Most Wanted Page 17

A lassitude swept over him, and the world became soft and fuzzy around the edges. He seemed to be floating somewhere a few feet off the ground, tethered only by his hold on Blayde’s wrist. He heard Blayde’s voice coming from a distance.“Enough, sweetheart.You’ll drain me dry.” He inserted his finger inside his mouth, breaking the suction with a soft plop and pushing Ryan away.

Ryan sagged against his knees and was pulled up into his lap. He could feel the searing heat of Blayde’s thighs under his, but couldn’t rouse himself to do anything about it. He felt a soft kiss on his forehead.“Night, sweetheart,” Blayde said. He fluttered his eyelids, but couldn’t seem to open them. Gently drifting, he floated down to sleep.

* * * * Blayde walked onto the comm deck the next day and was immediately struck with the morose expressions on the faces of his brother and his cousins.“What the hell? What’s happened?

Lucas spoke up first, glancing up at Blayde nervously. “Blayde, I have to talk to you, and you’re not going to like what I have to say. I pulled some strings and got a look at Ryan’s sealed court files.”

Blayde’s face was thunderous.“You did what?”

“Calm down, No one knows aboutRyan’s being your mate. I told my contact on the court that we had concerns about putting an innocent man in prison. I told him Ryan had told us he wasn’t guilty, and I wanted to check out his story.”

“Damn it, Lucas, you had no right”

“I said, calm down, Blayde. I’m your brother and your alpha. You swore allegiance to me, remember? I have an obligation and yes, a right, I might add, to make sure you’re safe. We can’t just take Ryan’s word for it either. Since when do we believe a convicted murderer is innocent just because he says so?”

Blayde stood with a mutinous expression on his face.“Since I took him as my mate! What if he is guilty, Lucas? What the fuck can I do about it?I’ve already made it clear to you, I thought, that I won’t leave him. I won’t take him to that fucking prison.”

“I’m not asking you to, Blayde. I’m just asking you to listen to me for a minute.”

Kyle motioned him over to a chair.“Sit down, Blayde, please. Lucas has something he needs to tell you. We know how you feel about Ryan, and nobody is asking you to leave him, but you deserve to know the truth.”

“I can’t leave him, damn it, even if I wanted to, which Idon’t.Can’t you all get that through your thick heads?” Blayde kept the furious expression on his face, but he did cross over to sit beside Kyle.

Lucas leaned forward intently.“Blayde, you have to consider the idea that Ryan may have lied to us when he told us what happened.I know you don’t want to believe that…”

“No, and I don’t believe it. Ryan wouldn’t lie to me.”

Lucas glanced over at Kyle and Nikolai and then back at Blayde. “Blayde…we have proof that he did.”

“Bullshit!” Blayde jumped to his feet.“I’m not listening to any more of this!”

“Damn it,Blayde, sit down!” Lucas’ voice was firm and had a tone in it that demanded obedience. Blayde frowned at him but sat back down, still glaring at all three of his relatives.

“What kind of fucking proof do you have?”

“My contact sent us a vid file. It’s the same one used in the courtroom to get the guilty verdict in absentia on Ryan. It was enough to convince the court, and I have to tell you, it convinced me.”

“And JudgePartland couldn’t have doctored a vid file?C’mon, Lucas, you know better than that.”

“It wasn’t just that file, Blayde. Partland also produced eyewitnesses. Not just his own men, but some of the other actors Ryan used to work with. Two of them were in the hotel suite at the time of the murder.”

Blayde looked confused.“Ryan said only he and the boy who was murdered were there with the judge.”

“I know that’s what he said, but it wasn’t true. Partland provided corroborating testimony from the boys themselves, the hotel staff, even video files from hotel security. Ryan was lying to us, Blayde.I’m sorry, but it just didn’t happen the way he said it did. I’m afraid Ryan may have murdered that other boy.”

Blayde was silent for a long moment, his only sign of distress a nerve twitching in his jaw. “Let me see the vid,” he said in a quiet voice.

Lucas nodded at Kyle, who picked up a small remote device and pressed a button. A small screen shimmered into the air in front of them. Kyle pressed another button and the screen lit up with a somewhat grainy, but still clear film clip. A young man, around twenty cycles of age, with dark hair and a small goatee knelt at the feet of a tall, handsome middle-aged man Blayde knew to be Judge Partland from the many times he’d seen him on his media screen. Both men were naked.The judge put his hand tenderly on the back of the boy’s head and said something to him. There was no sound, but the judge was smiling, and the boy smiled back up at him. Two other young men stood around them, as if waiting their turn.

Suddenly a man dressed in jeans and a white shirt came into the shot and pulled viciously at the shoulder of the kneeling young man. He threw him down on his back and then practically fell on top of him, straddling him. He glanced toward the camera, yelling something, and Blayde clearly recognized Ryan’s handsome features, twisted with rage. He turned back to the young man and put his hands around his neck, choking him. Though the other men standing beside him attempted to stop him, Ryan threw them off andthen smashed the young man’s head against the marble floor twice in succession. He jumped up and backed away as the judge stumbled forward , reaching for the young man, his face a mask of horror. Ryan backed slowly away out of the frame. The film ended with a chaotic scene of the judge trying to give the injured man mouth-tomouth resuscitation as people ran to the phone to call for help. Kyle switched it off and the four of them sat quietly, not looking at each other.

Nikolai put a hand on Blayde’s knee, but Blayde pushed him away impatiently and got to his feet. His face was set and grim as he started to walk toward the lifts.

“Where are you going?”

“To see Ryan!I’m going to find out why hetried to make a fool of me.”

Nikolai and Kyle both jumped up to grab his arms, and Lucas snapped at him.“No, Blayde! Don’t go to him like this. You’ll hurt him, and you’ll never forgive yourself.”

Blayde shrugged both his cousins off him and turned to shout at Lucas.“Don’t tell me what to do about my own mate! I would never hurt him! But I’m going to get the truth out of him. He’s going to learn never to lie to me again!”

Lucas stood up and faced him, his features stern.“When you mated with Ryan, he became a member of our pack and now he’s under my protection. I forbid you to deal with him while you’re so upset.”

Blayde turned away and threw himself back down into his seat, but he turned an angry face toward his brother.“You forbid it? Don’t try to get between me and Ryan, Lucas. I’m warning you!”

“Leave this until morning, Blayde. You’re exhausted and so is he, I’m sure. Try to get some sleep and in the morning, we’ll try to sort all this out.”

Reluctantly, Blayde nodded. It was true, he was exhausted.They’d worked late the night before getting the ship into outer space and finding the wormhole. He’d only had a few hours’ uneasy rest away from his mate. He moved slowly down the corridor to his quarters and fell onto the bed, not even bothering to get undressed. He was heartsick and uneasy, finally falling into a troubled sleep.

The next morning, he overslept a little. After a quick shower, he pulled on his clothes and hurried to the comm deck. The others were already there and Lucas handed him a hot cup of coffee.“Are you ready to speak to him?”

Blayde nodded. He’d done little else than think of him all night. He badly wanted to see him, to hear his voice.

Lucas turned to Nikolai and Kyle.“Go get Ryan and bring himhere.”

Blayde jumped back to his feet.“No! Don’t youtouch him!” Hair sprouted on the back of his neck and his fangs descended. He leaped toward his cousins, but Lucas was there before him, catching him around the shoulders and pushing him back halfway across the room.

“Stop it! They won’t hurt him or even touch him more than is absolutely necessary. You’re not thinking straight when it comes to him. Now sit down over there and let them bring him in here! You’re too emotional when it comes to Ryan, and youcan’t be trusted around him right now.”

Nikolai hesitated and then spoke up urgently to Lucas.“Why don’t we take him out now? This would be a perfect time, and no one will even know about Blayde’s connection to him. I know it’s a change in plans, but with this new turn of events, Blayde can’t be trusted not to tip our hand.Kyle and I can pretend to kill him right now and bring his body up here.”

“Don’t you dare harm him!” Blayde said in a voice that sounded like a growl, his face red and blotchy with anger.

Nikolai glanced over at him.“Give me some credit, Blayde. I would never harm your mate. We’ll bring him to you.”

Instead of sitting down, Blayde prowled restlessly around the room as Nikolai and Kyle left to get Ryan. After a few moments, he seemed to get himself under control. He turned back toward Lucas, who was watching him closely.“What the hell am I supposed to do about this, Lucas?I can’t take him to prison,I won’t.”

“No,” Lucas said, shaking his head.“The pack takes care of its own.He’ll be taken back to Lycanus 3 and then we can decide what to do with him. I think you already know he can’t be allowed to go free until we settle this.If he admits it, then we’ll deal with it. Intensive training, rehabilitation. Maybe psycho-therapy. Judge Partland testified he was on drugs when he murdered that boy, so his mind may have been clouded. The judge said Ryan and the boy were lovers, Blayde.”

Blayde shot him a fierce glare and turned his head away, waiting tensely for Ryan to be brought to him. Despite his fury at the idea his matehadn’t trusted him enough to tell him the truth, he still had a physical craving to be near him.

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