The Wolf Within Page 18

The heavy door opened with a hiss.

“Follow the blood scent!” Holly ordered as she stepped into the room. “Go!”

Before he could speak, another growl sounded.

Holly looked across the room.

In the back corner, she saw the glow of silver. The collar. And it should never be glowing so brightly like that. That heavy glow meant the collar was burning at full intensity. A kill level. She fumbled, trying to input the necessary code into the collar’s remote. She typed in the override code that she’d created to disconnect the collar. To free Duncan.

Only…only the remote wasn’t working. She typed the code again and again, but—nothing.

The only reason that code wouldn’t work? Someone had reset the system.

Someone was trying to kill Duncan. Trying to kill all of the werewolves in the facility.


Her gaze lifted from the glowing silver around Duncan’s neck, and she saw that his eyes—his eyes were glowing, too. Glowing with the power of his beast.

“Hol…ly…” More a growl than her name.

She licked lips gone too dry. Her fangs had started to burn in her mouth. Probably due to the fear that wanted to rise in her.

I won’t fear him.

Shane came up behind her. “What the hell is happening with his collar?”

“I think someone got in the system. The wolves are all howling because they’re hurting. The collars are set on full intensity.” She could feel Shane behind her. “If we don’t get the intensity lowered soon, they’ll die.”

“Turn his off!”

Duncan’s growls were worse. His eyes glowing even brighter.

“I can’t,” she said as hurried toward Duncan. “I can’t!”

Shane grabbed her and pulled her back.

Duncan stopped growling. Stopped howling.

His eyes stared right at her and Shane.

“I don’t…” Her words came in a weak whisper. “I don’t think you should be touching me.” Because in that darkness, she could see the full fury of Duncan’s stare.

“And I’m not letting him touch you,” Shane said as his grip tightened around her. “I told Pate I’d keep you safe. I damn well will. That collar isn’t gonna let him attack me—”

A snap came from the back corner. Like a bone breaking or—or a collar breaking. Being ripped apart. Because the collar wasn’t glowing around Duncan’s neck anymore. Two glowing chunks of silver were on the floor now.

“Ah, damn,” Shane muttered. “This is gonna hurt.”

Duncan’s glowing eyes were locked on him. Then Duncan was coming for Shane. Rushing forward. There was a thud as their bodies hit. They slammed into the floor. The scent of blood rose from the men, and Holly didn’t know which man was hurt.

The werewolf?

The vampire?

Her own fangs were out, and she wasn’t just going to stand there while they battled in front of her. These guys, they were the good guys, weren’t they?


At least, Duncan was. She’d figure Shane out later.

So Holly yelled, “Stop!”

For an instant, they did.

Then they went right back to fighting. So she reached down and wrapped her arms around a body—a body with broad shoulders and a scent that had started to haunt her.

Duncan turned at once, and his arms curled around her, holding her tight. She could feel the rage vibrating in his body, but his hold on her was controlled, so careful.

“You shouldn’t…be here…” Duncan gritted.

“This is exactly where I need to be.”

“The moon…”

“It’s not all the way up yet.” Not yet. But close. They were running out of time. “So instead of you and Shane trying to beat the crap out of each other, let’s go find out who’s trying to kill the werewolves.”

His eyes widened. “The wolves?” Then his head jerked up, as if he’d just heard their cries.

“They’re howling. They’re hurting.” Her nails bit into his arms. “You’re an alpha. An alpha takes care of the others.” Your brother is out there.

He shuddered, then rasped, “Help…them…”

That’s what they had to do.

“Uh, you sure about this?” Shane muttered. “His collar is gone.”

And the moon was rising. Yes, she got it. But they didn’t have any options.

“Take us to the wolves,” Holly said.

Duncan’s fingers laced with hers. He ran from the room, pulling her with him. Shane rushed behind them.

Holly inhaled. There was more blood. So much more. Coming from all around them. Her fangs were out, fully extended, and her body was held on a razor’s edge of tension.

“Pate…” Her whisper. Duncan was heading after his brother, and she was worried about her own.

“The man knows how to take care of himself,” Shane said from behind her.

Pate was strong, resourceful, but he was still just a man. In a building full of howling werewolves and at least two vampires.

“We’ll find him,” Shane told her, “just follow your werewolf first, okay? I don’t think he can hold it together much longer.”

Duncan’s hold had tightened around her fingers. He was pretty much dragging her behind him. She rushed to keep up. As they headed through the darkness, the howls began to die away. One. A second. A third.

At first, those howls had chilled her, but for them to just stop…are the wolves dead?

Then Duncan was snarling and breaking away from her. He ran forward into the darkness. “Duncan!” She yelled after him and blindly raced straight ahead.

Metal shrieked. Bent.

Shane swore.

Then—then there was a faint glint of light. A hum broke the air and the generator finally switched on.

The backup lights were fainter as the power ran low, but Holly was so happy to be able to see again that she wasn’t about to complain. Her legs pumped faster as she ran.

The door to Containment Area Five had been busted down, courtesy of Duncan. He was inside that room now. She could hear his snarls and also hear—


That voice—Elias?

She hurried into the room. Saw that Connor was still in his cell, but he was on the floor, lying facedown. He didn’t even seem to be breathing.

Duncan was on the other side of the area, and he had knocked Elias off his feet. As she stared in horror, Holly saw Duncan’s hands—his claws—go for Elias’s throat.

“Stop!” Elias yelled. “Dammit, Duncan, it’s me! Don’t!”

But those claws were inches away from the agent’s throat. Holly leapt across the room and tried to wrench him away from Elias. “Don’t attack him!”

Too late. His claws slashed across Elias’s neck even as Holly and Shane yanked Duncan back.

The scent of the blood flooded through Holly’s nostrils.

“Kill…” Duncan growled and he fought against her and Shane. Duncan slung Shane across the room, and the vampire rammed into the side of Connor’s cell.

Then Duncan’s hands wrapped around Holly’s shoulders. Her eyes widened as she stared up at him. His gaze glowed so brightly that the sight of it stole her breath.

“Duncan?” Holly whispered. “That’s Elias you’re attacking. He’s on our side.” Elias wasn’t armed. Didn’t have any weapon at all that she could see.

He wasn’t trying to fight back. He just huddled on the floor, with his hand over his throat. His eyes were on Duncan, and, there was no mistaking the horror in his gaze.

“Kill…” Duncan snarled again, and he tried to toss her aside.

She wasn’t in the mood to be tossed. So she stared right back into his too-bright eyes. Stared as hard as she could and said, “Stop.” She was using her vampire control, the power that she’d never wanted to exert over him, but she couldn’t let him kill another agent. This wasn’t Duncan.

This was the beast.

The glow of his eyes burned even brighter as he stiffened. But he didn’t move. Didn’t try to rush toward Elias.

“Wh-what’s happening?” Elias demanded.

The claws hadn’t sliced him too deeply or he wouldn’t be speaking then. Good. They were lucky. If she and Shane hadn’t both been pulling Duncan back, he could have slashed the agent’s throat wide open.

“Someone took over the controls on the collars.” Someone got into our computer system. Disabled the power, generator, and monitors. And that someone tried to kill the wolves.

Duncan’s hands were still wrapped around her wrists. She could feel the edge of his claws. “Is your control back?” Holly asked him carefully.

He just stared at her. Glared at her.

“I’ll take that as a no.” Crap. An alarm started to sound then, a high-pitched wail. But the wolves didn’t start howling again.

Connor wasn’t moving at all, but above the scent of Elias’s blood, Holly could smell the acrid odor of…burned flesh.

“Stay here,” Holly whispered to Duncan, pushing with her compulsion, then she eased away from him. Shane was at her side instantly, shadowing her.

She pointed toward Elias. “Can you help him?” Without taking a bite?

His lips tightened. “Newborn,” he whispered for her ears alone, “I know how to stay in control.”

She hoped so.

Holly made short work of opening Connor’s cell. She glanced over at Duncan. He watched her with his wild gaze, but he didn’t move.

Couldn’t move?

The power of compulsion was a dangerous thing. It would be so easy to misuse. She knew plenty of vampires had misused their power to torture and kill, that was why many of them were housed in Purgatory.

“Wh-why isn’t Duncan attacking?” Elias asked. Holly glanced over and saw him pushing to his feet.

“Because she’s not letting him,” Shane said without looking away from Duncan. Ah, he knew exactly where the threat was. Like her, he must wonder just how long that control would last over Duncan.

She crept into the cell.

“That’s a bad idea,” Shane called out. “Don’t get too close to the beast!”

“I’m a doctor.” Holly took another tentative step forward. “I can’t just let someone die in front of me.” She knew that with every passing second, the moon was rising higher in the sky. When the moon reached its zenith, that was when the wolf would be at his strongest.

Connor didn’t move as she eased toward him. The silver had definitely burned him. She could see the faint tendrils of smoke still rising from the collar. Unlike Duncan, Connor hadn’t been strong enough to break the collar.

“Who did this?” Holly whispered. Then, louder, “Shane, you need to check the other wolves!”

“Th-that’s why I came in…” Elias said, voice breaking. “I heard his…howls…”

She could hear no sounds at all coming from Connor. He didn’t seem to be breathing. Holly’s fingers slipped toward the silver collar, toward his neck—

And, in an instant, he was on his feet. On his feet, with one arm locked around her and with his claws at her throat. “You should have stayed back.” His body trembled against hers, but his hold was incredibly strong.

She tried to yank away from him, but his claws cut over her skin. The wet warmth of her blood trickled down her neck.

“I thought the FBI wasn’t supposed…to be…in for torture…” The arm around her waist tightened. “Guess it doesn’t count…when it’s just against…the animals?”

She tried to press back against him, attempting to move her neck away from his claws. “I didn’t do this! I’m here to help you!”

“Bullshit.” He turned her body, positioning them so that they stared through the cell’s bars—and right at a silent Duncan. “You wanted him to be top dog in this town, so you were getting rid of the competition.”

She tried to shake her head. When she felt the slice of claws on her skin, Holly froze. “I don’t—don’t care about who is alpha…”

His head bent toward hers. “You should,” he whispered. “Because only the alpha will be able to save you.”

“Let…her…go…” Duncan’s order. Growled. Barely human.

“Come make me,” Connor taunted.

Duncan didn’t move.

Because she’d told him to stay back? Her stupid compulsion?

Now Connor was the one to growl. “Vampire. I know what you did.” She felt the angry rumble behind her. “You think he’s your…dog…on a leash?”

She shook her head. No, she hadn’t thought that. She’d just been trying to stop Duncan from killing Elias.

Connor spun her around. Yanked her up on her toes. Glared down at her. And that was when she realized that his collar wasn’t glowing anymore. Not at all. Deactivated. There was nothing to hold him back now.

“You don’t control us,” he snapped at her. “We destroy you.” Then he lifted his hand, and she knew he was going to cut open her throat. Maybe even take her head.

That would sure teach her to play good Samaritan.

Since she wasn’t in the mood to lose her head. Holly slammed into him with all of her might. She kicked and punched with her vampire strength. He stumbled back, just a few steps, and she used that opportunity to race for the entrance to his cell.

“Duncan!” Holly yelled. “Help me!”

And he was there. Bellowing his fury. Pulling her against

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