Full Moon Rising
Chapter Six

 Keri Arthur

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That really makes as much sense as them choosing to clone the same butt-ugly image over and over again." I paused, remembering as soon as I'd opened my big mouth that the butt-ugly image had apparently originally belonged to his friend. Presuming, that is, his dead friend was the source of the clones and not another clone himself. To cover my gaffe, I quickly added, "And surely if the people who attacked me already had Rhoan, I'd feel a greater sense of danger where he was concerned."
"Not necessarily. Not if Moneisha is merely a collecting point. Maybe the people behind that lab are merely getting samples and don't know yet what they really have."
I eyed him for a moment. "So you knew Rhoan was in St. Kilda investigating the disappearances of the pros?"
He nodded. "I was with him most of the night."
"Why did you leave? It's not as if dawn would have threatened you."
He grimaced. "No, but hunger could."
I raised my eyebrows. "And you couldn't have taken blood from the pros?"
"I could have, but I prefer not to." His smile touched his eyes again and damned if it didn't make my knees go weak. "I only bite someone while making love, and I do have a preference for women who are not in the game."
The thought of him biting my neck while thrusting slow and deep made me all goose pimply and hot. Man, I was really going to have to take this vampire for a test run before he disappeared out of my life
"So Rhoan disappeared after you'd left?"
He nodded. "Rhoan was dressed like a hooker so he didn't stand out on the streets while hunting information. I was in the shadows watching, and reading thoughts."
Meaning they might have suspected that Rhoan had a guard, because they'd only snatched him once Quinn had left. Either that, or they'd thought Quinn was a watchful pimp. I walked to the windows and stared out. We were only ten floors up, so there wasn't all that much to see but more buildings. I let my gaze drift to the southeast. The reason for Rhoan's capture wasn't really important. Getting him out of there before they realized he wasn't just a wolf was
I swung around. "We have to go."
Quinn didn't try to stop me, which was good, because right then I probably would have tried to flatten him. I say tried, because I very much suspected he was one vampire I wasn't equal to. There was something about him, something under that calm, sexy exterior, that suggested greater depths than any of the vampires I worked with. Even Jack
And if Jack was wary of this vampire, then I sure as hell should be
All Quinn said was, "We have to prepare first."
"I can shadow. They won't see me."
"They have infrared. You said that yourself."
I stopped at the door and took a deep breath. He was right. But it did little to ease the anxiety suddenly knotting my insides
I glanced over my shoulder. "What do you suggest?"
He retrieved the chip from the desk, then rose and walked toward me, all grace and beauty in a lean and powerful package. "A little game of dress-up."
I could think of a lot of games I could play with this vampire, and dressing up was certainly up there on the list. But I very much doubted he meant the type of dressing up I was imagining - more's the pity. "Meaning?"
"Meaning, if Moneisha is looking for prostitutes, why don't we give them an easy one to snatch?"
"Wouldn't they be a little suspicious of a pro suddenly appearing on a quiet suburban street?"
He gave me the chip, then pressed a hand into my back again, guiding me toward the elevators. "Not necessarily. There's a working brothel one street down from Moneisha. Hopefully they'll think you're just walking to work."
I slanted him a sideways glance. "And how would you know there's a working brothel one street away?"
"A good investigator discovers what he can about a target area."
"Yet you said only moments before that you preferred to avoid prostitutes."
"I do." He gave me another of those grins. "I'm a billionaire. Women throw themselves at me all the time. I have no need to pay for it."
Which didn't exactly answer my question. "And do you not-pay-for-it often?"
"Quite often. I have needs, like any other man."
I was hoping he'd assuage some of those needs with me. And as soon as I got my brother out
The doors closed behind us and the lift dropped. My stomach flirted with the idea of puking, then decided to settle again. "So where are we going?"
"To buy camouflage." His gaze slid down my body. "The skirt is nice, but it doesn't quite stretch into pro territory."
Well, no, but all I had to do was take off the coat and sweater, reveal the torn shirt, and you had come-get-me material right there. "It's nearly midnight. There are not going to be any shops open."
"When you have the money, the shops are always open."
The glass front doors slid open as we approached and the cool evening air swirled in. It was thick with the aromas of smog and humans, but underneath it lay something else. Musk and mint and man. The same combination that had been on the wolf who'd shot me
I stopped and heard something else. A scream of air, as if something fast and deadly was tearing through the night toward us
I threw myself sideways and knocked Quinn out of the way. He cursed, his arms going around me, instinctively cushioning my body with his as we fell to the ground. He grunted as we hit, and his eyes widened. Air hissed, and I twisted around to look. Something cut through the night just above us, something that was wood rather than metal, with a deadly pointed end
An arrow
The fact that it was all wood suggested it had been aimed at Quinn, but the reality was, an arrow in the heart wasn't going to do either of us any good
It hit the glass behind us and ricocheted harmlessly away. Footsteps whispered across the sounds of the night. Our attacker, on the run. I broke away from Quinn's embrace, flung off my bag, coat, and sweater, then shifted shape. In wolf form, I bounded after the bastard
"Riley, wait!"
It was a command, one I ignored. The would-be assassin was running toward South Bank, perhaps hoping to shake any pursuit in the crowd gathered near the casino. Meaning he either didn't realize I was a wolf, or he had no idea just how keen a wolf's hunting sense was
He kept running, looking over his shoulder as he did so, barreling into people and thrusting them out of the way. I loped after him, lithely avoiding the idiot humans who screamed or stepped into my path rather than out of it. The man ahead was another Gautier, right down to the long, greasy ponytail. He was obviously aware that he was being pursued, but he was looking over the wrong shoulder and I was drawing closer and closer. His scent was cloying, the minty smell barely covering the growing odor of death and decay. I wrinkled my nose and resisted the temptation to sneeze
He didn't head over the bridge, as I'd expected, running instead into the Clocks poker machine venue. I shifted shape, retied the shirt, then strode in after him
He weaved through the machines, not quite running. I kept back, out of sight. His scent lingered in the air, a trail I could follow anywhere, even in a venue layered with so many conflicting odors
Another aroma joined the throng - sandalwood. I smiled and glanced over my shoulder. Quinn was three feet behind me, my bag slung casually over his shoulder
His dark gaze was filled with anger as it met mine. "You could have gotten yourself into trouble running off like that." He handed me my sweater, and I put it on as he added, "It might have been a trap."
It still could be. Who knew where Gautier's double might lead us? "That arrow was aimed at you, not me."
"It would have got me, too." He reached out, catching my hand and raising it to his mouth as we walked. The brief caress of his lips across my fingers was unlike anything I'd ever felt before. Sweet, and yet at the same time, erotic. "Thank you," he added softly
I took a deep breath, trying to control my suddenly erratic pulse
Ahead, our would-be murderer ducked through a door and disappeared. I looked up at the sign above the door and smiled. He'd gone to the toilet. Perfect
"You mind the door." Quinn handed me back my bag and coat. "I'll have a little talk with our friend."
"Anyone else in there?"
His gaze narrowed slightly, and I knew he was using his infrared vision to check. "No."
I followed him in, but stopped just inside, leaning back against the door as it closed. I have to say, the smell of men's toilets was never pleasant, no matter how much air freshener they used. Not that I'd been in all that many, but hey, it was one way of avoiding the queues in the women's during intermission at the theatre or concerts
The urinals weren't occupied, but one stall was. It had to be our man. Why he thought he'd be safe behind the closed door of a toilet was anyone's guess. Maybe he didn't get out amongst vamps or werewolves much
Quinn raised a foot and kicked the door open, then blurred so fast one second he was there, and the next he wasn't. There a brief flurry of sound, flesh smacking against flesh, then a squeak that was more a note of pain than fear. It wasn't Quinn's squeak
Silence fell. No conversation, no nothing. But I knew what was happening. Quinn was raiding the other man's mind
The door behind me bumped slightly, then someone knocked. "Sorry," I called. "Closed for cleaning. Someone vomited."
The gent on the other side cursed and walked away. "You'd better hurry, Quinn. Security will have seen us come in here. We probably haven't much longer before they investigate."
He came out five seconds later and closed the stall door before walking over to the basin to wash his hands. I watched him for a moment, then my gaze drifted back to that closed door and I felt a sudden chill. "He's dead, isn't he?"
"Yes." He didn't look at me, just finished washing his hands, then tore off some paper towel to dry them
"How?" I hadn't heard the snap of bones, so he certainly hadn't broken the other man's neck
"Heart attack." His dark gaze met mine and the coldness there chilled me. "An easy thing to do when you can read their minds and know their worst fears - and have the empathic capabilities to enforce the belief those fears are currently happening."
So he was empathic as well as telepathic. That certainly explained why he was catching my aura so strongly, despite my shields and his. "He died of fright?"
"I'm afraid so."
He dumped the paper in the bin and walked toward me. I would have backed away had I had anywhere to go. And while I recognized it was a ridiculous reaction, I just couldn't help it. As much as I was certain I could protect myself, I had the strangest feeling that, against this vampire, there was no defense
"We'd better get out of here," he continued, in that same soft, flat tone. "Security is coming."
I opened the door and walked out. Sure enough, two men in black security outfits were walking toward us. They didn't look at us, didn't even appear to notice us, and I knew Quinn had touched their minds, diverting their attention away from us
His fingers pressed into my back, but this time I stepped away from his warm touch, walking quickly through the room and out into the night. I stopped at the curb, crossing my arms and drawing the cool, flavorsome air deep
He stopped behind me, a heat I could feel more than hear. "I scared you."
"Why? You work with guardians. They do far worse than what I did in there."
"I know. But I expect it from them. I didn't expect it from you."
"I'm a vampire. That's what we are."
"Yeah, but for some reason I'd been hoping you were different." That the exterior gloss was fact, not merely a show. But that was my problem, not his. Hell, it wasn't as if he hadn't warned me that he could kill as easily as he drank blood. And, truth be told, the demonstration hadn't really killed my desire for him. "Did you uncover anything useful?"
He was silent for a moment, then said, "He was partially blocked. I caught images. Moneisha's not where these things are coming from."
I glanced over my shoulder. He wasn't even looking at me, but staring up at the cloudy sky, his expression thoughtful
"What images?"
"It's underground. Lots of concrete, bright lights, white walls, that sort of stuff."
"Nothing recognizable in the way of scenery?"
He shook his head and finally looked at me. His eyes were shuttered. "It could have been anywhere. Any country."
Great. "Then let's go get Rhoan out."
"Disguises first."
"Where? It's midnight and there's not a lot open." Not a lot beyond restaurants, clubs, and the Casino, that is
"As I said before, that doesn't mean a lot when you have money."
A point he proceeded to prove by having the largest retailer in the city open its doors so we could shop. "Can you do tarty?" he said, as we headed up in the elevator to the women's floor
I grinned. "I'm a wolf. We do tart better than the tarts."
A smile warmed his dark eyes. "I've noticed that about wolves. I shall leave you to your own devices, then, and go get the supplies I need." He glanced at the assistant. "Anything she wants. Charge it to my account." His gaze came back to me. "I'll meet you downstairs in half an hour."
Half an hour wasn't long when you'd just been given full use of unlimited credit, but hey, I wasn't about to bitch. I wasted ten minutes simply walking around looking, and eventually went for the thigh-length silver snakeskin boots, simply because I'd always wanted a pair. But I settled for the four-inch heels rather than the six-inch, just in case I had to run. I combined those with a barely decent blue net skirt that was way too short to be described as micro, and a silver crop top that had peekaboo holes for my nipples. To complete the effect, I went for a bright blue wig and blue-toned skin makeup. Then I headed into the change room to make the transformation
As I studied my reflection in the mirror, I decided I did slut superbly well. The blue wig and skin toning made my smoke-colored eyes glow a bright blue, and the skirt and shirt flirted with indecency but left enough covered to stop the cops hauling me off to charge me. I shoved my jacket on, put my other clothes in my bag, and walked downstairs to meet Quinn
He was waiting, several bags at his feet. His gaze went to my hair, then slid down to my face, and a mix of surprise and hunger flitted through his eyes. The surge of his desire nearly scorched my skin
"Rather keen on the blue, are we?" I teased
He didn't deny it. Couldn't, when I could so easily smell it. "I don't get a preview of the rest of it?"
I grinned. "And spoil the surprise?"
His gaze slid down, lingering on my leather-clad ankles. "I've got a feeling the surprise could be heart attack material."
"Isn't that the effect you want?"
"Yes." He bent to pick up the two bags, affording me a glimpse of laser guns and some sort of electronic sensor. I didn't even know they sold that sort of stuff here, and I shopped here frequently. But maybe they had a special section set aside for billionaires
He gave the manager a huge tip, then escorted me outside. "Did you come in a car?"
I nodded. "It's in the Casino parking lot."
"Then we'll leave it there and go in mine. They might have taken note of your car earlier."
We walked down the street, heading back to his building. My heels clicked against the pavement, a tattoo of sound as rhythmic as the beat of desire burning through my blood. I felt good in the blue clothes, sexy rather than slutty. Not that I minded slutty if the occasion was right. And if it hadn't been for the fact that I needed to get my brother free that night, I would have offered to take Quinn's neat packaging for a quick test drive
His car turned out to be a black Ferrari - sleek, sporty, and hot. Much like the man himself. He opened the door for me and I climbed in
"So, what's the plan?" I said, once we were under way
"If you look as good beneath as I think you do, all you'll have to do is walk up the street and every camera in the vicinity will be on you."
I grinned. "And then?"
"You find a way to keep those cameras on you while I either get over the wall or get through that second entrance and try to find a way to get Rhoan out."
I raised an eyebrow. "It'll take two of us to get Rhoan out, won't it?"
He shrugged. "It might. But first off, we'll have to find out if he's in there, then we have to discover just how well guarded he is. It may not happen tonight."
So he thought. I, on the other hand, was damn sure that, one way or another, Rhoan was coming out of the place that night. "If you do a drive past first, I might be able to tell you if he's still in there."
Quinn nodded. We cruised through the streets, the streetlights blurring past at a speed that suggested he wasn't keeping to the legal limit. I suppose when you were a multibillionaire, a ticket or two didn't really make that much of a dent in the bank balance
We reached Moneisha in record time, and he slowed to cruising speed. I studied the white walls but didn't feel anything. I said as much to Quinn
"It might be because you're in the car. Maybe you have to be closer to feel him."
Maybe. And maybe he was simply gone. I tried to ignore the unease sitting like a weight in my stomach, and said, "I'll have to do a walk past."
Quinn turned into a side street and stopped well out of camera range. "I'll drive past in five minutes and stop. You can pretend I'm a potential client and come talk to me. That way, if he's not there, we can simply drive away."
I raised an eyebrow. "Why don't we simply lower our shields a little and use telepathy?"
He gave me a glance that could have meant anything. "I don't think so."
"Why not?"
"Because you're a wolf in moon heat, and your aura is so strong that I can feel it even with my shields up."
"And this is a bad thing because... ?"
"Because when I make love to someone, I prefer it to be in comfort, not in the confines of a cramped sports car."
I grinned. "I've never done it in the front seat of a Ferrari. It could be fun."
"It could be dangerous."
I laughed. I couldn't help it. "You know, for a man who's seen a thousand years pass by, you have some pretty staid ideas."
"And you're a pup who hasn't yet had the time to appreciate the finer things in life - like making love in luxurious surroundings."
"Hey, I fuck millionaires, so I already know all about luxury. Danger and discomfort can be just as thrilling, believe me."
He shook his head. "I'm going to have to teach you better."
I grinned. "Or maybe you just need some of that stuffiness shaken out of you."
"In the twelve hundred years I've been around, I've tried it all. Believe me, I know which is better."
"But in all that time, I bet you ain't met someone like me." I gave him a saucy grin. "I'm going to rock your world, vampire."
His smile just about smoked my insides. "You're welcome to try."
My hormones were all for trying right there and then, but I had a brother to rescue first. I opened the door and started to climb out. Quinn reached across the car, his fingers wrapping around my knee, a heat that burned past the snakeskin leather and slithered deep into my bones
"There is one thing I must make clear, though," he said, his low tones holding a hint of warning
I glanced at him. "What?"
"There can never be more than a casual dance between us. I have no intentions of getting seriously involved with another werewolf."
I raised my eyebrows. "What makes you think I want anything more than casual? I'm a wolf - and like all wolves, I want the soul mate and kids ideal. You can never offer me that."
"I'm just warning you."
"So I consider myself warned." I slipped out of the car and took off my coat, throwing it back inside. His sharp intake of breath made my grin widen. "Consider this outfit your warning, my dear vampire."
I blew him a kiss and slammed the door before he could make any sensible reply. Grin still wide, I strolled down to Acacia Street, crossed the road, and began an exaggerated, saucy walk far enough away from the walls for the cameras to see me. A soft buzz filled the silence as they began tracking me
I sensed Rhoan within minutes. He was still there, still in those same rooms I'd sensed him in earlier. I sighed in relief. All we had to do was try to get him out
Lights cut across the darkness behind me. I kept walking, listening to the throaty purr of the engine, knowing it was Quinn simply because I could sense him with the same ease I was currently sensing Rhoan
He stopped beside me and the window slid down. I strolled over and leaned down, flashing the cameras an eyeful of butt
"He's there."
"Right now, with you looking the way you're looking, I'm not particularly worried if he's there or not."
"So the front seat of the Ferrari is suddenly looking good?" I teased
My phone rang before he could answer. He reached into my bag, clicked the flashing vid button, then held it up so I could talk without blowing our cover
Jack came online, and he didn't look happy. "Riley, where are you?"
"Outside Moneisha," I said. "Why?"
"Well, when you grab Rhoan, don't bring him to the office. There's been some trouble."
"What kind of trouble?"
"Someone's just tried to kill me."
"A pretty stupid someone, I'd say."
Jack gave me a crooked grin. "Well, yeah, seeing he missed his target and was caught. Unfortunately for us, he killed himself before we could question him too much."
I frowned. "Where did this all happen?" I couldn't imagine a shooter getting through the Directorate's street-level doors, let alone down to the guardian levels
"I was on my way home."
"I thought the Directorate was your home?"
"Only most of the time."
"So whoever sanctioned the shooting knew your movements pretty well."
"Exactly. And combined with Rhoan's disappearance and the attempt on your life, I think we'd better start playing extra safe. Once you snatch Rhoan, don't go home or come here. They'll expect those, so go somewhere else and ring me once everyone is safe."
"Will do."
He hung up. Quinn put the phone back in my bag, then said, "So where do you intend taking him?"
"I'll worry about that once I get him out."
He considered me for a moment, the heat that had been so evident in his eyes moments before totally gone. "I could fly him up to Sydney and have him checked there. They certainly wouldn't expect that."
No, they wouldn't. But I wasn't about to let Quinn loose with my brother - not when I didn't know if I could trust him. Not when I'd been attacked, and now Jack. Okay, so he'd been attacked too, but it all still seemed just a little too convenient. Just because Jack trusted him didn't mean I had to. Hell, how could I even be sure if Quinn had pulled that camera off my shooter? What if it was just an attempt to gain my trust?
Though what would the point of that be, when, as he'd already said, if he intended me harm, he could well and truly have done it already?
I worried my bottom lip for a moment, then said, "I don't know if that's wise. After all, whoever is behind this made an attempt on your life, as well."
"We don't know if that's connected."
I snorted. "So it's just a coincidence that my shooter and your attackers happened to be genetically engineered clones? Give me some credit for intelligence."
He grimaced. "I'm sorry. But Rhoan needs to be checked. We can't take him to a hospital here because we can't be certain how far this thing extends. You can't take him to the Directorate for the same reason. So our next best option would be to take one of my private planes to my labs in Sydney and have him checked there. Besides, Melbourne is not a safe place for you to be if they're trying to get rid of everyone involved in this investigation."
"I'm not involved. I'm just rescuing Rhoan."
"That shooter makes you involved, whether you want to be or not."
A gate to the right of us creaked open. I looked sideways. A brown-skinned man appeared, the hunger in him thick and sharp. A werecreature of some kind, though he didn't feel like a wolf
"He's wearing a guard's uniform," I noted softly, looking back at Quinn. "Could be the opportunity we want."
"Could be." He reached into the glove box and withdrew some thick tape. He tore off two pieces and handed them to me. "You think you can get him through those gates and keep him distracted long enough for me to get in there?"
I stuck the tape to my palm. "I'll try. Make sure you drive off like a rejected customer."
He nodded. "Once we get Rhoan, we'll take him straight to Essendon airport. I have a plane there that could be ready in the hour."
He seemed pretty damn determined to get Rhoan to Sydney, and that only made me more convinced it was better to do the exact opposite. I didn't answer and pushed away from the car. Quinn planted his foot and the car took off with a squeal of rubber
I strolled leisurely toward the guard. He was tall, broadly built, and muscular - very desirable, until you looked into his eyes. They were brown, and held no humanity at all. Just hunger and death
The heat of his aura hit me a heartbeat later. The moon heat surged in response, leaving me breathless, hot, yet very uneasy. There was an undercurrent of brutality in what he was projecting, and I very much suspected that sex with this man would not be pleasant... maybe not even survivable
"Are you werecreature?" The guard's voice was gruff with the urgency I could feel vibrating through him
"My mother was wolf."
His gaze slithered downward, coming to an abrupt halt where my nipples poked through the shirt. "That explains the heat I feel from you."
I shrugged. "If you hunger, there's a cost."
He smirked. "How about we do a deal?"
I raised an eyebrow. "What sort of deal?"
"I won't report your activities here to the cops and, in return, you mate with me and my buddy."
Christ, there were two of them. Just what I needed with the moon burning in the night sky
I pursed my lips, pretending to consider the proposal. After a moment, I said, "Not here. Is there somewhere more... intimate we could go?"
He grinned, gave the camera a thumbs-up, then motioned me to follow him. As I walked through the first gate, I slid a piece of the tape across the magnetic lock. A second later, the guard caught my hand and pulled me roughly toward him. My heart started hammering and I barely resisted the instinct to deck him. But only because the surge of his desire suggested his actions were born of hunger rather than suspicion
He pressed me close. His body felt on fire, and, like the Gautier clones, he smelled faintly of mint and musk and freshly turned earth. Did that mean he, too, was a clone? Or was he something else completely different? Perhaps another of those lab-bred crosses?
The waves of his aura were blasting me with hot desire, hardening my nipples to the point of pain and making my pulse race - all physical signs of a response I didn't feel inside. But I couldn't let that reluctance show. I had to make him believe I was as eager as he or there'd be trouble
He pressed a hand into my back, his fingers sliding down my spine, his touch hot yet sending chills skating across my skin. His breathing was rapid, fanning my cheek with foulness
"You feel good, wolf."
I forced a smile and pressed my groin against the thickness of his erection. "As do you," I purred. It wasn't a lie. I was a wolf, the moon was in bloom, and the need to mate was rising. The heat of him pressed against me did feel good - even if the rest of his packaging made me want to throw up
His mouth came down to mine and it felt like I was kissing death itself. His hand slid under the skirt and began fondling my rear. I shuddered, partly in pleasure, partly in pain. His touch made me eager, yet it also bruised
When his fat fingers tried to slide farther, I pulled away and placed a hand on his chest. "Not here. Inside, out of the cold."
His grin was full of hungry anticipation. He caught my arm, pulling me roughly forward. I managed to slide the tape across the second gate and hoped like hell it worked. I could handle one man with no problems, but I very much suspected I might not be able to handle the blast of two hungry auras - not for long, anyway
We approached the guardhouse, and the aura of the second werecreature hit. It felt like I was drowning in a sea of lust, one that had my blood surging even though the sane part of me quailed at the thought of mating with those two sickos
Not that I intended letting the charade go that far. Unlike my brother, I was telepathic, and I could use that power to protect myself just as well as I could use my fists. And in cases like this, telepathy was the far better weapon
The first guard opened the door and ushered me inside. The room was small, containing little more than monitors, chairs, and a phone. The second guard was the exact duplicate of the first - brown on evil brown. And like the first guard, there was something base, something corrupt, in the energy he was projecting
He rose, expectation shining in his eyes as he hitched the waist of his pants and gave me the once-over. I obviously met with his approval, because his eagerness burned the air
The first guard reached for me, something I felt rather than saw. I spun out of the way, covering the movement by catching his hand and pressing it against one breast. His fingers caught my nipple, squeezing hard
I ignored the pain and forced a smile. "Hadn't you better ensure we're not disturbed first?"
The second guard reached for the phone. I pushed the first man backward. "Strip."
He grinned and quickly obeyed. I looked down, and felt the blood rush from my face. His cock wasn't only thick, it was barbed, in the same way that a cat's is barbed. He'd tear me apart if he got inside
He stepped toward me and I pressed my hand against his chest again. "Wait for your friend." I kept my voice to a low purr. "It's more fun when there are two."
The second man made a strange sound in the back of his throat and hurriedly completed the call, telling whoever it was on the other end they were going on patrol and wouldn't be back for half an hour
I ordered the second man to strip when he'd finished his call and lowered my shields a little
Their hunger hit like a club, and I found myself fighting a lust stronger than I'd ever felt before. But behind the hunger came the excited buzz of their thoughts. These two weren't shielded, weren't psychic, and were very easy prey. I took a deep breath, then lowered my shields completely, and surged into their minds. Made each one look at the other and believe he saw me
They fell into each other's arms and began to mate. I closed my eyes, not wanting to see it, hating what I was doing even though it was a far better option than letting either of them touch me
The door crashed open. I spun, fists clenched, ready to confront whoever it was. Only it was Quinn. His gaze met mine, and the relief so evident there stirred me in ways I'd never thought possible. Then his gaze swiveled toward the two on the floor
"Interesting way of dealing with the problem." His voice was flat, yet I saw the muscle in his jaw jump, as if he was battling not to laugh
"Better than letting them touch me. Their penises were barbed."
"That would suggest werecats."
I nodded. "If their smell is anything to go by, these two came from labs, not nature." I crossed my arms and tried to ignore the sounds of their mating. The tremors of desire running through me were growing sharper. I wasn't sure how much longer I could hold out against need
"Go find Rhoan," I said, voice sharp. As much as I wanted to find him myself, the truth was, Quinn had far more experience than I in skulking around. He was a thousand-year-old vampire, after all. "I'll stay here with these two."
He hesitated. "Will you be okay?"
I ignored the concern in his voice. "Just go."
He did. I leaned back against the wall as the slap of flesh on flesh and the grunts of pleasure echoed around me, rising to a crescendo that sawed at my nerves. When the two on the floor were finally still, I made them both get up and get dressed, then sat them down in the chairs
By that time, sweat was beginning to run down my cheek and my head was beginning to hurt. I'd never really used my abilities to this extent before, and had never realized just how much energy it sucked. It was worse than being with Talon for eight hours
I glanced at my watch. Quinn had been gone for fifteen minutes. We had maybe another fifteen before someone thought to check these two
Or would have had, had luck been on our side
Alarms bit through the air, the noise piercing. A second later, the door was flung open and Quinn appeared, Rhoan limp over one shoulder and a laser gun in his free hand
"Hurry" was all he said, all he needed to say
I glanced at the two men, wiped their minds of everything that had just happened, and ran out the door. I pulled the tape off the gates, locking them behind me, then blurred into the night and ran after Quinn
It was three blocks before we came to the car. Quinn exchanged the gun for his car keys and opened the doors. "We'll head straight for the airport," he said, as he bent to place Rhoan in the car. "I'll call ahead so that the plane is ready by the time we get there."
Like hell he would. There were times when I was more than a little careless about my own safety, but I sure as hell wasn't going to risk my brother's any more than I had to. He wasn't just my twin, he was my pack. The two of us had to look out for each other, simply because we were all the other had since our mother's pack had thrown us out. And until I'd actually talked to Rhoan, heard his side of the story, then Quinn was still on my may-not-be-trusted list
Which meant I was going to have to lose the delicious man yet again. I could only hope that if he was innocent, he'd forgive me
As he was straightening, I thrust a hand against the back of his head, forcing him forward, bashing his head against the roof of the car as hard as I could. Which was damn hard
He never really stood a chance - and it just went to prove that even a thousand-year-old vampire could be taken unawares. I caught him as he fell, grunting a little at the force of his weight, then dragged him across the pavement, and over the fence of the nearest house. He fell into the shadows of several thick bushes and, for all intents and purposes, was hidden from sight
I ran back to the car, slipped into the driver's seat, and drove away as fast as I dared