Authors: Milly Taiden
Tags: #Paranormal Erotic Romance
They returned to their vehicles and called Riel, but he didn’t answer. Concern made Chase’s heart beat faster in his chest, and he tried Julia and Sophia’s phones with no success.
* * *
Riel left Sophia and Julia sitting in the living room and went into Chase’s office. When an explosion rocked the front and back of the house, he lifted his gaze from the computer screen to see the women run into the office and join him. Not wasting any time, Riel clicked a button that unlatched a column on the wall.
Sophia and Julia both gasped when a piece of the wall slid, giving way to a small hallway. He immediately jostled both in, and with a finger over his lips, indicated for them to be quiet. Then he locked them inside.
Riel shoved a filing cabinet in front of the column and ripped his clothes off. He shifted seconds before the door was torn open and two hyenas crowded the entrance. He snarled and lowered his head showing them his fangs.
Their whiney laughter grated on his nerves. He watched a female and a male stroll into the large office. The female, known for being aggressive and hostile, came in ready to fight. She shoved the male out of the way in her attempt to get at Riel.
The female opened her jaws and showed him her fangs in the silly smile hyenas were known to have. She went for his face and used her paws to scratch at his neck. Riel moved away from her paws and tried to get space between the two of them. Undeterred by her smaller body or his massive claws, she attempted to sink her claws into his face once again.
Riel’s powerful claw slashed across the female’s face, and he shoved her away. She hit a chair, the wood splintering, and landed on her side.
Her whiney growl became louder, and she turned her head toward the inactive male. Riel guessed she was trying to get the male’s attention.
Both animals zigzagged around Riel. The male jumped over a table and landed on Riel’s back, biting repeatedly into his shoulder and clawing at him while the female tried to cut into his face once again.
What was it with the woman and his face? He growled and shook the male off. The hyena hit the wall in a loud whine.
Riel’s focus turned to the female, and he bit into one of her paws as hard as possible. Then he jerked her roughly and threw her across the room, breaking a glass coffee table in the process.
She picked her bleeding body up off the floor, whining loudly.
The male came at Riel once again but only got as far as biting into Riel’s hind leg before Riel shoved him against the oak desk, bit him on the back of the neck, and tossed him through a window.
Riel heard the other hyenas whining outside as well as the distant roar of an engine. The female limped toward the broken window, growled at him one last time, and jumped out. The urge to chase made Riel take a step in the direction of the window, but he stayed firmly in front of the filing cabinet he’d placed before the hidden door.
Gunfire erupted outside. Seff waited until they were closer to the house before he slowed down enough to allow Chase and River to get out of the vehicle. Chase saw the torn front door and rushed toward his home. Multiple windows from his office were broken, and blood covered the lower panes. Two animals moved away from the house, limped into a large van, and took off.
Chase and River headed into the house while Seff stayed in the SUV and followed the van. Rushing inside the house with River, Chase was ready to tear the place apart. When they entered the office, they came face to face with a snarling Riel.
“Stand down!” Chase growled.
Riel’s wolf lowered his head and whimpered. Blood covered his brown fur. He panted, trying to regain his human form. Once he was back in his skin, he groaned and landed on a chair, struggling to get his bearings.
“Sophia and Julia?” Chase asked, knowing his enforcer wouldn’t dare let anyone take their women and then stay behind.
“In the safe room. I locked them in before they got to them.” Riel groaned and attempted to shift back to his wolf to allow for faster healing of his wounds. Chase watched as Riel shifted back to being a brown wolf and lay on the carpet.
Chase moved the filing cabinet out of the way and unlocked the secret passage with the hidden code. He stepped back when he heard the hiss of the sliding wall. Inside, Sophia was holding Julia in her arms as the other woman sobbed on her shoulder.
River stepped in front of Chase and pulled Julia toward him. He picked her up in his arms, soothing her with soft words while he carried her to a sofa.
Sophia ran out of the tight space and launched herself into Chase’s arms. While he held her, she buried her face in his neck and used his shirt to muffle her cries.
It broke his heart to see her that way, and he wasn’t sure what to do to help. He rubbed her back and kissed the top of her head, hoping she’d tell him how to make her distress go away.
“Where…where’s Riel?” She inquired into his shoulder.
“On the floor.” He ran a hand through her hair, trying to find her face under the messy tangle.
“Oh God.” She hiccupped, and her sobs grew louder. “He was out here all alone, and we couldn’t help him. We tried, but the door was locked, and then we…we heard all the fighting and the growling. I…I feel so bad. He was so young.” She spoke in a low murmur, describing how the poor man had gotten killed trying to defend them, and they’d done nothing to help.
“Sweetheart, he’s on the floor recuperating, he’s not dead,” Chase said softly into her hair.
She lifted tear-stained eyes to his face and then turned to see the bloody, brown wolf lying on the floor panting, his tongue lolling out of his open mouth.
She pulled out of Chase’s arms, crouched down next to Riel’s animal form, and petted the big furry head. She looked him in the eye, her tears falling on his brown fur, and kissed the top of his head.
“Thank you,” she whispered in his fuzzy ear and then stood.
Chase helped her back up and into his arms.
“How long does he have to stay like that?”
Chase noticed how scared she was when she stared at the still animal. Riel’s only sign of life was the movement of his chest when he took slow even breaths.
“Not long. His wounds will heal and close within a few hours, and then he’ll be able to shift and speak to us.” He was proud of Riel. He’d proven himself once again to be able to be a commendable defender.
“Well we can’t just leave him here. Come on, you and River can carry him into one of the bedrooms. If he has to be lying down it should be on a bed.” She ordered them around.
Julia had also calmed once she realized the brown wolf was alive and soon to be well.
They carried him to one of the lower level bedrooms and then left him alone to rest. The men were in the process of calling the cleanup crew when Seff showed up in Chase’s vehicle.
Shortly thereafter the cleanup crew arrived and installed heavy-duty metal doors in the front and back entrances of the house.
The windows were replaced. A group of four would stay the night to secure the premises. River had insisted they alternate with another set of enforcers to ensure maximum protection.
In the kitchen, Julia cooked a meal to keep some semblance of order while Sophia quietly dissected the personnel in her lab over and over again.
In the dining room, everyone spoke at the same time, telling what happened from their own point of view. Sophia sat quietly, internally reviewing every single interaction she’d had with the members of the lab for some clue as to who could be behind the attacks.
Everyone was staying the night. Chase and River thought it would be easier to keep the women safe with the security patrolling outside. Seff stayed in the room next to Riel’s, while Julia and River took the room at the end of the hall opposite Chase and Sophia.
Once inside their room, Chase pulled her in for a kiss. They removed their clothes slowly, moving their kisses and foreplay to the shower. First he washed her and himself. After they’d both rinsed the soap off their bodies, he pulled her back into his arms. He nipped and licked every inch of her warm skin, branding her all over again.
Her hands glided over his muscles, her nails caressing his shoulders and biting into the hard planes of his chest and abs. She threaded her fingers in his wet hair and tugged, bringing him closer to her hungry lips.
He carried her to the bed where she watched him lick the drops of water clinging to her tightly puckered nipples. He devoured the tips, sucking them into the hot cavern of his mouth while she moaned her encouragement.
Her pussy throbbed with every bite on her skin. His finger speared into her swollen cunt, doubling the pleasure already streaming inside her body. He kissed her stomach and moved down until his head was between her legs.
Electric currents ran through her, pooling heat to her sex and racking shudders down her body. His head lowered, and he licked and sucked his way up and down her pussy. He dipped his wicked tongue into her slick sex and fucked her mercilessly.
She pinched her nipples to increase the pleasure while he rubbed his lips over her engorged clit. She glanced down to see him watching her. Her breath hitched, and she bit her lip in a whimper while her fingers rolled and tweaked the tight buds harder.
She rocked her lower body on his face. He inserted two of his digits into her wet cunt while his tongue lapped at her. He curved his fingers to rub the upper wall of her channel, making her head roll back and her back bow as she tried to ride his face harder.
His lips clamped over her nubbin. He moved his fingers faster in and out while drawing circles on her clit with his tongue. Her legs locked in tension, her toes curled on the back of his shoulders, and she came screaming his name in a sob.
Her legs dropped to either side of him while she tried to catch her breath. He kissed his way back up her body. Her hands fisted in his hair and pulled him up for a kiss. She ran one of her hands down his front and grasped his cock, squeezing it and making him jerk in her hand.
She guided the hard length into her wet entrance and whimpered at the delicious feel of him filling her. He was so deep she could hardly breathe. She wrapped her legs around his hips, the balls of her feet digging into his muscled ass.
Thrusting in and out of her slowly, he kissed her lips, her jaw, and her neck, and sucked on the curve of her shoulder. Every slap of skin created a higher wave of tension inside her clenching sex. Her hands ran over his shoulders and down his back pulling him in deeper.
“Chase, oh God, oh God, oh God…” she chanted as he increased the tempo of their mating.
“Oh, baby. You feel so fucking good,” he growled and ran a hand between their bodies to rub a thumb over her clit, roughly pinching the sensitive nub.
She licked the curve of his shoulder and clamped her teeth on him, marking him as her own. He jerked inside her when her tongue licked the tiny pricks of blood.
“Mine,” she growled into his neck.
She dropped back on the bed, still licking her lips. Her head thrashed. She curled her nails into his biceps. Her climax hit her in a giant wave of ecstasy. She was caught in absolute bliss and barely noticed her body trembling or the scream that tore through her.
When her mind had cleared from her pleasure-induced coma, Chase had curled her into his side and was raining kisses over her face.
“I love you. I never want to lose you,” he growled and held her tightly to him.
She smiled and sighed. Exhaustion dragged her down.
“I love you too,” she whispered and let sleep claim her.
Chase stopped breathing for a moment. She’d marked him and told him she loved him. He wanted to shout it to the world, to wake her up and demand she say it again to his face, but most of all, he wanted to make love to her over and over again. He ran his hand down the curve of her spine and smiled when she snuggled closer into him.
The following morning, he walked into the bedroom aware he’d let Sophia sleep longer than he expected. He sat down by the bed and watched as she breathed evenly. He tried to rouse her from sleep.
After multiple attempts of trying to shake her awake only to get a grumble and then have her fall into a deep sleep, he became alarmed.
He called the pack doctor. The woman showed up sooner than he deserved, considering he had growled at her on the phone and demanded her immediate appearance.
She took Sophia’s vitals and told him his mate just needed rest. She stressed the need to allow Sophia time to recharge her energy. Her body was coping well with her change, and Sophia would soon be able to handle her new physiology without the need for so much sleep. The doctor pointedly told him that if he exhausted her with draining amorous activities she would need longer sleep.
* * *
Sophia knew she was dreaming. She looked around and couldn’t figure out where she was. There were flowers, rolling hills, and green trees as far as the eye could see, without a building or home in sight. Turning in a full circle, she didn’t see anyone else.
Giggles caught her attention. She smiled at the childish laughter. Walking toward the noise, she came upon a large tree. Crouching down, she peeked behind it and saw two toddlers, a boy and a girl, playing on the grass.
The little girl blew unsuccessfully at fat brown curls that kept falling over her eyes. The little boy grinned mischievously and used a small stick to dig a hole in the grass. Concerned for the children’s safety, she walked around the tree to ask the whereabouts of their mother. They looked up at her and smiled.
“Mommy!” they yelled and ran toward her. Their soft, chubby, little hands pulled her down on the grass, and they climbed onto her lap.
The little girl’s gray eyes twinkled when she smiled impishly at Sophia, while the little boy lifted a chubby hand to pat Sophia’s face and pulled one of her long brown curls to play with. He leaned his head onto the curve of her neck.
The little girl, feeling left out, also grabbed a curl and twirled it in her fingers, copying her brother and leaning onto Sophia’s other shoulder. Love and joy filled her heart while she held the two precious bodies.
Sophia woke up with a strong sense of well-being and happiness that she couldn’t contain. She smiled and turned to look at Chase. Instead of seeing happiness reflected back from him, he was watching her warily.
“What’s wrong?” she asked, losing some of the contentment surrounding her just seconds before.
“How do you feel?” he asked her quietly, brushing her hair from her face.
“Good. Hungry, but good. Actually, not hungry, I’m starved. Why?” She sat up on the bed, noticing she wore a cotton sleeping gown. She clearly remembered falling asleep naked in Chase’s arms.
There was a knock at the door, and Chase moved to open it, letting Julia in. Her sister’s worried gaze increased the anxiety Sophia felt.
“Thank God, you’re finally awake.” Julia rushed to sit by the bed.
“Of course I’m awake. What’s going on?” She demanded a little more frantically.
“Sweetheart, you were sleeping for a long time, and we were worried about you.” Chase moved to the other side of the bed and held her hand in his.
“What do you mean for a long time? How long was I asleep?”
Chase and Julia looked at each other. Then Chase nodded and Julia replied, “Two days.”
“What? That’s impossible. I mean I was…we were…” She turned to Chase for some help, knowing her face had turned red.
“Yeah, well after you fell asleep, we were unable to wake you up. We called the shifter doctor in, but all she said was to let you rest and that you would come around once you weren’t so worn-out.”
His eyes kept roaming over her face as if worried she’d keel over in sleep any second.
“Well, I’m not sure why I slept so long, but I feel incredibly rested. So where’s the food?” She winced at the cramping in her stomach.
She enjoyed the conversation around her while they ate, and thought of how she’d love to check out her blood under a microscope. Wondering what lay behind the bouts of exhaustion she was experiencing, she wished she could pick apart her cells and look at the impact the shifter gene had had on her system.
Once again, Chase, Seff and Riel went off to look for Tryx. After two days of searching, every clue they’d gotten had seen no results. They were starting to wonder if she’d been taken out of the state or if she’d been killed. Sophia refused to believe the sweet wolf was dead.
Julia went home with River after he made a comment over how tired she looked.
Sophia was on her own inside while two men secured the outside of the house. Because she was tempted to take a nap, she decided to use Chase’s computer to access her work e-mail instead. The last thing she needed was to take a nap and wake up a week later. In her e-mail, she found a request by one of the director’s for their monthly meeting. Cringing at the fact the e-mail was two days old, she typed up a reply suggesting a date and time.
A new message arrived from a generic e-mail address she didn’t recognize. Thinking of all the kinds of computer viruses she could give Chase’s system, she debated opening it. She gave in to temptation, took the risk, and opened it to find a web link. It clicked open to a site that showed a video that was being streamlined live.
There was a woman dangling from a set of metal chains in thick manacles. Her body was bloody, and her face showed her anger at being tied up. Sophia’s eyes watered when she realized the woman was Tryx.
Scanning the screen, she noticed Tryx was in a basement somewhere. Nothing stood out to give Sophia any inkling as to where they could be.
A small chat icon popped open on the screen, and her eyes left the image of Tryx to look down at the message.
: If you give us the samples you can save her life
She stared at the words for what seemed like an eternity and then used shaky fingers to type up a response.
How do I know you’re not lying?
The response came back immediately.
You don’t, but we don’t want to hurt a helpless female. We just want your work. You have two hours to decide if she lives or dies. Call this number when you’re ready to make a trade.
Be careful of sharing the information with your wolf, or the woman dies. We’ll know if you use your phone. The deal will be off, and she’ll die. Once you are ready, call. We know where you are and will take care of the two shifters guarding you.
You mean you’re going to kill the wolves?
No, just put them to sleep while you come with us. Remember, two hours
The pop up closed, indicating the other person had gone off-line. She paced around the office, wondering how to let Chase know what just happened.
She concentrated on the link she had used with him at the lab. Mentally picturing his wolf and hoping she successfully got through to him in human form, she screamed out to him.
* * *
Chase was in The Back Door talking to a group of men while planning a new search mission for Tryx. A nagging in his head made his wolf pace restlessly. He tried to take over his body, and Chase had to haul the animal back to keep the skin.
The wolf became agitated and fought his restraint. He’d never had this happen before. The animal knew who was in charge but was currently fighting for dominance.
He turned to River with a frown, and they stepped in one of the back offices.
“What’s going on?”
“I…don’t…know.” He clenched his teeth while rubbing his hand on his forehead and fighting the animal for control. His wolf must be sensing something wrong. Breathing deep, he focused on his link with the animal. There was something just beyond his reach, and it sounded very much like Sophia’s soft voice calling out to his wolf in the distance.
“Chase just let him out and find out what he wants. It won’t do us any good to have you fighting to keep the skin. Release him,” River suggested.
Chase reluctantly let the animal have control over his body. As soon as he let the wolf loose, he heard Sophia’s call clearly.
“Chase? Chase? I hope this works. Chase…I need you.”