The Wolf Within Page 3

We are so screwed. She’d been right earlier. “Duncan! Let him go!” Holly screamed. He hadn’t hurt her, but it certainly looked like he was ready to introduce Shane to a whole world of pain.

Wolves were territorial. Especially the alphas. Duncan had been coming on to her—marking her in the way of shifters, she knew that—and then another male had come into the room.

So screwed.

Shane was struggling to get out his gun. His fingers were shaking, but, on the third try, he managed to yank the weapon from the holster. Then Shane tried to lift the gun to Duncan’s chest.

“No!” Now her scream was full of fear. She raced toward them.

But, with his left hand, Duncan just snatched away the gun and tossed it across the room. “Stay away…” Duncan snarled as he lifted Shane higher, “from her.”

Holly grabbed the collar. Unlocked it. Duncan was so tall, about six foot four, and she was only five foot seven, so this was gonna be tricky. She jumped up, trying to latch on around his back.

He spun at once, slamming Shane to the floor and catching her in his arms. He lifted her, bringing her closer even as he frowned down at her.


“Sorry,” Holly whispered, and she locked the collar around his throat. The silver immediately began to burn him, sending faint plumes of smoke into the air as the skin on his neck reddened and blistered.

He dropped her, and her ass hit the tile with an impact that would leave one hell of a bruise. But she jumped to her feet and rushed toward the counter. Duncan was yelling and snarling and trying to yank the silver collar away from his neck.

“Stop!” Holly shouted at him as her fingers curled around the collar’s remote. “You’re just making it hurt worse!” That was the way the collar had been designed. The more you struggled, the more you’d burn.

She typed in a code for that collar, then adjusted the setting, knocking down the intensity. “Give me just a second, and I’ll help you.”

His head whipped toward her. His fingers were still at the collar, shaking. Burning.

“I can make the pain stop,” she whispered, “but you have to show me that you have control.”

He was coming toward her. Stalking her. Seemingly uncaring now of the burns on his throat.


He kept coming toward her. Holly was afraid that “control” might not be part of his vocabulary anymore.

Chapter Two

Footsteps thundered behind him. “Freeze, McGuire!”

Freeze. The order was so familiar. So was the voice shouting it. Pate.

But Duncan didn’t freeze. He kept stalking toward Holly. She was the only thing that mattered to him.

Holly with her high cheekbones, those deep, dark brown eyes, her golden skin, and the dark silk of her hair.

Why hadn’t he ever noticed how sweet she smelled? Her scent was pulling him in, drawing him closer and closer.

He’d followed that scent on her neck. Tasted her skin with his tongue.

She tasted as sweet as she smelled.

He’d taken her lips. Enjoyed her mouth. Her lips were red from his kiss now, and all he could think was…

I want to taste all of her.

The beast was growling, eager to claim his prey.

“Don’t take another step, McGuire!” That annoying voice shouted again. “Or I’ll shoot!”

The swinging doors burst open behind Pate.

Duncan didn’t have to take another step. Holly was the one who rushed toward him. She hurried to stand between him…and the group of agents who’d just rushed into the med unit.

The armed agents.

Duncan’s gaze swept over them. When he’d first awoken, he’d known only lust. For Holly. He’d seen her. Smelled her. Wanted.

Then Shane had come in, and all he’d been able to think was…Stay away. A haze of red had covered his vision. Mine. An instinctive, primal response.

But the silver collar was doing its job. It was keeping the wolf in check. Holding back the beast.

For now. The sinister whisper seemed to come from within him.

His gaze swept over the agents. Pate’s face was tense. He’d clenched his jaw, and the guy’s green gaze glittered.

Elias, the poor bastard, looked miserable. He was pale, with a stricken stare.

Shane had picked himself off the floor and was rolling his right shoulder. Huh. Did I dislocate it? Maybe. Things had been a little hazy at that point.

Three other agents were behind them—Daphne, Brent, and Luke. All of their weapons were aimed at Duncan and, now, at Holly.

The weapons were pointed at Holly.

He lifted his hands. Saw the long, deadly black claws that had sprung from his fingertips.

“Everyone needs to calm down,” Holly said, but her own voice was shaking and high. “He’s collared. He’s under control.”

Collared. He barely felt the burn of the silver on his neck anymore. Or the burn in his fingers. He just felt—

Strong. Like he could rip apart anyone who got in his way.

Maybe he would.

“He doesn’t seem controlled to me,” Shane muttered, rolling that shoulder once more. “The guy nearly choked the life out of me!”

There were red imprints on Shane’s neck.

From my hands.

Duncan took a step back. Stared harder at his claws. He hadn’t wanted this. Hadn’t ever wanted it.

He looked up—and right into Elias’s gaze.

“I’m sorry,” his partner whispered the words, but Duncan heard him perfectly.

Because his senses were enhanced.

He wasn’t human anymore.

He grabbed Holly’s arm and spun her toward him. “What the f**k is happening?”

Her eyes widened.

The others started to spring forward.

“Stop!” Holly yelled, and she threw out one arm, palm out, to halt them in their tracks. “He’s not attacking me. Duncan is in control.” Then, softer, just for his ears, she said, “Please, tell me that you’re in control.”

Her scent…His head bent toward her. He wanted to bite. Badly. But he managed, “I’m in…control.” Lie.

“Good.” Her breath rushed out. “Pate, get your agents to lower their guns! Duncan is contained. There’s no need for any more violence.”

“He choked me—” Shane snapped.

“But he didn’t kill you,” Holly threw back without taking her gaze off Duncan’s. “You’re lucky. He’d just woken up, his beast was in control.”

“And what?” Shane demanded, his faint drawl thickening a bit. “His beast wanted to f**k? ‘Cause it sure looked like he was about to eat you alive.”

Her cheeks flushed a dark red. Duncan’s head whipped up, and his eyes locked on the other agent.

Shane immediately stumbled back. “Wow, big guy. Easy. Let’s not go for my throat again, okay?”

The thought was tempting.

“McGuire?” Pate called. “Are you in control or is that wolf about to launch out?”

Gritting his teeth Duncan said, “I’m…here.” A monster. Fucking claws and fangs and a fire burning beneath my skin.

“Good,” Pate said as he holstered his gun. His gaze swept over Duncan. Then Holly. “But are you gonna stay in control?”

That was hard to say. Duncan didn’t know if he’d even given that one fifty-fifty odds.

“Get your men out of here,” Holly said, voice stronger now, as she darted a glance at Pate. “I need to finish my exam on Duncan.”

“It’s not safe,” Shane immediately fired. “That guy can go beast any minute!”

“Not with the silver on him,” Holly said, shaking her head. Her hair slipped back over her shoulders. “Just at this facility, we’ve used the collars on over three dozen werewolf prisoners at various times, and they all stayed in human form with them on.” She looked back up at Duncan. “As long as the collar is on, they can’t shift fully. The collar will keep him in check.”

Did the others hear the faint hitch in her words? A dead giveaway for a lie.

But, no, Pate was nodding his head. Motioning for the others to file out. With slumped shoulders, Elias was the first agent out the door. The others followed suit, with Shane casting a few suspicious glances over his shoulder as he left.

Then only Pate was there. His gaze studied Duncan like he was some kind of damn experiment. Oh, yeah, I am.

“Finish the exam, then…” Pate’s jaw clenched. “I’m sorry, McGuire, but you’ll have to stay in a cell for tonight. Just until we’re absolutely sure about you. We can’t—”

Can’t turn me loose on the humans.

Right. He knew what happened when a wild werewolf attacked.

He stared down at his claws. The damn things wouldn’t retract.

“Holly?” Pate called, and he motioned for her to come closer. Slowly, Holly left Duncan’s side. He noticed that she kept the collar’s remote in her hand. Probably in case he went wild, and she needed to zap him with a high dose of silver.

Pate bent his head near hers. His fingers slid over her shoulder.

Duncan growled.

Pate’s head immediately lifted, and he frowned at Duncan.

“Don’t touch her,” Duncan ordered, voice lethal. The wolf was suddenly right there, beneath his skin. He could smell Holly, and now…now Pate’s thick scent was mingling with hers.

Away. Away from her. Now.

Pate backed up a step. “I was afraid that would happen.” He shook his head. “It’s the reason I wanted you away from the other wolves, Holly. I told you that it was a good idea for your assistant to take the blood samples from them.” Pate tapped his nose. “He’s reacting to what you are.”

What she was?

Holly darted a quick glance at Duncan. “I can help him. You know I can. Just…give me time.”

Since she was looking at Duncan, Holly missed the calculating gaze that Pate gave her.

Duncan didn’t miss it, and he wondered what game the guy was playing.

“Don’t be afraid to amp up that silver,” Pate advised her. Then he was gazing at Duncan once more. “I know you’re angry.”

Duncan laughed. A bitter, twisted sound. “I knew…the risks coming in…” Talking seemed hard. As if it were some foreign activity, and his voice was rougher and deeper than it had been before. “But I told you…always…I’d never wanted to be like this…”

“Most would have died from your injuries, McGuire. And you know that only about one percent of the population can even become werewolves.”

One percent. The deadliest one percent. Men and women with DNA that had designed them to be perfect killers. Men and women who were skilled at hunting, at dealing death.

I was too good at my job.

“Not everyone can track wolves the way you did, moving almost as damn fast as them,” Pate continued.

Duncan shoved his claws behind his back.

“Now we need to see just what you’ll become—”

Duncan laughed at that. “I’ll become a monster, you know it. I know it.” He inclined his head toward Holly. “She knows it. The collar will hold me for now, but what the hell happens when the full moon rises and I turn?” Because all werewolves shifted into the form of the beast when the moon rose. During the rise of the full moon, a werewolf was at his strongest, most dangerous point. “You just gonna keep me locked up forever? Because that’s what you’d have to do. If you let me out, I’ll kill.”

“One step at a time,” Pate said, voice flat. “The moon won’t rise for a few days.”

That wasn’t exactly a whole lot of time.

“A lot can happen between now and then.”

Yeah, things changed fast all right. Just yesterday, he’d been a human with a hard-on for the sexy little doc who stood just a few feet away. Now, he was a werewolf.

And he still wanted her.

Pate cut his gaze toward Holly. “Give me your report as soon as you’re done examining him.”


Then Pate was gone. The fool actually left Holly alone with him.

Holly stared after Pate a moment, then she headed toward those swinging doors that led out of the med unit. She punched in a series of numbers on the keypad near the left door.

A bolt slid into place, locking her and Duncan in the room. Locking the others out.

“You sure that’s…wise?” Duncan muttered. “You just locked yourself in—”

“With a big, bad werewolf?” Holly finished and turned toward him. Surprisingly, there was no fear in her eyes. “Don’t worry, I can handle you.”

Because she still had her little fingers curved around the remote. “And what if the silver stops working?” That tiny little remote didn’t seem so all powerful to him.

Her gaze went to his neck. “Then I’ll come up with a Plan B. I’m pretty good at coming up with backup plans.”

He wanted to smile. If his life hadn’t gone straight to hell, he probably would have. “You’re too smart for this. You know that you need to get away from me.”

The woman who’d spent so long blushing and avoiding his gaze now tilted her head back and stared him straight in the eyes. Then she began to walk toward him with slow, but sure steps. “Why? Because you might decide to take a bite out of me again?”

He’d be honest. “Because I don’t have a whole lot of control right now, and, doc, in case you missed the little show earlier, I want to f**k you.”

The blunt words made her hesitate, just for a moment. She rallied pretty quickly though. “I…um…didn’t miss it, no.” Holly motioned to the table behind him. He’d glanced back at the straps he’d shredded. Duncan didn’t really recall ripping them apart. “Can you get back on the table? I need to finish my exam.”

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