Authors: Lora Leigh
Warning: The following material contains strong sexual content meant for mature readers. AIDEN’S CHARITY has been rated NC17 erotic, by a minimum of three independent reviewers. We strongly suggest storing this book in a place where young readers not meant to view it are unlikely to happen upon it. That said, enjoy…
For Tony, because you made me who I am.
You gave me freedom, yet held me with
velvet chains of the heart.
You gave me love and taught me
that nothing, not even emotion, is perfect.
You gave me conflict and made
me search for solutions.
You made me strong.
You gave me the strength to
search within myself to find my own peace.
You made me listen to the voices, and in
listening, made me see my inner person.
You gave me the time, and the strength
to reach out for my dream.
And in doing so, you gave me the
gift of acceptance.
He had managed to fool them for years. He had controlled his sexuality, his desires, his automatic attraction to the beauty of the female form. He had withstood their drugs that were designed to make his cock hard and make the sexual training go smoother for the females and the scientists. He had achieved no erections to satisfy any of them. He had no desire, either physically or mentally, sober or drugged, until he saw her. Until the day they introduced the new Lab Tech.
She was young. As small and delicate as anything he had ever seen. Her long, dark blonde hair was like a fall of silk down her back, her large brown eyes watching the cells warily, as though afraid ravening beasts would attempt to escape at any moment.
Her reaction had amused him at first. As the year went by it grated on his conscience, on his emotions. And he couldn’t stop watching her, couldn’t stop wishing. But he knew the path of revealing such emotions. And as time went by, his rage grew. His anger toward the scientists, the guards, the lives they were forced to live, festered inside him.
The animal in him howled out in fury. The need to survive, to fight for another day, was like a demon ripping at his defiance of the drugs and the tests. But something more primal, some knowledge so basic and ingrained he could not fathom its source, warned him of the dangers to come. Warned him of the threat one woman represented.
He watched her secretly as the new drug coursed through his system that day. Their new aphrodisiac. It was a powerful one this time, taking all his concentration to fight to keep his erection down. Inside he howled in fury. The confinement was bad enough, the constant training to kill; the drugs and experiments were weighing on them all, but even worse was the fury beginning to fill him. It was even harder to control than the drugs, or his desire for this one woman.
That anger was becoming such a part of his soul that there were times Aiden feared it himself. That anger could become a threat to the entire Pack. If he dared to strike out at a guard or one of the inhuman scientists, then the punishment would fall not just on his head, but on the entire Pack. And that thought he found more frightening than any other.
As the anger had grown inside him, he noticed that Charity watched him more often. After more than a year in the Labs she had grown more comfortable with the Breeds. She talked to his sister, Faith. Laughing over whatever girlish things she could fill Faith’s head with. As though his sister needed to find hope in this dismal life they led. Unless they found a way to escape, they would all eventually die. If not on one of the perverse missions they were sent on, then by the simple means of their guards’ bullets. It had happened before, he was certain it would happen again.
“Aiden?” She approached his cell warily now, her dark eyes worried, her expression somber. “Dr. Bainesmith wants you to service the woman soon.”
Compassion and something more glittered in her eyes. He growled, a low sound of warning that had her flinching as she bit her lip nervously. He couldn’t contain his rage this time. He wanted this woman, wanted her above all things, and he could not betray that basic, inherent desire to touch none but her. And he feared for her if he did touch her. How would he maintain his control? Death was preferable to this endless maze of wakening emotion and hopeless weakness.
“Aiden, she will have you killed,” she whispered imperatively. “Faith will be alone then.”
The soft sound of her voice was destructive. Like summer’s heat it stroked over his senses. His cock rippled with the need to lengthen. He bared his teeth, raising his head enough that she could see the savagery of his expression past the long fall of his hair.
But she wasn’t watching his face. Her gaze was trained on his cock. His fickle flesh twitched, but remained limber. He bared his teeth in a silent snarl of warning. Her gaze rose to him slowly, and he saw the knowledge in her eyes. She knew it was he controlling his erection, not the impotence the others believed afflicted him. But there was none of the fear she should have felt.
“Aiden, you can’t die,” she whispered, glancing over her shoulder to be certain they were alone. “Please, don’t continue to defy them this way.”
“You may play lap dog all you wish,” he bit out coldly. “I will not breed for these bastards.”
Something flashed in her eyes then. Her lips thinned, as though there were something she needed to say, something to reassure him. She held it back with a quick shake of her head.
“This is not a good day to die,” she hissed quietly. “Save it for something important.”
The flash of stubbornness in her gaze, in her expression, intrigued him. He had never seen the silent steel that flashed there before. As though some inner core of strength sustained her. He envied her that stubbornness.
“One less Breed for them to torture,” he sneered back at her, hating her concern, her compassion. Hating his need for her and what he must now do to protect not just his Pack, but her as well. “Why do you come to me this way, girl? I could rip you apart with my bare hands. Come, enter my lair, and I’ll prove this to you.”
Her eyes darkened, first with fear and then with a strange glimmer of defiance. And his cock twitched again. He wanted her. Needed her as he needed nothing else in his life, and there laid his destruction. To take her would be to give them what he knew they wanted. If he released his control to take another, then he knew he would never find it again. He would know no peace, no ease until he had Charity beneath him, his cock buried so deep inside her he would share her soul. And in doing so he would destroy them both. It was better to choose his own death rather than the destruction of his soul.
“I won’t let you die,” she bit out. “You have no idea what you’re doing here, Aiden.”
“Fucking their little brood mare won’t keep me alive. I was born to die, Charity. We all were. Some just sooner than others.” He wished she would leave him. Turn and walk away, and allow him to face his fate with the strength his pride demanded.
Frustration flashed in her eyes.
“Charity, is he ready?” Bainesmith drew their gazes to the other side of the lab where a gurney was being wheeled in.
Aiden’s body tightened as the scent of arousal, strong and drug-induced, reached his nostrils. He grimaced at the scent. It overpowered the faint, fresh scent of Charity’s earthy response to him, sickening him with its smell.
The woman was strapped to the bed, her legs raised and spread, held into the metal stirrups that had been unfolded. It was a disgusting display, sickening his soul.
The soldiers that accompanied the perverse doctor moved to his cell door as Charity backed away. Aiden didn’t give them the satisfaction of fighting them. He rose to his feet and waited patiently. Every muscle in his body demanded action, demanded that he fight. He controlled it as easily as he did his arousal.
He watched broodingly as Bainesmith, her under-scientists, guards and technicians approached his cell slowly. All eyes focused on his thighs and the limp cock that hung there.
“The bastard still hasn’t achieved an erection.” Bainesmith was coldly furious as she turned to the scientist that accompanied her. “You assured me it would work this time.”
The aging doctor shook his head, perplexed. Dr. Agullera was as perverted and depraved as any human Aiden had heard tell of. The man deserved a painful, bloody death. Right after Bainesmith’s, of course. “Perhaps impotence is his problem, and not merely defiance, Dr. Bainesmith. I warned you this could be the case.” His lofty superior tone set Aiden’s teeth on edge.
The cell door opened slowly as the guards awaited him, weapons held ready as they watched him warily. He contained his triumphant smile. He would die, but he would die knowing they feared him.
Aiden stepped from the cell, aware of the fate awaiting him. Bainesmith had made the promise to him when the drug was injected. The experiments into breeding were imperative for some reason. If he couldn’t fuck, then he wouldn’t live. He watched the doctor’s eyes narrow, and cursed her with an inborn fury he prayed would live after his death.
“You were a perfect specimen,” Bainesmith sighed in regret. “It’s too bad, Aiden. I won’t enjoy killing you, I would have much preferred fucking you.”
“Aiden, don’t let them do this.” Wolfe’s voice echoed from the adjoining cell as he heard Faith cry out in fear. “Dammit, I order you not to allow this.”
He didn’t glance at either of them. Today, despite Charity’s belief, was as good a day as any to die.
“Take him to the other room,” Bainesmith sighed. “I’ll deal with him there.”
He heard the resignation in her voice. He didn’t fight the guards; he allowed them to push him forward and walked voluntarily to the room of death. They all knew what the room was for. You entered there, you didn’t come out.
“No!” Charity turned to the doctor. “You can’t kill him, Delia.”
Her familiarity with the doctor surprised him. She spoke to her with the ease of a long association. A tone to her voice that demanded, expected to be heard without censure.
Silence filled the Lab as all eyes turned to her. Aiden watched her broodingly, daring her to go further.
“Charity, the animal is of no use to us,” Bainesmith bit out, her expression creasing into a frown. “Even the drugs don’t work on him. He is not a dependable specimen.”
Fear flashed in Charity’s eyes. She was pale now, her gaze going between him and Bainesmith.
“But he is.” She sounded frantic now. “The stimulation is wrong. He’s disgusted by those women…he can’t help that. He’s not being properly stimulated.”
Aiden’s stomach dropped as fear flashed hard and heavy in the pit of his stomach.
“I would love to fuck her, Charity,” he snarled at her, vowing vengeance if she hindered his final escape. “The equipment just doesn’t work.”
“He’s lying.” She turned back to him, and he gritted his teeth at what he saw in her eyes.
At that moment he began to pray. Pray that she had not realized his desire for her, his knowledge that he was but a step away from mating her and giving the bastards what they wanted. A child, a creature they believed would mold more easily than the original Breeds did. It was a knowledge he couldn’t hide from himself, but he was determined to hide it from the bastards who had created him.
If he revealed his ability to fuck, then it would only be a matter of time before they attempted to match him with a woman he could not deny. Just as they were attempting to match Wolfe, based on his uncontrolled response to Bainesmith’s young daughter. The same with his sister, Faith, and his Packmate, Jacob. Tomorrow Faith was scheduled to be drugged and taken to the other man. The thought of that, as well, was unbearable.
There was no privacy in the Labs. The sexual experiments were carried out before the eyes of all those held within the cells. He would be forced to listen to Faith’s cries. Here the mating sounds and know it was destroying her. Just as Faith had been forced to listen to her Pack Leader and Jacob as they had taken the women brought to them. He couldn’t imagine her or Charity seeing such a loss of control from him. The blow to his pride, to his soul, would be more than he could bear.
“She’s too soft for this job, Bainesmith.” He smiled with a tight promise of retribution to the girl. “You should have gotten someone a bit harder. I bet she throws up when she sees blood.”
He silently cursed as Bainesmith watched the girl with calculated interest.
“Can you produce a response, Charity?” she asked her coldly.
God no. A shiver of dread worked over his spine. He looked at Charity, knowing in that moment she would destroy him.