Full Blooded

Page 44

I twisted my body, dragging the wolf along with me, my Lycan form incredibly strong, grabbing on to its scruff with my other hand so my arm didn’t get shredded, and flung it straight into another oncoming wolf who was vying for a piece of me.

My arm was torn and bleeding, but more sweet energy raced through me, dispelling the pain quickly. My body rushed to fix the damage, and I was grateful.

Rourke was three feet from me, fighting the other wolves in the circle. “Is that all you got?” he roared again as he grabbed another wolf by his throat, cracking its neck with more physical power than I’d ever seen a supernatural being possess without changing. “You will not fuck with me or mine! Do you hear me?” He shook the wolf and tossed it away.

I lowered my body into a fighting stance, putting my back to Rourke’s. A savage growl rent the air from somewhere above me and I tilted my head to catch Tyler as he crashed down onto the pile of wolves in front of me, scattering them as effectively as if he’d dropped a load of dynamite. He grabbed the nearest one in his jaws and gave a powerful snap.

Two wolves inched in around him, and advanced toward me intent on harm. They saw their opportunity and they weren’t going to miss it. We got this, I told my wolf. She happily agreed. No need for the boys to have all the fun.

They both vaulted at the same time, springing in tandem.

I flicked the switch in my mind, handing the reins to my wolf. She howled once and sent us to the ground, skillfully turning and lashing in a motion I couldn’t track in my human mind. Thank goodness, you’re in charge. The two were back on us in a flurry of motion. I shot my fists out, grabbing them both by the throats before they could sink their teeth into my neck. My arms were strong—stronger than they should be—and I marveled for a moment. This really shouldn’t be this easy. I was holding back two rabid wolves, one in each hand.

Am I stronger than yesterday? No time to ponder.

Before I could reposition myself, one of them flew backward out of my grasp. It yelped once before its voice abruptly cut off. A moment later the other went in the opposite direction. I stared up to find a furious Rourke, eyes so green they appeared like pools of glowing phosphorus.

He stared down at me, scanning my body for damage.

A thin coat of fur had erupted along his arms, and his nails were curled into sharp hooks, but other than that he hadn’t changed. His control was astounding. His muscles literally bounced under his skin as he reached down to pull me up. I grabbed on to his extended hand and noticed the beautiful tattoos covering his forearms had melded perfectly into the patterns of his fur.

His eyes met mine and my heart leapt into my throat. Warrior of Old. Without a doubt, it was true. What was he? “What are you?” I breathed.

He looked at me curiously and I realized he was seeing me for the first time in my Lycan form. Surprise crept along his features, but we didn’t have time to discuss it. “I’m yours,” he said simply.

I didn’t push it, because there was a new commotion in the woods and my fur jumped to attention, this time in happy relief. The four vampires, who had watched the fight but had never participated, took off in a single whoosh, leaving Valdov standing alone.

My father’s eyes blazed a blinding amethyst, looking starkly dangerous against the jet black of his fur as he thundered across the clearing in all his glory. He was so dark he absorbed everything around him.

Nine of his wolves, including James, spread in a V just behind him, all of them terrifyingly beautiful in their true forms. Some of the New Order wolves, or whatever they called themselves, crept slowly back into the shadows, obviously unprepared or unwilling to take on this new threat. Tyler growled and snapped at the retreating wolves, but held still, awaiting the next command of his Alpha.

My father was deathly focused on Valdov.

Not a muscle rippled under his fur. His lips curled in clear distaste, revealing his massive canines. A threatening rumble issued from deep within, an abyss of anger boiling under the surface.

“Callum,” Valdov said briskly. “How very lucky you could join us. It’s just entirely too bad you’re too late, after all the hard work it took you to get here.”

Rourke’s hand slipped into mine, squeezing as he pulled me close again. There was an urgency in his grasp, and I glanced to my right following his gaze.

Selene leaned casually against a tree with her arms crossed in front of her, clearly amused by the new turn of events. I’m sure she’d been hoping the New Order wolves would do her dirty work for her, sparing her from chipping her pretty nails killing me herself.

We both watched as she pushed off the tree and strode confidently into the mix. Her mane flowed behind her, her eyes blinking with the first hint of red. It appeared her flight into the forest hadn’t left a scratch on her. Damn. Seeing that creamy porcelain skin marred would’ve been incredibly satisfying.

But she wasn’t the one standing next to Rourke, his possessive growl telling the world not to fuck with what was his.

I smiled.

I already had what she wanted most.

She sashayed over to Valdov, who looked like he’d eaten the canary as well as the whole cage. She’d clearly been his ace in the hole the entire time, and he wasn’t shy about letting us all know.

“You see, Callum, it seems my Queen has invoked the favor of a Sorceress this time,” Valdov told my snarling father in a singsong lilt. “If you so much as move one furry paw in my direction, I will have the lovely Selene strike your darling off-spring dead where she stands. Are we very clear? Or shall I repeat?”

My father turned his massive head slowly toward Selene. His power rushing outward in one solid beat, making every molecule in my being leap. All of his wolves responded to it in kind. We all bared our fangs and made terrifying noises. Our Alpha had control, and we would follow. I snarled fiercely.

How Stuart and his band of ingrates thought they could possibly take the most powerful Alpha who’d ever lived was beyond me.

My father was magnificent.

Selene kept her cool, ignoring his steady, piercing gaze as she stopped next to the vampire. Only an infinitesimally small quiver of her hands gave her away. Her fingers were already glowing with a spell, so the red tremor had been easy to detect. She steeled herself for a moment before glancing up to meet my father’s stare, her face wearing the same haughty expression she’d donned before.

Honestly, Rourke had fallen for that?

“Come on, big bad wolf. Give me something to play with here,” she toyed. “There’s nothing on earth I’d rather do tonight than annihilate your entire bloodline. Why don’t you come over here and get me?”

My father watched her, his gaze unfaltering.

“Where’s the huff and puff, fella? Not so tough when a Sorceress is involved?” Selene taunted. “I thought you’d be a pansy. I guess I was right.”

Tyler surged forward in a volley of snarls and barks.

Selene turned a lazy glance toward him and tinkled. “Oh, does your little wolf boy want to be first instead? How very noble of him.”

My father snapped his muzzle once. Tyler stopped like someone had pulled a plug on his vocal cords.

“That’s a good doggie,” she crooned. “You should listen to your daddy more often.” Selene turned to face my father again. “Honestly, wolf, you need to keep your pups on a tighter leash. My fingers are especially twitchy tonight and I wouldn’t want any … mistakes to happen.”

As far as I knew, Selene couldn’t fight off multiple wolf attacks, even as a self-proclaimed Goddess. Sure, she could kill me, and maybe a few more, but she couldn’t kill them all before they managed to tear her apart. Werewolves were resistant to magic as a rule, but not immune. Someone as powerful as Selene could inflict major damage before the strongest ones ripped her to pieces.

I wasn’t sure if my father would be affected by her magic, but I wasn’t willing to chance it. She wanted me, she could have me.

I made a move to step forward.

Rourke yanked me back to his side immediately. “Don’t move, Jessica,” he ordered in a harsh whisper. “Selene is unbelievably dangerous. She’ll kill you if she gets the chance. Even if it means her own life is forfeit—she’ll do it just to spite me. I’m not going to allow that to happen.”

I locked eyes with him. This was not a good time for an in-depth discussion on the ins and outs of “allowing” me to do anything. “Rourke,” I whispered, “I’m not going to stand back and let her kill my family without a fight. You can’t stop me from doing that even if you tried, so don’t take it too hard. If the vamps want me, they can have me, but I’m not going to let my family—or my Pack—go down because of me.”

Right then my brain shattered into a million pieces.

The pressure of the fracture was so strong I reached out blindly and grabbed on to Rourke’s arm to steady myself. He kept me upright automatically and without question.

Jessica! My father raged. Jessica! Drop your barriers right now!

My barriers? What barriers?

Dad … I’m here! I’m here! I clutched my head with my hand. A sledgehammer would’ve been gentler. The ache was incredible. Rourke held me firmly around the waist as he growled his alarm. I think you just shattered any barriers I had left. I’m sorry. I didn’t know they were up. I have no idea what I’m doing or how I’m keeping them up in the first place.

Jessica, listen to me right now. You have to get out of here. Don’t worry about Selene. Take Rourke with you and run. I can’t let them take you. I won’t allow it. If you leave now, we can corner the vampire and deal with the Sorceress. Do you understand me?

Dad, I can’t—

Run, GODDAMN it!

My blood seized at the command and I latched on to the front of Rourke’s shirt. He understood at once, pushing me ahead of him as fast as he could, his back blocking the sounds of my Pack as they jumped as one on the vampire and the Sorceress.

We’d only made it into the woods a few feet when I pulled up quickly, Rourke rocking into me from behind, his arms circling my body protectively.

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