Authors: Dawn Sullivan
Tags: #Paranormal Romance, #Romance, #Shifters, #Shifter Romance
inx resisted the urge to yank on the tie that came with the monkey suit he was required to wear so he could easily blend in with the high class crowd surrounding him. He hated snobs, hated crowds of any kind, and wanted to be anywhere but where he was at the moment. And he would be...soon. His sister needed him.
Picking up a flute of champagne from a passing waitress, Jinx wandered closer to his target. The General had sent him to dispense of a senator whom he claimed was blocking movement in the General’s breeding program. The truth was, the man was an investor in the program and had threatened to pull his funds if the General didn’t help him smuggle under aged girls into the United States from other countries. The girls were being kidnapped and when they reached the states, they were sold at an auction to the highest bidder.
While the General didn’t care what happened to those girls, he was pissed the Senator had the nerve to give him an ultimatum. So, he decided he didn’t need him around anymore. He would find another investor.
After taking a trip through the Senator’s mind, Jinx didn’t give a shit about either of the men’s motives. The sick fuck raped girls that couldn’t be more than 13 or 14, and he was going to die.
When Jinx was within ten feet of the bastard, he stopped and waited for the man to look over. When he did, Jinx smirked.
This is for all of the defenseless little girls you defiled,
he growled softly into the Senator’s mind.
You will never hurt any of them again.
Jinx’s sardonic grin grew as the Senator started to choke. Dropping the glass he held, the man clawed at his throat with his hands, his eyes begging Jinx to stop.
Just think about how those young girls felt every time you took them,
Jinx snarled, the grin never leaving his face.
Let that be the last thing in your mind when you die, you bastard. This is for them.
The man’s eyes widened as he gasped for breath before slowly sliding to the floor as he took his last breath.
Turning, Jinx made his way to the exit, stopping to glance back one last time at the still body of the man lying on the ballroom floor. He had no problem killing if it was justified. And that fucker’s death was definitely justified.
Turning, Jinx left the building and handed the valet out front the ticket for his car. He would swap it for a different form of transportation when he left town. He would need something a lot faster than the Cadillac he was driving if he was going to reach Denver in the afternoon.
haking his head to try and clear his vision, Trace struggled uselessly against the chains that held him captive. How the hell did he allow himself to get caught and thrown in The Dungeon? He remembered mistakenly thinking if he went with the bastards who caught him, he would eventually break free and beat feet back to Denver. After killing his father, of course. He should have known better.
Trace groaned as he tried to block out the pain that ravaged his body. His captors visited him at least four times a week to beat the hell out of him and to try and extract information. Trace didn’t care what they did; there was no way he was giving up his mother and Starr’s location. They would have to kill him.
Leaning back against the concrete wall, Trace let himself relax as he closed his eyes and thought of his one regret, not claiming his mate. Jade...his beautiful, sweet Jade. He’d thought of her numerous times since his captivity and wanted nothing more than to hold her in his arms one more time before he died. She was so beautiful with her long, silky blonde hair, dark green eyes, and soft, milky white skin. So delicate and pure. After everything Trace had done in his past, he knew he didn’t deserve someone like Jade. But fate seemed to think differently. Fate had given him Jade and all he wanted was the chance to love and cherish her. Trace clenched his fists tightly as he imagined Jade going on without him, finding another mate, having children and living happily ever after. Fuck that. Jade was his.
With a loud roar, Trace started to struggle against the chains again, his hands shifting to claws as his panther tried to get out. Jade was his, dammit. His! He wasn’t going to give up and die in this fucking hellhole. He was going to escape. He was going to get free and go home to his mate. Then he was going to come back and kill Philip Perez and every motherfucker associated with him.
“Stop, Trace,” he heard a weak voice say from the cell next to his. “You have to stop. Conserve your strength. You aren’t going to get out of those chains. You have tried so many times.”
Snarling, his eyes going cat and his fangs punching through his gums, Trace hissed, “I have to, Gypsy. I have to get home to her.”
Her eyes full of sympathy, Gypsy whispered, “And you will, my friend. But you have to calm down. You can’t let them see you like this. They can’t know your secrets.”
Realizing he was out of control, Trace bowed his head and grabbing onto the chains on the wall, he squeezed them tightly. Taking deep breaths to slow his pounding heart, he forced his claws and fangs to recede. Gypsy was right. He needed to gain control over himself and conserve his strength. Hell, he could hardly stand up after the last beat down he was given. Blood flowed freely down his arms and legs. Titus was a master at torture. He knew exactly how much a person could handle before he couldn’t go on anymore. And somehow he seemed to know that Trace could handle way more. Trace didn’t know if they knew he was a shifter, and he wasn’t going to ask. But the signs pointed in that direction. Sighing, he decided he better dig deep for his balls and find a way out. All he needed was one screw up from the people who held him, and he would be free. He was getting the hell out and taking Gypsy and Sari with him.
When he was finally able to look at Gypsy through his own eyes and not the eyes of his cat, he raised his head and peered at her. She was leaning up against the wall in the corner closest to him. Her legs were straight out in front of her and she was cradling her broken arm. The whole left side of her face was swollen and bruised, and there was fresh blood streaming down her temple and neck. “Dammit, Gypsy,” he growled. “I told you not to say anything the next time they took me. If you would stop drawing attention to yourself they would leave you alone.”
Over the past few months, Trace and Gypsy had become close friends. He had shared things with her that he hadn’t even shared with RARE, people he considered his family. She had been moved to the cell near his when their captors brought in more prisoners. They needed the hooks on the wall in her old cell to chain up another man. Since Gypsy was just a woman and they did not see her as a threat, they put her next to Trace in a cell that didn’t have hooks to attach chains to. She was fed every three days or so, and was now extremely underweight and malnourished. Trace was lucky if he received food once a week. Once, Gypsy had tried to share her food with him. She’d reached through the bars of her cell, but he was chained too far away. When trying to get the food to him, she accidentally dropped it on the ground. Trace was unable to hide it, and when Titus found out he ordered his men to beat both of them. After that, Trace refused the food she offered him.
No one had come for Gypsy in the five months he had been there. Titus threatened her that first day, but he never did touch her, unless it was to beat her. Trace knew his father kept Gypsy alive so her sister, Sari, would cooperate. He brought Sari to The Dungeon to see her sister once a week. Each time, he allowed Sari in the cell with Gypsy for five minutes. If she didn’t leave when the five minutes were up, he would drag her out by her long blonde hair. The first time Sari was allowed to visit Gypsy, she made the mistake of protesting her sister’s treatment. Perez made her watch as his men punished Gypsy for Sari’s disobedience. He told Sari that he kept Gypsy around as a gift to her, but if Sari made the mistake of saying another word in Gypsy’s defense, he would have Gypsy killed. Sari had paled and quickly ducked her head in deference to him and promised to behave. If he were free, Trace would have slit Perez’s throat right then and there.
Trace frowned as a thought tickled the back of his mind. God his head hurt. One of the bastards had hit him with something on the back of his head while the others were taking him off the table to return him to his cell. Squeezing his eyes shut and fighting to block the pain out, Trace tried to remember what he knew was important. Feeling the bite of the chains that he still clasped in his hands, he slowly released them allowing himself to fall to the floor. The chains were now just long enough that he could sit down and rest. Leaning his aching head back against the wall, he once again closed his eyes and tried to remember. Fear...terror. There was a presence in his mind. Jade. Somehow Jade had connected with him when he was being taken to the table to be tortured. She had been with him right up until he had shoved her out, refusing to let her be a part of the hell he was about to experience. He had no idea where he came up with the strength to push her away. Trace tried numerous times to connect with Angel after he was unable to escape in the first month. But he was so weak and kept in constant pain. No matter how much he tried, he couldn’t find Angel. How the hell had Jade connected with him though? Last he knew, her telepathic ability was almost nonexistent.
Bringing Jade’s face up in his mind, he slowly tried to reach out to her. After a few minutes of excruciating pain pounding through his temples, he finally gave up. After working so hard to block her out, it was frustrating as hell that he couldn’t reach her now.
“What are you doing?” Gypsy asked softly. Opening his eyes, he cautiously moved his head to glance her way. “I was trying to connect with Jade,” he admitted grimly. “I wasn’t able to.”
“Get some sleep,” Gypsy ordered softly. “You need to rest. There is no way you are going anywhere in the shape you’re in. I will wake you if they come back.”
Sighing, Trace gave in. Gypsy was right. He was of no use to anyone right now. Closing his eyes he allowed himself to slip into a deep sleep. He would try again to connect with his mate when he awoke. His last thought as he slowly lost consciousness was about his mother and sister. He wasn’t around to move them like he normally did. He prayed they weren’t found before he could get to them.
ade sprang to her feet at the sound of the vehicle pulling up in front of the house. Running through the back porch and out the door with Flame on her heels, she froze when she saw Angel and the rest of her team pull up in the black SUV. A tear escaped before she could stop it. It was 5 p.m. and Jinx wasn’t there yet, but Angel was. She had come home.
Holding her head high, hands on her hips, Jade waited for Angel to come to her. She was done hiding. What they saw was what they got. Fuck the Omega routine.
Angel stopped about five feet away and took in the sight of Jade and Flame in full mercenary gear. Not batting an eye, she ordered, “Talk to me.”
“Trace is in trouble,” Jade informed her, a small catch in her throat. Clearing her throat, she straightened her spine and continued, “He is wrapped tightly in thick chains and can’t escape.” Clenching her jaw, she took a deep breath and made herself continue. “He is being tortured and is in so much pain.”
“And you know this how?” Angel demanded roughly as she took another step in Jade’s direction, anger in her voice. “Did someone contact you?”
Looking her mother in the eyes, Jade told her, “I connected with him while I was sleeping. I can merge with people just like you can. I am a strong telepath. I honestly didn’t realize how strong until all of the drugs the General gave me were out of my system, but I have always known I was stronger than I let on.”
Ignoring the fact that her own daughter had been lying to her, Angel asked, “Did he give you his location? He has to be in Colombia, but do you know where?”
Shaking her head, Jade whispered, “No, he shoved me out when he realized I was there. They were starting to torture him and...I guess he was trying to protect me.”
“I sent you a text as soon as Jade told me what happened,” Flame interjected stepping up beside Jade. “She tried to reconnect with him, but he blocked her out.”
“He didn’t want you to endure the pain he was going through,” Rikki stated. “Even though you weren’t the one actually being tortured, chances are high you would have felt all the pain he felt.”
Swallowing hard, Jade nodded. “That’s what I figured. I would have stayed with him if he would have let me, though. He wouldn’t have had to go through it alone.”
Pride shining in her eyes at her daughter’s words, Angel smiled gently, “I know you would have, Jade.” Turning to her team, Angel ordered. “Let’s go inside. I’m going to try and connect with Trace. Let’s bring our boy home.”
As they moved toward the house, the faint sound of a motorcycle could be heard in the distance. Jade whispered, “Jinx,” as a dark black Harley with flames on the side turned down Angel’s long driveway. Jade waited until he parked the bike in front of the barn, and then with a soft cry, she was off the porch and running to him. Swinging a leg over the bike, Jinx opened his arms and caught his sister as she hurled herself at him. Holding her close, he gently ran a hand down her head. Finally, leaning back he said, “Let’s find your mate, sis.”
Smiling tremulously, Jade nodded and pulled him to where everyone waited. Angel stood at the top of the stairs drinking in the sight of her son. Dark hair, hard dark brown eyes, black cargo pants with various pockets to hide weapons, and a heavy, black leather coat. The hilt of his sword was just visible from the scabbard on his back. Jade watched as Jinx and Angel eyed each other. Finally, Angel turned and walked into the house with the team following. “We are going to a room in the basement where we talk strategies,” Jade told Jinx. “Angel is going to try to reach Trace.” Knowing his dislike for enclosed places she offered, “You can wait out here for now.”