Full Blooded

Page 34

Tyler started racing toward us. “Let her the fuck go, cat!”

Rourke tensed for a fight, his muscles tightening under his jacket, but he didn’t yield his grip on me.

Before Tyler could get to us, a U-Haul truck swerved around the corner behind him. His attackers, it seemed, had hitched a ride. The truck slammed on its brakes with a tire-squealing screech, sliding the whole van sideways, cutting off the road completely.

Dead end in front of us, U-Haul full of Southern wolves in back.

“It’s a goddamn trap!” Rourke roared. “Get on the back of the bike.” He yanked me against my will the last few paces to his bike and tossed me at it while he jumped on from the other side, flipping the kickstand up and starting it with a roar. “Get on the bike. Now!” he yelled over the noise of the engine.

I didn’t move and Tyler closed the gap between us in two strides, grabbing on to my arms. “What the hell’s going on? Why did you leave with him?” I could see him processing what Rourke had just said.

“James decided to trust him,” I told him quickly. “And Dad backed him up. Rourke took me out of the bar fight and brought me here.” I left out against my will, because Tyler could see the scenario as it stood. My father was likely still occupied with his own battle or the wolves would be updated on my whereabouts, or at least who I was with, by now.

“Jess, you have to get out of here,” Tyler pleaded. “We’re in the middle of a war—and you’re their prize. You have to go right now, even if your only option is to go with the … goddamn cat.” His face held revulsion, but I knew if his Alpha had already sanctioned it, he would go along with the program.

Dammit. “Tyler, I don’t want to go, I want to stay and fight. My place is here fighting alongside my Pack, not being protected like some breakable object.”

The U-Haul doors sprang open and a half dozen unfamiliar wolves in human form touched the ground running. No time to think about formulating a plan, they would be on us in two seconds.

Tyler whipped me behind him, pushing me inadvertently toward Rourke as he went, yelling, “Go! Just get out of here while you still can.”

“No, I want to fight. Let me help you,” I cried. “I can fight!”

“No!” No. He flipped to my mind. Jessica, please, you can’t do this. I can’t protect you and fight at the same time. You’re not trained for combat yet. You’re putting us both in danger by staying here.

“I can’t leave you. I’m not going to leave you here alone.” I’m not going to fucking leave, do you hear me?

Tyler ignored me as his gaze shot to Rourke. “Get her out of here, cat. There’s no one left but you. But if you lay one hand on her, I swear I will rip you apart with my bare hands. Do you hear me? I vow it on my life.” Tyler looked back at me. “That’s an order, Jess. Now go!”

The motorcycle revved in response, tires screeching behind me. But before Rourke could make a move, I tore out of Tyler’s grasp, pulling both throwing knives from my sleeves at the same moment.

My body bent forward, and without any hesitation I launched them straight into the two wolves in the lead barreling down on us. One landed with a thunk in the fleshy part of the trachea, hitting home, and the wolf went down with satisfaction. The other missed its mark entirely, embedding itself without harm in his shoulder. It didn’t do anything close to dropping him; it only pissed him off more. He stopped and yanked it out, snarling at me as he did it.

It’s on now. My wolf howled.

Tyler sprang forward with no other choice to tackle the next two. I crouched in a fighting stance, muscles rippling under my skin—finally—pulling, shifting, readying me for the fight. The angry wolf I’d hit in the shoulder was almost to me, and when his filthy hands reached for my throat, he was going down. My eyes were trained on him like lasers. He thought I was weak.

He thought wrong.

But before he could reach me my body flew backward.

My attacker bellowed his rage.

What the hell? The road was moving beneath me, Rourke’s arm locked firmly around my middle, my ass barely on the edge of the seat.

“Get on the goddamn bike!” Rourke yelled.

I didn’t have time to protest. In the next moment we hit the curb, the bike flying upward toward the sky. On the way down, I shot my leg over the seat and grabbed on to Rourke’s jacket with everything I had. We cleared the embankment at the top, crashing through the rusty fence like it wasn’t even there. The bike plunged nose first down the grassy slope leading to the tracks at top speed, each bump on the ground like a giant mountain crashing up to greet us.

Rourke maneuvered the bike from side to side like a slalom course, pulling us parallel at the last minute before we hit the concrete at the bottom. Coming onto the ground at the right angle lessened the blow, but it left us reeling nonetheless. The shocks groaned and crunched, but they held, keeping us upright for the most part.

As we bounded onto the concrete of the culvert floor, I pried my eyes open and screamed, “Sonofabitch, Rourke. If I wanted to die, I could’ve just stayed and fought!”

He wrenched the bike hard to the right, all his muscles contracting at once underneath his jacket. Power emanated from him as his boot came off the pedal, stabilizing us, sending sparks up from his skid pads. When we were finally fully upright he called over his shoulder, “We’re not dead yet, sweetheart.”

“Smartass,” I yelled back. Over my shoulder, two wolves, still in human form, were scrambling onto the tracks. A third made his way down the embankment behind them. Relief flooded through me, because if they were after me, that meant they’d abandoned Tyler. “Rourke, they’re coming after us. I hope you have a plan.”

I reached out to my brother. Ty, are you okay? Can you hear me?

There was a familiar brush. Jess … fighting … can’t hear you. Be safe … The connection died.

We must not be able to hold a conversation and fight at the same time. It made sense, because fighting used a lot of brain-power. My father hadn’t reached out to me either, which meant he must be equally engaged. Maybe that was the reason I’d been able to cut them off when I was fighting. I couldn’t manage both at the same time.

The wolves behind us dropped to the ground to shift. Once they were finished they’d be crazy fast. And they’d have our fresh scent.

“They’re changing on the tracks,” I yelled to Rourke. “This place is going to be full of wolves in about three minutes.”

“Then it’s a good thing we’re getting off here,” Rourke shouted back as he turned the handlebars hard, tearing up a small grassy hill. The sides of the culvert had tapered off along the way, making it possible to escape. The bike bounded over the top, crashing through another fence, and then we were back on the road, the tires squealing as Rourke twisted us in front of a highway underpass. One more quick turn and we were wheeling up a ramp.

Three wolves in their true form, two in the front and one trailing, ran behind us full tilt, but they’d have to abandon the chase at the highway. Wolves on the road wouldn’t work. But it didn’t matter. They had our scents. Their buddies in the U-Haul would pick them up in a few minutes.

Unless Rourke had an unbelievable plan, we would be running from them indefinitely. A weirdly pungent female and a one-of-a-kind cat on the back of an open motorcycle meant we were going to be easy to track.

I relaxed my death grip on Rourke as we flattened out on the freeway. I likely wouldn’t die if I was tossed from the bike. I was used to being human and it was going to take me some time to stop reacting like one.

Rourke had no such issues, clearly.

My hand dipped into my suit jacket pocket as Rourke weaved expertly in and out of traffic. The smooth panic button brushed against my fingertips. I rubbed it a few times for luck. Then I depressed it. It wasn’t going to help me now, but it felt good to hold it in my hand. “Nick, I’m going to need a pickup soon,” I said into the open air as it blasted by my helmetless face.

“What?” Rourke called over his shoulder.

“Nothing,” I muttered. “Just praying you have a decent plan.”


“This is your brilliant plan?” I stood knee-high in the middle of a swift current, my lovely pantsuit swirling around my legs. “You know, man-eating werewolves aren’t afraid to go swimming. If our trail leads to a river, they won’t hesitate to get in.”

“Don’t worry, they aren’t following where we’re going,” Rourke said from behind me. “At least for right now.”

“How can you be so sure?” I glanced over my shoulder in time to see him step into the stream. I forgot my question for a second because he was bare-chested, his shirt and boots wrapped in his leather jacket, which was tucked safely under his bulging and ridiculously muscular arm. He had to be bigger than any wolf by a few good inches and a lot of mass. The man was a beast.

All my things were wrapped in my blazer jacket too, only I wasn’t naked from the waist up.

Thank the good heavens above I’d worn the damn camisole.

The fact that it was white hadn’t escaped me, and if Danny could see me now he’d be laughing his ass off. I’d drawn the line at dropping my pants, and Rourke had kept his on without question. It would’ve been a lie to say I hadn’t been a tiny bit interested in seeing what he had underneath his jeans—or more accurately, my wolf had been extremely interested in what was there, but I was ignoring her.

We had far more important things to worry about.

Somewhere along the line, after trying to fight it repeatedly, I’d realized my father’s command for me to Go had been a strong one—too strong. I wasn’t going to shed it easily. It wrapped around me even now, compelling me to stay with protection and not turn back. The blood I’d taken from him during the oath had bonded us in a strange way. I had no idea if it had done the same for him—if he could feel my emotions or not. I couldn’t read all the notes and emotions clearly just yet, but I knew without a doubt that if he had died, the new things I felt inside me would stop. I prayed everyone was okay and safe. I hated not being there.

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