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|Shadowed(Dark Protectors #6) by Rebecca Zanetti|
She’d wanted to know him. The real him. Here he was in full Kayrs fashion. Her eyelids fluttered shut as he flicked the clasp open on her bra. “I’m trained, Jase.”
“I’m glad.” He ground his pelvis against her ass. “But headfirst into danger is my job, not yours.”
She’d never wanted to be on the front lines, nor had she wanted to run into danger. Not in the slightest. But she’d been mated for less than a week, and no way in hell would she allow the vampire to dictate her life. “We each have jobs.”
His nimble fingers danced down her belly and zeroed in with ruthless efficiency on her clit. “Think so?”
Her knees buckled, and he pressed her harder into the wall. “Jase—”
“Shhh, baby. Too late to placate me.” He slid one finger inside her, even as his thumb teased her clit. The rhythm he set was quick, hard, and just enough to keep her gasping for air.
The hand around her wrists tugged her up on her tiptoes, effectively pushing out her butt. Those dangerous fingers kept playing, holding her right on the edge.
Sparks of need rippled through her sex.
She was so close. So dang close.
“See how well your body obeys?” His voice turned guttural, heated breath brushing her face. “It knows, even if you don’t.”
She fought back the orgasm looming so close. “I don’t take orders from you. Period.”
“Come now, Brenna.”
She exploded into a million pieces, gasping his name, the waves engulfing her. Her mouth opened and closed. Electrical sensations swept her, and her eyelids fluttered shut. Finally, she came down.
He pressed her clit.
She whimpered, angling away. The aftershocks were too much.
He flipped her around, sliding his hand free. Then slowly, keeping her gaze, he licked off his fingers.
Desire flared awake in her again. Too much, and way too fast. Her knees trembled.
His eyes darkened. “You taste like raspberries and candy. All mine, Brenna. Don’t you forget it.” Grabbing the back of her head, he slammed his mouth over hers.
Heat engulfed her, hotter and faster than possible. He took the kiss deeper, taking her where he wanted to go. His free hand grabbed her ass and rubbed her against his cock.
She groaned, needing to be filled.
He slowly softened the kiss and then lifted his head. “I have work to do. You want to be here when I get back. Trust me. Don’t push me any further.” Adjusting his cargo pants, he turned and walked out the front door.
Brenna stood in the hallway, her mouth bruised, and body aching. Oh no, he hadn’t.
Fire sprang up her legs, scenting the air with ozone. Oh no! She tried to calm herself, and snuff out the fire. Flames licked along her arms. She clenched her fingers tight, but a small ball of plasma formed on her knuckles.
The ball wavered, morphed, and tripled in size.
Her shoulders shook as she focused.
The ball grew bigger. No! It flew across the room to slam into the wall of windows. The glass shattered, large shards falling. Cold air rushed inside.
She covered her mouth. Well. That’d teach him.
Garrett Kayrs leaned against the wall, finally understanding why the damn world kept moving. First, the assholes were drugging him. Second, he was on a freakin’ boat. A boat. Which explained the carpet. His foot had been smarting all day, and upon removing his boot, he’d discovered they’d taken his tracker out.
But they’d underestimated his nineteen-year-old metabolism. He could finally force the drugs through his system fast enough to get rid of them. His head cleared.
The outside door opened and Kalin strode inside. “The plan is going well.”
“You’re a moron.” Garrett forced a bored look. “Unlock the door and let’s end this thing. You die or I die. Either way, stop being a chicken-shit.”
Kalin smiled, showing sharp white teeth. “Have to say, I like you, young Kayrs. You might want to be nice, considering we’re going to be family.”
Garrett maneuvered closer to the bars. “Why are you so intent on this?”
Kalin’s eyebrows rose. “You know why. Every species in the world has prophesied Janie’s gifts as something extraordinary that will change everything. Whomever your sister mates will gain those gifts.”
Maybe. But there was something else. “You like her.” Garrett fought the urge to puke.
Kalin’s eyes narrowed. “She’s a means to an end.”
Touchy. “She’s more than that to you.” Garrett studied the soldier. “You like to kill women, but you saved Janie. That was instinct and not calculation, wasn’t it?” Who the hell was this guy? If his one weakness was Janie, how could Garrett use that?
Kalin lowered his chin. “No. That was pure planning for the future. I can’t very well mate her and gain her gifts if she’s dead, now can I?”
Sounded a bit defensive, now didn’t he? Garrett grinned. “All of these oracles, seers, prophets . . . and not one has said what her gifts really are. Sure, she can see the future. So what?”
Kalin shrugged. “I want those gifts.”
“No. You want my sister.” For whatever reason, the psycho did want Janie. Garrett slid his hands around the bars. “I’ll kill you before you get near her. I promise.”
“You’re a good brother, young Kayrs.”
Irritation snapped up Garrett’s head. “We are not bonding here, dumbass.”
Kalin chuckled. “Oh, I’m fully aware I’ll have to kill you and probably soon. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like you.”
The Kurjan really did have a screw loose. “Janie will feel a lot warmer toward you if you let me go.”
“Nice try.” Kalin shook his head. “I don’t want her feeling warmer toward me. The sooner she understands this life, the better.” He kept his face stoic, but an underlying stressor lifted his consonants.
The guy did want Janie to like him, but he really didn’t want to want that. Garrett’s head began to pound. “Has your attack failed yet?”
“The first one failed as per my plan.” Kalin picked his fingernails.
Caution whispered through Garrett. “Meaning?”
“The first was a decoy . . . the second included a full frontal assault as well as tunnels A and D.” Kalin’s grin slid across his lips, slow and sure.
Garrett stilled. “We don’t have tunnels A and D.”
“Liar,” Kalin whispered. “We know all about them—and that their security will be down after our first, sad and unsuccessful, attempt on headquarters.”
How in the hell? Nobody with that knowledge would betray the Kayrs family. “You’re wrong.”
Who was the spy? Fury curled Garrett’s fingers into fists. He’d kill the traitor himself.
Kalin patiently waited as Garrett worked it out.
Reality hit with the force of a punch. Janie. She hadn’t.
Kalin coughed out a laugh. “You should see your face.”
Fire heated Garrett’s breath. “You bastard.”
“Ah, now what kind of talk is that? Your big sister would do anything to save you, now wouldn’t she?” Kalin sauntered toward the door. “You may give her hell when she gets here.” The door closed with a final click.
Damn it all. How could Janie do such a thing? He could handle himself. He was the damn vampire—she was just a human. It was his job to protect her. His spine straightened, his mind finally clear. Time to get the hell off the boat.
Gathering his strength, he punched the wall. Fiberglass cracked and shattered. His knuckles split, and he shoved the pain into a box like he’d been taught.
He might be young and untried, but he’d been trained by the best.
Time to grow up.
The scent of Brenna surrounded Jase as he jogged toward his gym. The woman was a dangerous distraction, and he needed to get a handle on his attraction. He appreciated liking his mate, but his mind couldn’t be filled with her. Neither could his heart.
Revenge lived there and would until he’d killed Suri, Willa, and Malco. Especially Malco.
Deep down, where fear resided, Jase wondered why they’d let him live. Until Brenna had brought warmth into his life, every second of freedom had felt like walking through hell. Though instinct whispered it was more than that.
They wanted something from him.
He shoved open the gym door. The scent of burned metal and cotton assaulted his nose. Brenna sure could damage a room.
A Kurjan hung from the ceiling, his arms over his head. Blood dripped down his face, and pain scented the air. Talen stood over to the side, a bloody knife in his hands.
Jase paused. “Where are the other two?”
“Didn’t make it.” Talen circled the remaining Kurjan. “Guess what? Franco wasn’t at the Kurjan headquarters because he’s on the run. Apparently Kalin has made a move to rule, and most of the forces follow the psychotic bastard.”
Well, it was just a matter of time. Jase nodded. “Any leads on Garrett?”
“This guy was just going to tell me where they’re keeping my son.” Talen slashed a shallow cut down the Kurjan’s torso.
“He’s dead.” The Kurjan’s eyes swirled a bloody red that matched his hair. Most Kurjans had red hair with black tips, unlike Kalin. This guy had clown hair—scary clown hair.
Talen cut again. “He’s not dead. Where is he?”
The Kurjan hissed in pain. “Dead. Kalin cut off his head.” Rage flicked across Talen’s face. “Now, that’s not true.”
Jase fought nausea. He’d been tortured too much to be able to calm down. “Listen, buddy. Talen can keep you alive for weeks until you beg for death. Tell us where Garrett is.”
Talen focused on Jase, his eyes narrowing. “I’ve got this, but Dage needs help securing the tunnels again.”
Jase opened his mouth to protest and snapped it shut at his brother’s stubborn glare. Maybe Talen didn’t want Jase to watch any more than Jase did. He nodded. “Call me if you need me.”
Making a quick exit, he hurried toward headquarters. The Kurjan’s high-pitched screams forced him into a run.
The smell of battle hung over the lodge like a heavy blanket. Smoke, dust, and despair. He yanked open the door and stopped at the sight of Janie and Cara sitting in the rec room. Both had red eyes and noses.
He cleared his throat. “What the hell were you thinking?” Even as the harsh words left his mouth, he wanted to bite them back. Yelling at Janie wasn’t going to help anything.
She sniffed. “I did the same thing any one of you would’ve done.”
At twenty-four years old, she was just a baby. An innocent they’d all protected so fiercely. Jase shook his head. “We’re not likely to break in the wind, Janet Isabella. You’re human, like it or not.”
“I’m the freakin’ prophesied one,” she snapped. “Kalin wouldn’t have hurt me.”
No, he just would’ve forced her to mate him. Didn’t Janie understand what that meant? One glance at Cara confirmed she knew exactly what it meant.
He sighed, banishing anger. For now. “We’ll get him back, Cara. I promise.” When he’d been fifteen, he’d lost his parents. The idea of a mother’s love and concern was sweet, and he’d protect the woman with everything he had. “Garrett is smart and well-trained.”
“So were you,” Cara said softly, her blue eyes full of torment. “He’s so young.”
Yeah, but he was a Kayrs, and he’d survive whatever they did to him. “Right now, Kalin still thinks he has a chance at Janie. So he’ll keep Garrett safe as a bargaining chip.” Hopefully. Who knew what the crazy butcher would do?
“I know.” Cara slipped an arm around her daughter’s shoulders. Since Cara was a mate, she hadn’t aged, and the two looked more like sisters. “I’m sorry you have to deal with all of this right now, Jase.”
His heart thumped. She worried about him? What was it with sweet-hearted females? He was surrounded. “I’m fine. Let’s just work on getting Garrett back.” He sent his niece a hard look. “Without sacrificing anybody.”
Janie pinned him with a stare she’d probably learned from Talen. “It was a good plan. I let them take me to Garrett, and you all rescue us both. Kalin won’t hurt me.”
If it came down to it, Kalin would kill her before letting her go. “You’re remembering the boy from your dreams, not the man he’s become.” Frankly, the bastard had been a serial killer since he was a teenager. “He’s not your friend.”
“I know he’s not my friend, but I’m the only link we have to finding Garrett, and we need to use that.”
Jase shook his head. “How could you tell them about the escape routes?”
She lifted an eyebrow. “I only told them about A and D—those were the least likely to ever be used. Uncle Dage has been planning on filling them in, anyway.”
Smart little human, wasn’t she?
Jase rubbed his chin. “How did you get word to them?”
Well, shit. “No more dreamworlds, Janet.” Jase wondered how he could shut down the worlds.
“No more talk about a trade,” Cara said. She glanced at the door. “Where’s Talen, anyway?”
“Helping to shore up the tunnels,” Jase lied. “He’ll be finished soon.”
Cara nodded and glanced at her daughter. “Good. I assume he’d like a talk with Janie.”