Charming the Beast Page 18

He knocked out the guards. Easy enough.

Then he saw the prisoner who was inside that vehicle. A man who was chained up. Smiling at him.

David Vincent. His former pack leader.

David said, “Hurry, hurry! Get me out of here!”

His claws tapped against the side of the door. Did the fool really think he could still give orders? “You’re not alpha anymore. You’re not even a werewolf.” He was a waste of space.

But then, Keegan hadn’t attacked the van in order to save any prisoners. He’d attacked because he had a plan. I take the van, then I can use it to just drive right into the Para Base. The fools there would just think their own men were returning in the vehicle.

He’d get in the base, easy as pie.

He’d have to repair the windshield, of course, but with his resources, that wouldn’t be hard. Then…then he’d just slip right inside the base.

Too simple. So perfect.

He stalked toward David.

And the guy finally got a damn clue. Because David’s eyes widened in horror and he pressed back against the side of that armored van. “No, no, you don’t understand! You don’t—”

The rat-a-tat of gunfire cut through the night. Keegan spun around just as bullets blasted into him. Not silver bullets, but tranq darts.

“Learned that one from you,” a mocking voice called out. “And by the way, dumbass, you’re kind of easy to predict.”

A tall male with green eyes appeared at the back of the armored van.

Keegan’s knees gave out beneath him, and he sank onto the floor of the van. “Lock him in,” the man ordered.

David Vincent started laughing. That mocking sound grated in Keegan’s ears.

Armed men jumped in the back of the vehicle. They locked restraints around his wrists and ankles.

“The rest are werewolves,” Keegan heard the man—the leader—shout. He recognized the bastard as Eric Pate. “Put them in silver collars and we’ll transport them all back to base.”

Then Eric jumped into the armored van. He closed in on Keegan, and the guy kicked him in the side.

“Hey,” Eric snapped. “Don’t go out on me, not yet.”

It was hard to keep his eyes open.

“Really, you’d think you were the only one who knew how to cloak a scent. Hell, I’m the one who invented that shit. Someone just stole my product and gave it to you.” Eric kicked him again.

Keegan howled in pain.

“That’s for biting my agent. I don’t take kindly to people attacking my team.” Eric bent down toward him. His voice dropped to a low, lethal whisper. “And I really get pissed off when some jerk kills a woman on my watch.” Eric locked his fingers around Keegan’s neck. “So I’m thinking…maybe it’ll be your time to die soon.”

Keegan tried to reply, but his tongue had gone thick in his mouth. He couldn’t speak, couldn’t move. All he could do was listen to the grating sound of David Vincent’s laughter.

That prick is the first to die when I’m free.

Doors slammed shut a few minutes later. The vehicle lurched forward.

The drugs that had been pumped into him made Keegan a prisoner in his own body. He wanted to move, but he couldn’t. He wanted to fight, but his claws weren’t even coming out.

“So much for being an alpha, huh, ass**le?” David Vincent taunted. “You didn’t even see the trap coming for you. And now, it’s too late.”

Is it?

He couldn’t move, but Keegan could plan.

Chapter Eleven

A knock sounded at the door. He woke instantly, his body fully alert.

“Connor?” Chloe murmured. “What’s happening?”

“Connor!” Eric’s yell. “I need you, now.”

Hell. He pressed a kiss to Chloe’s lips. “Stay here, baby. I’ll be right back.” He grabbed his jeans, yanked them on, then pulled on a t-shirt. When he opened the door, he made sure not to open it wide enough for Eric to see inside. Connor sure didn’t want the guy getting an eyeful of a na**d Chloe.

“About time,” Eric muttered. “Man, you are slow as shit.”

Connor glared at him. “And you are always pounding on our damn door. You know what you need, Eric? A date. A woman. You need to have issues of your own.”

Eric turned on his heel. “I need you downstairs.”

Connor hesitated.

“Chloe is fine.” Now Eric sounded annoyed. “And as your boss, I’m giving you an order…come downstairs.”

Connor followed, but he wasn’t happy about it.

Only Eric didn’t stop at the first level of the base. He went all the way down to containment.

“We got some new prisoners this morning. I thought you might want to see them…” Eric typed in his passcode and the doors to the containment area slid open. “Oh, and by the way, you can thank me with a case of beer later.”

Connor’s shoulders stiffened as he saw the werewolves. At least a dozen of them. All in silver cages. All wearing silver collars.

“We rounded up all the ones who followed my little bit of bait and the ones who’d stayed behind to keep surveillance running on this place.” Eric sauntered toward the cages. “Like I didn’t realize they were out there, watching. That shit was just insulting. What kind of security do they think I have? With the way things went the last few months, I stepped up everything.”

Some of those werewolves smelled familiar. They were at Eclipse. He whirled back to Eric. “They’re Keegan’s pack.”

Eric nodded.

“You knew they were watching the base? With Chloe here?” He shot forward. “What the hell—”

“I didn’t transfer Chloe immediately because I wanted them to watch the place. I needed them to stay close so I could keep up my surveillance on them.” Eric said this as if it should have been obvious. “And my trap worked.”

He was going to hurt Eric. In so many ways.

“Sheath your claws and I’ll show you just how well it ended.”

He could barely growl out a response. But Eric had just turned on his heel and headed down a narrow hallway.

Toward maximum security containment.

Silver doors barred the way. Artificial sunlight pumped into the area.

“Of course, these containment measures aren’t stopping him, so we’re having to keep the prisoner sedated, for the time being. Until other…means…can be discovered to neutralize the threat he poses.”

They eased around a corner, but Connor had already caught the bastard’s scent. Rage fueled his blood, and it took every ounce of power that Connor had to not race across the room and kill the guy in that cell.

Keegan was there. His arms were shackled. His legs secured. His head sagged forward.

For an instant, the world went red for Connor. He stared at Keegan and his claws stretched from his fingertips. He had never wanted to kill anyone more, not even his bastard of a torturing father.

“Keep that control,” Eric warned him. “Hell, your reaction right now is the reason I didn’t take you out on the mission with us. I worried that if you went with that team—”

“You wouldn’t bring that bastard in alive.”

He wanted to rip through those bars and attack Keegan.

At that moment, Keegan’s head tilted back. He stared at Connor out of bleary eyes, and the guy grinned.

Oh, the hell, no.

Eric slapped his hand on Connor’s chest. “Don’t. I need him alive, got it? I have to see how many werewolves are involved in the mess the senator left behind. I have to find out how the hell Keegan managed to become a cross-over.”

“He needs to be in the ground.” Connor was definite on this. “After what he did to Chloe, there’s no question of what we should do to him.”

Eric sighed. “Things aren’t always black and white. You of all people know that.”

Connor knocked his hand away.

“He’s in custody,” Eric said. “He can’t hurt Chloe again. He won’t hurt anyone. It’s over for him.”

“So what? He gets a fast trip to Purgatory? Don’t you get it, Eric? That’s probably what he wants!”

“I’m going to interrogate him soon. I’ll find out every secret the guy has.”

Eric thought he was the one in control.

But Keegan was still grinning.

And Connor wanted to rip his head off.

“He’s contained,” Eric told him. “That’s a good thing. A win. Chloe doesn’t need to be afraid any longer.”

But then Keegan said… “Yes, she does.” His voice was low, rasping. “Because I’ll be…leaving this place…soon…and my Chloe will come with me.”

Connor raced forward. He wanted to sink his claws deep into Keegan’s chest, but when he touched the cage, an electric surge shot through him.

He snarled at the flash of pain.

“That’s some new, enhanced security we have.” Eric’s voice was flat. “You aren’t killing him. Not when I’ve gone to such trouble to bring the guy in alive.”

He wanted that bastard dead.

“You can let Chloe know that the threat to her has been eliminated.”

The threat hadn’t been eliminated, not yet. It had just been brought right to her. Up-close and personal.

Connor whirled on his heel and marched away from Keegan. He had to leave, if he didn’t—he would be killing that werewolf.

“She isn’t clear yet, agent,” Eric said. “Chloe can’t leave the facility.”

Connor stopped.

“Just didn’t want you getting any ideas.”

Connor glanced back at Eric.

“Chloe Quick is still a person of extreme interest for the Para Unit. She might not be in a containment cell, but that doesn’t mean she can walk free.”

Connor shook his head. “You really are a bastard, you know that, Eric?”

“Never pretended to be anything else,” Eric murmured. “Brief Chloe and then…then I’ll be transferring Keegan to Holly’s lab for tests. You might want to stop by for that part.”

Why? Because if Keegan broke free, only Connor and Duncan had a chance of matching the guy in a power fight? “You realize you could be making a serious mistake.”

Eric didn’t speak.

Right. Shaking his head, Connor walked the f**k away.


“He’s…here?” Chloe asked. Her knees were shaking. She really hoped Connor hadn’t noticed that tremble because she was trying to appear brave and in control.

But she was seriously shaking apart.

“Eric has him in a special containment area. From the look of things, Eric brought in most of the guy’s pack.”

She should be relieved. Keegan wasn’t out there, hunting her any longer. No, now he’s in the building with me.

“I want to leave,” Chloe blurted.

Connor stared back at her.

He’s not my jailer. He’s my lover.

“Let’s both leave,” Chloe said and she knew she sounded a bit desperate. That was fair, she felt desperate. “You and me. Let’s just leave this place and go start over somewhere new.”

He wasn’t speaking.

“You said I was your last assignment. Well, can’t we consider the assignment done? Finished? Eric brought in the bad guy, and the streets are safe.” She ran a hand through her hair. “Now we can go out and live a normal life, just like everyone else.” The farther she was from Keegan, the better she would feel. “We can leave today. We can go out and vanish and just—”

“No,” Connor said quietly.

Her heart was racing too fast. “You don’t want to leave with me?”

“Leaving now isn’t an option. Not for either of us.”

She shook her head. “I haven’t done anything wrong.” Other than kill her father. But he killed me…he hurt me for so long. Like that eased her guilt.“ I haven’t done anything to the Para Unit.”

Connor’s face looked as if it had been carved from stone.

“I want to be with you, Connor.” She wasn’t going to lie or pretend. She was going to tell him exactly how she felt. “When I’m with you, no matter what, I feel safer.” But Chloe shook her head because it was about so much more than safety. “I feel good. As close to happy as I’ve ever been.” Because Connor made her feel normal. He treated her like a woman and not some broken thing.

“I want to be with you.” His voice was gravel-rough. “But we can’t leave, not yet.”

We. “I want to leave Connor. I don’t want to stay here with him.” This was the perfect time for her to vanish, didn’t Connor see that? Keegan couldn’t follow her now. She would be free.

“I know, but you can’t leave.”

Goosebumps rose on her arms. “Connor?”

“You haven’t been given the all-clear yet. To the Para Unit, you’re still a…a person of extreme interest.”

“I’m a prisoner?”

He strode toward her. Took her hands in his. “You’re with me, Chloe.”

But she pulled away from him. “I don’t want to be here anymore. I want to go. I want to live my life. Be free.” Only she was starting to wonder, would that be possible?

Connor’s gaze was tormented.

“Will I ever be free?” she asked him. “Really free?” Or would Eric always be keeping tabs on her?


In that instant, Chloe made a decision. She straightened her shoulders and pulled away from him. “You want me, don’t you, Connor?”

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