The Wolf Within Page 6

Personally, the idea of having all of the most dangerous paranormals in one small place…um, yeah, that idea terrified Holly. But no one had listened to her when she went before the small committee in D.C. and told them it was a very bad idea.

She was just the MD who’d been brought into the Seattle Para Unit because of her connection to Pate. The suits wanted her reports, not her take on Armageddon.

“You aren’t getting out,” Duncan said to Saul, shaking his head.

Saul’s jaw hardened. “You think you’re so different from me?”

The dead guards had been taken away, but the scent of blood lingered in the air. Holly swallowed a few times as her head began to throb. She realized that she’d lost more blood from her attack than she’d initially realized.

Too much blood. Her kind had a tendency to bleed too freely when injured.

“They’ll have you in a cage soon!” Saul threw at Duncan.

Holly barely controlled a wince at the guy’s shriek because the truth was that actually, they’d already put him in a cage.

But Duncan had somehow gotten out, and he’d rushed in to help her.

“Don’t you get it?” Saul’s lengthening teeth snapped together. “It’s us against them. You’re not human anymore. You’re better.” He spat toward Pate.

Uh, oh. The guy shouldn’t try to piss off Pate.

Pate held out his hand to Holly.

She knew he wanted the remote. She also knew this part wasn’t going to be pretty. “Pate…”

His hand waited. No expression crossed his face.

“Tell us where the alpha is,” Pate said softly as he kept his gaze on Saul, “or you’re going to find yourself in a great deal of pain soon.”

Sometimes, it was hard for her to remember Pate the way he’d been…before. Before he’d learned about the paranormals out in the world. Before he’d become so single-minded and focused on the Para Unit’s mission. Pate was determined to take the killers off the streets—the paranormal killers.

She wondered, secretly because she could never tell him, just how far would Pate be willing to go in order to stop the monsters that he hunted? Just what would he do?

Risk his own men? Set them up so that they could be exposed, could be transformed?

Would he risk his own sister?

Saul’s hands rose to the collar that circled around his throat. “Gonna punch it up? Gonna make me scream?”

“Yes,” Pate said with a nod. “I will. If it means I can keep my men alive, I’ll do anything.” His gaze cut to Holly. “The remote.” Impatience crackled in the word.

Locking her jaw, she gave it to him, but her stare met Saul’s. “There’s no need for this. Just tell us where to find the other alpha. Tell us.” So you don’t burn.

His nostrils flared. “All that sweet smelling blood…do you taste like dessert? I bet you do-”

Duncan shoved his hand through the bars again, but this time, Saul leapt back. “I’m dead if I tell you! So use the remote.” He pointed at Pate. “Blast me with the silver. I don’t care! If I talk, I die.”

It was obvious to Holly that he feared the alpha out in the city far more than he feared any pain they could give to him.

Pate glanced down at the remote. Then Pate looked back up at her. “Go outside, Holly. Maybe I was wrong about all of the guards outside. If any of them survived, they’ll need you.”

Right. Right. She should have thought—

She turned away, rushing for the door.

“Good-bye, Holly.” Duncan’s voice. Rumbling.

She risked a quick glance back over shoulder. His gaze was on hers. And he looked so…sad.

“I’ll be back,” she whispered.

His lips twisted into what could have been a smile. But wasn’t. Too rough. Too hard.

Then she was running out of that containment area. Hurrying for her office, and she knew that Pate had just wanted to get rid of her. He hadn’t wanted her to hear what was coming. She could have argued, could have stayed, but if some of the guards were still alive, she had to help them.

And she had to leave Duncan behind.


Pate took Duncan into his office. Duncan had been in Pate’s office before, plenty of times, but this was the only time that he’d ever felt like he was a suspect.

Pate locked the door behind him. “We don’t have a lot of options here.”

What was with the “we” business? The last time Duncan had checked, Pate was still human.

He was the one sprouting fur and running on all fours.

“The moon rises in a few days. If your wolf is taking over, it’ll happen then.”

A few days wasn’t exactly much of a countdown. Duncan turned his head, and his gaze raked suspiciously over the guy who’d been his boss since he’d joined the unit. “Did you know?”

Pate’s blond brows rose. “Know that we’d get attacked this morning? That my men would be slaughtered? Hell, no, I didn’t—”

“Did you know that I could change into a werewolf?” Because when he’d joined the team, Holly had been one of the first people he’d seen. She’d drawn his blood and performed a slate of tests on him. Procedure, or at least that was what Pate had told him.

But now he wasn’t so sure if it had just been pure procedure. Had Pate been screening the recruits? Checking to see if any of them had DNA that would make them susceptible to a werewolf’s bite? Had he looked to see who could possibly change? “Did you know?” Duncan gritted again because the tight knot in his stomach wasn’t easing up.

“I knew.” Quiet.

Duncan’s eyes narrowed. He hadn’t expected Pate to confess to the truth so easily. Duncan crossed his arms over his bare chest and waited to hear the rest.

Only Pate didn’t speak.

Jaw locking, Duncan asked, “Did you want me to become a werewolf?” That wasn’t the question he wanted to ask. He wanted to know…Did you set me up to become a monster?

He was starting to think his boss just might be cold-blooded enough to have done so.

“I wanted you to be an agent on my team. I wanted you to do your job and take out the monsters that were preying on humans.” Pate stalked toward him. “Every member of my team goes through testing because we have to be prepared for any eventuality. If there’s a chance that a team member will turn, I have to be ready for that situation.”

“You didn’t tell me. No one bothered to share any test results with me. Don’t you think I had a right to know?”

“And if you had known?” Pate threw right back as he squared off against Duncan. “Would you have turned down the job? Not gone out and hunted because you were afraid of the risk? Dammit, man, you’d already had run-ins with werewolves just working as a Seattle detective. You could have been bitten at any time. It wasn’t the unit’s fault that you changed.”

It wasn’t mine.

Those were the words that Pate didn’t say, but they still seemed to hand in the air.

“And if I go f**king crazy?” Duncan wanted to know, because, yeah, that was a real possibility. One that no one could sugarcoat for him. Some newly transformed wolves couldn’t handle the beast within them and they went mad. “When that moon rises and my beast takes over, what then?” The full moon would be the most dangerous time. The telling time. If the beast was going to be too strong for the man in him to control, then madness could take him then.

But Pate was shaking his head. “I’ve already got it figured out for you.”

Right. He just bet the boss did.

“You just need an anchor,” Pate said. “Something to hold you in check.”

Duncan laughed. “Let me guess…Holly’s got a little drug for that?” He knew that she and Pate had been the ones to design the silver collars, an invention that the Powers-That-Be in the FBI loved. Pate did the gadgetry, and Holly did the science. Together, they were supposed to be unbeatable.

Good for them.

“Holly may have something for you, yes,” Pate said softly as a furrow appeared between his brows.

The faintest flicker of hope lit within Duncan. “Don’t bullshit me.” If there was a chance that he wouldn’t go crazy, that he wouldn’t turn on the humans…

Then I don’t have to die. Because he’d been ready to meet death if it meant he’d spare innocent lives.

Pate’s stare was clear. “If I’d thought there was no hope for you, I would have let Elias put his gun to your head.”

Fair enough. The hope kept growing.

“Like I said, Holly may be able to help you. She’s a woman with surprising resources.” Duncan’s gray eyes narrowed at that. He wasn’t the only agent there who’d wondered about the rather…close…relationship between Pate and Holly. What was going on with those two?

Were they involved?

They’d better not be.

“But before we get to the moonrise,” Pate continued, seemingly oblivious to Duncan’s glare, “we have to deal with the other alpha. I don’t think he’s just going to let you live peacefully until then.”

Highly doubtful, and Duncan didn’t want more human guards getting caught in the battle. Unfortunately, Saul and the other wolves in containment weren’t talking. They were too afraid of the alpha. They feared him more than they feared death by silver.

Duncan exhaled slowly and glanced down at his hands. The claws were gone, for the moment. He hated that they seemed to spring out on their own. As soon as he got angry—bam, there they were.

Pate said, “Our intel indicates that he moved into town about eight months ago.”

“Then the murders kicked up,” Duncan muttered. The wolves had begun to kill, not caring if they drew attention from the humans.

“We know the guy is in his mid-thirties. He blew into town, seemingly with no past, and the guy likes to stay hidden.”

When you had a pack eager to obey you, it was easy enough to hide behind them.

Pate’s eyes narrowed. “I think it’s past time we find the bastard’s hiding place. We’ve got the perfect bait back in that containment area. Bait that can lead you right to the alpha. We can take him out, and, without him to follow, the wolves in this city will splinter.”

Duncan rocked forward onto the balls of his feet. “Bait?”

“Saul.” Pate shook his head. “I don’t want to let him go—”

“You said you wouldn’t—”

“But if we track the guy, keep him monitored twenty-four, seven, we can follow him back to the alpha.”

Duncan’s heart started to pound faster. “And what will you do if he gets away from your monitoring, huh? He’s a werewolf, it’s not exactly easy to track his kind.”

“It is if another werewolf is doing the hunting.”

They stared at each other.

“You want me to follow Saul.”

Pate nodded. “Not only that, I want you to be the one to get him out of his cage.”

What the hell? “Did you hit your head in the attack? Take a shot? Something?” Because this plan was shit.

Pate’s smile was cold. “In that containment room, I made myself his enemy.”

“I was the one choking the bastard.” Because of the way Saul had looked at Holly. As if the werewolf could already taste her. No one else gets near her.

The wolf inside was still pissed. Or maybe the man was. Right then, it was hard to tell the difference between them.

“I told Saul that I wouldn’t make a deal with him.” Pate walked around behind his desk and sat in the leather chair. He flattened his hands on the desk’s scarred surface. “And I won’t make a deal, but you will. One wolf to another.”

He didn’t like where this was going. “You’re just gonna let me open his cage?”

“Um…” A small nod. “And you need to do it now, while the other agents are all distracted by the recent attack. It will look more real that way. It has to look real to Saul. The guy needs to believe that you’re working with him. If he believes you, if he trusts you…then the guy might even wind up siding with you and helping you to take out the alpha.”

There seemed to be a whole lot of ifs involved in the equation, but they didn’t exactly seem to have a whole lot of options. Either they could wait for the alpha to attack again or Duncan could launch his own attack first.

“Get his trust,” Pate said. “Use him. Take out the alpha.”

Easier said than done.

“Don’t worry about human casualties. The collar that Saul wears will transmit his location to us every minute. He won’t get free.”

Pate was way too confident. “It’s not the getting free part that worries me. It’s the whole slicing the throats of humans part.” Like Saul had already done, six times before. He’d gone after the homeless deliberately because the guy had a taste for the helpless and weak.

“Your job is to make sure he doesn’t hurt anyone, Agent McGuire. Consider yourself the guy’s federal guard, if that makes you feel better.”

Was the guy crazy? “I’m the one we need to watch! I need a guard!” He lifted his hands. With his increased heart beat and the tension that was eating away at him, sure enough, the claws were pushing out again. “Screw Saul. He’s got years of control—”

“No, he obviously doesn’t, or he wouldn’t be killing.”

“I could be the one to go bad. I could start killing.”

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