Authors: Bobbie Palmer
To my fellow writers who have stood at tables
with me, listened to me droning on about my books,
and who have me advice countless times. You have
helped me with my writing and getting my books out
there. I will forever be grateful.
Emily paced her room, trying to get up the
strength to ask for the help she needed from an
enemy. She hated to do it. She was a fighter, a
killer, yet she had to get help for a rescue
mission? She was better than that. Yet, here she
was, about to walk through a door she could never
come back from.
The Hunter was her prisoner, but she was being
forced to go to him for help. She let out a
frustrated growl and forced herself to leave the
room and go to the cells in her basement. She had
to walk quickly, before her pride got the better of
her again. She’d been wrestling it around in her
brain for a few hours, trying to force herself to
What finally convinced her was the picture of
Stacy on her nightstand and the thought of her
locked up somewhere hurt, dead, in pain. It was
too much for her. She was her baby sister. It was
her job to protect her. Emily knew it was her
fault Stacy had been taken. She should have kept a
better eye on her. If she had watched her more
carefully or taken better care of her, it would
never have happened.
She walked up to the cell and looked through
the window. Paul was staring at the door, seeming
to know someone was there. And he looked like
shit. There was dirt smeared across his face and
his shirt was torn where the bullet had been dug
out of his shoulder. She guessed he looked pretty
good for someone who had been locked up for a few
Emily opened the door and found Paul staring at
her with a surprised look on his face. “Hello
Paul,” she said with an evil smile.
“What? Have you finally decided to kill me?”
he asked, not moving from the cot. Once the shock
was off his face, he just looked defeated. Maybe
the boredom was getting to him. It wasn’t like she
was a cruel captor. He had a blanket, food,
water, and a toilet, and she didn’t keep it
freezing down here or anything.
“No, I thought I’d stop by for a little visit,
see how you’re doing.” She had to act like nothing
was wrong, even if she felt like she was going to
fall apart any minute. She didn’t like admitting
that to anyone, herself included.
“I’m doing great. The food is five-star
quality, and the bed is the best I’ve ever slept
on,” he said sarcastically.
“So why are you really here?” he asked.
“Because you are the only person who might be
able to help me,” she said seriously. She hated
that she had to go to him, but she really didn’t
have another choice. She didn’t want to go to Bill
and look like a failure who couldn’t take care of
her own problems. She knew he’d help, but she
wanted to take care of this on her own, prove to
everyone she could do it.
Help her? He looked at her closely, trying to
figure out if she was serious. “Why would I help
you?” Paul asked.
“Because you’re the only one who can. I’ve
tried getting information out of other Hunters, but
they don’t seem to want to cooperate. I think deep
down you’re a good person who wants to help people
and make everything better,” she said with a slight
“I haven’t been a Hunter since right before you
put me in here. What makes you think I even know
anything?” he asked.
He sat back on his cot, waiting for her
response. He did understand why she was coming to
him, but he was her prisoner. You weren’t supposed
to go to prisoners for help; you torture them for
information, starve them, kill them. You don’t ask
them for help.
She was Emily Kincade; she could do anything
and never needed help. She was a bad ass tiger
shifter with an attitude. Why the hell would she
He really looked at her and saw the worry in
her face and the bags under her eyes. She looked
like she hadn’t eaten or slept in a few days. She
looked like shit.
“They don’t have her. Zeke doesn’t take
children. He’s cruel and screwed up in the head,
but that’s one thing even he won’t mess with.” For
a second he thought there might be a chance for him
to get out of there, but he couldn’t help her. He
didn’t know where to look and he was certain Zeke
didn’t have her.
Paul decided to listen to what she had to say,
but he knew it wasn’t his old boss. Maybe he could
use this, though. Maybe he could get a few things
from her first. He would kill for some food that
actually tasted like food, a shower, and some clean
clothes. He hated to hear that a kid had been
kidnapped and he really hoped she was found. He
wasn’t trying to be insensitive about it, but he
knew Zeke better than anyone. The man had morals.
They didn’t always make sense, but he had them and
he stuck to them.
There was a slight chance that Paul might be
able to help her, but he doubted it. All his
contacts were through the Hunters and he was sure
Zeke had told them all to shoot him on sight.
Zeke was very happy when he’d found a good
right-hand man in Richard Samson. He seemed to be
fitting right in. He had the same hatred as Zeke
did and wasn’t afraid to use it. He seemed to be a
much better fit than Paul ever was. Richard seemed
a little unstable at times, but really, who wasn’t?
He wasn’t too worried about it, but he was still
keeping a close eye on him.
“Zeke, I want to show you something. I found a
way for us to eradicate the shifters,” Richard said
as he walked into the room. Zeke perked up. After
Paul’s betrayal he needed a win. He was all for a
new plan to take down the animals.
“What’s that?” Zeke asked as he stood from his
chair. He wasn’t getting around as easily as he
used to. Since he’d been shot, he’d had to use a
cane to walk. He was making vast improvements, but
would never be what he used to be.
“Let me show you,” he said with a smile.
Zeke followed Richard to one of the holding
cells they had. He’d never used it, but figured it
would come in handy when they had a shifter they
wanted information from. It was state of the art
with titanium bars and electric locks. It was his
baby, and he really hoped to use it one day. He’d
put so much money into it that he wanted to find
out if it would work.
“I got her two days ago,” Richard said. Zeke
looked up and saw a girl in the cell. She couldn’t
have been more than sixteen. He might kill
shifters, but Zeke never went after kids. It was
just wrong. It might eradicate the species if he
did, but that was just cruel.
“Because I’m going to train her to kill her own
kind. She’ll be the ultimate fighting machine,”
Richard said with pride.
“Yes, but they’re easier to break. I’m likely to
have fewer problems with her than I would with an
adult. She’ll fight me at first, but when I break
her, she’s going to be perfect.”
Zeke saw the excitement in Richard’s eyes. He
had to put a stop to this. He was too weak to kill
him himself, but he’d find a way to release her and
put Richard down. He couldn’t stand for that. He
wanted the monsters dead, but was not prepared to
go after the innocent.
Richard was so proud of himself. He couldn’t
wait to break the girl. Maybe he could have her
all to himself too. She was a shifter, but they
had to be wild in bed. She was an animal after
He looked over at Zeke and saw the disgust on
his face. He had a feeling his boss wouldn’t like
him taking her, especially since she was so young,
but he wanted to show his boss it would work. He
looked up to the old man. Richard had come so far
in his life, and killed so many shifters. He
wanted to learn from Zeke and maybe one day take
over from him. The only problem was the man had
gone soft in his old age. He seemed to not want to
torture them or make them suffer. He wanted them
to have quick deaths. The man wouldn’t even touch
the kids. Didn’t he know they grew up to be those
monsters? They all had to be eradicated. If you
kill only the adults, the kids are just going to
grow up and multiply. They would never be able to
get rid of the disgusting things.
He knew Zeke was trying to get information. He
could see the look in his eyes. He was pissed.
Richard was just fighting for the cause, didn’t he
see that? “She’s young enough; we shouldn’t have a
“Are you sure? She looks like a fighter.”
“Yeah, that’s why I picked her. She’s tough,
but everyone has a breaking point. You just have
to be patient,” Richard said with a smile. He was
really looking forward to it. She was going to
fight him, but he knew it was going to be worth it.
Didn’t Zeke know he had a plan? He wasn’t going
into this blindly. He’d broken humans before. It
couldn’t be that much harder. Well, maybe a
little, but the process was probably the same.
“How about I take you to the living room where
we can talk? We can be more comfortable and we’ll
get you a real meal,” Emily asked as she leaned
against the door frame of Paul’s cell.
Emily watched him move. Even after being in a
cell for so long, he looked to be in good shape and
ready for anything. She admired that. He seemed
ready for some type of trap though. That wasn’t
her plan, but she had no intention of telling him
that. It was a chance to see how he’d react and
handle things in an unknown situation. If he was
helping her, she needed to be sure he knew what he
was doing. It was her baby sister.
When they got to the living room, Emily said
“sit”, then went into the kitchen. Her cook was
standing at the stove, preparing a big meal. She
always did, no matter what Emily said. “I need a
Maggie raised her eyebrow at her. Emily knew
better than to talk to her like that. She was
human and younger than her, but when it came to the
kitchen, she was the boss. “Please,” Emily added
with a sigh. She loved the woman dearly, but she
still got on her nerves sometimes.
“That’s better,” Maggie said with a smile. “Is
this for the prisoner you’ve got that I’m not
supposed to know about?”
“I know everything. You should know that by
now.” Emily knew she shouldn’t be surprised, but
she was. She thought she’d kept Paul well hidden.
She’d have to try harder next time she needed to
hide someone. “Now, it’s for him right?”
“You saw him?” she asked. Maggie was just full
of surprises. It was her job to know everything,
she did run the house… and most of the shifters in
“I’ve taken him food a few times. We’d chat
sometimes. He’s really sweet. Why did you have
him locked up?” she asked.
Maggie, no more talking to the prisoners,” Emily
said, trying to sound authoritative. It never
worked on Maggie, but she had to try.
“Yes, he told me about that. Something about
believing what someone said about shifters, but
then finding out none of it was true. I believe
him. If I thought he was dangerous, I wouldn’t
have gone down there.”
“Maggie, please, stop putting yourself in
danger. I don’t know what I’d do if anything
happened to you,” Emily said pleadingly.
“Em, I’m sixty years old. Something is going
to happen to me. You’ll survive it, well, unless
you don’t find a new cook. I’ve had your cooking;
you might kill everyone with it. Plus most bad
guys won’t mess with an old woman, especially me.
I’ll hit them upside the head with a frying pan,
just like I did to you,” she said with a smile.
“I know,” Emily responded with a smile, and
went back into the living room. “Maggie’s cooking
you some food. Do you need anything?”
Emily knew what that meant: he wanted more
before he agreed to help. She just hoped she could
get him what he wanted.
Paul couldn’t figure out what Emily was trying
to do. He had every intention of helping her, but
he did plan on milking it. But, she seemed very
nervous about it all. She was supposed to be some
bad ass killer, but here she was trying to impress
him and doing a really bad job of it. She kept
twisting her hands and looking at the floor. Did
she really think he wouldn’t help her?
“Please, sit down. You’re making me nervous,”
he finally said. That was not how he had pictured
her. He’d expected ruthlessness, like she was when
he met her right before she captured him.
“Okay,” she mumbled, then sat down in a chair
across from him. She was jittery and kept jiggling
her foot or moving. He couldn’t take it anymore.
He thought she might have just said it, gotten it
out of the way, but there he sat, waiting.
“Tell me what’s going on,” he said, leaning
forward and putting his elbows on his knees. He
needed her to get it out so maybe she’d calm down
some. He could tell she was nervous.
“The scent. I’ve scented the man before when I
was after some Hunters, I am certain of it. I
don’t know why they took her and I really don’t
care, but I want her back and I’ll kill anyone who
stands in my way,” she growled out.
He could tell she was pissed off. No more
nerves getting the better of her. That was the
Emily he’d read about. He knew she had to be in
there somewhere; she was just hidden underneath all
the worry. He had always admired her tenacity and
strength. Paul might not have seen it firsthand,
but he’d read about it in reports from Hunters
who’d encountered her.
“Okay, I know you guys are good with the whole
sniffing thing, so I believe that you smelled him.
I’ll help you, but I’m still not sure it’s Zeke.
Your sister’s far too young for someone in his
collection, and he doesn’t mess with kids. That’s
one of his main rules: you don’t kill kids.”
“Well he took Stacy. I’m sure of that. What
if it was just one of his men doing it on his own?
If we find the man, we’ll find her.”