The Wolf Within Page 25

She wouldn’t, couldn’t, speak.

“I tried to get a vampire to convert me once, but the bitch wouldn’t do it.”

Good for her.

“So I cut off her head.”

Not so good.

“If you cut off her head, Connor, I’ll take you back.”


Then she felt the hand on her shoulder. Connor, not so still anymore. Standing right behind her. She could feel the press of his claws on her skin.

“Kill her,” Ian ordered, “and you can walk out of here with me. All will be forgiven. We can start fresh.” His gaze darted to Duncan. “My two sons. We’ll f**king rule this new world.”

“The new world?” Duncan repeated. “You mean the world where you start attacking the humans.”

“We’ve lived in the shadows long enough!”

“No, you’ve just lived long enough.”

Connor wasn’t attacking her. Whatever he’d done, she didn’t believe he was like his father.

Neither was Duncan.

She broke away from Connor. Grabbed for the scalpel on the back table. I can’t let his father’s death be on him.

Some sins shouldn’t be carried.

Duncan yelled her name, but she didn’t stop. Her fingers were tight on the scalpel, and she moved as fast as she could. What good was being a vamp if you never used your power? So she amped up her power and moved faster than she’d ever moved before.

It seemed like everyone around her was moving in slow motion. Connor was lunging for his father with bared fangs.

Duncan was reaching for her.

Ian was smiling.


And lifting a weapon she’d never seen. A wooden stake that had been tucked in his prison overalls.

So even as she stabbed down with her knife—slicing over the bastard’s throat—he shoved that stake into her heart.

“Told me…be ready.” Blood spurted down the front of Ian’s throat. She hadn’t cut the bastard deep enough. “Vamps…coming…”

And the slow motion ended for her. She sank to her knees and stared at the stake hanging from her chest.

She felt the cold whisper of death on her skin. The same whisper she’d felt in that alley, a year ago. Goosebumps rose on her even as a strange numbness filled her extremities.

Duncan was shouting for her, and she wanted to answer him, but she couldn’t.

The gas kept filling the room. The stake—it had sank into her heart.

She knew it had found the mark because her heart had stopped beating.

I’m sorry, Duncan.

She’d just wanted to protect him, but now, it looked like she’d just left him to face his nightmare without her.

I’m sorry. Her lips formed the words, and then she could say no more.

Ian’s claws came toward her, and she knew he planned to take her head.

Chapter Thirteen

I’m sorry.

He couldn’t hear the words, but he could read them on her lips and they ripped right through him. Duncan shoved his father aside—his father, his f**king father—and grabbed for Holly.

Her eyes were sagging closed. Blood pulsed from her wound. No, this couldn’t be happening. Not to her. He’d left her in the infirmary so that she’d be safe.

Not so that she could be staked while trying to fight his past.

“Vampires. For all their strengths, they can still be so damn weak.” Disgust had thickened Ian’s voice.

You have no weaknesses. Pate had promised him that, but the guy had been wrong.

He had a weakness. She was bleeding out in his arms.

A dull roar filled his ears. His hand was on her throat, trying to feel for a pulse, but nothing was there. “Holly?” He shook her.

Her eyes weren’t opening.

“You won’t leave me!” He whispered the desperate words to her.

She hadn’t let him slip away, and there was no way that he’d let her—

Claws pressed into his back. Sank into his spine. Twisted. The agony burned through him, but he didn’t let Holly go. He couldn’t.

“Worthless piece of shit,” Ian snarled into his ear. “You think I didn’t smell you all over her? I knew…” His claws yanked out of Duncan. Drove in again. “I knew you were linked to the bitch. Mated to a vamp.”

Mate. Yes, she was his mate. She was everything.

“I just had to get to her…” Now the claws were at his throat. “In order to make you weak. Just like he said…”

The claws were about to slice across his jugular. His father’s claws.

Stay in the closet, baby. No matter what happens…stay in and stay quiet. In his mind, Duncan saw warm golden eyes, swimming with tears, staring down at him. Mommy loves you.


Holly wasn’t moving.

“Who. Said.” The snapped words didn’t even seem to have come from him.

Ian still had his mouth near Duncan’s ear. “You thought you were stopping us, didn’t you? But when you started hunting the paranormals, he got smart to you. He’s in your precious FBI, and he’s not gonna let his own kind be caged.”

“Tell me who the f**k he is.”

“He’s a werewolf, an alpha, just like me. We’re gonna rule. Gonna make the humans scream. Putting us all together was a mistake. Now we’re just stronger. We’re—”

“Get the hell away from him!” Connor’s scream. The enraged roar of a man, but for a moment, Duncan could have sworn that he heard…

Help me…help me, Duncan! The cry of a child.

Ian was yanked away from him. His father and Connor met in a fury of fists and claws.

Duncan’s fingers wrapped around the stake in Holly’s chest. The stake wouldn’t kill her. Well, she wouldn’t stay dead, not unless she lost her head or her body was burned. As soon as the stake came out, she’d heal.

He ripped that damn stake from her. Smashed it into bits.

Her eyes flew open as she sucked in a deep breath.

His Holly. His world.

He bent his head. Pressed his lips to hers. “I love you.” Because she needed to know that. “Now, please, stay here. Whatever happens, don’t move.”

Stay quiet.

Because he didn’t want her in the line of fire.

Duncan looked up. Ian had Connor pinned against the far wall, and the older werewolf was going for Connor’s throat.

Gathering all his strength, Duncan lunged across the room. Before Ian could slice open Connor’s throat, Duncan caught his hand. “That’s my brother,” Duncan said as his body vibrated with fury. “And you aren’t hurting him anymore.”

Connor’s gaze flew to Duncan. There was disbelief and wild hope fighting in his stare.

His stare…golden just like their mother’s had been.

I remember him now. From the moment that he’d seen Connor in that basement, the memories had started to push through the shadows in his mind. My brother.

Ian whirled to attack Duncan. His father had yanked the silver scalpel out of his chest and he drove that scalpel right toward Duncan’s heart.

And the bastard was smiling as he did it. “Let’s see you save someone now, hero.” The scalpel sank into his flesh.

Duncan glanced down at the weapon. “Isn’t it supposed to burn?”

Ian’s face paled.

Connor had fallen to the floor, but he was trying to stand once more.

“I think it’s supposed to burn.” Duncan’s fingers wrapped around the hilt of the knife. “Or at least it would, if I were just a werewolf. But I’m not.”

And silver didn’t hurt vampires.

All of the strengths. None of the weaknesses. Pate hadn’t been bullshitting after all.

So he pulled out that knife. Saw his blood dripping from the blade. “You destroyed my life that night.”

“She took you away from me! My flesh! My blood—”

The blood kept dripping from the scalpel. “It is your blood.” Duncan glared at him. “But I’m not you.”

Ian attacked with fangs bared and claws out. Kill or be killed. The way of the wolf.

Duncan wasn’t in the mood to die.

So he twisted his hand and pushed the scalpel into Ian’s heart, and this time, it did burn. Ian screamed. He clawed at his chest, but Duncan just drove the weapon in deeper. Smoke rose from Ian’s chest.

When Duncan finally stepped back, Ian hit the floor. His features were frozen in a final mask of horror. Shock.


“I’m not you,” Duncan said again. His mother had protected him from this monster. Given her life to keep him safe.

Duncan’s gaze rose to Connor. The other wolf was shuddering, but he was back on his feet. His wounds seemed to be closing.

Was he going to have to fight another battle? Duncan had just killed his father, he didn’t want to kill his brother, too.


“I wish I could have saved you,” Duncan said, when Connor’s voice just trailed away. “I wish you’d been in that damn closet with me.”

Connor looked away. “You don’t…remember it all, do you?”


“I-I was supposed to go in, but I was afraid of the dark.” His voice was hushed. “Mom told me that you would keep me safe inside, that we had to be quiet, but I was afraid.” He swallowed, and the small click was painful to hear. “So I ran out, screaming. That’s how he found us. He heard my scream. He killed her when she was reaching for me, and he took me away.”


“I’m sorry,” Duncan said. Sorry for the life that Connor must have lived. For all the pain and suffering he’d endured.

“So am I.” Connor stared at him. The lines on his face seemed so deep. “I wish I’d stayed with you in the dark.”


His head turned at Holly’s call. She stood there, blood on her, but alive.

He ran to her and pulled her close. She was trembling against him, and he knew her body was weak. Because she’d been f**king staked. “Drink from me,” he ordered as he forced her mouth to his neck.

He’d never forget seeing her so still.

His hands tightened around him as her teeth sank into his throat. The pleasure of her bite rocked through him. Holly. His Holly.



Her tongue whispered over his skin as she fed lightly from him. “Take more,” he said.

Take everything.

The gas was still leaking from overhead. The humans would be down. They’d need help. They’d need—

The infirmary doors burst open. Duncan spun to face the new threat, shielding Holly with his body.

But the new threat was just Pate. With…Shane standing behind him. Pate had a gun in each hand. So did Shane.

Pate’s gaze raked the room, then landed on him. That stare hardened a bit when he saw just how tightly Duncan was holding Holly.

“Thought you might need a hand,” Pate said.

“He’s alpha…” These soft words came from Connor. “He doesn’t need anyone.”

Yes, he did. He needed Holly.

Shane approached Ian’s body.

“He’s the one who was working the escape from inside the prison,” Duncan said, voice flat. “He was also my father.”

Shane hissed out a breath. “And who put the silver in his heart?”

Holly’s fingers stroked over Duncan’s chest, as if she were trying to soothe him.

“I did,” Duncan told him.

Shane nodded. “It’s a bitch when the worst monsters are the ones who made us.” He turned away from the body. “Know how you feel. I had to take my father’s head in 1396.”


“Did he tell you who was helping him on the outside?” Pate demanded. He hadn’t put his weapons up yet.

“Uh, you think we can work on turning off the gas?” Holly asked, and Duncan loved the slight snap in her words. “If Ian was telling the truth, it’s knocking out all of the humans.”

Pate finally put up his guns so that he could yank out a radio from his coat pocket. A few seconds later, he started talking to someone. Brent?

“Turn it off,” Pate ordered. “Now.”

The gas shut off. An alarm sounded.

Pate lowered the radio. “We’re on lockdown,” Pate said. “You, Shane, and I need to secure the prison and make sure no one gets off this island.”

“Just the three of us?” Duncan nodded. “Right. Piece of f**king cake.”

“I can help,” Holly said.

And he knew she could. Holly was strong. She was fierce.

But she was also more than just a killer, and they needed her skills. “The wounded are gonna come in. You’ll have to take care of them.” Because there was no telling how injured some of the guards—and prisoners—would be.

Her gaze slid to Connor. “I’ll start with him,” she murmured.

His Holly. A healer, not a killer.

Holly flashed her fangs. “But if you need me, you yell, and I’ll have your back.”

Or maybe, maybe she was both.

Duncan pressed a kiss to her lips. He loved her little fangs. Hell, he loved everything about her.

“I love you,” he said the words against her lips and felt the surprise that rippled through her.

Holly shook her head.

He caught her chin. Forced her to look straight into his eyes. “I love you.”

Maybe he’d been falling for her from the very first day—when she jabbed a needle in his arm and took his blood.

His Holly…always after his blood.

But he’d known for sure how he felt about her when he saw Holly lying so still on the infirmary floor. When her heart had stopped, his had, too.

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies