Oak, Sophie - Beast [A Faery Story 2] (Siren Publishing Everlasting Classic) (7 page)

BOOK: Oak, Sophie - Beast [A Faery Story 2] (Siren Publishing Everlasting Classic)
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She was on her feet in the blink of an eye. Dante heard Beck shouting and the clang of metal against the iron of the cage. Ignoring the pain in favor of the righteous anger that now burned through him, Dante followed. He hissed at the ache in his groin, but he was on his feet immediately. The female ran through the cage, seeking her freedom. Dante followed, knowing he would never permit it. She would not get away from him.

Beck’s face was savage as he drew the sword over his head.

“No!” Dante screamed the command in a voice that didn’t sound like his own. Beck froze, the sword in his hand hung in midair. The entire tent seemed to still as though time itself was taking a short break. Dante stared at his prey. “I will handle her.”

The woman looked between Dante and Beck. Her eyes darted between them as if she couldn’t figure out who was the bigger threat.

“I can’t let her go,” Beck said quietly. Every bit of Beck’s focus was on the woman. “Meggie and Ci are out there. I won’t take any chance that she hurts them.”

Dante understood. If there was the smallest chance that Meg or Ci could suffer a moment’s discomfort from this creature, Beck would kill her without a second thought. His cousin loved very few people, but those Beck did love had his whole heart. Dante knew his cousin would kill for him, too. But Dante needed something besides his cousin’s sword this afternoon.

“I will take care of her.” He had to speak carefully. Forming the words around his fangs felt alien to him, but he forced them from his throat anyway. She was his responsibility. She had been from the moment he’d heard her plea. He was the only one who had understood she was intelligent, and he was the only one who could save her now. She just might not like how he did it.

Beck snarled, frustration pouring off him as he lowered his sword. “See that you do, and quickly.”

Dante knew how hard it was for his cousin to stand down. The warrior king was used to taking charge. Beck’s eyes were narrow and focused solely on the female. Dante knew his cousin was waiting and watching for her to make a single wrong move. Dante would have to be careful. Beck nodded to him and moved to block the entrance to the tent.

The woman turned and squared off against Dante. She moved, her limbs fluid and close to the ground. She circled him, her every move a testament to grace and potential violence. Dante watched, taking in the way she moved until he had the rules of engagement down. He could take a sword from Beck, but that would only prove that he had better weapons than she did. Dante wanted to take her down in a way that left no question who was in charge. The need to dominate the lithe creature in front of him was overwhelming.

Dante mimicked her, allowing his body to flow in a predatory fashion. He felt an almost drugged sense of peace as he gave in to his primal urges. This, he realized, was a simpler place. The world narrowed to include only two people.

The female seemed to realize his intent. Her eyes formed slits, and her mouth firmed stubbornly. She reached her hand out as though to swipe at him. He reacted instantly. He batted her hand down. Dante didn’t hold back. He heard the smack as his hand slapped viciously against hers. She pulled it back quickly, clearly surprised at his violence.

“Är du Första?”
She bit her bottom lip as she asked the question.

“You will kneel and take the fucking translator,” Dante declared.

He moved his hand down in a gesture she couldn’t possibly mistake. Dante wanted her on her knees in front of him. She might not know why he wanted her to do it, but she would know where he wanted her. “Rhys, get the chip. Get it now.”

She backed up, but she didn’t back down. Her eyes slid between Dante and the door that was guarded by Beck. It was obvious she was trying to decide between fight and flight.

“Kneel!” Dante would allow her neither option. She would kneel and submit. There was no other acceptable outcome.

She turned and ran. Dante jumped into action. Before Beck could draw his sword, Dante was on the woman. He wrestled her to the ground. He pulled ruthlessly at her arms, gathering her wrists behind her back and shoving her breasts into the hard dirt of the floor. He used his weight to cover and control her. She fought, but his hold dominated her petite body. She spat out curses until Dante had finally had enough of her rebellion.

He gathered her wrists in one large hand. He used his other hand to shove her face into the ground and, running on primal instinct, placed his fangs directly over the delicate bones of her neck. He bit down with a gentle, but unmistakable force, careful not to break the skin. She stilled beneath him. The only movement from his prey was the breath rattling in and out of her chest. She was obviously aware that he could break her neck with the slightest force. She was at his mercy.


Jag lämna
,”
she said breathlessly. She relaxed beneath him.

Dante had the insane urge to press his victory. The little predator lay still and silent beneath him. Even her words sounded submissive. The impulse was there to pull off his slacks and pound into her softness, claiming that which he had conquered. He could spread her thighs and take her. She was his by right of battle. She would accept him now.

Instead, he took a deep breath and sat up, releasing his hold on her neck. He hadn’t broken the skin, but there were twin indentions on the back of her neck where he’d pressed his fangs. He stared at those marks, allowing his finger to trace them. If he’d used a bit more force, her blood would have flowed into his mouth.
Consort blood
. He’d heard the stories. Consort blood was sweet, sweeter and richer than any meal pill. If the stories were true, her blood could make him stronger and faster than he was. Every instinct in his body screamed at him to plunge his fangs in and drink his fill. He wanted so badly to feed in that moment, though it had nothing to do with hunger.

But he wasn’t an animal. He was a modern man, and he had a job to do.

“The chip,” Dante commanded, holding his hand out.

Rhys responded immediately. The chip was in Dante’s palm, and he placed it against the delicate skin right behind her left ear. The chip disappeared, burrowing painlessly through skin and bone and into the brain.

“My consort needs a bath. See that it is drawn,” Dante ordered. He didn’t move from his position. Now his hand moved forward, rubbing across her neck. She was still beneath him, her eyes closed, her posture utterly submissive.

It filled something inside him he hadn’t known was missing.

“Your consort?” Rhys asked. There was no mistaking the shock in the gnome’s voice.

“Dante, what are you saying?” Beck asked.

“You heard me.” Dante grinned, looking at the gnome. “I’ll take her. Do you need cash or will credit do?”

* * * *

Kaja sat quietly as the First checked the water. She wasn’t sure why he needed such a large bowl, but many things in this odd world confused her. She kept her eyes on the First. She thought about running again, but he’d caught her so quickly. She still remembered the moment when he’d placed his fangs against her neck and proven himself to be Alpha. She had been wrong. She had thought him weak, but he was obviously the First in this pack.

“Bath,” he said.

There were many more words in that strange language he spoke, but the word “bath” seemed to stand out. He spoke rapidly to the little creature in the pointy hat. Kaja’s stomach growled. The little ones were fast. She hadn’t been able to catch one yet. Perhaps now that she was out of their cage, she could make a meal of the fat one. She would only feast on the male, though. He was the one who spoke to the thin man with the sharp claws. The male had been the one who had locked her in the cage. The female had brought her fresh meat and sang while she worked in the tent. Kaja had found the sounds soothing. The small female had talked to her. Kaja hadn’t understood her words, but there seemed to be kindness behind them. Kaja knew she shouldn’t have, but she had grown fond of the female and wouldn’t eat her.

Of course, she wouldn’t do anything just yet. The First kept his eyes on her. Anytime she attempted to stand, he moved over, placed his hand on her neck, and forced her back down. He said something called “wait.” Kaja thought that meant to sit. He was First here, so she did.

When they had walked in, she had believed the large man with dark hair and the sword was the leader. Now, she utterly discounted the fact. He didn’t even have fangs or claws so far as she could tell. He had the sword because he could not fight with his hands. The one with the reddish-gold hair, he was the leader. He had been the one to force her to submit. He hadn’t used magic to do it, either. If he had, she would still fight him as she had fought her captor and the little ones. She would respect this First’s dominance because it was natural.

It wasn’t anything like the Nightmare Man.

Kaja let herself think about it for once.

It hadn’t taken long to get to the mountains Stellan had spoken of. She had stayed in her wolf form, preferring it greatly in the cold forests. So far from the small valley she had grown up in, Kaja had seen many wonders. There had been frost giants in the mountains, their massive forms almost too much for her eyes to take in. She had hidden her body deep in the snow, and they had passed her by. She took it as a sign from Freya that her quest would be fruitful.

She had hunted freely. Without the restrictions of rank, she had eaten far better than she had with the pack. Rabbits at first, and then small deer had been her prey. When her strength was up, she’d taken down a buck on her own. Oh, she had feasted. Her belly had been full for the first time in her life. The week she had spent traveling to the mountains had been strangely fulfilling. On her own, she felt strong and capable. Her foster mother had been wrong. She had not died. She had not faded. She had been lonely. But then even among the pack, she had been lonely.

She had searched for the magical doorway Stellan had spoken of, but the Nightmare Man found her first. He had been tall, not as tall as the frost giants, but much taller than Kaja. His stick thin body belied his strength. Kaja had underestimated him, as she had underestimated this First. She should have run, but she’d attacked the thin man instead. Still, if it had only been a battle of strength, Kaja knew she would have won. The Nightmare Man had a weapon. There had been a terrible sting when he had shoved it into her arm. She had felt her strength fade, and she changed without willing it. One moment she had been a strong wolf, the next she had been small and frail and freezing in the snow. Kaja could still remember the way the air and snow had bitten into her skin. It had been so cold it burned. She had tried to change. She had needed her fur.

“It’s no use, little one,” the thing above her had said. He spoke her language perfectly when he wanted to. “You can’t change. Don’t fight it. I’ll get a good price for you. One of these days my clan will have to thank that jackass Torin. We’ve made more money off the slave trade in the last ten years than we could have imagined. Behave now, little dog, and soon you’ll have a new master to take care of you.”

The Nightmare Man had picked her up and carried her. Her weight hadn’t slowed him at all. He’d found a cave, but the entrance shimmered and when he’d walked through it, Kaja had found herself in another world. The new world was warm, without a hint of snow. It had taken a day to get to the village and her cage.

Kaja shook her head and pulled herself back into the present. She had worried at first that she was in Hel, the place where wolves went to die, but this male made her doubt it. He must be the master the Nightmare Man had spoken of. She watched him, trying not to let her appreciation show. She had seen several males over the days she’d spent in the cage. None of them had shown her his glorious fangs and claws. All the men had seemed appalled with her. They looked at her with disdain as the pack had. This First wasn’t afraid of her. He’d fought her. He had fought for her.

“Come,” he said, his voice taking on that deep cadence that pulled at her.

Kaja’s eyes went wide. That had made a little sense to her. “You want me to come?”

“That’s just cool,” the second man with midnight hair said. There seemed to be two of him.

After she had calmed and accepted the First’s dominance, the second man with black hair had been allowed inside the tent along with a pretty red-haired woman. The two men wouldn’t let their woman get as close to Kaja as she obviously wanted. The woman had complained, but backed down when the one with the sword growled.

BOOK: Oak, Sophie - Beast [A Faery Story 2] (Siren Publishing Everlasting Classic)
12.41Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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