Read Dual Embrace: 3 (Shadowpeak Wolves) Online

Authors: Lorna Jean Roberts

Tags: #Erotica

Dual Embrace: 3 (Shadowpeak Wolves) (5 page)

BOOK: Dual Embrace: 3 (Shadowpeak Wolves)
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She glanced over at Cassie’s pale face.

“Damn, okay, in thirty seconds we’re going to hit a turnoff. Don’t slow down. When I tell you to, pull sharply to the left.”

Dusty desperately wished she were driving. Cassie didn’t know this road.

“To the left. Now!”

Cassie slammed the steering wheel over hard as the car behind them surged forward.

Bang!

Their car overshot the turn, spinning, heading directly for the ditch. Cassie’s terror-filled scream mingled with the sound of screeching tires before the world flipped and spun.

Dusty’s breath was forced from her lungs as her seat belt dug in tightly. Her head pounded, nausea threatening as she forced herself not to give in to the black edging her vision. She had to stay awake, to get out, to defend Cassie from the gunman who had to be right behind them.

Fighting with her seat belt, she stared out the rearview mirror, horrified to see their pursuer standing at the top of the ditch. The sun was behind him, obscuring his features.

He made his way down as she urgently yanked at the stuck belt, her breath coming in short pants.

She had to protect Cassie. The other woman wasn’t moving, but Dusty didn’t have time to worry about it. She refused to think the worst.

Suddenly he paused, turned, then took off running.

Away from them.

Thank God.

Dusty’s heart raced. She didn’t believe it, wasn’t ready to let her guard down in case it was some sort of trick. Black crept across her vision. She blinked, fighting to stay conscious.

Voices drifted down. A man and a woman. A high-pitched scream, running footsteps.

Then nothing.

* * * * *

 

Dusty signed the release forms without reading them, her mind a hundred miles away. She sat gazing off into space as the nurse took the papers and walked away.

“You’re in shock. I’m going to take you home.”

Dusty shook her head, glancing over at Cain, truly seeing him for the first time in hours. Oh she’d known he was there. He hadn’t left her side. But she’d been dazed, lost in her own little world.

“No, I want to see Cassie.”

She stood, swaying. Cain grabbed her arm to steady her. Dusty wished she could lean on him. An amazing revelation for someone who took great pride in the fact that she didn’t need anyone.

Part of her wanted to confide in him, to take what he was offering. But she couldn’t burden him with her problems. And she didn’t want to risk him rejecting her. She wasn’t sure she could take that. It was her fault she was in this situation. She’d pushed him away and she had to learn to live with the consequences of that decision.

Besides, how would he feel if he found out she’d nearly slept with another man?

“Cassie’s still in with the doctor. No one can see her yet. Some of the pack are in a waiting room.”

“Then that’s where I want to be.”

Cain stared at her for a long moment. “Lean on me. Use this.” He handed over her walking stick. He must have retrieved it from Laney’s car.

Dusty concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other as they moved down the corridor. She looked around the waiting room. They were at the human hospital, but the room’s only occupants were Shadowpeak wolves.

Stopping briefly to hug Laney, she nodded at her other packmates as she made her way slowly to a chair, hating that they could see how weak she was.

Dusty sat with a grimace. She detested hospitals. They sapped her, stole her strength.

She knew they pumped something into the air in these places.

As she sat there, bits of memory came back to her in patchwork fashion.

Someone calling out to her, asking if she was all right.

A car squealing as it quickly arrived.

Jay’s stricken, pale face as he and Cooper worked to free a badly injured Cassie.

The ambulance arriving.

Cain by her side the entire time.

“Here, take these.” Two small pills rested in Cain’s large palm. In his other hand was a plastic cup filled with water. Huh, maybe she was still a little out of it. She hadn’t even seen him move.

“No.” She shook her head, explaining as his gaze narrowed. “They’ll make me drowsy and slow.”

“These are your day pills, they won’t make you sleepy,” he told her.

She shook her head again.

“You take these, Dusty, or you and I are going to have words. Do you really want that?” His voice remained calm but she heard the strength of will behind them. He meant every word.

She took the pills.

His dark gaze focused in on her face, possessive, infinitely hungry. An answering stir of heat bubbled in her stomach as she stared back at him. She ran her gaze over him, trying to memorize every detail. She’d nearly died without touching him again, seeing him naked.

Now that would have been a tragedy.

Beneath the loose, dark-blue t-shirt he wore his chest was muscular, his stomach trim, his chocolate-colored skin smooth and hot to the touch. Her gaze lowered. He wore a pair of tight jeans, faded from numerous washes. She wished she could see his backside, could reach out and squeeze his tight ass. He had the best butt she’d ever seen. She should know, she’d spent many hours admiring it.

“Dusty, can you tell us what happened?” Cooper’s voice interrupted her perusal. She glanced up at Cain quickly, almost blushing at the heat in his eyes. She averted her gaze, looking over at Cooper, who stood across the room. Laney sat next to him. She was pale, her eyes glistening with unshed tears. Cooper’s hand rested on her shoulder in an obvious gesture of comfort.

“Oh shit, it was Laney’s car.” Man, she was slow today. She hadn’t once questioned why someone was after her and Cassie. “He attacked us because he thought it was Laney driving. It must have been the bastard who’s been sending you threatening letters. What the hell is going on?” she asked the petite blonde, not really expecting an answer.

“I don’t know, but someone seems to want me dead,” Laney replied hoarsely.

“Well, that’s not going to happen.” Steel infused Cooper’s voice.

“This is my fault,” Dusty exclaimed.

“What?” Jay turned from the window he’d been staring out of, his back hunched, his pain easy to see. “How is this your fault?” His voice was a low, ominous growl. Jay was the most easygoing werewolf she’d ever met, someone she considered a close friend, but right now she barely recognized him.

“I called Cassie. I asked her to come and get me.”

“Why don’t you tell us what happened,” Cooper commanded. Looking around the room, he added, “Without any interruptions.”

“I, ah, woke up this morning at Wild Oaks. I needed a ride to get my car. So I called Cassie. She said she was coming in anyway. She had some stuff to drop off at the bookstore. I didn’t think anything of her driving Laney’s car. I dropped my guard, it was unacceptable.” Dusty kept her voice strong, her shoulders back. Any punishment Cooper wanted to dish out was well deserved.

“I’m the one who told her to take my car.” Laney’s voice held yards of self-reproach.

“Enough,” Cooper ordered. “I’m waiting to hear the rest.”

“We stopped about a quarter mile from Mackenzie’s Rock. This car came up behind us and I saw someone exit, a gun in his hand. He fired and hit the back window. We took off but we were never going to outrun him. He was trying to force us into the ditch. There was a turnoff coming. I was hoping we’d make it, that he’d overshoot it to give us some more time. But we didn’t.

“We went into a spin, landing in the ditch. I was sure whoever it was would come down and finish us off. But another car came along. It was an older couple. I must have blacked out because the next thing I knew, you, Cain and Jay were there, and well, you know the rest.”

“What were you doing at Wild Oaks?” Cain asked.

“Doesn’t matter.” She couldn’t meet his gaze.

“What color was the car?” asked Rye, Laney’s oldest brother.

“Dark gray.” She straightened at the command in his voice. Rye was the head enforcer, her boss until she’d been injured.

“Make?”

“Ahh, it was a sedan, a Ford.”

“Number plates?”

“Started with SIY, but the rest was dirty. It had tinted windows. They must have been following us.”

“They were probably watching the bookstore. If they’d been watching the estate, we’d have seen them,” Rye concluded.

“So you think this person was staking out the store on the chance that Laney would come in? Pretty big supposition. They’d have to want her badly to waste that much time waiting around,” Cain commented.

Rye frowned, pulling out his cell. “Go over Laney’s car with a fine-tooth comb,” he ordered whoever was on the other end. “Yeah, see if you can find a tracking device.”

Laney stared at her brother. “Shit.”

Rye ended his call and sat next to Laney, drawing her into his arms. Laney was the only person Dusty had ever seen Rye touch in a loving way. The normally cold werewolf softened visibly around his sister.

“I’m going to change Cassie,” Jay spoke up suddenly. “I’m going to make her a werewolf.”

Chapter Three

 

Everyone went silent, turning to gape at a clearly distraught Jay. His shoulders were tense as he stared out the window. He braced his hands against the window frame as though he was using it to prop himself up.

“Jay, you know that’s not possible,” Cooper pointed out reasonably. When the packs had revealed their existence to the world, they’d agreed to the Government’s stipulation that they would never change a human.

Converting a human was punishable by death—a sentence carried out by the guilty werewolf’s pack. Not that the Government knew that. The death sentence was a secret held by the packs. It had come about to prevent the human authorities from being able to dispense their own brand of discipline. The packs wanted to keep the human authorities out of their business as much as possible.

The sentence was strict, dire. But it was there for the greater good of all werewolves. There were many humans who hated werewolves, and would like nothing more than to prove they were dangerous, lethal beasts who needed to be controlled or eliminated.

Werewolves lived outside human society, on estates set away from human cities and towns. Some liked it that way. Others, like Cooper, believed that segregation was only going to lead to the demise of the packs. That they had to assimilate in order to show humans that they were no threat to them.

“Cassie’s so fragile, so breakable. If she was a werewolf, she’d be harder to hurt. She wouldn’t be here, fighting for her life.”

It was impossible. For Jay even to consider this, Dusty knew that he really thought there was no hope Cassie would live.

“Jay, even if I could allow it, Cassie isn’t strong enough to risk it.” Cooper’s face was solemn as he spoke. “She wouldn’t survive.”

Rye stood and walked toward him. “I know you’re worried, Jay, but you’re not thinking—”

Jay glared at his oldest brother. “You never wanted her here!” he yelled. “You’d probably be happy if she died!” He turned back to the window. Rye stared at his back, his face impassive but his shoulders tightened.

Laney stood, but Cooper caught her arm with his hand.

“Leave him be.”

“But—”

Cooper shook his head, pulling the petite blonde into his arms as tears ran down her face.

Dusty glanced around the room, seeing the pain and worry she felt reflected on everyone’s faces. Cassie had come to mean something to them. All of them.

Her gaze landed on Samantha and she frowned. What was
she
doing here? Samantha wasn’t close to Cassie. The petite brunette sat beside her mate, Jesse, who was an enforcer and good friends with Jay. Jesse and Dusty had been close once. But when he’d mated Samantha they’d drifted apart. Dusty had never liked Samantha and knew the feeling was mutual despite Samantha’s gushing niceness to her face.

A small grin crossed Samantha’s face as she stared at Laney, gone again so quickly that Dusty wondered if she’d imagined it. She must have, because why would Samantha be happy about Laney’s pain?

A doctor entered the room and everyone turned to look at him. Instantly Samantha’s expression morphed into one of concern. What the hell was she up to? Dusty shook her head. She didn’t have time or energy to worry over Samantha.

“Mr. Chance?”

“Yes?” Jay turned.

“Perhaps we could talk privately?”

“Everyone here is family. Is she going to be all right?”

Cain stood and moved to Jay’s side.

The doctor hesitated before shaking his head. “I’ll be honest, her injuries are quite severe. I’m very sorry, sir.”

Jay stood still for a moment, his hands clenched at his sides. Then he threw his head back and howled. His roar shook the room with its intensity. To his credit, the doctor stood his ground, frowning.

“Sir, I know you’re upset…”

BOOK: Dual Embrace: 3 (Shadowpeak Wolves)
11.88Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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