“What. Are. The. Odds!” Dominic laughed. He had been smug and annoying ever since he and his men captured Kaleb. “Just when we were about to assume you escaped town, there you are! Running around like a fool.”
“My sister is so simple I know she has to be here as well. She’s one of those loyal idiots so she wouldn’t leave you behind.”
Kaleb wished to God he would shut up.
“What? Nothing to say? Is the shame too much for you to bear?”
The collar around his neck and the chains bounding him to the floor were the only things keeping Dominic from losing his tongue. For whatever reason, it wouldn’t allow him to shift. Since physical harm was out of the question, Kaleb resigned to silence. There was no point in arguing with him. It would only be a waste of energy.
Eesac’s home was in the center of the town, just outside the Orchid Square where majority of Autumn Valley’s festivities were held. It made searching for Marissa so much easier since he was already in town, however, it also put him smack dab in the face of hunters. He was on the run when one of Dominic’s larger minions tackled him into the bakery and stunned him with god knows what. He remembered back when bullets were the main, but not lethal, concern; unless you took one between the eyes. Now they seemed to have all sorts of new toys.
When he came to, he was locked up in a cage.
“Your father insists that you come upstairs and stop goading the prisoner.”
The all too familiar voice made the hairs on Kaleb’s neck stand to attention.
“Why am I always being stripped of my joy,” Dominic murmured then cast an angry glance at Kaleb before he swung his feet, connecting it to Kaleb’s jaw.
He knelt down and roughly cupped the boy’s bleeding face in his hands. “Nothing? No growl, no snide remark?” When he was greeted with silence, Dominic struck him with his fist, then merely stared at Kaleb’s hanging head.
“Huh, what was that?” He leaned in, a wide, victorious smile marking his feature.He held his hand to his ear condescendingly to hear Kaleb clearly. “I couldn’t quite catch that.”
“I said…” Kaleb lifted his head, “Fuck…You!” And he caught a mouthful of Dominic’s ear and tugged on the measly piece of flesh.
Dominic reared back with a panicked cry and delivered two strong punches to Kaleb’s face. “Fuck!! Goddam…You Filthy Abomination!!!” He screamed and tackled Kaleb, who spat out the piece of Dominic’s ear distastefully.
“Woah Woah there!” Dominic was peeled off, or rather forcefully shoved off Kaleb’s restrained body. “Your father—”
“Fuck My father,” Dominic snapped as he held onto what remained of his bleeding ear.
“You need to leave.”
“You do not give the orders here, Thomas!”
She leveled her gaze at him, “Outside of these walls, you are in charge of operations. The prison is my Jurisdiction. So I give the orders in here and your father wants your sorry ass to meet him right now…” She huffed. “Sir.”
When he didn’t budge, she whistled a strange tune and two large bulky men entered the cage. They grabbed Dominic who struggled and released a flurry of curses and dragged him away. She didn’t say a word until she heard the clank of the bars and silence.
Her laughter was a dreadful tune in his ears. “How kind. Surprised you recovered from your injuries. I expected that shot to end you.”
“It should have, but you missed.”
She waved it off, “We all make mistakes.”
“Bullshit,” Kaleb spat, literally and figuratively. The taste of his own blood in his mouth from Dominic’s beatings was unpleasant. “You missed on purpose. Why?”
“That matters not. Now then, I need your help in locating Marissa.”
Kaleb’s stomach churned at her calm demeanor, as though betraying her life-long friend meant nothing.
He lunged from his spot, only to be snared backward from the chains as if someone had clotheslined him. A series of strangled coughs left him while he glared daggers at the woman.
She walked over to his body and as he tried to get up, she dropped her boots onto his chest. “See, here’s the thing. My orders were to kill you, however, someone above the Coldwells told me you both had to be kept alive. Why? Who knows, who cares, I’m just following orders.”
“She was your friend!”
She raked him a strong slap as she bellowed “Was, she was my friend. You think I enjoy this?” For a moment, he was confused by the vulnerable expression she wore until he reminded himself that she wasn’t capable of feeling remorse.
“Yes. Yes I do.”
Sehjada was about to slap him again, but something flashed in her visage. She closed her eyes, and then removed her foot from him. Thinking it was safe to sit up, he tried, only for her to ram her foot into his chest, and then for the second time today, he took a boot to the face.
He was getting tired of this cycle already.
“Between you and Dominic, I’m not sure who is going to kill me first.”
“I reserved that right for myself,” She grabbed his shirt and pulled him up, “I’ll offer you some friendly advice. Pick a side. Preferably ours. The Felids don’t respect you, no other shifter clan will accept you. At least with us, you won’t suffer too much.”
“Then I pick death.”
She huffed and released him. As the bars to his cage were closed and locked, he expected to be greeted with his thoughts or deafening silence.
“We announced your execution to the public.” Well shit. “You’re to be held accountable for the outbreak of these “strange feline monsters.” You, along with the rest of the felids, were the result of an experiment gone wrong by Mr. McCormic. You led the rebellion that resulted in the death of several civilians in an attempt to take over the town and create an army out of the people.” This didn’t surprise him. An experiment gone wrong? That explained why the town was so barren. People were isolating themselves. They didn’t want to be captured or worse.
She tried to gauge his reaction. Slowly, he looked up at her, deep cerulean eyes focused on hers.
She felt something tug at her senses, and the longer she stared into his eyes she found it almost impossible to look away. He rose to his feet, easily towering over her. He stepped forward until the chains kept him from getting any closer.
She didn’t know why, but she was acutely aware of his presence; his powerful, well-defined features. The swell of bulging muscle beneath his tattered shirt. Dominic’s assault was fading from his handsome face.
She found herself staring at his sensual lips and thought of licking the trail of blood that fell from them. She felt compelled to reach through the bars and pull him as close as metal rods would allow.
What the fuck am I thinking? She stepped back for a moment and shook her head, but the minute she locked eyes with him again she was pulled back into the trance.
Why was it suddenly so hot in there? She tugged at the collar of her shirt, trying to allow for ventilation of any kind. Her body was throbbing with need. She didn’t understand why, and honestly, she didn’t care.
The color of his irises gradually shifted; from that gorgeous blue to a stunning gold, and then to a dark, sensual shade of red.
She jumped at the sound of her name.
“Let me ease your suffering,” He whispered in a lascivious tone that was not his own, “Just open the gate.”
She put the tip of the key into the lock, was about to turn it. Her hormones were jumping for joy at the thought of letting Kaleb take her.
“The fuck are you doing?!”
Dominic burst into the room and slapped her with more force than he needed.
The pain radiating from her face and rear snapped her out of the trance.
“What were you thinking?” He was yelling at her but his eyes were on Kaleb who wore a smug smile on his face.
With reason back into play she noticed that something wasn’t right about him. She felt her body responding to him as she watched him and had to look away.
That did nothing to help. His aura was overwhelming. Her breathing picked up, hating, but loving the sensation she felt at the mere thought of him having her.
“Kill Joy,” Kaleb snorted as he sat in the center of his cell. Blue eyes returned, and just like that, Sehjada no longer felt the need to throw herself at him.
Dominic snatched her by the arm and forcefully dragged her out the room. When they were upstairs, he released her and raked her with a scornful glare.
“I…I don’t know what happened” was all she could think to say. And if her soaked underwear was any indication, she knew what would have happened if Dominic hadn’t arrived. She had never felt such a strong attraction in her life.
Whatever it was, she was certain that Kaleb Sabre was no ordinary Felid.
Funny how she lived here all her life and yet, as she stood outside the vine-covered walls of the mansion, it all seemed so foreign to her. She eyed the parking lot where Claire had lost his life, the balcony where Kaleb tried, and failed, to serenade her. She walked around to the back, allowing herself to be lost in the garden where she played hide-and-seek with her father as a child, and fell asleep to stories her mother read to her.
There was a rusting swing set in near the oldest oak tree in their yard. Dominic used to play with her there. Granted he also pushed too high and then insisted she jump off. Melanie always did it with ease. Marissa could never bring herself to. At the thought of her sister, her lips turned down in a frown. Where had she gone and why hadn’t she said anything? Was she part of all this? Did she know what Marissa was? Was she also a hunter?
A rustling in the bushes put her body on high alert. Her stance shifted, ready to tear at the intruder. A bright red robin flew out of the bushes and onto the hanging tree branch overhead. Marissa breathed a sigh of relief. She was getting tired of constantly having to fight for her life.
“What are you doing here?”
Marissa’s head swung in the direction of the back door, her eyes wide as she stared at the figure in the doorway.
“Melanie?” She whispered then prepared to run into her sister’s arms until she caught sight of the gun in her hands and a scarily familiar scent crossed her.
“Your sister’s back? Good. We have unfinished business.” The wide smirk on Shawn’s face as he strode from the inside of the house sent a dreadful feeling into the pit of her stomach.