Full Blooded

Page 43

He sneered. “These aren’t the Southern wolves, you dog bitch in heat, these are the New Order wolves.”

Not the Southern wolves? Who the hell are the New Order wolves?

I tried to process what he said.

Stuart laughed at my confusion. “That’s right, we are the new order of things. The wolves you see before you have gathered from all over the world to unite as One Pack. And we will dominate, make no mistake about it. We are stronger, and when the dust settles all the other wolves who weren’t brave enough to join us before will be forced to join us, or die,” he proclaimed. “The old generation is officially over and the new generation has begun. We hold the power.”

“The power to pimp yourselves out to the vamps and witches, you mean? You’re delusional,” I replied. “Do the Newbies enjoy playing backup to the creatures of the night? Or do they prefer the role of pandering seeing-eye dog to the witches?”

He gave me a wicked smile, his incisors growing longer by the second. “The New Order will do whatever it takes to get the job done.”

He jumped.

I swatted him away like a fly.

He rolled several feet and was back up.

“You mistake my femininity for weakness, Stuart.” I laughed.

“Now get over here, you slimy piece of shit, and fight me like a wolf … Excuse me, an oh so powerful New Order wolf.”

Even though he pulsed with the change, he would be incapacitated for a few precious moments if he chose to shift. More than enough time for me to kill him, and we both knew it.

He circled me slowly. “You’re not stronger than me. I can fight you in my human form just fine.”

“Suit yourself, asshole.” I lashed at him, my claws tearing right through his shirt, drawing thick dark furrows of blood. “Looks like you’re going to get cut. Or do the New Kids on the Block need to put on their chest protectors before they fight?”

Loathing filled his eyes. “I don’t need any protection from you. I could kill you with one hand tied behind my back.”

“Let’s find out.” I beckoned him with a curl of my claw.

He sprang. We went a few rounds, him managing to land an occasional blow and me making sure it hurt on the return. The wolves had begun to finish their shifts and stalked around us, forming a tight circle. I was surprised they hadn’t jumped into the fray, but I was thankful.

Stuart was quick and played dirty and he was stronger than any human, but it was almost too easy for me. My wolf hung back in my mind, leaving me to fight since he hadn’t shifted. But she did let me know with a rousing bark when I landed a particularly good shot.

He stumbled backward again as I landed another powerful blow to his chest. “Had enough yet, Stuart? Or would you like to take a little break?” I taunted.

He bled profusely from his face and chest. The wolves around us snarled in earnest, snapping their jaws and rending the air in their impatience. The scent of their combined aggression threatened to short-circuit me a few times, but my wolf parceled the scents away as quickly as she could, saving me from complete overload. Getting used to this scent thing was crazy intense.

The entire time I’d been tussling with Stuart, Rourke fought a snickering Valdov. The vampire moved too quickly, and was proving hard to catch. Rourke bellowed as he threw the vampire to the ground, only to have him pop up again in a new spot laughing it off.

I needed to tie this up with Stuart quickly, because it was going to take both of us to finish off Valdov—if that was even possible. Then we had the other vamps to contend with, but so far none of the other cloaked wonders had joined the melee. They stood off to the side watching. I had no idea why, but I hoped it wasn’t because they were so powerful this fight looked like a romper room brawl. They must be following orders of some kind.

I wasn’t going to stop fighting. Wolves didn’t go down without a fight. Our instinct to win was ingrained too deeply. When Stuart stopped, I responded, “What’s the matter, Stuart? Not willing to die for your new cause?”

Blood dripped from a gash on his forehead into his eye. He swiped it away with the back of his hand. “You’re the one who’s gonna die, bitch. Even if you manage to take me down, these wolves here are going to rip you to shreds.” To emphasize his point, several of the wolves snapped their teeth in agreement.

It’d actually been a miracle they hadn’t joined in thus far. The smell of blood and fear was a fuse to the powder-keg trigger of their base instincts. They must have had some military connection to their leadership, enough power to make sure they stayed in line. Either that or Stuart had given them some previous command. But either way, the wolves around us were staying put and I wasn’t going to argue.

“Aren’t your new employers going to be pissed when your New Order wolves tear me to pieces? I thought when you took on a job as the ‘hired help’ you were supposed to honor your contract? Oh, wait … I’m sorry, I said the word ‘honor’ by accident.” I tried to even my tone for the last part, to make sure it hit home. “That word obviously has no meaning to you.”

“I have honor!” he screamed, his lips curling in a feral way. “Which is why I’m going to enjoy killing you so much. We don’t work for the vamps, you filthy slut, we struck a mutually beneficial alliance. We just happened to get to you first.” He shrugged. “The Queen will just have to deal with it.”

He kicked out with his leg, landing a blow high to my thigh. I rolled twice, the two wolves nearest me nipping and growling, and was up on my toes. I circled Stuart, trying to figure out the best move to end this quickly, when a soft flutter hit my brain.

It immediately intensified and I waited, circling more. But nothing but dead space came through. I pushed out. Dad?


I pushed out again. Tyler?

Jessica! Thank gods! Tyler screamed. I’ve been trying to get through for the last twenty minutes. We’re almost to you; we were a lot closer than I’d thought. Your scent is all over the place down here, even with the fucking sulfur shit plugging our noses. We’ve all changed already. I can smell the goddamn Southern wolves too. I felt his energy and his speed as he ran. My brother could run twice as fast as any other wolf. He would be here in a moment.

Tyler, the wolves aren’t Southe— I lost the connection as Stuart leapt, my brain switching back to full fight mode, slamming the door on all other thoughts. I gave a hoarse shout and threw my weight at Stuart’s oncoming body. We clashed in the middle. He gave a strangled yell as my claws tore into his neck, slashing at his jugular. I was more than ready to be done with him. “I’m finished playing with you, Stuart. It’s time for you to die.”

He staggered back, his hands grasping at his throat, trying in vain to stanch the wound. His mouth moved but produced no sound.

“It’s too bad you won’t be here to see your New Kids get annihilated.” I walked up to him as he fell to his knees. “Yep, that’s right. The Northern wolves—my Pack—are on their way up the hill right now. These wolves here don’t stand a chance. I don’t care where you dug them up from, they’re all going to die.”

Stuart clutched his neck with both hands, blood flowing freely down his shirt. I crouched next to him. “Was it worth it, Stuart?” I rasped. “Was betraying your Pack and everything you stood for worth an ending like this?”

Something lit in his eyes and he dropped both hands to his sides, blood racing from his throat. The side of his mouth went up in a half-crazed smile as he struggled to find words. “You … ack … are going to die … bitch.” His teeth were stained a dark red. He tried to laugh but fell short, instead he coughed up more blood. “You … have no idea … ack … what’s … waiting for you. You are … the true daughter of … Cain …”

A slashed jugular wasn’t enough to kill him, but this would be. With a scream, my wolf slid into the driver’s seat and my hand shot out like a lance. She tore the rest of this throat out in one swift motion, spine and all. He collapsed in a heap at my feet.

We were both so focused on the now dead Stuart that neither of us processed the other snarls.

A roar of fury erupted. “Jessica! Fight!” Rourke raced toward me at full speed. Valdov stood just behind him wearing a wicked grin, seemingly no worse off than he’d been before.

The wolves, who’d crept in closer while I’d watched Stuart die, shifted their attention for a brief second on the new threat barreling straight at them. A few of them turned, choosing their aggressor over their prey.

But most stayed completely focused on me.

This was going to be a Pack attack.

The lesser wolves would wait for the most dominant to spring first, and then they would all gleefully join in the fun of tearing me to pieces.

Rourke reached the first wolf in the circle, picked him up like he weighed nothing, and tossed him away like a bag of garbage. He was moving toward another when a loud crashing noise sounded from the woods behind us.

The wolves halted their forward progression, lifting their heads in unison, scenting the new threat.

Tyler launched himself into the clearing like a missile fired from a cannon.

He was beautifully powerful in his wolf form, and more than a foot taller than any of the wolves around us. His face was set in a gruesome snarl, his eyes flashing with an eerie menace promising swift retribution. There was a reason he was an unparalleled fighter. Few wolves were his equal. By the change in scent around me, every one of them knew it too.

Tyler tossed his head and gave a terrifying howl.

Within moments, our other Pack wolves returned his song. By the sound of it, they were only a short distance away.

The cavalry had officially arrived.

The wolves around me snapped and snarled, furious at the sudden intrusion. One of them lunged forward, his teeth latching on to my arm. His fangs sank deeply into my flesh. I’d been half hoping they’d all run with their tails between their legs when my brother had arrived in all his glory, but by the looks of the teeth embedded in my arm, they clearly weren’t going to be easily swayed from their target.

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