The Wolf Within Page 19

him, holding her tight. Shane was right behind him, with fangs bared.

“Mine,” Duncan gritted as he pushed her behind him. “You don’t hurt…mine.”

A little late for that part. Her throbbing neck told her that, yes, she’d most definitely been hurt.

But then bones began to snap. Duncan was shifting. Connor was shifting. Their bones popped and bent. Reshaped. Fur exploded along their bodies.

“We need to get out of here,” Shane said. “Now.” Then he was hauling her out of striking distance. Once she was clear of the cell, Shame slammed the door closed. The wolves were locked inside.

And they were wolves now. Fully transformed. Fully beasts. Completely pissed off as they faced each other.

Brothers shouldn’t battle like this. “No,” Holly whispered. “We need to get Duncan out of there.”

Shane caught her hands. “His wolf needs to prove he’s alpha, or you’re a dead woman.”

“I’m a vampire, I’m already dead.” Wasn’t that the way the story went? But Duncan wasn’t dead. “He needs—”

The wolves were attacking each other. Claws were flashing, snarls filled the air, and the scent of blood deepened.

Duncan was about to kill his own brother, and even if Connor was a psychotic a**hole, she couldn’t let Duncan carry this weight on his shoulders. She leapt forward and yanked open the cell door.

Shane shoved it closed again in an instant.

She shoved him. “Okay, you’re older than me, stronger, but you will not stop me from helping Duncan! He needs me!” She pointed toward the door. “You’re an agent—where are all the humans? Why are the wolves so quiet? Go help them.” Her chin lifted. “And leave Duncan to me.”

A muscle flexed in his jaw. But he knew something was wrong in the facility, just as she did.

“Are you going to let them all die?” Holly pushed.

The answer was on his face. No, he wasn’t. “Don’t get yourself killed,” he ordered, then he ran from the room.

“I can’t make that promise,” she whispered.

Elias scrambled out after Shane.

And she opened the cell door and prepared to walk between two werewolves.


Leaving a woman on her own with two snarling werewolves wasn’t exactly the way Shane would normally operate.

But the situation wasn’t normal.

Pate should have come to find them by now. The guy hadn’t showed, and there was only one reason why Pate wouldn’t be searching for his little sister.

Because he’s dead.

Shane inhaled deeply. He caught the scent of blood and ran faster.

Or close to dead.

He’d heard a gunshot before. Two blasts. The wolves in that place would be fighting with fangs and claws, but any humans there—like Pate—would be using guns.

Shane whirled around a corner. He’d headed back toward Holly’s lab. He took another turn and—

Saw Pate’s body slumped in the hallway. A thick pool of blood was around him. Hell, no.

He sank to his knees beside Pate. The director’s breath rasped out, weak, and Pate groaned when Shane touched him.

Too much blood.

Humans weren’t equipped to survive this kind of attack.

It was a good thing that Pate wasn’t exactly human. Shane bit his wrist and forced his blood into Pate’s mouth. Pate’s eyelids flickered, but he took the blood. The guy knew better than to fight in a situation like this.

He’d give him a little more blood, get Pate to tell him what the hell had happened and—

He heard the faint rustle of a footstep behind him. “I knew you weren’t human.”


He lunged up and whirled to face the threat.

But a wooden bullet sank into his chest.

Chapter Ten

“Stop fighting!” Holly yelled.

And Holly’s blood…the scent was around him. Driving him insane. The bastard before him had dared to use his claws against her skin. He’d cut her. Would have killed her.

Duncan swiped his claws over the back of the other wolf.

A wolf that was big, muscled, with dark black fur. A wolf that looked just like his own altered form, except for his eyes.

Connor leapt back.

Duncan’s muscles tightened as he prepared to lunge for the wolf again.

Only Holly jumped between them. “Stop!” Fury hardened her voice. “Don’t you realize that someone is hunting us all? Connor, you weren’t the only one attacked tonight. Duncan was, too.”

Attacked. Locked in the dark. Locked in a prison too like the one that haunted his past.

And then the silver had started to burn him.

The silver collar still circled Connor’s neck, but the silver didn’t glow. Connor paced near the back of the cell, never taking his eyes off Duncan.

Duncan stalked forward. His body bumped into Holly. Move back.

He didn’t want her to watch this battle. She already saw him as enough of an animal, but he couldn’t let the threat to her continue.

Then he heard the crack of thunder. No, not thunder, a shot. He saw the jerk of Connor’s head and knew that his brother had heard the sound, too.

I came in here to save him. He’d heard Connor’s cries, and his instinct had been to protect. But then Connor had turned on Holly. On him.

As he always would. Holly had been right. Connor was psychotic.

Am I?

“Someone else is hunting,” Holly said. Her fingers sank into the fur on Duncan’s back. “Please, we have to go help the others. We can’t stay here.” Her breath rushed out. “And I can’t let you kill your own brother.”

Why not? His brother had made it clear that Duncan was on his hit list.

“Duncan? Are you in there?” Then she dropped to her knees. Brought herself too close to his fangs. That scent—her blood—had him snarling. “Control your wolf. Help me.”

He couldn’t pull back. There was no changing into a man now. The beast was in power, and Duncan didn’t even know how to go back from this point.

But…but he could still help her. Carefully, he put his body between hers and Connor’s. Then he edged back with her, making sure that he protected her with every step as they headed for the cell door.

One step.


Connor wasn’t following. He was just watching them, with his head cocked to the side.

He told me that I would lose her. That I would lose everything.

Duncan wasn’t in the mood to lose.

He pushed Holly back through the cell door. Then he followed her. Connor stood inside the cell.

“Come on,” Holly said. “We have to find Pate.”

Duncan turned away from the cell as Holly locked the door, caging Connor once again. Then he ran with her toward the exit. For every step that she took, he was by her side.

Connor howled after him. The call was a challenge.

Duncan ignored him. Even the wolf that he was knew some things were more important than fighting.

Holly. She was what mattered.

So he ran with her. He followed the scents that flooded his nose. She’d gone with him to find his brother—a battle that will come again—and now it was time for him to find Pate.

It didn’t take long to find the other man. They went back toward the lab, running quickly, and when Holly saw Pate’s prone body sprawled on the floor, a wild cry broke from her.

Then she was diving down beside him. Both Pate and Shane were on that floor. They weren’t moving, and there was so much blood around them. Too much.

A trap.

A trap that Shane had been caught in as he rushed to Pate’s aid.

Duncan spun around, his strong senses picking up the other presence in that hallway. Then he saw the gun. Aimed at Holly.

He rushed at the attacker. A bullet plowed into his body when he jumped into the air, but there was no burn so he knew that the bullet wasn’t made of silver. Your mistake. The wound didn’t slow him down. The shooter fired again, and that bullet missed Duncan entirely.

His claws sank into the shooter’s shoulders, and he took the bastard down, just as he’d taken the man down when he’d found him near Connor’s cell.

Elias hit the floor with a thud. “I’m doing…what you wanted…helping you!”

No, the bastard was killing.

His claws drove deeper into Elias’s shoulders.

“It’s too late,” Elias said. Then the alarm finally stopped. Silence. Perfect. Deep.

He could hear Holly’s desperate breaths—and the faint hitch that signaled her pain.

Her pain?

His head whipped around. Holly had sagged against the wall. The second bullet. Shit. It had slammed into her.

Her eyes were closed. She slumped to the floor.

A slow hiss slipped from the ceiling. A new scent filled the air. Acrid. Thick.

“Pate had a backup security system in place. Did you know that? Gas…to knock out the paranormals, in case they ever overpowered the humans.” The gas was pumping down now. Choking Duncan. He wrenched away from Elias.

“It’ll…” Elias heaved out a hard breath. “Knock us…all out…when you wake up…they’ll be dead…”

The f**k, no. He rushed toward Holly.

“All…dead…” Elias whispered behind him, his own voice slurring. “Then you’ll…be next.”

No, he wouldn’t be. His gaze was locked on Holly. Not moving. If the bullet was wooden, then she wouldn’t move until he dug it out of her heart—if it had hit her heart.

“Maybe…you’ll…be now…” Elias rasped.

Duncan spun back to face him. Saw that Elias had that gun of his up again.

No more.

The beast took over totally then. He launched at Elias.

Ripped. Bit. Clawed.

And Elias was dead before his head slammed back into the floor.



Holly tried to open her eyes. She was being pulled—dragged?—by someone, and there was a tight pressure on her shoulder.

Not just pressure. Pain. Like knives were digging into her. She tried to lift her arm and fight her attacker, but she just touched heavy fur.

And she smelled an animal.

Fear had adrenaline pulsing through her. She screamed and sank her fingers into the fur.

A wolf growled at her.

Then she saw his eyes. Those glowing eyes that only belonged to Duncan. The knifes in her shoulder had been his teeth. He’d been dragging her.

They were…outside now. She sucked in fresh air and wondered why her throat burned. Beside her, his body heaved.

She tried to sit up, but couldn’t. She was so damn weak that her body just slumped sideways.

She saw the flash of lights in the distance. Cars, rushing toward them. What in the hell was happening?

“Duncan?” She tried to reach for him again, but he backed away from her. “Duncan, change back.”

The wolf stared at her.

Her heart beat faster, and she became aware of her other wounds then, especially the bullet wound. Elias had shot her.

And Pate.

And Shane.

But at least Elias had been a crappy shot. If his bullet had gone into her heart—and it had been a wooden bullet—her body would have instantly shut down.

All the better for him to come and take her head.

Her heartbeat shook her chest. “What happened to them? Why are we outside?” Her brother had been so still. She’d tried to help him, but Elias had shot her. Then the air had started to smell funny.


Duncan was still backing away from her. Still staying in animal form.

Goosebumps rose on her arms. She could hear the sound of footsteps now. Pounding toward them. Who was coming? What was happening? She looked straight up and saw that the moon was almost to the zenith point. Oh, no. Oh, hell, no, that wasn’t good.

“Get away from the woman!” A hard voice shouted.

Her gaze jerked to the left. She recognized the faces of a few of the guards who’d just run toward them. Where had the guards been when all hell broke loose inside the facility? And were these guys on their side…or had they been working with Elias?

Duncan growled at them.

“Werewolf,” she heard one of the men say. Wait, that was Brent, one of the newer agents in the unit. She’d patched him up after a particularly bloody mission a few weeks ago. “Dr. Young, don’t move!” He shouted. “We’ll take him out!” Brent lifted his gun.

He was going to fire at Duncan. “No!” She stumbled toward Duncan and wrapped her arms around the wolf. Duncan’s muscles were hard beneath her hands.

“Get away from him!” Brent shouted. “I got the call at home from Elias…I know he’s gone rogue. He’s killing—and we won’t let him kill you!”

Is that what Elias had done? Set Duncan up for murder? Why?

“It’s not like that,” Holly yelled, refusing to budge. Duncan’s throat was vibrating with a growl. With rage. That moon was so close to the zenith. “Just lower your weapons, and I can explain!” There were half a dozen men there and…

“They’re dead inside!” A man shouted, running toward them. His voice broke. “All of them…the other agents and guards are all dead. They’ve been ripped open!”

No. No, that wasn’t possible.

But I smelled the blood.

Brent stepped toward them. He still had his gun up. “Get away from him, doctor.”

“It’s Duncan!”

“Not right now, it isn’t. It’s a werewolf. One with blood on his claws and blood staining his fangs.”

Because their flashlights were centered on her and Duncan. She knew they both had to look like walking nightmares.

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