The Wolf Within Page 22

“Elias set us all up. He followed his orders from above like a good little soldier. Those claw marks on the agents? Elias used one of the prisoners—he was working with the a**hole. He got the werewolf to carve up the others for him, and that fool wolf probably thought he’d get his freedom in return.” Pate’s mouth tightened. “Instead, he got roasted by silver.”

“How do you know—”

“We found the blood under the werewolf’s claws. Elias put the guy back in his cell, all nice and tidy, but sometimes, there’s blood you just can’t get rid of.” Pate fired another fast glance over his shoulder.

“If you know this…” Duncan’s back teeth ground together. “If you know I’m clear of everything that happened, why the hell am I in this cell?”

“Because it’s not over.” Flat. “We have to find out who is trying to jeopardize the program. In order to do that, we needed an agent who was strong enough to survive anything that came his way.” Pate’s stare drifted over him. “You’re the strongest thing I’ve seen. Even Shane can’t compete against you.”

“Shane’s dead.”

“Is he?” Pate murmured. “I’m sure that’s what the villagers all thought a few centuries back, too.”


“An escape is going down. A damn big one. The monsters are going to be let loose, and when that happens, everyone will know what’s happening here. There will be no more denials. No more secrets. Just out of control werewolves and vampires that want to feed and drain their prey dry.” He sucked in a deep breath. “They’ve been starving the vamps, did you know that? They were supposed to be contained here, but not tortured because we can be f**king humane, or at least, we should be.”

Duncan didn’t speak.

“But someone wants it all to fall apart. Someone wants the Para Units to look like failures, and that same someone—that power that is in the FBI—wants the monsters loose so the humans can see them all at their worst.”


“Because I’m thinking he—or she—wants a war. An all-out battle. An annihilation. When humans find out about the monsters, how do you think they’ll react? Will they stop to see who is good, who’s bad?” Pate shook his head. “No, they’ll see fangs. They’ll see claws. And they’ll attack. The paranormals can’t compete with the humans, not in numbers, and they’ll all die.”

But it would be bloody. A massacre of both humans and paranormals.

“We won’t let that end game play out.” Pate’s voice was hard.

Duncan narrowed his gaze.

“All of the most dangerous, most powerful paranormals are here. But they aren’t getting out. No matter what plan is in place, you will stop it.”

The guy had to be insane. “Just me?”

Pate stared back at him. “Just. You.”

“You know I won’t survive. I’ll die here.”

“No, you can’t die. Not any longer.”

Right. Like he was supposed to believe—

“You’re a werewolf, and you’re a vampire. You don’t have the weaknesses of either, but you’ve got the strength of both. You’re the only paranormal of your kind in existence. Hell, most would say you shouldn’t be able to exist.”

Duncan didn’t have a ready comeback.

“I told you before…you’re an alpha, and that’s what paranormals understand. You go deeper into the prison, you face the bastards who think they’re in charge, and you damn well wipe the floor with them.” Pate’s shoulders heaved. “That will get the others to follow you. You’ll find out who’s helping to stage the escape. You’ll stop it. Hell, man, you’ll wind up saving the world.”

“Why me?” Duncan demanded. “And why the hell didn’t you tell me all of this sooner?”

“Because I didn’t trust you at first. I’d planned to do the deed myself. I’d even been getting injections of Shane’s blood so I’d be stronger, but then you had to get yourself bit.” Pate exhaled. “That sure changed up all the plans in place.”

“You were using me.”

“I’m fighting to keep this world safe,” Pate said, holding his gaze. “Sometimes, the things I have to do aren’t always pretty.”

“You’re a bastard, you know that?”

Pate nodded. “That’s what Holly told me when I took you away.”

Holly. “Where is she?”

“Do the mission, and I’ll tell you.”

Sonofabitch. Duncan surged forward and found himself right in front of Pate. The silver bars—he’d ripped them away. “How the hell…?”

“Told you,” Pate said, rocking back on his heels. “Only strength. No weaknesses.”

The bars fell from Duncan’s fingers.

“Now do the job. Stop the escape, and if you want, I’ll even damn well sing at your wedding to my sister, but we have to stop this nightmare first. Do you understand?”

Duncan wrapped his fingers around Pate’s throat. “I understand that you’ve been using me.”

Pate’s eyes widened.

“And I understand that I don’t f**king trust you.” How many lies had Pate told him? “You shot me.”

“Only after you’d taken Holly’s blood.”

He remembered the sweet taste of honey on his tongue. No, not honey. Better. So much better. He’d gorged on that taste. I want more.

“If I hadn’t shot you, then you wouldn’t have stopped drinking from her.” Pate tried to pry Duncan’s fingers from his throat. “I saved her.”

Had he been hurting Holly?

Duncan released Pate.

Pate didn’t back away. “In five minutes,” Pate said, “a guard will come in here for you. He’ll take you to general population. The werewolves there are supposed to all have collars and the vampires aren’t let out during the night. During the day, the vamps will be as weak as humans. Controllable.”

“I won’t be controllable,” Duncan said.

Pate shook his head. “No, you won’t be.” He raked a hand through his hair. “I’m even hearing rumors that the vamps are being starved and the werewolves are being tortured by silver—all to make them angrier, to get them ready to fight back against their guards.” His face was haggard. “We have to stop this. Will you do it? Will you stop the escape and help me figure out who’s pulling these damn puppet strings and trying to start a war?”

It looked like he didn’t have much of a choice. “Holly’s safe.” Not a question, a demand.

“Yes! I left agents at her place to keep an eye on her. She’s protected, okay?”

A light scent teased Duncan’s nose. Sex and honey. In hell. He gave a sharp negative shake of his head.

“What?” Pate barked. “What is it?”



“Here.” His snarl. Pate had betrayed him for the last time. He would cut the bastard open.

“That’s not possible!”

“I smell her.” Not just her sweet scent, but also her fear. Holly was there, and she was terrified.

Footsteps echoed, the tread coming toward him. The prison guard that Pate had spoken of?

A growl built in Duncan’s throat.

“Let him take you into the general population,” Pate whispered. “Do it. Dammit, I’ve got a mole in this prison, and he told me we don’t have much time.”

“Why didn’t he tell you who was behind the setup?”

“Because he’s a weak werewolf, the runt of this joint, and he doesn’t have that kind of power.”

Duncan inhaled again on a deep breath. “Holly.”

“Are you f**king sure?”

The guard was almost on them.

Duncan nodded.

“I’ll get her,” Pate promised. “I’ll search the prison, and I’ll get her out, I swear. Just do this mission. You can’t even imagine how many lives are at stake.”

He could imagine plenty. Only right then, there was only one life that mattered to him.

Holly’s scent was coming closer because the guard was coming closer. The guard had been near her. Near enough for Holly’s scent to recently rub off on him.

My senses are even more enhanced.

Duncan held Pate’s glittering stare. “I’ll get her,” Duncan said, “and I’ll end this f**king mission.”

Pate wouldn’t use him again.

Pate didn’t get a chance to reply. The door opened, and the guard came in. A middle aged, balding man, he froze when he saw the broken bars—and Duncan.

“It’s all right,” Pate said. The director had a gun in his hand. When had he pulled that out? “I have him contained. Just collar him, now.”

With trembling hands, the guard hurried forward and snapped a collar around Duncan’s neck. When the guard lifted his hands…that was when Duncan noticed the fresh puncture wounds on the man’s neck.

Holly’s scent was coming from those wounds.

Just what was his vampiress doing?

“S-supposed to collar him,” the guard said. “Bring him in…”

Was it his imagination or did the guard look dazed?

The collar snapped in place. Even though the silver was glowing, Duncan didn’t feel a burn. “Come with me,” the guard said, lifting the collar’s remote.

After one final look at a tense-faced Pate, Duncan followed the guard out. They walked through a series of hallways, past heavy, silver doors. Duncan caught the salty scent of the ocean, drifting in to him from the windows high above.

“Werewolves aren’t allowed out during full moons. So you’ll be locked up tight then,” the guard told him.

The full moon had just passed. Duncan had survived that night. Well, partially, and he wasn’t exactly planning on hanging around the prison until the full moon came calling once more.

“The werewolves are housed on the south side. The vampires on the north.”

Since he was supposed to be some combination of both, where did that put him?

“But you’re due for an infirmary check first. Got to make sure your collar’s strong enough to last, but not strong enough to kill you.”

Uh, yeah, that was good.

Then the guard was motioning with his weapon. Pointing toward a door on the right. “Ten minutes in the infirmary.”

Was this standard protocol?

“The doctor’s waiting,” the guard muttered, looking away.

His doc?

Duncan shuffled forward. The door to the infirmary opened, and she was there. Wide eyes. Red lips. Face so f**king beautiful that she’d haunt him forever.

“Is he secure?” Her voice was flat.

“Y-yes…” The guard stammered.

She turned those deep eyes on the guard. “Then stand outside the door. Don’t let anyone in while I’m with the prisoner.”

She reached for Duncan’s arm. Pulled him inside. She shut and bolted the door behind him. The guard didn’t say a word.

Then her mouth was on Duncan’s. Just the touch of her mouth against his seemed to ignite a firestorm inside of him.

He’d thought he’d lusted for her before, but now every sense was heightened. Every emotion raged out of control.

He wanted to bite her so badly that his teeth ached.

Her tongue thrust against his. He loved her taste. Would never get enough of it. Couldn’t get enough of her.


The beast was still inside him, but that claim came fully from the man.

Holly pulled her mouth from his. “I was afraid I’d lost you.” Her words were hushed. He could hear the whisper of pain in her voice. Her gaze was stark as she stared up at him. “I’m so sorry, Duncan.”

He wanted to speak. Couldn’t. Because he could hear the wild thunder of her heartbeat. Want her blood.

“I shouldn’t have given you my blood. I know you didn’t want to change.”

His gaze was on her throat. On the pulse that raced so frantically.

“But I couldn’t let you die.” The words broke. “Please, Duncan, say something.”

He put his hand on her neck. He had claws. The claws of a werewolf came from his fingers. But he didn’t scratch her skin. He didn’t want to waste that blood. “Mine.”


He pushed her against the wall. Trapped her. “Mine,” he said again, then his mouth was at her throat. This was instinctive, primal. There was no stopping, not now, not with her, though a part of him watched from a dark corner of his mind, horrified at what he was doing.

Can’t stop. Must take.

Her hands pushed against his chest. Before, her vampire strength would have been enough to send him stumbling across the room. Now, he barely felt the push of her hands.

His mouth was on her throat. He licked the skin. She trembled.

He bit.

When her blood flowed onto his tongue, it was the best thing he’d ever tasted. Better than wine. Better than honey. Better than any damn thing. His c*ck hardened even more because he’d been aroused since the moment he’d seen her. It stretched, ached, and he yanked down her jeans and shoved aside her panties even as he kept drinking from her.

The bloodlust tangled with the physical lust that he felt. He wanted to speak, to tell her that he didn’t want to hurt her, but he couldn’t pull away.

With one hand, he lifted her up. Held her easily, then drove deep into her. She moaned against him and arched—not away from him, but toward his mouth.

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