Authors: Marie Harte
Tags: #Multiple Partners
Dawn Endeavor 2:
Dawn Endeavor 2: Hayashi's Hero
Copyright © April 2010 by Marie Harte
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Editor: Ann M. Curtis
Cover Artist: Justin James
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The wind whipped, bringing the chill of February much closer than was comfortable. The cracked tarmac of a lot once crowded with brand-new cars was now surrounded by rickety fences, two rusted, broken-down vehicles, and trash. The helpless air of decay complemented the derelict neighborhood where gunfire, screams, and crime often went unnoticed. Perfect for their activities tonight.
At six feet six, with skin as hard as steel and the added security of fangs, claws, and the endurance of a predator who never quit, Kisho Hayashi liked to think of himself as invincible.
Though he knew better, he liked to mentally reinforce the idea that nothing could hurt him, not when he remained in control, focused, and so fucking angry, he could kill without conscience.
Hell, he could see the goddamn future. He should have been all-powerful. But he wasn't.
He glared at the hated reminder of his recent failure, one of the dickheads who'd nearly beaten him to death a few months ago and who now threatened to shoot Jesse Fallon, his friend and fellow Circ. Kisho didn't have many friends, so those few he did have had his absolute loyalty. A sudden image of bright green eyes set inside a handsome face stole through him, a stranger's face more familiar than his own. He hurriedly blinked the image away.
Christ, just what he needed. Reminders of a tomorrow he didn't want to see. Sometimes he fucking hated seeing the future.
,” the mercenary spat. Devils.
Kisho considered himself and his friends, conceding that the bastard was partly right. They weren't totally human. The experiment to turn them into Uncle Sam's fighting machines made them bigger, more powerful, and…different. The Dawn Endeavor team, of which he was a part, had better instincts, faster response times, and the ability to self-regenerate, even when in human form. But when they transformed into their “beasts,” everything turned into weapons. Teeth became fangs, fingernails strengthened into unbreakable talons, and a simple punch could turn into a deathblow.
The mercenary tightened his finger on the trigger of the semiautomatic he held.
Trust Montaña to give his men decent hardware.
Colonel Ricardo Montaña, leader of a new group of subversives bent on destroying the U.S. Navy's new top secret project at the Pentagon, was a ghost who drifted throughout the States without so much as a whisper. They'd been looking for him ever since a mole in the organization had compromised their last mission.
Kisho narrowed his gaze at the assholes who'd started him on his predestined path to disaster. “Remember me? I took the swan dive off the Sunfield building.” Curses and a scrambled attempt at escape. Their stink of sweat and fear like a drug he intended to savor.
Kill, destroy. Make them hurt the way
, his beast—that other consciousness inside him—demanded. Considering the damage he'd undergone, it made perfect sense the animal instinct that ruled him when
would expect retribution. Kisho more than understood the need for revenge. Unfortunately, the man the navy had shaped couldn't agree to base murder.
In the form of his beast, however, he intended to exact pain, suffering, and at least a
retribution for being left to die two months ago, thrown from a rooftop, then kicked and beaten until he nearly bled to death from internal injuries.
“Hey, dickhead, I asked if you remembered me.” Kisho growled at the mercenary sighting in on his teammate's forehead.
The laser sight swung to Kisho. His heightened senses enabled him to see the man's finger pull the trigger, and avoid the projectile with a second to spare. He kicked the gun to the side and watched as the semiautomatic continued to fire, taking out two unfriendlies before the gunman realized his mistake. Before the merc could swing back to Kisho, Fallon grabbed the hand holding the gun and broke it.
The gunman shrieked in pain, hurting Kisho's sensitive ears. He mentally replayed Franz Joseph Haydn's
Allegro con spirit
; the classical composition was both energizing and soothing in its orchestral perfection. He grabbed the asshole and broke the man's neck in synchronized motion, just as he imagined the first movement's crescendo. A delightful scent of terror filled the air as Tersch, the team's resident Viking, corralled their fleeing opponents.
And there, the staccato of running feet like the rampage of violins. Music to my ears.
“Nope, get back into play, assholes. Hayashi's not done with you yet.” Frederik Gunnar Tersch grinned, showcasing sharp canines that shone under the bright February moon. More massive than the others, he looked like a veritable Viking god…if Viking gods had dallied with the beasts in the underworld.
Tersch clenched his massive fists and cracked his knuckles in the sudden silence.
The wind whirred through the outlying trees surrounding the rundown parking lot and energized their opponents enough that they cried out in terror once more. As if anyone in the surrounding slums would come to their aid.
The brisk breeze invigorated Kisho, and he smiled his pleasure as he tore through the enemy until only three remained.
“Remember to save one for Olivia,” Fallon reminded him. “The fuckers don't speak English, so I can't delve in and read any of them.”
Fallon, a telepath, used his mental abilities to aid the team. A vital resource when it came to intelligence, he was a limitless source of information—so long as their informant spoke the language. Luckily for them, his wife Olivia spoke native Portuguese, the language Montaña's mercs preferred. Olivia also happened to be an empath with the ability to sense truth, yet another asset the team used.
Kisho studied the remaining three men kneeling on the ground. “I'll give you a choice.
Which one of you wants to remain conscious the longest?” The men stared at him and one another, confused, terrified, and trying not to show it.
“Oh, that's right. You probably don't understand me,” Kisho said in all seriousness.
Tersch laughed. The men cringed.
Kisho focused on the tallest and most sadistic of the group, from what he remembered.
“You kicked me when I was down. You're first.” In mere seconds he broke the bastard's knee, nose, and collarbone. He locked in next on the dickhead who'd spit on him, a big no-no. Kisho had had enough of that growing up. He didn't bother with fancy moves; he simply grabbed the shorter male, crushed a few of his ribs, and squeezed his neck until he passed out. Much as he wanted to kill the enemy, Kisho was no murderer. He'd leave them for the admiral's team to clean up.
The last man was on his knees, pleading and weeping for mercy.
Kisho wasn't inclined to show him any. He raked his talons across the idiot's face, a reminder that forgiveness wouldn't be coming from his camp. “Let's give him to Olivia. Then Tersch can have him for sport.”
Tersch grinned. Anything that implied violence was okay with him. “
. Hayashi, buddy, have I told you lately how impressed I am with this new attitude of yours?” He
back into his normal form, that of a giant blond with aggression issues. “It's like you're my new best friend.”
“No really.” Tersch followed after him like a puppy while Fallon shook his head and dragged their newest informant away by his collar. The other two remained breathing but unmoving on the ground. “I know Jules thinks you've gone over the bend, but I believe in you, man.”
“Thanks for the pep talk.” Kisho sighed. “I'll call in for backup. But it doesn't look like there's any rush.” Letting the men live who'd once nearly killed him went against the grain. His beast snarled, but
remained in control. He made the call to Mrs. Sharpe, their secretive boss.
“Any problems?” The smooth, deep voice glided over him like silk.
“No. Two of them didn't cooperate. They're down and likely to stay down without some help.” He heard moaning behind him and couldn't stop his beast's satisfied grin.
Tersch gave him a thumbs-up as he dragged the remaining men over to Fallon, who helped him tie them up to a telephone pole.
“I'm surprised at you, Kisho.” Mrs. Sharpe chided him over the phone. “From Gunnar, I'd expect such brutality. Not from you.”
He'd learned not to question how she knew so much about things she couldn't possibly know.