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  • Home > Rebecca Zanetti > Dark Protectors > Shadowed (Page 27)     
    Shadowed(Dark Protectors #6) by Rebecca Zanetti
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    Similar bone structure and the same color eyes. “You two brothers?”

    “No,” Zane snapped. “I don’t have family.”

    Now why did that sound like a lie? Garrett shrugged. “Whatever you say, man.”

    Zane growled.

    Sam tapped his ear. “There’s a lot of chatter about a firefight in Seattle tonight. I think the Realm boys took on Suri’s soldiers.”

    Zane snorted. “That’s unfortunate. The prize was on a boat in the Pacific.”

    Garrett sat up. “Who won?”

    Sam shrugged. “Don’t know, but all hell broke loose. Even the human cops are headed to the scene.”

    Garrett relaxed his shoulders. His people knew how to fight. If the humans were involved, his family was already long gone. “What about Suri?” Uncle Jase really wanted to kill Suri.

    “He wasn’t in Seattle,” Sam said. “Your people attacked one of his main bases, though. He’ll be hurting.”

    “My people?” Garrett eyed the two. He’d known Zane was part vampire, but nobody knew what else. Gut feeling? The guy was a shifter—one who didn’t align with the Realm. “Who exactly are you, anyway?”

    “I’m the guy you owe,” Zane said.

    Maybe. Maybe not. “How did you find me?”

    Sam grinned. “Contacts, young man. It always comes down to who you know, now doesn’t it?”

    Zane shook his head. “Shut up, Sam.”

    Garrett tried another tack. “What do you want with my sister, anyway?”

    Zane’s eyes flashed fire. “I want your sister to stay the fuck out of the war.”

    “Have you met my sister?” Garrett snorted.

    Zane sighed. “Yes. Well, kind of.”

    “She’s not staying out of the war.” In fact, hadn’t Janie said the end would come down to her, Kalin, and Zane? Garrett jerked his head up. “Did you kill Kalin?”

    “No. He and a demon were going at it, and I only had a second to save your ass. I’m sure he got free—he’s too smart to die on the boat.” Zane frowned, the moonlight casting dark shadows across his face. “But our time is coming.”

    Lights glowed from a distant shore. Garrett stiffened.

    Zane held out a hand. “No need to dart away. I’m not keeping you. This time.”

    Yeah, like he’d trust some wacko Janie only met in dreamworlds. “Gee, I appreciate that.” Garrett yanked out the knife, twisting the blade to catch the light. “I’d hate to have to kill you after the kind rescue.”

    Sam grinned at Zane. “I really like this kid.”

    “You should meet his sister,” Zane muttered. Then he pointed to a lighthouse about a mile away. “Can you make that lighthouse?”

    Garrett nodded. “Sure.”

    “Okay. There’s a disposable cell phone duct-taped to the northern side. Get there, call your people, and stay out of sight until they pick you up.” Zane stopped rowing.

    Garrett tucked the knife way. “Um. Well, thanks.”

    “Not a problem.” Zane eyed the distance. “Get going now before the sun comes up and you’re easy to spot.”

    Garrett fell back and over the edge, making a small splash. He grabbed the boat and hauled himself up to face Zane. “Saying I do owe you. What do you want?”

    Zane pierced him with that odd green gaze. “I want you to keep your sister out of the war for as long as possible.”

    Garrett shrugged. “That was my plan anyway.”

    “Good.” Zane shoved him in the shoulder, and he splashed back into the ocean. “And don’t fuck up my great rescue here by getting caught. Speed to the phone and call for help.” Oars hit the water again, and the raft quickly moved out of sight.

    Garrett bobbed in the sea for a moment, his gaze on the waning moon. With a shrug, he turned and put all his strength into swimming around the lighthouse. He took several passes until he was sure nobody waited for him.

    Then he swam to shore and yanked out his knife.

    Still nothing. So he walked around the lighthouse until he found the cell phone. Grabbing it, he dialed one of the public numbers, just in case, and asked to be transferred.

    Several transfers later, a female voice answered.

    His throat nearly closed, and he felt like a little kid again. “Mom? It’s Garrett.”

    Jase’s ears still rang from Talen knocking him out. What the hell was it with his brothers beating on his head lately? Guilt made it hard to move. He’d pointed a gun at Talen, and might’ve shot him. What kind of trigger had the demons put into his brain?

    Was he a danger to his family now? What if the trigger was activated again?

    He sat in a cozy relaxation room in the main lodge. The window was wide open, letting the scents of sea and fish into the room.

    Kane shook his head, staring at a printout. “I don’t know how we missed the trigger.”

    “You missed it because I haven’t dealt with everything that happened.” Jase’s hands closed into fists on his bloody jeans. “The Latin words he spoke sounded familiar, but I don’t know what they mean.”

    “It’s the sound that matters,” Kane said absently. “There’s only one thing to do. We have to hypnotize you.”

    “I know.” Dread compressed Jase’s lungs. “Have we gotten anything from the demon we brought back?” Dage had captured one of the soldiers after the raid.

    “Not yet, and frankly, you don’t need to worry about it.” Kane pierced him with a hard glare. “Talen said you didn’t shoot him when ordered.”

    “No, but I wanted to. Or rather, my body wanted to.”

    Kane nodded. “That’s good. The trigger isn’t set as deep or as well as they thought.” He turned and sat on the matching sofa. “Why don’t we get rid of that trigger for good?”

    “Sounds like a plan.” Jase took a deep breath. “I’m ready.”

    A knock echoed on the door, and Dage poked his head in. “How’s it going?”

    “Just started,” Kane said.

    Jase rubbed both hands down his face. “Any news from the prisoner we took from Seattle?”

    “Not yet.” Dage eyed Kane. “You going to hypnotize him and delete the trigger?”

    “That’s the plan,” Kane said.

    “See if you can make him be not such an ass.” Dage shut the door.

    Jase grimaced. “He’s pissed.”

    “No. He’s worried.” Kane reached over his head and dimmed the lights. “You’ve been out of control twice lately, and both times could’ve gotten you killed.”

    Jase settled his shoulders. “Let’s get rid of that trigger so I can go hunt demons.”

    “Damn it, Jase.” Kane blew out air. “Fine. Count down from ten.”

    Dage poked his head in again. “Just got word—Garrett called. Seems he’s safe. We leave in five minutes, so suit up.”

    Jase stiffened, his gaze flashing to Kane’s concerned one. “I guess we’ll do this later.”

    Jase leaned out the door of the helicopter as the waves undulated below him. Even after being damaged, he was the best sniper around. Especially when shooting from a moving vehicle. Conn aimed out the other side, while Dage piloted the craft low and tight. Two other helicopters flew close, one holding the landing party, which included Talen and Kane.

    Dawn was breaking just in time, and light glinted off the lighthouse. Peaceful rocks tumbled from the building to the shore. Nothing moved on the land.

    Jase ignored his unease and kept watch through his scope.

    The first helicopter landed, and Talen burst onto land to find his son, sweeping wide. Kane protected his back as they ran for the structure. Moments passed. Finally, both men emerged from the damaged door, and Kane sent the negative sign.

    Damn it. Where was the kid?

    Movement from the ocean a few yards back caught Jase’s eye. He narrowed his scope to focus. Slowly, Garrett’s dark head emerged from the deep. Then his eyes, and his smart-assed grin.

    Jase jerked his head, and Conn looked. He tapped a communicator to relay the kid’s location.

    Smart. Very smart. Garrett had done exactly what they’d trained him to do.

    The kid swam to shore and had barely made it when his father yanked him up for a huge hug. The relief crossing Talen’s broad face made Jase’s shoulders relax. When had Garrett gotten so damn big? He stood as tall as his father.

    Kane tugged him away for a hug.

    Jase tapped his ear communicator. “Get on the helicopter, and get the hell out of there. We’ll hug at home.”

    Dage snorted into the microphone. Conn flashed him a grin. Relief and triumph swirled in his green eyes.

    Jase nodded. Yeah, they’d finally won one. He needed to get his arms around the little shit. Thank God Garrett was all right.

    The trip home took too long, and Jase began to worry about what Garrett had gone through. Had they tortured him? The helicopters set down at the landing site simultaneously, and he jumped out to find his nephew.

    Then he had to step back as Cara Kayrs ran past him, full-bore for her son.

    Garrett caught her, laughing, getting her sweatshirt wet. “Mom, I’m fine.”

    Cara laughed and cried at the same time, patting his arms, his back, checking him out. “Are you hurt? Did they hurt you?”

    Garrett shook his head, looking down over a foot at his mother. “No, honest. I’m fine but hungry. Man, I’m hungry.” He glanced up as Janie sprinted into view, and fire leapt into his eyes.

    Jase paused. Sometimes he forgot about the predator beneath the kid’s good humor. Garrett was every inch his father’s son.

    But he loved his sister, and he caught her when she launched herself at him. He closed his eyes, hugging her tight. Then he whispered something in her ear.

    Janie stiffened, and then relaxed, hugging him. She whispered something back, and even Jase could hear Garrett’s low growl as he set her down.

    Enough. Jase moved forward.

    Garrett caught his eye and grabbed him in a wet hug. A salty, wet hug. “I was worried about you,” Garrett said.

    Jase smacked him on the back and levered away. “Worried about me?”

    “Yeah. I was scared you’d be reliving everything because of me. I’m so sorry.” Garrett’s odd gray eyes sobered.

    Jesus. Something in Jase’s chest thumped. Family. They killed you every time. “I’m fine. I was seriously worried about you.”

    Garrett shrugged. “I’m good. No torture, and I escaped, but I didn’t get to kill anybody.” He frowned.

    Good. Jase wasn’t ready for Garrett’s first kill.

    Dage clapped an arm around his nephew’s back. “Good job with waiting in the ocean. Let’s go debrief you.”

    “Hell no.” Cara yanked her son’s arm. “He gets checked out by the doctors, then he gets food, then he can be interviewed, and then we’re having a welcome-home celebration.”

    The king wavered and looked like he wanted to argue, but even he wouldn’t mess with an angry mother. Finally, Dage nodded. “Of course.”

    Garrett allowed his mother to lead him away, yet turned and gave his sister a look. Man, what Jase wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall for that conversation. Apparently Garrett had been informed that his sister tried to sacrifice herself for him.

    Family.

    Janie Belle Kayrs sat on the bar, swinging her foot back and forth in the small game room, a beer in her hand. Her younger brother paced by the pool table after having been checked out by doctors and given a pizza.

    They had the room to themselves, since their mother was currently setting up a party for Garrett in the large game room.

    “You might as well let it out,” Janie said.

    Garrett turned, fire flashing in his eyes. In that moment, he looked exactly like their father, and Janie couldn’t help smiling.

    “I am so pissed at you,” Garrett growled.

    She wanted to tell him not to swear, but since he was technically an adult, and he’d been captured by evil, the time had passed to try and raise him. But she was still his older sister, and he needed to remember that. “So?”

    He stilled, pivoting to face her. “So? Did you just say so?”

    “Of course you’re angry. But you did what you had to do, and I understand that.” She adored her younger brother and hated to know she’d worried him. But if she’d had a chance to save him, how could she not?

    Red climbed into his face. “You will never try to sacrifice yourself for me again. Got that?” His voice shook.

    If she didn’t know him, he’d probably look scary. Really scary. But she’d burped him as a baby, and he didn’t get to try vampire intimidation tactics on her. “Don’t go getting all Kayrs-male on me, asshat. I understand you’re upset, but you don’t need to yell at me.”

    Aqua flashed through the metallic gray of his eyes. Man, he was getting pissed. He leaned back against the pool table, his hands denting the wood. “I am a vampire. Although you’re crazy, you’re still a human. I don’t die. You do. So, I protect you.” He spoke slowly and through clenched teeth.

    Janie’s temper began to stir. “I’m five years older than you, and I’m a psychic.”

    “So?” He lifted a Kayrs eyebrow.

    Pride filled her at how tough and strong he’d become. “The Kurjans want me alive. They’re fine with you dead. So trading myself for you was a smart, tactical move.”

    “Did you let the Kurjan butcher take your blood?”

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