Authors: Milly Taiden
Tags: #Paranormal Erotic Romance
His heart beat painfully loudly. He thought of all the things that likely happened to make her reach out to him in this way. He tore off his clothes and shifted. While he could communicate with Sophia in the flesh, their wolves were the ones with the mental link. So if he wanted a clear connection with her, one of them needed to be shifted into their animal.
he roared in his mind.
“Where are you? Are you OK?”
“Oh thank God!
You can hear me,”
“I used your computer to check my e-mail and there was this strange link that showed me a video stream of Tryx tied up by a chain hanging from a roof in some dark cellar-type place.”
“That’s the thing, I don’t know…”
He could hear the uncertainty and concern in her voice and wished he could reach out and soothe her worry.
“Then this message popped up and told me that I could help save her life if I just turn my research over. They gave me two hours to call a number. They’ll come get me and take me in place of Tryx.”
“Chase, listen to me, I don’t want to go with them, but I want to help find Tryx. Maybe we can go with their plan until we reach whatever destination it is they’re keeping her and then you and your guys can get us out of there?”
he ordered in a loud growl.
she growled right back.
He knew she didn’t appreciate his dismissal of her idea. It would’ve been a perfect plan if it was anyone but his mate.
“Sophia, we’re not having this conversation,”
he insisted in a rigid tone.
“Yes, we are. Your guys haven’t found a single trace of where she could be. This is our one chance to get her back. So you either help me do this or…I swear I’ll call those guys right now and go on without you.”
“Baby, be reasonable.”
He tried to keep her from doing anything dangerous.
The anger in her came through loud and clear.
“You be reasonable. That’s your cousin out there. Wouldn’t you do the same thing for me if I was the one being held somewhere and no one could find me?”
He remained quiet for a moment and thought of ways to dissuade her from her crazy plan. She continued to talk as if he’d already agreed with her.
“Chase, listen to me. We have about an hour and a half to figure out how to do this. I’m going to give you an hour, but you can’t call me. They have my phone tapped, and they’re watching the house, which means whatever you do you’re going to have to follow from far away.”
“We can’t ruin the whole operation because you guys stray too close. They’re not going to do anything to me until they have their hands on my work, which means at some point they are taking me back to the lab.”
His heart sped up in his chest.
“I’m not letting you put yourself in danger.”
“I’m not going to be in danger, you’ll follow behind us. I’m not going to do anything stupid to get either of us hurt. Since they don’t know I only need to use my fingerprint and voice command to open the safe, I am going to work them to take me to her so that we’re both together. That will give you guys a chance to stop this once and for all.”
Her soft voice tried to pacify him, but he knew things she didn’t
“Sophia, if anything happens to you—”
“Chase, stop. Nothing is going to happen to me, because you will make sure of it. I’m going to call them in exactly one hour to give you guys enough time to be in place before they come for me.”
“Chase? I…I love you. If anything does happen, I just want you to know,”
she whispered and broke off the communication with him.
Chase shifted into his human form and growled.
“Well?” River asked once Chase had changed.
“Sophia was contacted by whoever has Tryx. They want her in exchange. She wants to do it and for us to follow from far away until they reach wherever she’s being held so we can retrieve them both at once. The foolish woman is walking right into their clutches, and nothing I said would change her mind.” He ran a shaky hand through his hair.
He tried to dress quickly, but his hands shook and made things slower.
River stood quiet for a moment. “This is the best chance we’ve had so far of finding Tryx.” He clasped Chase on the shoulder. “Don’t worry. We’ll make sure nothing happens to your mate.”
Chase lifted panic-filled eyes to his brother. “It’s not just her I’m worried about.”
River lifted his brows waiting for him to elaborate.
“She’s pregnant. It’s what has made it harder for her body to adjust to her change.” He wished there was something else he could do to keep her safe. Some way he could take her place and keep her and their children from harm.
Tightly gripping the chair in front of him, River’s eyes widened. “Does she know?”
Chase shook his head. “No. It’s been so difficult for her body to adjust to being a shifter without me throwing in that she’s going to be a mother too. It’s hard enough to keep her from trying to shift.” He paced around the confines of the room.
River’s face paled. Determination quickly replaced the worry that lined his features. “Then we need to make sure we do this right. Let’s call everyone and get in place.” He smacked his brother on the back and pushed him out of the room to join the others and make plans.
* * *
Sophia hated how far she’d pushed Chase, but the man needed to learn she had a brain. They were supposed to mates, which implied a partnership. So far, he’d told her what to do at every turn, and she’d followed along because his judgment made sense. Now, it was time to follow her lead.
He contacted her through his wolf. He told her they were in place and to go ahead and make the call.
He got her to promise not to do anything to get herself hurt and to leave all the fighting to them. Then he implicitly told her not to try to shift, to which she reluctantly agreed. What she didn’t tell him was that if the need did arise she was going to give it a try and to hell with the consequences.
She picked up the phone and made the call at the time she’d been instructed to by Chase.
“Dr. Reese. We’re going to—”
“Hold on a second.” She tried to calm her nerves and remember what she was supposed to say. “I am not giving you my work until you take me to the wolf and let me see her. I want to make sure she’s still alive and not hurt. You’ll have to bring her with us when we go to my lab.”
“You are pushing your luck, Doctor.”
“Tough. You want my research, I want Tryx. So you take me to her and I will gladly give you all my samples, plus my written data without complaint or any trouble,” she promised.
“Very well, since you are agreeing to be of assistance, I see no reason why we must make things difficult. We will bring you to see the wolf first. My men will be there to get you in a few minutes. Be ready to walk outside with no weapons or electronic devices.”
The line went dead.
Sophia had to take a deep breath to calm the sickening pain in her stomach. She ran to the kitchen and grabbed a sandwich hoping the food would calm the cramps. As a last thought, she darted to her room and gave herself a spritz with a body spray she’d stopped using. She hoped to confuse their sense of smell. She was glad Chase had a lot of her stuff brought over to his place, and she was able to use the body spray.
Almost gagging at the strong scent, she tried to adjust by walking away from the fumes. She knew she would either have to put up with it or wash it off. After the majority dissipated, she was able to handle the clinging scent on her body. It was not something she’d be using again after this.
Ten minutes later, she heard the roar of engines pull up. She brushed her sweaty palms on the sides of her jeans and walked out of the house. She saw two wolves on the ground outside the door with darts protruding from their necks. She looked at each of their chests and noticed the faint rise and fall, indicating they lived. She walked away feeling marginally better.
Four large men stood by a black delivery van and a green pickup was parked right next to it. She walked slowly and steadily, holding her head up. She looked each man in the eye.
She stood in front of the one she figured was in charge and lifted her chin. “Let’s go,” she ordered, putting her hands on her hips.
The man looked her over and then sniffed the air around her. His eyes narrowed, and she lifted haughty brows at him.
“What? I smell like the wolves you guys hate so much? I have been staying with a bunch of them in case you hadn’t noticed genius.” She prayed her words were enough to keep the man from taking any closer sniffs of her.
He considered her for what was surely too long, causing her palms to perspire once again. She kept herself calm knowing they could sense it if she was nervous or lying.
He opened the van door and allowed her to sit inside. There was one large man to her right and another to her left. She assumed it was to ensure her cooperation.
* * *
Chase and his men were located on a cliff overlooking his house. It made it easy for them to watch what was happening without being scented by the enemy.
His heart had frozen for a moment when the hyena had taken a whiff of her scent. He should’ve told her about her condition, but he knew that keeping it from her would prevent her from lying and then getting caught from it.
Through his binoculars, Chase had seen Sophia say something. The man had stared at her and then opened the door to allow her inside.
Exhaling a sigh of relief, Chase watched the van take off. He contacted one of the five teams he was working with.
They made their way slowly down the cliff, giving the vehicles ahead of them enough room not to call attention to themselves.
His eyes never veered off the van carrying his mate. He listened to the voice through the walkie giving updates on the roads and exits their target was taking.
He was going to spank Sophia’s delectable ass for putting herself in this kind of danger. Grinding his teeth, he focused his body into combat zone. Everything inside him cleared of all emotions other than aggression and cold-blooded calculation.
* * *
The black van carrying Sophia arrived at a small building that sat on an empty lot. There was nothing in the surrounding area. She peered at the dilapidated green structure and shuddered. She hoped they really had brought her to meet up with Tryx, or she was sure this was all going to have been for nothing.
Taking deep breaths helped her keep her calm. The man who she had spoken with opened the door for her to exit. He tightened his hold to keep her from falling on her face, and she gave him a small smile.
Inside the building there were two men. They opened a door and motioned for her to go down the hallway.
So far she had counted six men in total that Chase and his team would have to get rid of.
Slowly making her way down the dark, dank passage, she came to a large room with multiple windows. It had the look and feel of a basement but was just a regular room. The plastic covering the windows was what gave it the dark dungeon feel.
Realization dawned that she was at the same place she had seen in the video. She gazed around the corner of the dingy room and found Tryx gagged and tied with a chain to a chair. Next to her, a big man stood by and kept watch over Tryx. Sophia walked until she stood a few yards in front of them and stopped.
“Dr. Reese, it’s so good of you to join us.” The man was clearly a hyena shifter with his whiny voice, but he had to have a rat in there somewhere because his kind of ugly face didn’t happen naturally.
She didn’t care what anybody said, not even a mother could call
cute. He had beady, red eyes and a pointy nose. His big ears really didn’t help him with his attempt to look mean.
She would have laughed at how ridiculous his face looked had it not been for the gun he held in his hand.
“Yes, well a promise is a promise. So I am ready when you are. Just let her go, and then we can go to my lab.” She hoped he didn’t get a whiff of her, although from what she knew, rats had an amazing sense of smell.
“This here is a dangerous animal, Dr. Reese. I couldn’t possibly let her go.” He stared at her, and she wanted to slap the leer off his face.
“Look let me talk to her. I promise you I can get her to behave if you give me a second alone with her, and if she does, we can take her with us. If not, then I guess you can just let her loose after you get what you want from me.”
She looked at the man with the biggest, most innocent eyes she could muster.
The man jerked his chin toward the video camera in the room, and she turned to look. Once he saw that she’d noticed their every move was being recorded, he continued walking. He got to the door and stopped. At the entrance, he told her there would be someone watching the cameras in case they thought to escape. He told her he would unlock the chains when he returned if he believed the wolf would really behave.
Sophia knew he lied. He continued out of the room and locked them inside.
She moved to stand in front of Tryx and removed the gag from her lips.
“Sophia, what are you doing here?” Tryx sniffed her and horror filled her face. “Does Chase know you’re here?” she hissed.
“Shhh, yes he does.” She whispered so low she knew only Tryx could hear her.
“How could he let you come here as you are?” The pixie wolf growled in anger. She muttered how stupid her cousin was for such an intelligent man.
“What are you going on about? Be quiet and listen. Here’s the plan. Chase and his guys are probably outside now. We’re going to be good little girls until they get us out of here, and if the need arises then I’ll shift and help him out.”
“Are you insane? You can’t shift!” The little wolf almost bit her head off with her growl.
“And why not?” She wondered why everyone kept telling her the same thing. She was getting really tired of being ordered around.