The Wolf Within Page 24

Growls reached him then. Snarls of fury. His gaze turned back to the werewolves. The group was closing in on him, and some of those faces were familiar.

I put some of them here. Shit.

“You,” snarled a werewolf on the right. Judd Orton. A werewolf who’d slaughtered five women on the coast. “I dreamed of slicing you open.”

Duncan shrugged. “Better me than the humans you attacked.”

“You’re dying!” Judd jumped toward him. His claws were out and the silver was burning his neck.

Duncan punched him, driving his fist right into the werewolf’s face. Blood spurted as Judd’s nose broke, and Judd flopped to the floor, screaming.

The other werewolves stopped advancing.

“Alpha…” A low whisper that came from another convict that Duncan recognized. Charles Rist. He’d enjoyed killing children. That twisted freak should never see daylight.

Duncan let his gaze sweep over them all. “Who’s next?”

Charles came for him. Running and snarling, even as smoke rose from the burning skin on his neck. He swiped out with his claws, slicing Duncan across the stomach.

And Duncan swiped out with his own claws. He gutted Charles, and the werewolf fell to the ground, screaming.

Duncan expected shots to rain down on him from above, but when he shot a quick look up at the guards, they hadn’t moved.

What the hell?

But he wasn’t about to lose focus then. “Next,” Duncan said, and it was a demand.

Only no one else stepped up. Their gazes were on the moaning Charles, and then, one by one, the men lowered their heads.

“Alpha.” Clear. A growl from them all.

Duncan stood before them, body tense and ready for battle. “Why aren’t the guards attacking?” His voice was low, designed to carry only to the paranormals near him.

One man, a werewolf Duncan had never seen before, glanced up quickly at the guards, then his gaze darted to Duncan. The werewolf looked young, barely over twenty, and his face was so pale. “They like to watch us fight each other.”


“When we kill each other,” the young werewolf continued, “that’s one less prisoner for them.”

The werewolves were backing away from Duncan. Slinking away. No more challenges? This was too f**king easy.

Only the pale werewolf was lingering. “You’re gonna be dead soon,” he said as he swallowed. He licked his lips. “You…you don’t want to challenge for alpha.”

Challenge for it? Hadn’t he just damn well won the title? The competition had been slim.

But the werewolf crept closer even as Charles crawled away. “They weren’t saying you were alpha…they were saying…s-saying they’d let the alpha take you out.”

Oh, really? “So where the hell is he?”

“He…he sliced open the last new werewolf and went with the guards to the infirmary. They…they let him do whatever he wants. He said…” The werewolf glanced over his shoulder. “He smelled something sweet in the air and w-wanted a bite.”

The thunder of Duncan’s heartbeat echoed in his ears.

Something sweet.

There was only one sweet thing in Purgatory. And he’d left her in the infirmary.

“The last werewolf,” Duncan forced himself to speak. “Did you get his name?”

A fast shake of the guy’s head. “He went down too fast. Alpha…the alpha knew him. Said h-he’d finish him this time.”

Fuck, f**k, f**k.

Duncan spun away and ran back for the silver doors that had sealed behind him. He shoved his fist against those doors. “Let me out!” He had to get back to the infirmary. Back to Holly.

She’d said that she would leave. Be gone. Please, be gone.

The door began to dent beneath his hammering fists. Guards shouted for him to stop. Oh, now they were getting involved? Screw that.

The escape was supposed to go down at any time. They were cutting it to the wire. The alpha was gone. Duncan was betting that his trip out of general population had been perfectly timed so the fellow could work on the escape. Like there’d be an escape without the alpha’s permission.

Don’t be near Holly. Don’t. Be.

And he was in the wrong damn place. If he’d just stayed with her for a few more minutes…

The plan was screwed.

He kept pounding with his fists. Started to carve up that metal with his claws.

“Stand down!” A shout from above. Duncan guessed they’d just realized the silver wasn’t working to control him. “Stand down, or we will fire!”

Let them. He had to get out of there, and if it took some silver bullets to the back in order to get the job done, he was ready for the pain.

Holly was in the infirmary. He suspected that Connor was there, too. He sliced open the last new werewolf. If he needed to bleed in order to get his ass taken there, so f**king be it.

He slammed his fists into the door again.

And the silver bullets slammed into his back.


“You bitch!” But the words were said with admiration. Admiration? The werewolf with Duncan’s eyes stumbled back and yanked the scalpel out of his shoulder. He’d been too close for her to hit his heart.

Next time.

The doors swung open behind him, and guards came in. Gray uniformed, armed guards. “Help me!” Holly cried out. “The prisoners are—”

They were dragging someone in behind them. A man with blond hair. His green prison jumper was soaked with blood.

He moaned, the sound heavy with pain.


“Leave him,” the werewolf—he shouldn’t have Duncan’s eyes—snapped to the guards.

They dropped Connor and turned for the door.

“Stop!” Holly shouted at them. “Help me!”

But they kept going.

And the big werewolf laughed as his men grabbed Connor’s body and tossed him onto the nearest gurney.

“Helping you isn’t on the agenda for tonight,” the werewolf told her. “Those men…they know they need to get someplace safe and hunker down if they want to survive the night.”

She jumped back. Grabbed another scalpel. She held it in front of her. “Who are you?”

He tilted his head. “Isn’t it obvious?” He lifted his hands. “I’m the alpha, and I’m gonna be clawing you wide open.” His gaze drifted to Connor. “Just like I did to my sorry excuse for a son.”

Son. She’d already known that. Her fingers clenched around her weapon.

“The monsters are breaking out tonight, and I’m leading them to freedom.”

His men laughed behind him. They were blocking the door. Locking her in.

“I just needed an excuse to be brought here. Attack the new werewolf, get him so injured he had to be brought to the infirmary…and, of course, the guards were only too eager to do my bidding.”

“You attacked your own son?”

“Not like it’s the first time.” Anger tightened his face. “Fool thinks he has what it takes to be alpha. Only Con never had the killer instinct.”

“Y-you do.”

He leapt toward her. Shoved aside the table she’d stupidly hoped would be some kind of protection. “Yeah, I do.” His gaze fell to the scalpel. “Where you gonna shove that one?”

“I was thinking in your heart.”

He smiled. “Let’s see how that works for you.”

She would have to be fast. Because she knew he was planning to sink his claws into her this time. If he took her head, then—

The infirmary doors swung open.

“I told you to stay the f**k out!” The big werewolf bellowed as he swung around.

Only this time, the guards were different. Not the quick-to-obey men before. Men who’d been working with the werewolves.

These guys looked shocked to see the werewolves in the infirmary, and they immediately drew their weapons.

Immediately wasn’t fast enough. The wolves close to them attacked. Holly screamed as the humans went down, fighting desperately.

And the man that they’d been transporting, the man on the gurney that lay so still, he was dropped to floor in the middle of the attack.

Duncan. So bloody, so—

Duncan leapt off the floor. He sliced into the two werewolf flunkies, sending them flying away from the humans before they could go in for the kill.

The humans were bloody, unconscious, but still breathing.

Duncan rushed toward the other werewolf. Then, just a step away from him, Duncan froze.

Holly’s heart was thundering in her chest. Duncan’s eyes had widened as horror washed over his face.

“Well, well…” The werewolf was smug. Shocked, but smug. “Knew I’d find you again someday, son.”

“You…” Duncan’s voice was hoarse.

“Ian,” the werewolf said. “Name’s Ian, and I’ve been looking for you a very long time.”

She was just standing there. Screw that. Holly ran toward Connor. The breath hissed from between her teeth when she saw the damage that had been done to him. He needed to transform in order to heal from those injuries, but he’d lost so much blood that she feared he was too weak for the shift.

“He’s already dead,” Ian said, without looking at her. “Boy was always useless. Always f**king crying.” He crept toward Duncan. “For you. He thought you’d come and save him.”

“Y-you killed my family.” Duncan sounded lost, almost like a child.

Holly started trying to apply pressure to Connor’s wounds. If she could stop the blood flow…

Connor’s eyes opened. His hand flew out and wrapped around her wrist.

“I am your family!” Ian roared this. “That bitch of a useless mother tried to take you from me. I found you, and I made sure she never betrayed me again!”

“Her blood…” Duncan’s voice was a whisper. “I was in her blood. It ran under the closet door.”

Ian swore. “I knew I smelled you in that house, but the cops were coming. I had to hurry, and then they hid you.”

Connor stared up at Holly. There was so much rage, no, hate, in his stare.

Then Connor’s gaze cut to Ian and Duncan.

“And here you are…at the perfect moment.” Ian’s voice rose. “You can help me. We can take over this prison, bust out, just like I planned, and then we’ll make the humans all f**king sorry.”

“How’d you plan it?” Duncan asked, and his voice held no emotion.

Connor was nearly breaking her wrist. Been there, done that once already. She’d prefer not to have the bones snap again.

“I got connections…thought gettin’ tossed in here was the end for me. I didn’t realize it was just the beginning.”

“No.” Duncan shook his head. “It is the end. For you.” His shoulders pushed back. There was so much blood on him, but he didn’t seem to be weak in any way. “I remember you.”

“Do you?” Ian’s claws were at his sides.

“I remember hearing my mother scream. She was begging for you to stop.”

Ian laughed. She hated his laugh.

“I remember the sound of my brother’s voice, asking me to help him.”

Ian was still laughing.

“I was too afraid to move then. Too afraid to speak. My mother had told me to stay quiet. No matter what happened…stay quiet.”

Connor was lifting Holly’s hand toward his mouth. His claws sliced her skin, but she bit her lip, refusing to cry out. She knew what he wanted.

What Duncan wanted.

She was trying to help them both.

“I’m not going to be quiet any longer.” Duncan smiled at Ian, and the sight was chilling.

Her blood dripped into Connor’s mouth.

“The first time I saw Connor, I knew he looked familiar. But it was your face that I was really starting to remember.” Then Duncan jumped forward. His claws wrapped around Ian’s throat. “You took my life away.”

Ian didn’t look scared. Didn’t act scared either. He drove his claws into Duncan’s throat.

Holly screamed and jerked away from Connor.

But Duncan didn’t so much as flinch from the attack. “I’m not some little whelp that you can kick around any longer.” His fangs were lengthening. “I’m the alpha now, and you’re just the killer that needs to be stopped.”

A low hiss filled the air then. And Ian’s chilling laughter sounded once more. “You think I’m alone in this?”

The gas drifting from the vents was just like the backup security system that Pate had installed at the containment center in Seattle. Was this where he’d gotten the idea? Or had he taken steps to have his system also installed here?

She covered her mouth, but the gas didn’t seem to be doing anything to her. It wasn’t even stinging her throat.

Connor was motionless on the gurney.

“The gas is the first wave. Only it’s not taking out the paranormals. It’s gonna knock out all the humans. Then it won’t matter who has the controls to the f**king collars. It won’t matter who has the silver bullets. The guards who aren’t already paid off will fall, because the others—the ones working with me—they’ll be the ones in gas masks running for the doors.”

Holly’s gaze flew around the room. There were no controls to the collars in there. There were more surgical instruments though, against that back wall. She could rush over there and get more silver to help Duncan.

“Who set this up?” Duncan gritted.

But Ian wasn’t looking at him any longer. Ian’s bright blue gaze had come to rest on Holly. “What did you make him?”

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