The Wolf Within Page 8

Had he hurt her? He wanted to lift his head, but was afraid she’d scream if he did.

Then he didn’t have to worry about lifting his head because he was flying through the air. She’d just tossed him against a tree.

Sent him flying a good five freaking feet. How in the hell had the little doc done that?

Instantly, he leapt to his feet. Holly was also on her feet, and she stared at him with wide, horrified eyes.

Saul’s footsteps were a quiet thud in the distance. The werewolf could sure move fast when he wanted to haul ass. He was running now, heading for safety.

A safety that Duncan suspected would take him to Seattle’s ruling alpha.

Holly had her hand over her mouth. “Your blood…”

He stiffened. “Don’t worry, you won’t change. I’d have to be the one to bite you for that to happen.”

She shook her head. Her eyes were so dark right then. Deep and dark, and he could stare into them forever.

Saul’s footsteps were even softer now.

Duncan shook his head. “Don’t follow me again.” He had Saul’s scent. Time to track the bastard back to the alpha’s hiding spot.

“No, Duncan! Stop!”

He shook his head. “Get away from me.” You’re safe when you’re away from me.

“I can help you!” Holly’s lips were red. Her teeth…sharp? “Let me help you.”

“Help yourself. Go back to Pate. Don’t come near me again.” He inhaled a deep breath. Caught more of her scent. His whole body tightened. “Because if I see you again, you won’t walk away from me.”

He didn’t know how to make that any plainer.

This was her last chance to be free.



She flinched when Pate grabbed her hand. She’d heard him coming. No missing the frantic pounding of his footsteps, but she hadn’t moved at his approach.

She could taste Duncan. “Stay away from me.” Her voice came out far too flat. Funny, she was giving Pate pretty much the same warning that Duncan had given to her.

No, it wasn’t funny. More like tragic. Her hands clenched into fists.

He instantly dropped his hold. “Look, it’s not what you think, okay?” His voice was a whisper. “I can explain, but not out here. Come back inside with me.”

She couldn’t look away from the trees. Duncan had run through those trees just a few moments before. “I missed my dose.”

Pate swore. “I saw the mess in your lab. There’s a backup dose, don’t worry. You’ll be—”

“Duncan kissed me. I-I bit his lip.” And she’d tasted his blood. Just one drop.

One drop shouldn’t matter.

It did.

Pate began to back away from her. “How much time do I have?”

She was barely holding onto her control. “Not long enough.” Her voice was soft now.

He started to run then. Not after Duncan or Saul. But he was running away…from her.

Because her own monster was about to come out.

She could feel her teeth burning and stretching in her mouth. If she’d just gotten the dose, everything would have been fine. But she’d had that one drop of blood.

Fresh blood.

From a live source.

One. Single. Drop.

It was the first taste that was supposed to be the most tempting. She’d been warned of this. At the first taste of blood from a live source, the bloodlust would overwhelm her. She’d attack anyone near.

At the first taste…

She’d tried to be so careful. Getting her doses. Only taking blood from bags. Not directly from a person, never that…because you could taste the emotions when you drank the blood from a live source.

That taste was addictive.

“I’m sorry,” Holly whispered to Pate. He’d tried to help her. He’d been the one to give her access to the bags, but she’d slipped up.

One drop.

Her control splintered.

She spun around and sprang at Pate. He hadn’t been able to make it to safety. He was too far from the facility. And he couldn’t run nearly fast enough to get away from her.

She bared her fangs at him. The frantic pounding of his heartbeat filled her ears. The drumming sound pulled her closer. Closer.

She leapt for him. In the next second, she had her arms wrapped around him. She pushed up onto her toes and put her mouth on his throat.

“I’m sorry, Holly,” he told her quietly. “I should have taken better care of you.”

There was a gun right at her heart. She could feel the press of the cold metal through her shirt.

She should have known that Pate would be armed. He always was.

He pulled the trigger.



She shook her head, content to stay in the darkness that surrounded her.

“Holly, I know it hurts, but just hold on. The dose is almost finished.”

Pate. He sounded worried.

He should be worried. He’d shot her.

After she’d tried to kill him.

“That’s it. You should have everything that you need.” She felt a light tug on her arm, near her elbow. Then his fingers brushed back her hair. “I’m gonna dig the bullet out, and when I do, you’ll be able to move again.”

The bullet. Ah, yes, that would be why her chest hurt like a bitch.

And why she couldn’t move so much as a single part of her body.

There was a surge of pressure on her chest and then…

The darkness vanished as her eyes opened. She sucked in a deep, shuddering breath.

Pate’s arms tightened around her. “You just scared the shit out of me.”

My lab. He’d carried her back inside. She was on the floor. Half-cradled in his arms.

The shame of what she’d done burned through her. “I went…for your throat.”

He held her tighter. “You weren’t yourself. You’d just gotten werewolf blood. You know the effect that it has on your kind.”

She did. Werewolf blood was reportedly like a drug to her kind—giving them a burst of pleasure, of euphoria, that was rumored to be better than sex.

“The first time you get blood from a live source, and that source had to be a werewolf.” He sounded disgusted now. “Hell, there was no way at all you were maintaining control after that.”

She had control now, though. Her gaze dropped to the floor beside her. Pate had given her a transfusion—a whole lot of blood. Well, that would explain the whole having-control bit.

“What you saw in the woods…it wasn’t what you thought. I gave Duncan orders. He’s going to keep Saul on a leash and use him so that we can find the alpha.”

So Duncan hadn’t been betraying the unit. Her lashes swept down even as relief rose within her.

“When I brought Duncan back here to you, I never thought you’d get his blood. Oh, sis, I swear, I never did.”

She heard the remorse in his voice, and Holly wanted to believe him.

But she couldn’t. Not entirely. Because she knew him better than anyone else. He could be so manipulative.

If he thought he was helping in the battle against the monsters out there, would he risk her life?

He’d risk everything.

She pulled away from him. The wooden bullet—covered with her blood—was in his hand. “Did anyone see?” Holly whispered.

What she was—it was their secret. One they’d protected the entire time she’d been working in the unit.

He shook his head. “I carried you inside. No one saw anything.”

Good. “What happens now?” She’d slipped up. Made the mistake that she’d always feared. Pate had been so confident that no one would ever learn about her. That she’d be safe, as long as she had access to the doses she needed. And in her own lab, a place guarded by a dozen agents, he’d promised that she’d have the security she wanted.

Only she wasn’t safe anymore. Neither was he.

I had Duncan’s blood.

“Nothing happens. We continue just as before.”

Her jaw dropped. “You can’t be serious! I almost killed you.”

His fingers closed over the bullet. “And I did kill you.”

Only she hadn’t stayed dead. She couldn’t. That was the way with her kind. As long as a wooden bullet was in her heart, her body would mimic death. Once the bullet was out…she came back to life, so to speak.

The real truth was that she’d died a year ago.

“Go home. Sleep. Wash away the blood.” His words were clipped, and they were also no longer given in the softer tone of a brother, but rather in the more demanding snap of a boss. “Then you come back here tonight, and you carry on the same as before.”

She rose to her feet. She was already stronger. Thanks to the dose.

The dose…call it what it is…the blood. Though often, the blood was combined with a special drug mix that was supposed to keep her urges in check. “We can’t keep on like this.” She was fighting her instincts. Trying to be something that she wasn’t.


“We’ll keep on until you find a cure.”

There was no cure. He didn’t get that. It wasn’t that she was sick. She wasn’t human anymore.

“Go home,” Pate ordered again as a muscle jerked in his jaw. “Everything will be better soon.”

Pate. So wrong. So lost.

He blamed himself for what she’d become.

Sometimes, late at night, she blamed him, too. That was her shame.

“If you can’t come up with a cure, then I’ll get another doctor in. You know I can pull any damn strings I want, and I heard that Forbes was in the area.”

Jonathan Forbes. The name had her tensing. He was good with DNA. He was also a prick. And her ex-fiance.

They’d split when she’d suddenly developed an appetite for blood. “Jonathan is more interested in slicing and dicing paranormals than he is in helping them.” That had been one of the main reasons she ran from him.

She hadn’t wanted to wind up as one of his experiments.

Silence. Then, “But he can do the job. There aren’t a whole lot of doctors in the know when it comes to the paranormals.”

No, there weren’t.

Pate continued, “I’ll make sure that he monitors Duncan.”

While she—what? Hid in the shadows?

“I’m not telling you this as your brother. I’m giving you an order as the senior agent for this unit. You’re to stay away from Duncan McGuire from now on.”

Easier said than done. She could still taste him, and she was…craving him. “You sent him out there, all alone, to fight the Seattle alpha?”

“He is an alpha.”

“What if he gets killed?” Didn’t Pate get it? Duncan didn’t want to be a werewolf. Maybe facing off against the other alpha was his way of making sure his death wish was granted.

I won’t let that happen.

“We’re tracking Duncan through the chip in his collar. If necessary, we can send backup to him.” Pate shook his head. Narrowed his eyes on her. “Go home, Holly. Just…go.When you’re back in control, then you can come back to the lab later.”

In control. Right. Because she always had to stay in control. Always had to be so careful.

Maybe she was tired of being careful. She stared at her brother. Saw all the secrets he carried in his eyes. He’d told her the unit was necessary. For the protection of the humans.

Only she wasn’t human anymore.

Neither was Duncan.

And Pate was still using them both.

“Screw control,” she told him as she turned and walked away. It wasn’t about control. It was about helping a man who’d just lost everything.

Pate might be willing to sit back and watch the brutal battle unfold before him, but she wasn’t going to do that.

One drop of Duncan’s blood. Just one. That was all she’d gotten.

It was all she needed. She could feel Duncan now. Could sense him.

And could track him. She didn’t need the collar to give her his location. Now, with his blood, she’d be able to find him anywhere, anytime.

If he was facing off against the wolves, she’d make sure he had backup.

The supernatural kind.


Pate didn’t move so much as a muscle as his step-sister walked away. Holly was so small and deceptively delicate.

The perfect killing machine.

He hadn’t wanted this life for her, but…but there was no going back.

His nightmares wouldn’t stop. He could still see her attack, over and over again in his head like a broken movie reel that wouldn’t stop playing.

But now…Holly was finally becoming stronger. Not the broken doll, the one who hid in the lab because she didn’t want to face the world outside.

She’d tasted Duncan’s blood. Gone for my throat.

Her killer instincts were showing.

The doors swung closed behind her.

And Pate finally let his smile sweep over his face.


Holly went to her home first, mostly because she had a bullet hole in her shirt and the fabric was covered with blood. She jumped into the shower and let the water slide over her skin. She’d get clean, then she’d find Duncan.

He wouldn’t die before she washed the blood away. At least, she hoped he didn’t and—

Her alarm was beeping. A high-pitched whine that she still barely heard over the roar of her shower. Frowning, she hurriedly turned off the water until only a drip-drip-drip remained.

The whine was clear now. Clear and plenty loud.

Her gaze tracked to the left. She couldn’t see anything through the steamed-up glass door of her shower. But that alarm had been set off by something.

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