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Authors: Lorelei Moone

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BOOK: A Dangerous Business
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Aidan subtly signaled to Jamie that he was their man, then sent a quick text message to Derek in the car as well:

'Found our guy. We'll follow him when he leaves, and once we get there, keep Jamie out of my way.'

The two bears watched him from the corners of their eyes. As soon as he left, they'd be on his tail, and hopefully he'd lead them right to where Heidi was being held.

Chapter Eleven

"Answer me! How do you know 'Fight4Independence'?" The man shouted again, while his two younger partners stood silently behind him, their arms folded.

Heidi flinched with every outburst of his. Not because she was scared of him, per se. She was more terrified that if he did anything more than just raise his voice at her, she couldn't fight the urge to shift anymore. In her current state, hungry and mentally as well as physically exhausted, she'd be able to take on one, maybe two of her captors, but only if they weren't armed. If any of them had guns, she'd be down in no time.

"I told you, I don't know him in person, we met on the Internet," Heidi repeated herself for the umpteenth time.

"Why did you try to join us? Who do you work for?"

"Nobody! I just agree with your philosophy and wanted in on the action!" Heidi covered her face with her hands and tried to focus on deep, even breaths. Hyperventilating wasn't going to do anyone any good.

She had no idea how long she'd been locked up, and the hunger pangs that had been coming and going for what felt like hours were making a painful return. How much more of this would she be able to take? Like most animals, her wolf side couldn't stand being trapped.

"If you won't talk willingly, I'm going to have to find a way to make you..."

Heidi looked up to find the two silent henchmen taking a few steps in her direction. This was bad. She could feel a familiar itch develop in the pit of her stomach. Once they were on her, she wouldn't be able to control her body's urge to protect itself.

She closed her eyes again.
Come on, Aidan, if you're looking for me at all, now would be the time to find this place...
Just as she'd completed her thought her sensitive hearing picked up a disturbance elsewhere in the building. It was too faint to make out what it really was, but it sounded out of the ordinary.

Was she starting to lose her mind? Was her imagination playing tricks on her?

The noises - footsteps, the occasional thump and scream - came closer and closer, until she could pick up on actual words.

"Where is she?" someone who sounded suspiciously like Aidan demanded.

"Who?" Another voice retorted.

"Stop messing me about, where's the girl?"

Heidi swallowed her concerns, as well as her fatigue. When she opened her eyes and stared right at her main captor, she was back in control and revitalized.

"You might want to call back your goons," she warned, keeping her voice steady and low.

"Oh yeah? Why is that, lassie?" he taunted.

"They lay a finger on me, and..."

"And?"

Heidi felt her eyes burn up as she looked around the room. Even the most casual observer would clearly be able to see them glow in the dark. One of the younger men flinched back, but the other one, and the guy in charge didn't react at all. This wasn't the first time they'd seen a shifter readying for a fight.

"I knew it," he said, a subtle smile playing on his lips. "There was something not right about you. We're done here. Take care of her."

His two underlings exchanged a quick glance, and then approached her again. They weren't going to deal with her using just their bare hands, though. This time, one reached around, retrieving something from his belt. A hunting knife.

Heidi held her breath and waited for them to come closer. If all they had were knives, she'd be fine. This is what she had trained for. Guns, however...

The footsteps reached outside the door, followed by a loud crash of metal against metal. The wooden frame splintered, and the reinforced door flew open, revealing a slightly red-faced Aidan, holding a hand-held steel battering ram.

Are you okay?
His eyes seemed to ask as they exchanged a quick look. Heidi responded with only a smile. Her heart fluttered at the sight of him. He had come to free her.
Her hero.

Her three captors turned to face this new threat, giving Heidi the perfect opportunity to get involved in the fun. Within a split second, she'd allowed her animal side to take over. The shackles that had kept her tied to the bed fell off her much sleeker paws, as did the clothes she'd been wearing. She pounced on the first person that came her way.

There was no room in her mind for moderation, for keeping things clean. Her sharp teeth tore through flesh and crunched bone, until her prey was left in a puddle on the floor, whimpering in pain.

The other two looked back at her in horror, but didn't have time to dwell on what had just happened, because Aidan was coming at them with the steel ram he'd just used on the door. The young one flew back against the wall at the far end of the cell, leaving only the senior one still in one piece.

That's when things calmed down very suddenly.

"Lee Campbell, I presume… We have some unfinished business," Aidan said in a low voice.

"I'd been wondering when you'd turn up."

Despite adrenaline still coursing through her veins, Heidi decided to sit down right in between the two incapacitated men to just observe.
How did these two know each other?
This must have been one of the men Aidan had seen at the park, the one he said he'd recognized.

"Then you know what this is about?" Aidan asked.

"I got a call from a friend in Portree the other day..."

Aidan nodded, as if that explained everything.

The other henchman, whom Aidan had thrown all the way across the room, groaned as he tried to reach for the hunting knife that was lying on the floor mere feet away from him. Heidi quickly intervened, and with a growl kicked the knife out of his reach.
Watch yourself or you'll get mauled like your friend,
she thought.

"Back in 1999, Skye. Your parents," the man Aidan had identified as Lee Campbell said.

"That's right." Aidan placed his hand on Lee's shoulder and shoved him backwards across the room, until he reached the bed. As Lee sat, Aidan grabbed the steel chair and positioned himself across from him. "Why?"

"Why..." Lee let out a chuckle. "Why do bad things happen to good people? Why is life so unfair?"

"If your organization killed them simply for what they were, then why let me and my brother live?"

Heidi held her breath. This man had killed Aidan's parents? That was it, Aidan's deep, dark secret. That was why he was so focused on his work with the Alliance.

She thought of her own parents, and felt her earlier rage flare up again on Aidan's behalf. Hidden underneath the controlled exterior, Heidi saw signs that Aidan was struggling with his emotions as well. The animal inside him wanted revenge, while his human side needed answers. Every muscle in Aidan's body had tensed up. His heartbeat was racing, she could hear it clearly from across the room.

"For who they were? No, son, they didn't die for who they were, but for
where
they were and
when
."

Aidan frowned. "What are you saying?"

"Wrong place, wrong time. Just bad luck. A coincidence," Lee clarified, and shrugged. "They saw something they shouldn't have. Believe me, had I known there was more to them than that, you wouldn't be here right now."

Heidi couldn't believe her ears. As slick and organized as all of her people thought the Sons of Domnall were, they seemed to be a rather confused bunch. Killing shifters without knowing they were shifters, just because they couldn't keep their shenanigans secret without being overseen by random bystanders. Wow.

Aidan gave her a knowing look, like he could read her mind.

Kill him, he deserves to die,
Heidi thought. Aidan subtly shook his head.
Not yet.

"I've thought about this moment for years. Fifteen years, to be exact. What I'd do to you once I found you." Aidan folded his arms and stared at Lee, who looked unusually content for someone who had just been captured by the enemy.

"Do what you must, sonny."

"I could kill you right now, but what good would that do anyone? No. I think you'll be of more use alive..."

Aidan got up and retrieved a pair of handcuffs from his pocket. Lee didn't struggle, he barely even reacted when Aidan cuffed him with his hands behind his back. The entire scene was surreal, and for a moment, Heidi wondered if she had perhaps passed out due to hunger and was just imagining everything.

"Is this the guy?" another man said as he burst into the room. The similarities between Aidan and him were uncanny, even if he did look like a wilder, more feral version of him. Scruffy beard and longer hair, but their body structure and even their walks were alike. They had to be related, brothers perhaps.

"Derek. Stand down," Aidan warned him, placing his hand against his chest.

Behind Derek, Jamie came into view, wiping his brow with the back of his hand. "What's the status here?"

"Heidi is secure. One guy in critical condition," Aidan glanced at the bleeding man Heidi had sharpened her teeth on earlier. "Another with a few bruises and this one here, Lee Campbell, senior Sons of Domnall member. Captured."

"All right. We've had a few runners, half a dozen or so, two casualties, three prisoners who are somewhat unharmed," Jamie responded.

Holy crap, casualties?!
Heidi had been aware of the risks of this work, but it was still surreal hearing her boss report actual deaths in such a matter-of-fact tone. The Alliance was a relatively small set-up, especially in Edinburgh, but they clearly knew how to get their hands dirty.

"You," Jamie addressed Heidi directly now. "You can't go out like this."

Heidi instinctively flinched at his strict tone, and hated herself for it immediately. Jamie was her boss, but he wasn't her alpha.

"Relax, she's not going to," Aidan butted in.

"Fine. Let's get out of here before anyone else sees us. Kyle has already brought the van around." Jamie grabbed Lee Campbell by the arm and dragged him out of the room. Behind him, Derek paused for a moment, but then made his exit as well, stopping only to drag out both the incapacitated henchmen out by their arms. Finally, Aidan and Heidi were on their own.

"You, umm... I should give you some privacy," Aidan mumbled, while watching Heidi pick up her clothes between her teeth. He turned around and headed for the door as well. Heidi channeled all her energy into one final instant shift and followed Aidan to the door, placing her hand on his shoulder.

"Wait."

He paused, allowing Heidi to catch up properly and face him. She didn't care that she was butt naked. She didn't care that they were surrounded by filth. All she cared about was that she was finally reunited with the man she knew she was going to spend the rest of her life with.

She wrapped her arms around his neck, and pressed her lips against his.

If he was surprised at her sudden change of heart, he didn't show it. Instead, he held her tightly in his arms, and responded to her kisses with an urgency that matched her own. His touch was electric, and his kisses...

Tears started to stream down her face.

"I thought I'd die in here. That I'd never see you again," Heidi whispered.

"Impossible. I wouldn't have let that happen," Aidan responded.

He cupped her face, just like he had done before in her dreams, and gazed into her eyes.

She could see hidden depths in his brown eyes that hadn't been there before. Or perhaps she never actually had allowed herself to look.

In the short time she'd known him, he'd seemed totally independent. She had never been really sure he felt their connection as intensely has she had, but there in his eyes, she found a different Aidan. The teenager who had lost both his parents to a stupid coincidence, who all of a sudden was forced to grow up. She saw Aidan, the man, who felt that he could never truly rely on anyone but himself. That's why he hadn't told Jamie the truth about why he had to take off for a couple of days. Who could be charming if he wanted to be, but had never let anyone come too close.

Until now.

"You have very green eyes, has anyone ever told you that?" Aidan remarked.

Heidi laughed, then tiptoed and kissed him again. "What happens now?" she asked.

Aidan stole a glance down at her naked chest and gave her another one of those sexy, brooding looks he'd given her at the pub on her first night. "How about you cover up and we get out of here?"

"What about the prisoners? And Jamie and all?" Heidi asked.

"They're not going anywhere. You've been locked in here for over a day, if that's not deserving of a little time off, I don't know what is."

Heidi smiled. "Fair enough. Before anything else, I could murder another one of those fish platters from that pub."

"What, raw man flesh didn't sate your appetite?" Aidan teased.

"Nah, I prefer my meat cooked." Heidi released Aidan's neck, and walked back across the cell to get her clothes, all the while feeling his intense stare on her naked body. Oh, she could definitely use some time off, but had a feeling it wouldn't involve much relaxation.

BOOK: A Dangerous Business
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