Mine! Part Two Chapter Twenty
We left Kraig and Ritch with Mom. Deke drowned out their objections with a fierce growled order to stay put, and I followed him out the door. “Stay here,” I said to the guard. If there were intruders, the house needed protection, but I had to guard Deke’s back.
The scent of blood, a sharp coppery tang with salty overtones laced the air when we approached the building that had held the captives. Myles was dead, and Jackie beside him. She was gasping for air, holding her arm as blood dripped down her fingers.
“What happened?” Deke snapped.
“The patrol caught two intruders on the eastern border. They brought them here, and then pulled the extra guards from here and the gates. We’d put them in individual cells to hold until we called you when all hell broke loose.” Her fingers tightened on her arm. “We were attacked, not just by werekin, but by more of those things like—”
She broke off what she was going to say, but her flickering glance to me and then Deke made it clear what she was thinking. I growled. “Ritch had nothing to do with this and neither did Kraig.”
If she thought my snarl was scary, she positively huddled under Deke’s. Her eyes were wild, pupils blown. “No, they did not. The alpha mate would never harm our streak.”
Jackie gulped. “Of course not, Alpha.” She bent in a deep bow as best as she could without toppling over, but she wobbled on her knees. When she was leaning down, I saw more blood on the back of her neck. A head wound too.
“What do you mean that all hell broke loose?” I asked.
“Two tiger bonded werekin from another streak and the… others came outta nowhere. They attacked us, knocked me out before I could even draw my gun and killed Myles, and opened the cells. They took the trespassers and the human werekin. They left the other one here, but he’s damaged.”
“The other one?” Alarm shot through me. “The one with my dad’s soul?”
She nodded and groaned.
“Fuck.” I darted away from the group, rushing through the busted door and down the hall to the cells. There was blood on the wall in spots, smeared handprints and blotches. Inside the room, the werekin was on the bed, but his face was a bloody pulp. He’d taken a beating, and it looked like his nose and jaw were severely broken. His eyes were swollen shut and a long slice on his cheekbone was bleeding.
But he was breathing. I hurried to the bed, and he cringed away. “I’m not here to hurt you.” I rubbed my fingers together, but clenched my jaw and checked his pulse. Fast, too fast, but it wasn’t weak or thready.
“I’ll get you some help.” The relief I felt wasn’t because he wasn’t going to die for his own sake, but for my mom’s. She’d probably say they beat him until he couldn’t speak so he couldn’t reveal their secrets and he was a victim, not one of the bastards threatening all werekin with their sadistic schemes.
He could be a decoy. They let him rip a soul from a bonded werekin and shove it inside him in an unholy bond, creating a hybrid freak that my mother would feel a bond to and my brother would sympathize with.
Or maybe I was just a paranoid bastard. But this was my streak, my family… my Ritch. “Don’t move.” It was probably pointless to say that, but I wasn’t above giving orders.
Deke was on his phone when I stepped back outside. He hung up and turned. “He’s beat to shit but alive. Doc on his way?”
He nodded. “We need to get to the gate. They’re not answering, so I called in reinforcements.” He reached down and lifted Jackie to her feet. He guided her to a chair next to the door. “Stay here. Can you use a gun?”
She nodded. He pulled hers out of the holster at her hip. She wiped her bloody hand on her pants and wrapped her fingers around the grip, her finger on the trigger. “Don’t shoot anyone from our streak. The doc is coming, okay?” he said.
“Got it.” She pulled her finger off the trigger and laid it alongside the guard.
Deke cupped her cheek. “Thank you, Jackie.” I could feel the thrum of his power, and she smiled and some of the tension eased out of her body.
“Thank you, Alpha.”
When we approached the gate to the streak’s property, it was too quiet. The wind was at our backs, which I hated, and it hid the stench of blood and death. The guard who’d remained on duty when the others went to check the perimeter was slumped over the desk in the small shed.
“Stand guard. I’m going to pull the footage.” Hidden in the desk was a computer. Carefully, Deke leaned Javon back in the chair. His throat had been sliced open, one deep cut and two ragged claw marks on either side. Definitely a Tiger kill.
Deke pulled up the computer monitor and then opened the door for the keyboard. Hidden around the gate and on the drive up from the main road were several surveillance cameras. Not all streaks had the same level of technology we did, but it came in handy.
“Motherfuckers! I know that car.”
“Who is it?” I craned my neck to briefly look at the monitor, but the grainy gray image was too hard to make out from this distance.
I snarled and my hackles rose, the hair on the back of my neck standing up. I knew my ruff was puffed out and I couldn’t sheathe my claws if I wanted to. I didn’t want to. I wanted to hunt down that fucker and rip him to shreds. “He’s dead.”
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