Charming the Beast Page 25

Or someone was a trap. He pressed a kiss to her lips. “I’ve got her.” And he nodded to Eric as he put Chloe down away from the fire.

I know what I’ll do for Chloe. Everything.

“Connor, wait, no, I’m the one who doesn’t stay dead!” She lunged after him. “Connor!”

He ran back into the fire.

When he looked back, he saw that Eric had wrapped his arms around Chloe and was holding her tight. She was struggling in Eric’s hold, but Eric held tightly to her.

She wouldn’t rush after him, but Connor would be coming back to her.



Keegan stretched lightly on the ground. “It’s a pity,” he said, shaking his head. “That you’re both just vampires now…”

The other agents had been scouting the woods, but they hadn’t found his men. Not yet.

“Pity,” he said again.

His men—his werewolves—would have heard his voice right then. They would know…Vampires…

The shots rang out. Shane tried to jump in front of Olivia. He took the bullets meant for her. As he watched, Keegan knew at least one of the bullets slammed into Shane’s heart.

And, just like that, he went down, frozen. As still as the dead.

More wooden bullets flew, but Keegan didn’t wait to see if they were hitting Olivia. He was running and shifting. Before this night was done, he would kill his brothers. He would have Chloe. He would have all the power that was his due. The moon shone down on him, and the beast inside of him clawed for his freedom.


“Gunfire!” Eric shouted. “Agents, watch your backs!”

And his hold eased on Chloe. That little slip was all she needed. She lunged out of his arms and ran toward the building and the fire.

“Help me!”

She could hear that call. Coming from downstairs. She rushed inside and tried to stay as low as she could. Just because she came back from death, that didn’t mean that she wanted to actually die again. She wanted—

“Hello, sweetheart.”

Hard hands grabbed her and yanked Chloe up against Keegan.

“So much smoke…they didn’t see me come in…I’m too fast for them.”

And he was strong. Too strong. As if he’d never been drugged at all.

“Let’s have that taste. I’ll make you like it.”

His teeth sank into her throat. And, damn him, he was making his bite pleasurable. That drugging, addictive pleasure that could come from a vampire’s bite. She tried to fight him, punching and clawing, but he kept drinking her blood. Taking and taking…

No! Stop!

He wasn’t.

And she…she couldn’t even cry out.

That’s part of a vampire’s power. He makes you want the bite. Makes you want it more than anything else.

But she didn’t want his bite. She didn’t want him. She wanted Connor.

“Now…” Keegan lifted his head and stared into her eyes. “Aren’t you delicious?”

She couldn’t move.

“I want you to scream for me, Chloe. Scream for Connor…”

No, she wouldn’t listen to his compulsion. She wouldn’t…



The stairs were burning. The fire had licked over his arm and the side of his face. Connor burst into the basement, his gaze frantically flying to the left and the right.

He saw the woman, huddled on the ground. The fire hadn’t reached her, not yet.

When he took a step toward her, her head whipped up, and she bared her fangs at him.


Long chains circled her wrists and ankles.

She was so thin, her hair tumbled down her back in lank tangles, and her eyes reflected hell.

She’s the reason Keegan is a cross-over.

“I’m here to help you,” Connor told her as he advanced on her slowly. A vampire would normally be able to break free of chains like that, no problem, but the woman before him looked as if she’d been starved. How long had it been since she’d had blood?

“Wolf…wolf…just like him.” The woman shook her head. “Not help, hurt.”

“Yeah, well, I might look a little like the bastard, but I’m not him.” He broke the manacle that circled her right wrist. Shattered the manacle that bound her left wrist. “And you can—”

She rushed away from him, running up the stairs faster than he could blink.

“Thank me later,” Connor muttered. He hefted the chains in his arms. He held them and—


Chloe’s voice. But Chloe shouldn’t be in the building. Eric had her outside. Eric would be keeping her safe.

Still holding those chains, he ran for the stairs. He climbed them even as fire rolled across the walls. Then he was back on the main level of the building.

“She’s mine, brother.”

And Chloe was there. So was Keegan.

Her neck was bleeding. Fire was all around her. And Keegan was behind her.

“Chloe is mine now. She’ll do anything for me. Always…me.” Keegan’s claws were at her throat.

“Chloe, baby, are you okay?” He could swing those chains and hit Keegan. Maybe that would free Chloe and she could run out of the inferno.

“Tell him that you’re mine, Chloe,” Keegan ordered.

Chloe’s gaze met Connor’s. “I’m his.”

Connor shook his head.

Keegan’s eyes gleamed with madness and power. Just like our father’s had. “Want to watch her burn in front of you?” Keegan asked him.

His teeth clenched. “You won’t…do that…” Talking was getting hard. His beast wanted out and that fire was choking him. The flames were so hot. If they didn’t all get out of there soon, they’d be dead.

If we were humans, we’d already be dead.

The air was too hot. Humans couldn’t breathe it and live.

Chloe swayed in Keegan’s grasp.

“You’re going to die here, Connor,” Keegan said. “I’m going to watch you. You’re going to stand right there and burn. Because if you move, if you take one step, I’ll kill Chloe.”

And Chloe…


“I’ll kill you…” Keegan coughed a bit on the smoke. “Then I’ll kill Duncan. I’ll take out the whole Para Unit—”

Chloe’s hand was rising. Had Keegan not even noticed that movement? Her hand was rising and her claws had come out. She stared at Connor and said, “I love you.”

Fuck. Eric’s idea had actually worked. Connor’s compulsion was holding for her. Keegan couldn’t control her. He couldn’t—

Chloe spun in Keegan’s grasp and she drove her claws right into his eyes. He howled and blood flowed and Chloe kicked him, sending him stumbling back into the flames.

Connor rushed forward. He swung out with the chains, slamming them into the side of Keegan’s head. Keegan crashed into the floor. The floor gave way beneath him and he fell, going down in a ball of flames as he crashed into the basement.

Hell, yes. The fire was destroying the bastard—and not even a super vamp could survive those flames.

Chloe wrapped her arms around Connor. She held him tight. Her body trembled against his. “It worked! He was trying to get into my head, but I just kept thinking of you! Because I love you!”

More fire fell down on them. The whole building was shuddering and creaking and Connor thought the place would collapse at any moment.

They left Keegan and rushed for the door. Chloe stumbled so he just lifted her up in his arms, holding her tightly. He could see Duncan running toward him. The woman he’d rescued from the basement was out there. Eric was holding her. The vampiress fought his hold, but Eric wasn’t letting her go.

The heat of the fire lanced over Connor’s skin.

He reached the threshold. He heard the terrible groan over him. Connor leapt forward.

He and Chloe made it out. They fell to the ground, but they’d escaped! They’d gotten away from Keegan!

We made it. Chloe loves me. I love her.

We made it!

He reached for Chloe, and that was when Connor realized…the smell of blood coated Chloe.

“Baby?” he could see the wound on her neck, but…the scent of blood was so strong. Too strong. He hadn’t noticed it before because the smell of smoke and fire had been too strong.

She was on the ground, staring up at the moon. He remembered how her legs had given way, right before they’d gotten out of that hell. He’d picked her up and run…

Why did her legs give way?


“H-he wanted me to…call out for you…wanted you to walk into…trap…” She licked her lips. “I didn’t.”

Her voice was too soft. Too weak.

She had on a dark coat and when he opened it with trembling fingers.

Then he saw her wounds.

“He kept cutting me…” Her voice had gone even softer. “But I…I didn’t call out. Not until you saved her.”

Her? The vampiress?

His gaze cut to the woman. She was staring at Chloe with stunned, desperate eyes. The vampiress wasn’t struggling in Eric’s arms any longer.

“Made him believe…I had given in…knew you had to come back up…the fire…too strong…”

“She needs help!” Connor roared.

His bellow shook everyone from their stupor. Eric freed the vampiress and ran over to them. Holly rushed from the right. Duncan fell to his knees beside Chloe.

Holly sucked in a sharp breath. “Oh, Connor…”

No, no, she didn’t need to look at Chloe with such pity. She didn’t need to shake her head.

He put his hands on Chloe’s chest. He had to stop the blood.

“He cut her heart, Connor.” Holly’s voice was sad. “Don’t you see? He cut into her heart.”

“She’s okay!” She has to be okay.

Chloe smiled at him. “I kept thinking of you. You…you said you loved me.”

“I f**king do. Always.” He put his hands down even harder on her wounds. “Get her some stitches! Give her some blood! Help her!” Because she couldn’t die. He couldn’t watch that. Not again.

“I’ll…come back…” Chloe said.

“What if you don’t?” His terrible fear. “What if I lose you? No, baby, no, just stay with me.” They weren’t helping her, so he picked her up and ran with her.

Shane and Olivia met him half-way. Shane’s chest was also covered in blood and when Olivia reached for Chloe, he saw that blood stained Olivia’s fingers.

“She dug the bullet out of my heart,” Shane muttered. “And what the hell happened to your girl?”

Connor stared at Olivia’s stricken face. “Keegan happened.” Fear was choking him. “Make a wish, Olivia. Bring her back. Make sure she comes back.”

Olivia’s stark eyes met his. “My wishes don’t work anymore.”

She was growing cold in his arms. Barely seeming to breathe at all. “Make her come back! Wish her back!” And he ran on, pushing past them when tears slid down Olivia’s cheeks.

“I wish…” Olivia’s soft voice followed him.

There were medics up ahead. They could sew her up. He saw an ambulance to the right. Carefully, he lowered Chloe on the gurney near that ambulance.

Her eyes were closed.


She wasn’t breathing.

“No, Chloe, don’t leave me!” He would have traded anything for her right then. Any f**king thing. “Come back! Stay with me!”

The others gathered around him. No one spoke.

No one but…

The vampiress he’d saved. “She looks like her mother.”

Connor didn’t look at her. He couldn’t take his eyes off Chloe.

“Her mother…was my friend. The only friend I had. Until that bastard Keegan killed her.” She reached out her hand and smoothed back Chloe’s hair. “I think she’s still breathing.”

No, she wasn’t.

“Let’s see if she’s hungry.”

Then she slashed open her wrist and put it over Chloe’s mouth.

“No!” Eric shouted. He grabbed the woman and hauled her back. “What the hell are you doing? Chloe isn’t human! She comes back!”

She should come back…but she wasn’t.

“I wanted to help,” the vampiress said, her words shaking. “The way her mother helped…I wanted to help…”

Blood smeared Chloe’s lips.

“That’s it!” Olivia’s voice was excited. “It fixed me—it can fix her, too!” And she was grabbing a scalpel from one of the EMTs and slashing open her wrist. She put it to Chloe’s mouth.

Connor shook his head. What the hell were they thinking?

“It takes a female vamp to make a cross-over, right?” Olivia said, her voice breaking with hope and fear. “Then let’s make her a vampire. Let’s fix it so she doesn’t die! Let’s—”

“Stop.” Eric’s voice was low and lethal. “You don’t know what Chloe wants. She’s been screwed with enough.”

Olivia blanched. Her wrist was still over Chloe’s mouth.

Chloe wasn’t drinking her blood. Chloe wasn’t moving at all.

Eric stared at Connor. “What would Chloe want?”

To be free.

His chest burned. The fire seemed to be rising inside of him. “I love her,” he said. She needed to open her eyes. She needed to come back to him.

Source: www_Novel22_Net

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