Let me go!” Holly yelled as she fought against Shane.

“I’m supposed to keep you safe!”

But there were more howls now. And those cries…they didn’t sound like the beasts were attacking.

It sounded as if the beasts were being attacked.

“They’re hurting!” Holly told him. “Duncan could be in trouble!”

“And you have to save him?”

“Yes, I do.” She kicked him as hard as she could. Considering her vamp strength, it was pretty damn hard. “Now let me…go!” She head-butted him.

He barely grunted, and his hold just tightened. “Werewolves can see in the dark. The moon is full tonight. They’ll be at full strength—”

More howls. More pain. More suffering.

He had to hear their agony. “Don’t you get it? Someone is hurting them!”

“Like the collars they wear don’t hurt?” His cold tone mocked her. “What do you think has been happening during all of their containment time?”

“The collars don’t make them scream like that, not unless…” she broke off, then whispered, “not unless someone has increased the intensity of the silver.”

“Someone who hated the wolves? Bet we got a long list of folks like that at the facility. Especially after the last attack when so many human guards died.”

Someone could want payback. Revenge.

She wrenched free. Stumbled back to her desk. Holly found the collar remote that she had locked in her top drawer. “If you won’t let me leave this room alone, then you take me to Duncan.”

“Now that’s a better plan.” Then his hand was on her elbow as he steered her out of the med unit and through the hallway. With every step, the howls become louder. But even though the howls were wild and desperate in their intensity, they were the only sounds that she heard. There were no shouts from the agents and guards who should have been on duty that night. No rushing footsteps as people went to check on the prisoners.

What the hell?

Just howls. So many howls.

Duncan, hold on.

Because she knew he was trapped in that darkness. Trapped as he’d been before, when he’d been just a child.

When he’d waited for death to come for him.


Pate ran from his office when he heard the howls. “Guards!” He bellowed. Something was wrong. The power never went off at this facility, and he could tell by their cries that the wolves were in pain.

No one answered his call.

He yanked his weapon out of its holster. He knew this facility like the back of his hand. No need for lights. He rushed down the hallway, heading first for Holly because he had to make sure his sister was alive and—

“I knew you’d go for her first.” The voice, low and familiar, came from the dark corridor to his right.

Pate spun around, but he moved too slowly. A blast echoed around him even as a bullet drove into his chest.

Pate hit the floor. He squeezed his fingers around the trigger of his weapon and managed to fire, but he didn’t know if the bullet found its target. So he fired again. Again.

He fired until his gun clicked and the chamber was empty.


The gunshots froze Holly in the hallway. Then the scent hit her. Blood.

Shane stiffened. “That’s not f**king good.”

They were almost to the holding room. So close. And she could hear his howls.

“You can follow the blood scent,” she said, her hands clenching in the fabric of Shane’s shirt. “Go—find out what’s happening!”

“I’m not leaving you on your own.”

There were no more gunshots. Just howls. Pain-filled howls erupting from Duncan’s room. “I’m not on my own,” she told him. “I’ll be with Duncan.”

“Yeah, that’s the problem. Do you hear that guy? You go in there, and he’ll rip you apart.”

“No, he won’t.” Holly said the words with absolute certainty. She trusted Duncan.

The room’s keypad was to her right. She knew the exact position of the numbers on the pad, so she typed in the code for the door quickly, then swiped her thumb over the lock.

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