|Home > Rebecca Zanetti > Dark Protectors > Shadowed (Page 14)|
|Shadowed(Dark Protectors #6) by Rebecca Zanetti|
After being briefed by Dage, Jase stood in the armory and slammed a clip into his gun, his mind swirling. Not the Kurjans. An evil vampire race, they had white faces and a serious aversion to the sun. They’d also created Virus-27, a strong entry into germ warfare. Now they had Garrett, the fun-loving kid he’d helped to raise. While he understood the plan, he couldn’t figure out why they needed a damn plan. “What the fuck happened?”
Talen shook his head, tightening his bulletproof vest. “He and two of his buddies snuck out and partied in town all night. I don’t know if the Kurjans happened upon them, or if it was a calculated move.”
“It was a calculated move.” Jase grabbed two more knives. “Makes sense. Everyone knows our headquarters is here . . . figures the kids would head to town at some point.”
Talen staggered and slapped a palm against the wall. “I knew,” he whispered. “I knew they were sneaking out and having fun, but they’re nineteen and smart.” Guilt washed down his face. “I’ve trained my son since he was old enough to walk, but he’s not ready for this.”
Nausea shot through Jase’s gut. He grabbed his brother’s arm. The other two kids had been found beaten and unconscious in an alley. Only Garrett had been taken. “We’ll get him back. Tonight.” If they didn’t, Garrett would never be the same. “I swear to God. We’ll get him.”
“You understand what the Kurjans want, right?” Talen asked.
“Yeah.” Jase steeled his shoulders. “They want Janie.” Janie was Talen’s adopted daughter, the key to the future for all immortal species. In fact, the current war had begun as the Kurjans and vampires fought to get to her first. As Garrett’s older sister, she’d probably give up her life in an instant to save him.
“Janie isn’t the prize—this time.” Kane charged into the room, already suited up. “They want Brenna.”
Jase paused. “Excuse me?”
Kane grabbed another gun to add to his impressive arsenal. “The Kurjans want your mate before the damn winter solstice.”
What the hell was it with Brenna and the solstice? Jase growled. “The demons and the Kurjans seriously believe that nonsense?”
“Isn’t nonsense.” Kane shook his head. “It’s quantum physics, string theory, and one incredibly powerful witch.”
“But she’s not.” Jase ran a rough hand through his hair. “Not yet. She’s barely strong enough to pass for human right now.”
“I know. But now that she has mated, when the comet gets closer, I’m hoping she’ll be able to harness incredible power.” Kane rubbed his chin. “If your mating finally takes hold.”
Jase lifted his head, focusing on his brother. “What exactly do you want from her?”
Kane’s eyes swirled black through the maroon. “I’m hoping she can cure the virus. Somehow untangle it from the chromosomes of the victims.”
Jase shook his head like a dog with a face full of water. “You’re telling me that this solstice crap is real? Not just another stupid witch myth?”
“It’s real.” The smartest, most scientific man on the planet nodded. “Very real.”
Well, shit. “Does she know the full truth?”
Kane shrugged. “I doubt it. Her family and the Coven Nine have done nothing but protect her from being different. I’m sure they would’ve started preparing her if she hadn’t gotten so ill.”
“So they don’t think she’ll be able to harness the power?” When had things gotten so damn unsteady?
“No.” Kane eyed his watch. “I spoke with Viv earlier, and they think Brenna’s pretty much done for. No power, no hope of recovery.” He glanced up, his gaze sympathetic. “I’d like to keep that from you, but that’s not what we do.”
“So why let me take her?” Jase frowned. Not that they could’ve stopped him. “If they think she’s dying, why let me bring her here?” Reality slapped him in the face. The fucking bastards. “It’s temporary. They only let me take her until after the solstice.”
Kane nodded. “That’s my guess. She’s in too much danger in Ireland—not only from her people, but from demons. This way, we keep her safe, and then they’ll demand she come home after the holidays.”
So she could die among her own people. Fury rippled through Jase. “She’s not dying, damn it.”
“Nobody is dying,” Talen said grimly, heading for the door. “Enough talk. Let’s go.”
Jase nodded, tucking one more knife in his vest. He followed his brother into the hallway, his breath catching at the agony on Cara’s face. The tiny blond woman stood next to Moira and Brenna in the hallway, looking even more pale and fragile than usual. Next to the hulking Talen, she looked downright miniature.
Talen placed his hand on her shoulder and lowered his face to within an inch of hers. “I’ll bring him back, mate. You have my word.”
She lifted her chin, blue eyes flashing. “Just don’t get shot.”
Talen grinned. “I promise.”
Brenna hurried forward, her gaze wary. “Apparently I’m in great demand.”
Jase steeled himself for the request.
It came in the form of a statement. “They want me . . . so I go.” She pushed her glasses up her nose. “I can still shoot a gun damn well.”
“I know.” His heart warmed at her bravery and then chilled at the thought of losing her. “You’re part of Plan B, little witch.”
She lifted both eyebrows. “Plan B?”
“Yes. The meet and exchange is in three hours. We’re storming their location first.” Jase fought the urge to hug her, considering the hardware he’d tucked into his combat gear. “If that fails, we’ll try a bait and switch.” But Plan A wouldn’t fail, because no way in hell would he allow Brenna to put herself in danger.
She frowned. “How do you know where Garrett is?”
Talen turned around. “After Jase was taken, we plugged everyone with trackers. We’ve tracked him.”
The Kurjans weren’t stupid. Jase nodded. “The trackers are still live, so the Kurjans haven’t figured it out. They will.”
Moira cocked a laser gun to tuck in a pants pocket. “Let’s go.” She turned and headed outside to the waiting helicopters.
Brenna frowned. “Moira gets to go.”
Jase gave in to temptation and dropped a kiss on the witch’s nose. “Moira’s trained for combat . . . and is at full strength. You get your strength back? You can come.” Maybe. Well, probably not. His time as a POW would more than likely keep him from allowing her to fight, but she didn’t need to know that right now.
“Hmmm.” She grabbed his face and tugged him down for a soft kiss on the lips. “Be safe, Jase.”
His heart lurched. He gave a short nod, his voice gone. When she released him, he turned and ran into the early morning.
Time to fight.
Garrett Kayrs stretched his neck and tried to focus his eyes. Whatever they’d shot into his veins had taken hold hard. His dad was going to kick his ass to hell and back for this one. He’d fought as hard as he could, only surrendering when the Kurjans offered to let his friends live if he allowed them to take him. Considering the vampires had been seriously outmanned, he hadn’t had a choice.
A guy had to save his friends.
As the world swam into clarity, he sat up on a cell floor. It was carpeted?
An outside door opened, and a figure stalked closer to the bars. A Kurjan stood, white-faced, green-eyed. Weird. Didn’t Kurjans have purple or red eyes? Shoving to his feet, Garrett allowed the room to settle. “So you’re a green-eyed bastard, huh? There probably aren’t many of you.”
The Kurjan lifted one dark eyebrow, amusement curving his red lips. He had to be in his early thirties. “You don’t know who I am?”
Sure. Garrett knew exactly who the asshole was. “Nope. Let me guess. Kermit the Kurjan?”
“Funny. Your sister has a similar sense of humor.”
Thought so. Kalin, the Kurjan butcher, stood close enough to touch. The guy had been communicating with his sister, Janie, in a dreamworld most of her life. If he’d just get closer to the bars, Garrett could reach through and grab his neck. He smiled. “Now that’s weird. I don’t have a sister.”
Kalin rubbed his chin. “You look like your father.”
“I can’t make a similar comparison—considering my father wasted yours.” Decades ago, Talen and the Kurjan had fought over Garrett’s mother. Cara. The Kurjan lost.
“I plan to even that score.” Kalin flashed sharp fangs. “Now that we’ve admitted we know each other, tell me, have you forgotten I saved your sister’s life?”
Garrett stepped closer to the bars. The world kept tilting. “My sister wouldn’t have been in danger had you not attacked our headquarters with a band of werewolves.”
“True.” Color washed through Kalin’s face. For a moment, he looked human. “Ah. Speaking of Janie.”
Everything inside Garrett stilled. “Excuse me?”
“Your sister is calling me.”
Was the guy a nut-job or what? “As far as I can tell, you’re not asleep, asshole.”
Kalin chuckled, an odd purple swirling within the green of his eyes. “Don’t need to be. Your sister has gained considerable power through the years and no longer needs to be asleep to communicate. I believe she, ah, meditates.”
“Bullshit.” Damn Kurjans always lied.
Kalin tipped his head. “Oh my. She hasn’t told you. Not only can we meet in her odd little dreamworld while fully awake, she can no longer keep me out. If she’s open and not shielding, I’m invited.”
The fucking asshole was trying to mess with his head. Garrett forced a laugh and tried to ignore the fact that the room was still wavering. “Nice little fantasy world you’ve got there.”
“Boy, she’s in every fantasy I have.” Kalin grabbed the bars. “Her blood tastes like honeyed sunshine, and since I’ve tasted, I can visit any time I wish. Mentally, of course.”
Bile rose in Garrett’s throat. No way had this guy bitten his sister. No way. “I’m going to kill you slowly.”
“Sounds like a date.” Kalin leaned in. “But I’m busy right now. We’re supposed to exchange you for the witch in three hours.”
“Witch? You want Moira?”
“No. The other one.”
Drawing a bored expression, Garrett slid back his right foot. “Why?”
“She’s powerful, and we want her,” Kalin said, an odd light entering his eyes.
Garrett lunged, reaching through the bars to grab the Kurjan’s neck. Kalin kicked between the bars, nailing him in the knee. Garrett went down and just as quickly flew back up.
Kalin stepped back, smiling. “You’re quick.”
His knee pounded with pain, echoing up his thigh. Garrett snarled. “Quick enough. How about you let me out of here, and we see how quick you are?”
Kalin clicked his tongue. “As tempting as that is, I’m not ready to kill you. Yet.”
Garrett studied the soldier. He was almost seven feet tall, and broad. The medals on his chest showed a life of combat. He’d be tough to kill. “There’s no way my people will hand over a mate to you—not even for me.”
“I’m aware of that fact.” Kalin clasped his hands at his back.
Garrett mentally shoved the drugs through his blood faster, speeding up his heart rate. He needed balance. “So, what’s your plan? Big trap?”
The purple disappeared from the shimmering green. “Oh, this was all about you, Garrett. The big trap is just a bonus.”
“Me?” Garrett lifted his chin.
“Sure. You’re a means to an end, boy.”
Ah. The Kurjan didn’t want a witch—he wanted Janie. Garrett’s smile came naturally as he shook his head. “You’re a moron. No way will my father let Janie sacrifice herself for me.”
“Considering Janie is of age—twenty-four, I believe—that decision is up to her, now isn’t it?”
“No.” The guy really didn’t understand family, did he? Garrett stepped up to the bars again. “The second I was taken, I guarantee an entire squad of guards was assigned to my sister. She won’t be able to take one step in your direction.”
Kalin drew a wicked knife from his back pocket. “You willing to die for your sister, young Kayrs?”
Garrett lowered his chin and allowed his fangs to drop. “In a heartbeat.”
“How about kill for her?”
“Gladly. Unlock the bars, and I’ll prove it to you.”
Kalin ran the blade along his hand. “Have you killed before?”
Garret eyed the weapon. An inch or two closer, and he could grab it. “Yes.”
“Liar,” Kalin said softly. “At your age, I’d killed more men than you know.”
“Women,” Garrett countered just as softly. “You hunt and kill women just like a waste-of-human serial killer.” At Kalin’s startled look, he flashed a knowing smile. “We know all about you, and so does Janie.”
Kalin’s upper lip twisted.
Ah. That hurt, huh? Garrett grinned. “You’re a dead man, Kurjan.”
“Maybe.” Kalin headed for the door. “But at least I’m not bait.” He disappeared from sight.