That was when Aylin finally took a look at the accommodations she’d been given. It wasn’t a dirty, tiny cell with a mat on the floor, which was what she’d had at home. This was a suite, with a small but practical living area containing a sofa, a two-seat table, and a human device she thought was called a TV, and in another room, she could see the edge of a bed and a dresser. It was nicer than anything she’d hoped to sleep in, even in her wildest dreams.
“I… yes, thank you.”
Riker started out of the room, pausing in the doorway. “Nicole would love to see you. She hangs out in the lab. If you need anything in the meantime, just ask anyone. I promise, we’re all on our best behavior.”
This was so bizarre that Aylin wasn’t sure what to say. All she could do was utter a raspy “Thank you” again.
“You’re welcome. Dinner’s in an hour.”
If Hunter had been at all unsure that he wouldn’t like his soon-to-be mate, he was now completely, 100 percent certain that he’d kill her within a year. Except that, with his luck, he’d probably imprint on her and be unable to strangle her the way he wanted to do right now.
But if he found out that Lucy had been harmed and Rasha had something to do with it, he’d overcome the imprint bond and put her out of everyone’s misery.
He’d left her to settle into her quarters, and five minutes later, she’d barged through the door connecting the bedrooms and announced that she’d rather stay in his room. In his bed. With him.
She hadn’t argued with his decision, but steam had practically whistled from her ears as she wandered around his private quarters and office, making disapproving sounds every time she came across something she didn’t like. Apparently, she thought books, artwork, movies, and sports magazines were a waste of time. She even gave Monty Python a disdainful snort. Who the hell didn’t appreciate Monty f**king Python? Now, as she eyed the video games, she huffed in disgust.
“Game consoles aren’t allowed at ShadowSpawn,” she said. “My father thinks a warrior’s time is better spent hunting or training for battle.”
Your father is a dickhead. Somehow he managed not to say what he was thinking. “We all need downtime. Recharges the batteries.”
“We recharge the batteries with fights.” Her gaze raked boldly over him, so different from the way Aylin looked at him with furtive glances. “Or f**king.”
Okay, so Hunter was all about rest and relaxation with a female or two, and sure, a good fight could release a lot of tension, but sometimes mindless entertainment was a release of its own. Most important, mindless entertainment didn’t come with complications.
She sauntered up to him, her h*ps swaying, her br**sts bouncing freely against the olive tank top she wore. “Bet you’re wondering if you’re getting a virgin mate.”
Not by a long shot. He watched her come closer, the blatant heat in her blue eyes growing into an inferno as she got closer. No, that was the walk of a female who knew damned well how to take what she wanted from a male.
He stood his ground, wondering if her touch would light him up the way Aylin’s had. If it would make his skin heat and tingle and send blood pounding through his veins like a river after a dam breaks. When she planted her palm on his chest, he got his answer.
His skin crawled. His blood froze.
“I’m not a virgin,” she said in a smoky, sultry voice. “I hope that doesn’t disappoint you.”
“There’s something to be said for experience,” he said, letting her interpret that however she wanted to. He wondered how much experience Aylin had. The way she’d clung to him at the cabin while she fed, the way her body had fit against his as she arched against him… shit, she’d been eager and unrestrained, and he bet she’d be a wild thing in bed. And wasn’t that thought inappropriate as all hell?
“I like the way you think.” Rasha trailed her hand down and hooked her fingers under his waistband. “Because I’m going to blow your mind.” She batted her eyelashes coyly. “Along with other things.”
Her words were enough to make his balls shrivel. “Great. Looking forward to it after we’re mated.” Grasping her wrist, he lifted her hand away and ignored her furious glare. “Now, if you’ll —”
“Show me the rest of MoonBound!” she snapped, her command grating on his last nerve.
“I have things to do,” he said, forcing his teeth to unclench so he could get the words out clearly enough that she’d understand he wasn’t f**king around. He had to get away from her before he killed her or threw her out on her ass. Either would kick off a war with ShadowSpawn that they couldn’t afford. “I’ll have someone else show you around.”
Rasha made a sour face, but to his surprise, she nodded. “Of course. You’re a chief, and you have a lot of responsibilities.” She looked over at the three pairs of doeskin baby moccasins on his mantel and smiled tightly. “I look forward to sharing them, to sharing everything, with you after we’re mated.”
Like hell. She wasn’t going near his responsibilities. Or the moccasins his infant sons and daughter hadn’t lived long enough to wear. If she so much as touched them… He suppressed a growl and fished his phone out of his pocket, hesitating when the screen lit up. Who should he get to give Rasha the grand tour? Probably someone who already hated him.
Grinning, he texted Myne, who must have been practically outside the door, because thirty seconds later, Hunter recognized the male’s heavy, rapid knock. Leave it to Myne to impart impatience and irritation through a simple rap on wood.
“There’s your tour guide.” He tried not to seem too eager to have her gone as he threw open the door, happy, maybe for the first time ever, to see Myne standing there in jeans and a black Henley. “Myne, this is Rasha.” He gestured between them. “Rasha, Myne.”
Myne was his usual unfriendly self, and he merely stared, lip curled to show a hint of titanium fang.
Rasha at least dipped her head in acknowledgment. “We’ve met.”
“Excellent.” Hunter nudged Rasha toward the doorway. “Myne, show her around the place. I’ll meet up with you both in the dining room.”
“I live to do your bidding,” Myne drawled.
Hunter closed the door with more force than was necessary, glanced at the stack of paperwork on his desk, and shrugged. Fuck it. He could catch up on clan business later. He’d always had a talent for procrastination, and the time spent with Rasha had brought out his restless side.
Besides, he needed to catch up with Aiden. By now he should have gotten some good intel from the human poacher.
Hunter hoped so, because in the darkest corners of his mind, his father’s ghost was urging him to take matters into his own hands, to get them bloody.
Far better if Aiden was the one getting his hands wet.
He found the male talking with Baddon outside the human’s cell. Both warriors sported grim expressions, and both had blood on their hands.
“Tell me the human talked.”
Aiden nodded. “He’s a low-level scumbag, doesn’t know much, but he said a lot of gangs, motorcycle clubs, and gun clubs are in a race to see who can bag the most vampires.”
Baddon growled, his tattooed hands clenching and unclenching. “I talked to some of my Gravedigger boys. My VP, Han, said someone contacted him yesterday, wanting to know if the Gravediggers wanted in on some poaching action. Didn’t say who he was, but Han got the impression the guy was from the government. Whoever the dude was, he offered ten thousand bucks for every vampire scalp and set of fangs delivered.”
Hunter cursed. Wasn’t that just f**king great? Hold on to your hats and teeth, boys and girls, because humans were getting serious.
“This is worse than I thought.” Hunter scrubbed his hand over his face, wondering how it was that shit always hit the fan all at once. “Did you get anything else out of the bastard?”
Aiden shook his head. “Dude is dry. But he did tell us how he got his name.”
A hiss and a curse came from Baddon. “Chem. So f**ked-up.” He glared at the cell door as if imagining ripping apart the human on the other side. “Apparently, he’s some sort of amateur chemist. He used to develop designer drugs for his club to sell. When hunting vampires became more profitable than drug dealing, he started using his talents to create chemicals that can knock us out, poison us, and even f**king melt us.”
“Kill him,” Hunter growled. “I don’t want that trash fouling the air anymore.”
He didn’t wait for the show. Instead, he headed toward the weapons storage area to check out the loot his warriors had gathered off the dead poachers who kidnapped Rasha and Aylin. Hanging out with sharp objects always calmed him down.
Sensing a presence ahead, he rounded the corner, and his breath caught at the sight of Aylin. She was freshly showered, and her hair hung in a damp curtain against a green and white flannel shirt that was long enough to cover her denim-clad ass.
A hint of her heart-shaped bottom peeked from under the shirt’s hem, and Hunter’s fingers curled into his palm at the memory of grasping those firm cheeks as he held her against him in the cabin last night. How could one twin so easily heat his blood while the other chilled it?
He approached as she studied the carvings in the walls, her slender fingers tracing the patterns that had fascinated Hunter as a child.
“I used to spend hours making up stories about those pictures,” he said.
Aylin jumped, and it struck him then that she truly wasn’t a warrior. Not like her sister, anyway. He’d bet his Xbox that Rasha would never have been caught by surprise in an enemy stronghold. But just because Aylin hadn’t been trained to be a fighter, that didn’t mean she couldn’t play an effective role in a plot against his clan, and he wasn’t ready to let his guard down with her yet. If ever.
“You shouldn’t sneak up on people like that,” she said breathlessly.
He grinned despite his misgivings. “I’ll try not to walk anymore.”
The smallest hint of a smile turned up one corner of her mouth as she went back to looking at the wall. “A long time ago, I saw a picture book of drawings like this. The book said they were carved by ancient people.”
“They were,” he said. “These drawings were here long before our clan moved in.”
“When was that?”
He eased up next to her, inhaling the fresh scent of her clean skin and apple shampoo. Great Spirit above, she smelled… edible. “Hundreds of years ago.”
“How long have you been chief?”
“Almost two centuries,” he said. “Before that, my father was chief.”
She turned to him, her azure eyes glittering with curiosity. “What happened to him?”
“I killed him.” At her raised eyebrows, he cocked his head. “Didn’t you learn all of this when you were growing up? I can’t believe your father wouldn’t school you on vampire history and the histories behind all the clans.”
“Oh, we learned all of that,” she acknowledged. “My father believes in knowing his enemy.”
“Then if you know my clan’s history, why the questions?”
“Because,” she said crisply, “history is rarely written without bias, and there are always two sides to a story. I learned about MoonBound’s past from my clan’s point of view. Your version of events could be very different.”
Smart girl. He wondered if Rasha was so astute and open-minded. He doubted it. She struck him as the type never to question the belief system in which she was raised. “Has anything I told you been different?” he asked.
“Not so far.” She regarded him thoughtfully for a moment. “But you haven’t told me much.”
This female was as fascinating as she was beautiful. And so very different from her sister. Rasha wore hard years on her face, giving her a harsh appearance, while Aylin’s features were softer. More refined. And their eyes… where Rasha’s glittered with a keen, shrewd intelligence, Aylin’s were watchful, as if she didn’t waste her IQ points on getting one step ahead of everyone else but instead waited for others to fall on their own.
Rasha was a warrior, but Hunter was willing to bet that Aylin was the more intelligent of the two. He checked his watch. “It’s almost time for dinner. Want to walk with me? I can give you a tour on the way.”
Aylin caught her bottom lip in her teeth. Pristine white fang tips pressed into her plump flesh, and Hunter’s body hardened at the memory of having those fangs in his throat.
“Where’s Rasha?” she asked.
“She’ll meet us in the dining hall.” When Aylin didn’t respond, he said, “Are you worried she’ll be jealous?”
Aylin snorted. “Rasha has never been jealous of me, and she never will be.”
Rasha was a fool. She should be jealous of everything about her twin. “Then why the hesitation?”
She appeared to consider her answer. Finally, she blurted, “Because I don’t trust you.”
Interesting response. And a smart one. “What have I done to make you not trust me?”
“Nothing.” She shrugged. “But I’ve never met a clan chief who wasn’t a ruthless son of a bitch.”
Hunter blinked. Then laughed. “Do you always say what you’re thinking?”
“So I just bring out the worst in you?” He stepped closer, drawn by her scent, her smile… hell, he was drawn by everything about her. “Or do you feel like you can get away with being mouthy to a chief because your sister will protect you?”READ MORE >>