The Wolf Within Page 5

He could smell blood, fresh blood.

Her blood.

“Holly!” He roared her name, and the cell bar snapped in his hand. One bar. Another. Another. Then he was breaking out of that cell, ripping away anything in his path. His muscles were stretching, aching, as he ran toward that scent.

But then…something happened to him. The fire that he’d felt in his body ignited into an inferno. Duncan fell to the floor, convulsing. Fur burst along his skin. His bones snapped. His muscles contorted.

He couldn’t speak, not any longer. He could only growl and howl as the transformation swept over him. Brutal, excruciating, but lasting only for a matter of seconds. Then he was on his feet. All four of them. Running toward the blood because the scent was even stronger now.

He wasn’t a man.

He was the beast.

And he was…hungry.

Chapter Three

The big, gray wolf had slashed Holly’s arm. Her blood dripped on the floor as she edged back away from him. She had managed to retrieve a gun from one of the fallen guards—a gun he’d never had the chance to use—and she lifted the weapon now. The bullets would be silver. They’d better be. And she was about to fire a bullet right into that werewolf’s head.

The door flew open behind the gray wolf and another wolf—this one even bigger, but with thick black fur and some damn huge teeth—came flying into the room.

Her gun swung toward the new threat because…yes, that wolf was focusing on her. Coming right toward her. Her hand tightened on the gun.

I know those eyes.

The black wolf had bright blue eyes. Blue eyes that were streaked with gold. Duncan’s gaze.

She lowered her gun.

The gray wolf leapt at her.

She jumped back, barely avoiding another swipe from those powerful claws.

A howl of fury seemed to shake the room. Duncan’s howl.

Then the black wolf slammed his body into the other beast. The gray wolf went down and Duncan—she turned away just as his teeth sank into the gray wolf’s neck.

“Alpha…” The stark whisper came from Saul.

Her head jerked toward him. He was still clinging to the bars. Smiling, ignoring the shriek of the alarm and the smoke that drifted up from his clinging fingertips. “We can…smell him…others will want to fight…to see if they can take down…an alpha…”

“No one’s taking him down,” Holly snapped, but then she glanced back at Duncan.

The other wolves were up and circling Duncan now. Going in to attack while he was fighting the gray wolf. They thought they’d gang up on Duncan?

Not on her watch.

“Get away from him!” She yelled and fired her gun. One bullet hit a white wolf in the flank. The wolf yelped.

She aimed again.

The doors burst open. Armed agents spilled into the room. About freaking time.

The wolves turned on this new threat. With their fangs bared, they lunged toward the agents. The agents began to fire at them.

To fire at Duncan? They wouldn’t realize that Duncan was in wolf form. They’d think he was an attacker. They’d kill him, too.

“No!” Holly ran to Duncan and wrapped her arms around him. “Don’t shoot! He’s one of ours.”

“Is he?” Came Saul’s mocking voice.

She held Duncan tighter. His fur was soft against her skin and his sharp teeth were way too close to her neck. But she didn’t back away from him. He needed her.

Howls and growls and the thunder of gunfire shook the room. When Duncan’s body tensed, as if he’d spring to join the fight, her arms just held him tighter. “Don’t,” she whispered. “You’ll just get shot, and I won’t let you die like this.” Shot down as a beast. That wasn’t the end that waited for Duncan.

Then the gunfire stopped. The growls died away. She lifted her head and searched the area with a quick gaze.

Saul was laughing. “They’ll…keep coming…”

Pate ran toward her. “Holly? Holly, are you all right?”

She nodded, but she didn’t let go of Duncan.

“They’ll keep coming…for him…already one alpha in this town,” Saul said, voice deepening. “Already one.”

What? Like one werewolf was going to dominate everything? The werewolves in this city needed to realize there was room for two alphas. Because Duncan wasn’t dying.

Pate reached for her arm. Duncan lunged at him, snapping with his fangs.

“Easy.” Pate put his hands up. He could have just shot Duncan, so she appreciated the guy’s restraint. One blond brow rose as Pate darted a glance at Holly. “I’m guessing that’s our guy in there?”

Somewhere in the beast, yes, but she just didn’t know how much of the man remained then. Her fingers slid around his neck. The collar was designed to automatically contract or expand to match a werewolf’s transformation. A rather clever bit of technology that Pate was particularly proud of—since he’d designed it himself.

“Can you control him?” Pate asked.

She didn’t want to use her remote to increase the silver levels hitting him. It just didn’t seem right to hurt him when he’d come racing to her rescue. Holly wasn’t exactly sure how he’d managed that escape from his cell, but she was grateful to him. So, instead of using the remote, her fingers stroked his fur. “Duncan?”

His head turned. His eyes—wild, shining so brightly—met hers.

“Can you shift back?” Holly whispered. “The agents are here. I’m safe now. Can you—can you shift?”

“You’re not safe!” Saul yelled. He was getting on her nerves. The alarm had stopped shrieking, and he had gotten stronger. “That wolf…he’s your biggest threat. You think I’m bad?” He laughed. “Wait until you see what an alpha can do to you.”

At that, the black wolf pulled away from Holly. Rushed toward Saul’s cage.

And growled.

Saul growled back.

Then Saul’s eyelids flickered and he…lowered his head? Holly sucked in a gasp of surprise as Saul dropped to his knees in front of Duncan.

Wolf dynamics. They were scaring the crap out of her.

She glanced around the room once more. Saw the bodies. The dead werewolves were shifting back to human form. One woman. Four men.

Pate eased closer to Holly as the other agents went to check on the guards. Checking would do no good. They were dead. “You’re bleeding.” Pate’s voice was tight. He didn’t touch her. Probably because he was afraid of Duncan’s reaction. She was a little afraid of it, too. “Did you get bitten?”

Holly shook her head. “It’s just a scratch.” From some very big claws. Her head turned. She met his gaze. “They attacked just after dawn.” If they’d come sooner, she would have been able to fight back more.

He nodded, immediately understanding what she couldn’t say with so many others close by.

“How did they get in?” Holly whispered. The facility should have been secure. “The guards outside—”

“Are dead.” Flat, but emotion blazed in his eyes. “Slaughtered. These wolves came here because…fuck, I think they tracked him.” The him in question…well, Pate was staring at Duncan.

Duncan’s head turned toward them. She knew he’d heard what Pate had just said. With his enhanced werewolf hearing, the guy could probably hear a pin dropping to the floor.

But why would the werewolves come for Duncan? Why—

Saul was still smiling.

Her eyes narrowed on him. She marched toward him, aware of throbbing in her arm from the werewolf attack. “Tell us what’s happening here,” she demanded. Because the guards inside were dead. The ones outside were dead. And the whole mess was nothing more than a bloodbath.

Saul kept grinning. She felt like giving the jerk something to grin about. If it wasn’t dawn…

And then…Duncan let out a low howl. He tossed his head back and started to shift. The sound of the transformation was horrible. Muscles seemed to rip and tear. Bones broke. Snapped back together. His body contorted, and she had to lock down every muscle in her body so that she wouldn’t run to him and try to help.

Because there was no help that she could give, and if she got too close during the shift, Holly knew he might attack her. Wolves lost control of their bodies during the shift. Their arms flew out, their legs kicked. She didn’t want to chance another swipe from a werewolf’s claws.

Then he was on the floor. Naked. Sprawled face-down. The muscles of his broad back were so strong, but trembling, and his ass—


Great ass, and it was a very bad time for her to be noticing it.

Duncan pushed up to his feet. Pate tossed him a pair of sweats that he’d just pulled from a nearby storage locker. Duncan caught them, yanked them on, and had to put a hand on the cell’s bar to steady himself.

When his fingers began to smoke, he lifted that hand away.

She couldn’t stay back any longer. Holly took a step toward him.

But Duncan shook his head. “Don’t.”

The one, clipped word felt like a slap in the face.

Then Duncan moved in a lightning-fast lunge. His hand shot through the side of the cage, sliding right between the bars. His fingers wrapped around Saul’s neck, and he jerked the guy forward. Saul’s head slammed into the bars. Smoke rose.

“She wants to know…” Duncan said, voice so rough and deep, “what the hell is happening here. Why did those wolves attack?”

Saul couldn’t speak, mostly because Duncan seemed to be choking him. Saul’s face had turned a dark shade of purple.

“Uh, you need to ease that grip,” Pate muttered as he came closer to Duncan. “You know the dead can’t talk.”

That wasn’t entirely true. Sometimes they can.

Holly fisted her hands and refused to reach out again to Duncan. He’d already shot her down once in front of Pate and the others.

Duncan’s grip on the werewolf eased. Saul sucked in a deep breath. Another.

Then he started talking. “They can…smell you.”

A faint furrow appeared between Duncan’s brows.

“Alpha scent,” Holly whispered, understanding.

Pate gave a barely perceptible nod.

“When you changed, they knew…” Saul’s breath wheezed out. He still wasn’t free of Duncan’s grip, but at least he was getting oxygen now. “But a human doesn’t just get to be…top dog…you have to…fight for it…”

“I don’t want to be the damn top dog,” Duncan snapped, “I don’t want—”

“Not about what you want. About what the…beast inside wants.” Saul’s gaze darted to Holly. “He’s gonna…take what he wants.”

The words seemed like a threat.

Saul’s gaze returned to Duncan. “You’ll have to fight…prove your worth. Then you can lead the pack.”

“Screw that.” Duncan released him and moved back a few feet. “I’m not interested in the pack. I don’t want—”

“Then you’re dead.” Saul straightened his shoulders, seemed to gather his strength. “You fight and win, you lead…or you die.” Saul tilted his head as he studied Duncan. “This town can’t take two alphas.”

“Who’s the other alpha?” Holly demanded. They were still learning about werewolf dynamics, but if the dead werewolves had been sent to attack Duncan, then it sure stood to reason that the other alpha had been the one to send them out on the hunt.

But Saul just smirked at her. “Don’t worry, you’ll be finding out, sweets, soon enough.”

Yes, those words were definitely a threat.

“And you’ll be getting sliced open,” Duncan said as he lifted his claws. “Soon damn enough if you don’t tell me where the other alpha is.”

“I can help you,” Saul said as he paled. He held up his hands, palms out. The gesture probably would have looked more innocent if he hadn’t been sporting two inch long claws on his fingertips.

“Yeah, you can,” Duncan agreed. The sweats hung low on his hips. “Tell me where to find the alpha. Tell me who the bastard is.”

Saul licked his lips. “Get me out of here. Give me my freedom. Then we’ll talk.”

Pate laughed, drawing Saul’s attention. “Are you kidding me? You carved up humans! Six of them. I’m pretty sure you even ate one of the poor bastards. You aren’t getting out of here. You’re going to Purgatory, and you’re not getting out.”


The name of the only prison for paranormals that existed. Until recently, the only way to stop a paranormal had been to kill him. Or her. But now…even though most humans didn’t even know about the existence of the paranormal creatures, Uncle Sam wanted them treated more humanely.

So Purgatory had been created. Modeled after Alcatraz, the prison was supposed to be inescapable. Located on a tiny island off the coast of Washington, the walls had been made out of a special metal formulated by the government. An unbreakable metal with silver components.

Inside, all of the cells were secured with silver bars. The guards used weapons that contained either wooden bullets—when they were in the vampire wards—or silver bullets—when they were guarding the werewolves.

Purgatory had been in operation for over a year, and, so far, the prison seemed to be doing its job—keeping the most dangerous of the paranormals locked up and away from humans.

The only prison of its kind in the world. Purgatory would succeed or…it would fail, horribly.

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