Binding Ties
Page 16

 Shannon K. Butcher

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Joseph rounded the corner, frowning. “What are you, Lyka?”
“Pissed,” said Andreas. “Disobedient. Belligerent.”
Joseph’s frown stayed in place as he eyed her. Clearly he wasn’t buying her brother’s cover. “We need you back in the war room,” he told Andreas. “And you, Lyka . . . Tynan called. The Slayer children are asking for you.”
She nodded, glad for any excuse to be away from Joseph right now. He was as smart as he was tenacious. He wasn’t going to let what he overheard go. Escape was her only option.
She gave her brother a hard hug, reeling at the sheer scope of his want for his mystery woman. “Stay safe,” she ordered. “Bring our brother and the young home.”
“I will,” said Andreas. “I won’t rest until we find them.”
She scurried off, feeling Joseph’s gaze on her back. She’d escaped his interrogation for now, but she knew that once the chaos was over, he would seek her out.
She wasn’t sure whether she was more worried or excited by that notion. And that terrified her.
Chapter 7
Joseph paced the halls of Dabyr, waiting for news about the hunt. He’d checked on Carmen, who was working alongside the Sanguinar to help care for the wounded. She was safe and whole, but too busy to do more than reassure him that she was safe. His people were all doing their jobs, tending the injured, soothing the children and making arrangements for everyone to have a bed to sleep in tonight. Extra perimeter guards were on patrol, protecting the walls from attack.
All that was left to do now was wait for word from those out searching for Eric and the missing children.
The teams had left hours ago, and no one had so much as found a trail. Every available Theronai, Sanguinar and Slayer was out there, searching for those kids with no results.
Joseph wanted to be out there searching with them so badly that he had to stay well away from the hallway leading to the garage. If he didn’t, he’d end up behind the wheel, speeding away from his responsibilities here.
As he wandered aimlessly, his phone in his hand, hoping for a call or text, he found himself standing outside Lyka’s door.
He wanted to see her again, and not just because of the mysterious comment she’d made in the hallway earlier. He needed her soothing presence, the relief she brought him whenever he glanced her way.
The pain behind his eyes was killing him, shortening his temper and making him impatient. Every second that ticked by seemed to take an eternity.
His thumb slid over the screen of his phone, itching to call Andreas or one of the others. He knew they were working and would contact him as soon as they could, but the waiting was excruciating.
He needed a distraction. Something—anything—to get his mind off the fact that he wasn’t out there, at his brothers’ side.
Lyka came around the corner, glowing like a beacon as she headed toward her suite. Immediately, the pain in his head eased and his cock twitched, straining against his zipper.
The feelings he had for this woman were as powerful as they were dangerous. If Andreas had even half an idea of the things Joseph wanted to do to her, the man would kill him outright. Or at least make him wish he were dead.
As soon as she saw him, she stopped in her tracks, yards away from him. “Did you need me?”
More than he dared admit.
“Has Andreas called you?” he asked.
“I’m not allowed to have a phone, remember? It’s part of my being your hostage.”
“You’re not a hostage. You’re a guest.”
“Guests are allowed to leave.”
He wasn’t going to argue about this with her. He was too wound up. Too on edge. If he let his temper flare, the rest of his emotions might burn out of control. He’d have that long, sleek body of hers up against a wall, feasting on her mouth before she could stop him. Once he got her there, it was only a few short seconds to having her naked in the hall while he drove his cock nice and deep.
That would definitely make the precariously perched peace treaty between their people wobble.
Joseph cleared his throat, which had suddenly gone dry with desire. “What did you mean earlier when you told Andreas that you were worried someone would find out what you are?”
“You misunderstood me. That’s not what I said.”
“Everything that happens in the halls is recorded. I had Morgan send me the video. There was no mistaking what you said. I want to know why you said it.”
All the color drained from her face. She swayed slightly on her feet, grabbing the wall for support.
Joseph was down the hall and at her side before he could remember that she wouldn’t want his help. His hands dropped before he touched her. “Are you going to fall over?”
“No,” she snapped, straightening her spine.
The light caught her golden hair and made it glow. He could see in the depths of her tawny eyes—in the way she refused to meet his gaze—that she was hiding something from him. Something important.
“What did you mean, Lyka? What are you?”
Sarcasm spewed from her mouth. “A spy, sent here to take you down. Mwoo-haha.”
“I’m being serious. If there’s something you’re hiding, you should tell me now while we can still deal with it—before it becomes too big a problem for us to face together.”
“It’s not a problem, Theronai. Your not minding your own business is.”
“You are my business now, kitten. One of these days, you’ll get used to that idea.”
“Don’t hold your breath. I won’t be here that long.” She went to her door and opened it, but rather than let him in, she blocked the opening so he wouldn’t feel inclined to follow.
He opened his mouth just as his phone broke out in Andreas’s ringtone.
He answered immediately. “Hello?”
“None of our trackers caught a scent.”
Well, hell. He’d been hoping for some shred of good news, but he’d had too many conversations that started like this to hold out hope.
This kind of thing was best done with some modicum of privacy, so he went to the closest place open to him—Lyka’s suite.
The second he marched toward the doorway, she shied away, leaving him the opening he needed to enter.
He closed the door behind him. “What about the Sanguinar? Did they detect anything they could follow—a blood trail, maybe?”