Monday, April 30, 2012

QUICKIES: The Assignment

Really funny, this story came from this picture. I have no idea how it turned into...this...but it did.  I hope you like it. :D Thanks everyone.


Five months in Jonesville was enough for Hudson.  Wide open fields, dirt roads, and the house that they were renting made him want to pack his stuff up and leave.  But he didn’t because he loved the man that had dragged him here in the first place.  Ryan was his everything in the world and for that simple reason Hudson would act like he loved this God forsaken small town in the middle of nowhere. 

When they had left Dallas for this ancient Podunk society, Hudson had been the manager of a coffee shop.  Compared to his boyfriend’s wonder executive job it was nothing, but Hudson had insisted he keep working there for some normalcy after he began his relationship with Ryan. Sure it wasn’t much but it was also in the middle of the glitz and the glam of civilization and now that he had no job skills to offer his not so glamorous surroundings, Hudson felt isolated.  The nearest neighbor was over a mile away—not that he would even think about talking to them--and the closest mall was about an hour drive.  Downtown consisted of four shops and an old buzzards nest diner that only served cherry pie from a waitress who couldn’t a hear anything in her right ear and clicked her nails against every surface.  

Even Ryan had been leery about taking this job in the first place because of the small town and the isolation for Hudson but eventually he had given in.  The corporate offices had given Hudson’s boyfriend a year to turn around the plastics manufacturing plant here in Jonesville.  If productivity and profit improved, then Ryan would immediately be taking over the Dallas plant on a permanent basis.  This opportunity wouldn’t come along again and Ryan had worked so hard, that Hudson could only support him by moving here with a loving smile.

As he looked around at the small house they rented together, Hudson wanted to cry.  How many days had it been since he had seen Ryan for more than an hour or two?  How many days had it been since he’d talked to anyone on the phone or seen someone else in person?  How many days had he been wearing these jeans?  And was that damned sink leaking again?  Hudson put his hands on his hips and took a few calming breaths.  He was going to lose it soon if he kept looking at all the flaws in his situation but they were hard to ignore.  This place was a shit hole and Ryan was MIA all the time.

Boxes took up half the small hallway that led to the living room, their bed frame still leaned against the bedroom wall, and a hole was still missing in the ceiling where a light fixture used to be.  They might be small things but they made a difference to Hudson. None of this felt like home and it probably never would.  Ryan was so busy that he never really cared what the place looked like and most nights he’d be so tired that he would throw himself on the mattress in their room after feeding himself a little and pass out.  When was the last time Ryan had even said that he loved me, Hudson looked at the only picture the couple had put out.  Ryan with his light brown hair and dark eyes and charming smile wrapped an arm around Hudson—toying with his dark hair from the other side. 

A perfect moment from a faraway past, Hudson snorted.  He needed to get out of here.  Maybe Ryan would want some dinner brought by the office.   With a little smile, Hudson went into the kitchen to whip up a little office picnic.  Twenty minutes later, Hudson—with a rumbling stomach--pulled his Jeep Cherokee into the small parking lot of Moore Plasworks offices and put it into park.  The windshield wipers beat loudly against the newly developed shower raining from the sky and Hudson pulled his hoodie up before grabbing the canvas dinner bag and opening his door.  He booked it to the lit up awning and opened the glass door with a whoosh. 

The evening secretary Janie looked up with a confused face and pouted.  “Aw sugar he’s out of the office.  I’m sorry, did you want me to leave him a message or did you want to wait.  I’m not sure what time he’ll be back,” The sweet middle aged blonde cooed. 

Hudson kept his smile in place but his stomach dropped and his hands shook.  He had really been looking forward to seeing Ryan.  In fact, he needed him right now but always the strong one, Hudson kept his pity party to himself.  He didn’t want to seem clingy, even though he knew he had every right to want to see his own boyfriend.  But that’s what you got for loving someone in the corporate world; a whole lot of ‘by yourself’. 


“I’m sorry Janie.  Don’t bother writing anything down.  I’ll see him later tonight and uh…why don’t you just not mention I was here.  I don’t want to bother him or anything.  He’ll just make a big deal out of it.” Hudson laughed and Janie nodded.  He didn’t miss the pity in her eyes. 

“Sure thing, Sug.  My lips are sealed.”

“Alright then.  Have a good night Janie.”

“You too Hudson.”  And that was that.  He should have called but Ryan never really answered when he was working unless you called three times in a row.  That let Ryan know that it was an emergency.  Frustrated, the dark haired man walked out the front door and looked at the garbage under the awning.  With a tilt of his bag, Hudson poured the picnic into the bin and stuffed the bag on top.  He didn’t want to look at it and he knew Ryan would just see it in the fridge later and feel guilty.

Not sure what else to do and knowing he couldn’t go home right now, Hudson got back into the Jeep and headed towards downtown.  Beyond the shops and the diner was a small theater and maybe the shows were a few years old but it would keep his mind off being alone right now.  Anything at this point was better than that house.  It smelled like Ryan and that only made him crazier.  Driving by the diner, Hudson happened to spot Ryan’s blue truck out front.  Checking to see if there were any cars behind him, Hudson rolled forward a little to see Ryan and another man sitting together at a booth.  The handsome brunette leaned forward and put his hand on Ryan’s and Hudson gripped the steering wheel in disbelief. 

Ryan laughed and patted the man’s hand with a beautiful smile before looking out the window right at Hudson.  His face fell and he immediately stood up and walked to the door but Hudson couldn’t even breathe let alone look at Ryan.  All these months of being so alone and craving even the smallest hug or…fucking anything was so hard.  He’d done nothing but offer love and support to Ryan and he’d asked for nothing in return.  Maybe that was the problem.  He was a doormat.  Someone that cooked and cleaned and changed the sheets; a nobody to his own boyfriend. 

Hudson slammed on the gas and took off down the road.  Suddenly that little house that he hated so much felt like his only solitude from the real world.  He’d been gone from the public for so long that he almost regretted ever leaving the house in the first place.  Zipping home, he threw the vehicle into park and ran inside.  How could he have done that to me, Hudson shook his head.  In this hell town of all places...

Going into their room, he eyed the lone queen mattress with the blue sheets and the lamp on the floor.  Ryan’s dress shirts and slacks hung on a rolling rack in the corner and Hudson’s clothes were in crates until they could get around to ordering some furniture.  Or that had been the plan.  Now here they were almost half a year later still acting like this was a motel and living out of boxes and suitcases.  Feeling hopeless as he stared at his life around him, Hudson fell to his knees and cried wordlessly.  He cried because Ryan was the only man he had ever loved and he didn’t even know how to react to him with someone else.  The thought was cruel and completely unrecognized by his brain.  Ryan couldn’t hurt him after all of this. His stomach was in knots and his hands were still shaking after all this time.

An engine roared up to the house, loud steps thumped against the front porch, and the front door slammed open.  “Hudson!” Ryan called out and Hudson thought about hiding.  He didn’t want to hear they were over because he didn’t think his heart could take it.  “Baby?” Ryan’s voice cracked with concern.  Hudson got to his feet just as Ryan came into the bedroom.  “Oh thank God.  I was so worried that you…shit.  Come here.”

Finding his sanity again, the dark haired male turned his blue eyes on his boyfriend and held up a hand to stop him.  “Don’t touch me.”

“It’s not what you think Hudson.  I swear it. Let me just…”

“It’s not what I think?  Really?  Because it makes complete sense now and I feel like a complete idiot.  For the past five months, I have done nothing but wait for you.  All day, all night, anytime in between I waited for a chance to see you.  And when you would come home, give me a kiss on the cheek, get fed, and go to bed.  You haven’t said more than ten words a day to me since we’ve been here, you haven’t touched me, or…” Hudson turned his head and wiped his eyes on his sleeve.  He couldn’t say it because it would just make it harder to finish.  “You don’t hold me anymore when you sleep, you don’t send me a text in the middle of the day like you used to, you don’t do anything with me!  It’s like I don’t exist beyond your needs and I can’t take it anymore!  I’ve tried so hard to be there for you and give you everything you needed from me and then you go and…”

Ryan looked devastated and truly he was.  He had no idea that Hudson felt that way or he would’ve tried harder to work at making him happy.  Shit this was so messed up.  Hudson was falling apart and now Ryan could definitely see where his boyfriend would have cracked over the diner incident.  Worse was how shaky Hudson was.  That only meant one thing and it wasn’t good. “Hudson, that man you saw me with was Mr. Klein, a manager from Dallas.  He came in from the city because he wanted to take you and I out tomorrow evening.  Him and his partner—his husband Hudson, who walked out of the restroom about thirty seconds after you took off.  They wanted to meet you tonight but I thought you would want a little warning before we went out on the town.  You just had really bad timing I guess.”

Hudson didn’t know what to say.  He didn’t know what to believe.  Even though he was usually confident and strong, he felt like a fragile mess and he couldn’t even process what Ryan had just said.  Without a word and his gums hurting from clenching his teeth together, Hudson brushed past Ryan—who smelled like heaven--and went into the attached bathroom.  He locked the door and put his shaking hands on the sink with his forehead against the mirror.  “Hud come on.  Please open the door.” 

For what, Hudson lifted his head and looked at his reflection.  So you can say that I’m ridiculous with your eyes and we can go back to avoiding having a relationship?  So you can tell me I overreacted and that this will take time to adjust to?  Hudson shook his head and pulled off his hoodie—putting it in the hamper next to the sink.  His t-shirt came off next and then his sneakers. 

“Hudson, I’m going to go get the key and come in there if you don’t open the door. If that doesn’t work then I’ll resort to breaking it down.  In fact that would be much easier anyway.”

Yeah right, Hudson thought.  Ryan would sit outside the door for a few more minutes before he got fed up that he wasn’t at work and go back.  Hudson was used to that and he smiled a little as he turned on the shower and stopped thinking about anything.  He had said what he’d wanted to say for a long time and he’d gotten his answer in the form of a defense strategy, not a let’s fix this between us or even an I’m sorry you feel that way.  Nope, Ryan had said it all and said nothing all at the same time.

Outside the door, Ryan stared at the wall as he heard the shower turning on.  Hudson wasn’t going to open the door he realized with shock.  His love of four years thought he was cheating for real and the loss of trust between them over nothing made his heart ache.  Frederick Klein and his partner Andy had relayed interest in the only other out couple in the company and it wasn’t so strange that they wanted to have a night out with him and Hudson. Well and Ryan had business with them.  But the look that had struck Hudson’s face outside that diner was horrified.  And then throw on top of that how seriously unhappy Hudson was here and Ryan felt sick to his stomach. 

He worked his ass off to get the plant up and running and that required long hours and this shit house and all the help that Hudson was giving him.  Had he really just ignored his own lover?  When was the last time they had slept in together?  When was the last time they had had a meal at the table?  When was the last time he’d kissed Hudson?  Was it two days ago?  When was the last time he’d said he’d loved Hudson or made love to him?  His head coming out of the business world, Ryan looked back at the wall with regret.  He had been ignoring Hudson.  He’d all but forgotten him…

The water flowed over his pale skin and Hudson turned under the spray with his hands combing his hair back.   Warm water ran over down his body and Hudson tuned out the world to enjoy the next ten minutes of nothing before real life sank back in.  He didn’t know what he was going to say to Ryan or if he had to say anything at all.  Maybe he’d just gone back to work.  Yeah, probably, Hudson shook his hair.  Damn it, he was thinking about it again.  That man with his hand on Hudson’s boyfriend.  That smile that Ryan had given him.  Was he imagining it all? Was there really a partner for Mr. Klein or was Ryan...

Ryan stood naked in front of the bathroom door and pushed the old key into the lock.  He couldn’t wait   here knowing that Hudson was hurting.  Hudson was his world and to think for a second that the love of his life was in pain because of him was painful in itself.  The key—with a minor struggle—turned and Ryan thanked the Lord that he didn’t have to ruin the door.   The door to the steamy bathroom opened and Ryan quietly stepped inside.  The glass door to the shower was partially shut and Ryan could make out Hudson with his palms against the wall and his head hanging down under the water.  His figure was thin—smaller than normal and his hair was longer too.  How had Ryan not noticed any of this?  Feeling his stomach shift around with nerves and a certain need rising, the plastics executive walked to the shower and slid the door open.

Hudson jumped and flipped his hair back.  He hadn’t even sensed anyone else around and turning around he almost burst into tears.  Ryan was completely naked and closing the shower door behind him. 

“What are you doing?  I thought you went back to work.” Hudson wiped his eyes of water and backed into the corner.

“I didn’t touch him like that Hudson.  I’ll never betray you like that.” Ryan stepped into Hudson’s corner and pulled them together.

Hudson quivered, not caring about his wandering hands or the fact that his lips fell directly to Ryan’s shoulder and moved to his lover’s neck.  Ryan pushed Hudson’s head to his neck and moaned as he felt the sharp points pierce his neck.  “Fuck yes,” the dirty blonde put his hand on the shower wall and ground against Hudson.  His skin buzzed with a flowing hot need as his lover finally fed after weeks of not even asking.  “Take from me Hudson...”

Hudson was probably out of his mind with grief as his hunger started to take over, Ryan thought. Depression, isolation, and paranoia were all effects of the need to feed.  Why didn’t he come to me sooner?  Better question, why didn’t I notice, Ryan frowned but was swept away in Hudson’s hardening arousal against him.  Slick and soapy, Hudson rubbed against his boyfriend.  Fuck that, Ryan was his mate and had been since the day he’d been claimed four years ago.  Their families had witnessed the occasion and their names had gone in the family book.  They were mated for eternity.

Hudson fell back against the wall as his mate’s blood strengthened his body and left him hard with need.  Regaining his senses, he felt Ryan’s hands flat against his chest and then lower and lower as his now gold eyes looked up at Hudson.  Now on his knees, Ryan licked his mate’s thigh slowly and pinched a bit of skin between his teeth.  “I am so sorry baby.” Ryan kissed the small pain away.  “I got so wrapped up in what corporate wanted from me that I forgot to work on us.  The work is harder than I thought and the assignment just changed two weeks ago.  I didn’t want to worry you.”

When corporate or rather Ryan’s father decided to change an assignment.  It meant someone had been bad.  Someone would pay for what they had done to Ryan’s family.  “I am your mate Ryan!  This isn’t the first time we’ve experienced a change.  You can tell me anything. Ungh…” Hudson’s arms shot out to support himself along the wall as Ryan sucked the head of his cock inside the warmth of that glorious mouth.  He swirled his tongue around for a few seconds and then let Hudson fall from his mouth. 

“Because I remember how you worried so much after last time and I didn’t want to stress you out.  One more week and then we’re out of here Hud. Gone from this shit hole and back to Dallas, I promise baby.  We can finally buy our own house and you can get that coffee maker you’ve always wanted.  Anything you want.” Ryan licked Hudson’s shaft before kissing the head.  Hudson’s fingers combed through Ryan’s hair and he sighed. 

“I want to know about the assignment.  I want to help. I was good last time remember?  Even your father said so.” Hudson lowered himself to the shower floor and cupped Ryan’s face as the water fell over both of them.  “I want to be a part of your life.  I get lonely when I’m not with you and I miss you so much it drives me crazy.”

Ryan sighed and put his forehead to Hudson’s.  “The reason I didn’t tell you I was meeting with Klein tonight is…because…well he and Andy are the assignment.  They’ve been embezzling money from this plant for years—hence it’s terrible profits--and I was sent here to find out all the dirty insider information and go through the books before reporting back to my father.  We needed proof that they were the ones doing it.  Klein was the first manager of this plant and Andy worked there as an accountant before they were mated.  They were the ones that started siphoning off small amounts from every sale and putting it into a different account.  I now have that proof Hud. And as you know from last time, the human police can’t be involved.  Putting a vampire behind bars would be catastrophic.  So…we deal with them.”

Hudson looked up and his blue eyes turned a brilliant gold.  “Together?”  The idea of letting loose together was so arousing Hudson could barely stand it.  He was always so submissive to his stronger partner and played the good little house mate with respect but sometimes he just wanted to be bad.

“You really want to go out tomorrow night then?  You’d go into the city with me?” Ryan purred and nibbled at his mate’s ear—his hand finding its way down to Hudson’s ass and in between his cheeks.

His body stiffened then relaxed as Ryan’s finger rubbed at his entrance and Hudson pushed back.  “Oh yeah.  I want to play too.” He whined and moaned as Ryan’s digit pushed its way in while at the same time, the older vamp’s fangs pierced Hudson’s neck.

“Fuck Ryan!”


“You look incredible baby.  And you smell…fuck,” Ryan growled inhaling Hudson’s dark scent.  The male was dressed to the nines in his dark Armani gray suit with a black button down and Ryan couldn’t wait to rip it off later. 

“Ryan, they’re here.” Hudson warned with a laugh.  Before the couple approaching could fully see them, the dark haired vamp turned and kissed his mate with promises of later. Sweeping his tongue across Ryan’s lips, Hudson pulled back with a wink.  “You look good too.” Hudson grinned and smoothed out Ryan’s crisp black jacket.  He looked sensational and Hudson couldn’t wait to worship that body later.

Sensing the couple around the corner, Ryan pecked Hudson on the lips and grabbed his hand.  “Ah the Kleins!” Ryan sang and Hudson smiled warmly with well concealed evil behind his eyes. 

“Ryan, good to see you.  And this must be the infamous Hudson we’ve heard all about.  It’s nice to meet you, I’m Frederick and this is Andy.  My mate.” A tall thin man with a beautiful head of dark brown hair smiled with green eyes and gestured to his partner who was small and mousy with creepy eyes and blonde hair.  

“It’s lovely to meet you both.” Hudson extended his hand to both of the men and hid his disgust at the feel of their skin on his hand.  Clammy and cold like the skin of liars.  Hudson beamed at his mate who in turn gave him a cheeky grin.  Yeah they were both on the same page, the dark haired vamp thought.  “Shall we?”

“Of course, of course.” Mr. Klein held open the door to the private club and they walked inside. 

“We had a private room reserved.  Moore.” Ryan replied to the man at the podium.  “I hope everything is ready.”

“Yes, sir.” The host looked between the four vamps and smiled a little.  “Your room is ready. Right this way.”

“A private room, Moore?  I must say that I wasn’t expecting such a lavish event.” Klein wrapped his arm around a smug looking Andy.

“Yes well, the best for the best as my father always says. Not to mention my mate.  This is for him as well.” Ryan ran his hand under Hudson’s jacket slowly and felt the shiver from the other man.  “We’ll have a wonderful time.”

“I can see that.” Klein grinned while he eyed Hudson hungrily.  “I like your style Ryan.”

“Here we are.” The host interrupted them and opened up the door to a windowless room. Inside was a wrap-around black leather couch and a fully stocked table of booze.  Oh and the pole in the middle of the room. A light above the pole trickled colors around the room and Klein’s grin turned into a predatory smile. 

Ten minutes later and everyone was relaxed with a drink. “I didn’t know there were any vamp clubs left on this side of the state.  I thought they had all been banned by…corporate.”

“Oh there’s a few left here and there that corporate doesn’t know about.  What my father doesn’t know won’t kill him.” Ryan winked and Klein laughed.

“You really aren’t like him at all are you?”

“No.  Not really,” Ryan shot back and then slowly turned and kissed his mate.  Music thumped through the speakers at the press of a remote and Hudson let himself fall into Ryan.  Although this was part of the plan, they still could enjoy touching each other.  Tongues slid together and Ryan pulled his mate into his lap.  His hands grabbed Hudson’s ass before pulling off his mate’s jacket.

“No, you’re not.” Klein laughed and growled—throwing back what was in his own drink before taking off his jacket and unzipping his pants. 

Hudson’s eyes met Ryan’s and they grinned at each other, their fangs glinting in the rainbow of colors above them. Ryan nodded and Hudson stood up and pulled his shirt over his head.  Klein growled and Andy’s mouth opened a little as he pushed his hand into his mate’s pants at the sight of Ryan’s mate. 

“I hope you’re…into this…” Ryan snapped his fingers and Hudson let his pants fall to the ground before he stepped up to the pole.

“Yes,” Klein hissed and moaned as Andy’s hand moved faster in his pants.  Hudson didn’t have any experience with a pole but he played along. He was flexible enough and had the strength for it, so without any hesitation he gripped the pole and wrapped a leg around it—one spin and he found himself getting into it. 

Ryan watched his mate in nothing but tight black briefs spin around that damned pole and he became hard as a mother fucker.  Eyeing Klein, Ryan noticed the vampire was enthralled by the dance as well.  Good, Ryan thought and stood.  “Andy? Why don’t you go play with Hudson?”

Andy looked at his mate and Klein nodded.  The two kissed and Andy rose, taking off his own clothes before joining Hudson.  Even as evil as Andy’s eyes were, Ryan had to admit the two males grinding against each other was rather sexy and Klein obviously felt the same.  “Aren’t they gorgeous?” Ryan grinned and straddled Klein who snapped out of his trance and inhaled deeply as another vamp lowered himself into his lap.

“Yes…I didn’t know you played around like this or we would have been friends a long time ago.” Klein brushed his thumb across Ryan’s bottom lip and thrust against him.

“Most people mistake me for my father but…” Ryan leaned down to Klein’s ear.  “I assure you I’m much worse.”

“Worse?” The other manager seemed to stop breathing.

“Hudson baby?  Won’t you show Mr. Klein exactly how much we enjoy playing  around?” Ryan turned and grinned. Showtime, he winked at his mate.  Hudson slid his hands down Andy’s arms from behind and smiled wickedly—his eyes turning gold before he struck viciously at Andy’s neck.

“You!” Klein roared and tried to move but a very sharp knife was placed right over his heart. 

“Just watch Klein…” Hudson took Andy to the ground and overpowered the smaller vamp.  Andy twitched as Hudson pulled at his vein with such suction that it was frightening.  “How does he taste baby?”

Hudson pulled off Andy and licked his red stained lips.  “Like a liar and a thief.”  Andy gurgled and Hudson laughed before moving down and striking his fangs to the inside of the vamp’s thigh.

Ryan clucked his tongue and slowly pushed the knife into Klein’s skin.  “I told you Klein.  I’m much worse than my father and I happen to take my business very seriously.  I know exactly what the two of you did and I won’t have it.  Hope it was worth it Klein.”

“You will…” Klein growled and hissed as the knife went into his chest and the silver blade began to poison his bloodstream. 

“No, I think you will Klein.” Ryan chuckled and pushed the knife the rest of the way in.  Klein began to buck as his blood turned black inside—the poison shutting down all of his organs.  Once Frederick’s movements stopped altogether, Ryan got up and worked off the rest of his clothes before kneeling behind his mate.  “Anything left my love?” He chuckled.

Hudson flipped his head back and shared a kiss with his mate, the taste of Andy flowing between them.  “Mm, you taste simply divine.” Ryan licked Hudson’s lips and pushed him to the floor, next to Andy’s completely drained body.  “I don’t know why I doubted you for this assignment.” His tongue licked a line up the trail of hair on Hudson’s bare chest.

“I told you I could do it,” Hudson moaned.

“Forgive me?” Ryan pouted and slipped off Hudson’s briefs.

“Forgiven,” the dark haired vamp lifted his hips for his mate. 

“Now we can play,” Ryan purred and kissed his mate the way he deserved to be kissed.  The next two hours were a blur of touching and licking, feeding and sucking, and mates reveling in two kills for the family name. 

Walking out of the room and straightening their suits, the host nodded at Ryan.  “Are you finished sir?”

“Yes, thank you.  Bill me for the cleanup?”

“Certainly sir.” The young vampire nodded and went to fetch some help.  It was quite a mess in there, Ryan smiled.  He pulled Hudson’s hand to his lips and kissed his fingers gently. 

“Did you have fun tonight?”

“Yes.” Hudson blushed and kissed Ryan on the cheek. They passed the open lounge area where the place was packed with the city’s vampire population and made for the front entrance.

“Next time we’ll talk about these things.  No more holding back on me alright?  In turn I’ll work more on treating you as I should.  For that I can’t apologize enough.  I’m sorry Hudson.”

“I’m sorry too.  I shouldn’t have let myself get that hungry.  I become paranoid and I just…I can’t believe I thought you would cheat on me with him.” Hudson laughed.  “I was hungrier than I thought.”  He eyed their rental car as Ryan beeped his keys to unlock it.

“Yes, you were. But you won’t do this again will you?” Ryan narrowed his eyes.

“I promise.” Hiding his blush, Hudson turned away.

“Good.  Now get in the car.  I can’t wait to get you home.” Ryan inhaled into his mate’s hair.

“Again? Good God Ryan, two hours wasn’t enough?” Hudson slapped his mate’s wandering hand away from his zipper. “We are in the parking lot in case you haven’t noticed.”

“That’s what you’re worried about?” Ryan laughed.  “We just killed two vampires and had sex afterwards and you’re worried about someone seeing you being fondled in the parking lot?”

“Well yeah,” Hudson squeaked.

“Just for that,” Ryan purred and pushed Hudson flat against the back of his car.  “You better hope no one hears us back here while I do this…”

Hudson looked down at his mate’s golden eyes in the dark and let go.  Feeling that wet heat consume his arousal, Hudson laughed and moaned into the night—feeling his true smile return for the first time in months.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Blogger Malfunctions AGAIN. UGH.

I hope everyone is having a good weekend. I just wanted to make sure that those of you who check your blog lists daily were able to receive the notice that Dan and Rowe Chapter 4 is posted.  Lately I've been having trouble with Blogger updating my feed and I'm not sure what's happening but I am emailing their support team to see if I can't get this problem fixed.  Until then, if I notice a post hasn't transferred to the list, I'll try and make a small notice like this for you.  So sorry for the trouble.  Thanks everyone!


Friday, April 27, 2012

Dan and Rowe Chapter 4

Warning: This chapter is kind of gory.  As in kind of...I mean very gory. But I am sure that you will forgive the blood and guts when you get into the nitty gritty of it all.  And I am sorry  to my small pack of editing warriors out there. At least I warned you  that is wasn't perfect, right? (big smile) That is all.  I hope you like it. :)


~~~~Case Co. Shipping Yard, The Docks~~~~
Blood arced in a perfect crescent as the assassin’s head was sliced right off his shoulders.  Ghost turned his evil grin to the trio approaching his corner of the roof---the wailing storm and the ferocious waters of the docks as his backdrop for mayhem.  Bringing his staff full circle, the Guardian pointed a gleaming blade at his new opponents in invitation. This batch seemed a little more confident, the leader of their little group taller, broader---a nasty past in his light eyes. He wasn’t like the others.  This man was a trained killer.
Knowing that he wouldn’t be able to feasibly attack them up close with his staff, Ghost clicked the button on the middle of the stick. The weapon divided into two separate blades and gave him a little more flexibility with both arms.  Smoke billowed over the rooftops and around their bodies, occasionally hiding their forms as large clouds rode through the air; the rain not being able to diffuse the fire quick enough to see everything clearly.  Focusing his hazel eyes, the Latin vampire shook his soaking wet hair and took a few steps forward towards the group but they chose the next passing wall of smoke to disperse in different directions. 
Ghost could feel them circling him, closing in--- sure they could take him out.  Forward, it was like a feeling more than a word and the Guardian’s arm shot out blindly with his blade.  The sharp tip stabbed into something solid.  Yanking the blade out, the smoke in front of him cleared a little and the smallest assassin of the group was hissing and holding his bleeding shoulder on the ground.
Turn around, East, his body moved in a circle sweeping his blades out like they were part of his body. “Ah!” The resounding scream was lighter than the first vamp’s as Ghost’s left handed knife took the second vamp right in the gut, followed by his boot connecting with the fucker’s knee---the crunch of the cap completely audible.  Even as a vampire and a long term killer, Ghost flinched when the young vamp’s face leaned forward out of the smoke with his mouth open and blood coating his tongue and chin.  The body was somewhere on the other side of the fire’s aftermath, covered in a blackish grey of swirling ash.  A wet choke and a groan later and the face fell back into the smoke---disappearing behind the barrier of grey like it had never been there to begin with.  Ghost heard the body fall and tip off the roof, landing with a smack below.
Turn!  Turn now… The Latin vamp sucked in a deep breath as a blade went through the back of his thigh.  He wasn’t fast enough but now Ghost was pissed and that more than made up for his careless mistake.  With a growl that fueled his body, the Guardian extended his arm up and brought his elbow straight into the warm chest at his back.  The other vamp was knocked back---the assassin could be heard rolling over the corrugated roof with a repetitive thud.  Sensing a few feet between them now, Ghost hissed and pulled the blade poking out of the front of his leathers from the back of his leg. 
“Gah!” His mouth let go of the pain verbally and Ghost felt the blood began to leak from his wound.  He wouldn’t have much time on his strength---it was a bad bleed and maybe he’d knicked the artery.  Hell, he was sure of it.  He’d need blood soon but first he’d have to take care of this douche and probably the guy he’d stabbed earlier.  Turning, he tried to take a step forward but his bad leg wobbled under his weight. 
“Something wrong Guardian?” The big vamp had the nerve to taunt him.  Ghost searched and inhaled, trying to seek out the figure that had struck him.  Finally those eyes came into view and narrowed at Ghost with a smile.  The assassin’s almost watercolor irises reminded him of the ones that had put a bullet in his Madre’s head---the same shark like grin and the same surety.  Rage filled the Guardian and his vision went red, his blood pumped too quickly for his wound, and his hand dropped the blade in favor of the gun at his thigh but his arm was going numb.  What, he thought.  He should have healed a little by now.  That’s not possible…
“Well I’ll be a son a bitch.  Shit does work,” the vamp commented and strode over to Ghost with a gun now in his hand.  Ghost dropped to one knee as the feeling in his side left him altogether and he couldn’t support the weight any longer.  What the fuck was this, he thought frantically and reached for his other gun with his good side just as the same numb feeling began to spread throughout the rest of his body.
Crouching down, the blonde assassin snorted.  “Almost too easy.” The assassin pulled another blade out of his jacket and turned it in study.  “Seems to be working though, you’re still bleeding and the look on your face says your fucked.”  It was the last thing Mr. Blue Eyes said before a bullet went straight into his left ear and his eyes went blank, like the train had left the station.  Ghost shuddered as the body hit the ground but not from the violence of it.  Instead, he felt his own body becoming paralyzed, something on that blade in front of him was important.  Even human he’d been stabbed like this and lived. There was more to that knife than metal.
Besides Knox, J.J. was the closest thing to a brother that Ghost had, but with J.J. it felt like more than that.  The Guardian gave a tortured sigh as his friend lowered the smoking gun and ran to his side. Pure gold spikes---courtesy of J.J.’s Brazilian mother---were now matted over his forehead from the rain and his light gray suit was soaked, but the former security head and Cartel’s newest front man didn’t give two fucks about a suit or his fancy hair. He fell to his knees and cradled his friend’s head in his lap.
“This isn’t possible. Ah man, how?” J.J. looked at the blood coating his friend’s leg with a ragged breath.  Ghost was starting to breathe irregularly---too relaxed and deep.  His eyes were growing heavy.  J.J. yelled something to someone down below and immediately footsteps vibrated the roof top.
“Grab that…knife.  It’s on the knife.  Call Cade…” Ghost slurred.  “Weapons…poison…”  The Latin heard a familiar voice begging for his life from below and saw his friend’s chocolate eyes narrow with understanding—a sweep of J.J.’s fingers ran down his jaw before Ghost’s entire world went black.
~~~~Meanwhile Downtown, On the Street~~~~
“Stop moving Knox.  The slightest displacement of your weight could cost all three of us our lives.” Blaze looked up---a glare covering his glasses as rain pelted down from the sky.  Knox had been watching him, trying to get a handle on the male that he had looked to as his sole weapon’s resource for the past decade. Now he was seeing Blaze in an entirely different light.  The guy was like some kind of hell spawn.  He was tall but lean muscled and moved like a cat.  Every move he made was planned and his dark eyes saw everything even though he wasn’t looking…or was he?  Normally, Knox only saw Blaze behind the bullet proof delivery window of his basement outfit.  But tonight he got to see the true inner vamp come out to play. 
Jonah’s hair spiked out in different lengths of cherry red around his skull---which was slowly drooping with the weather but still gave him the allure of some sexy ass punk rocker.  He didn’t seem to have any tattoos or piercings but what the fuck did Knox know.  He hadn’t seen what was under the hood…yet. “Can I help you with something other than removing the explosive currently under your ass?” Blaze asked and Knox cleared his throat and turned away.  “That’s what I thought.”
“Can you see anything?” Cade crouched next to Jonah who looked at him with a scowl.  “What?  It’s not like I’m in your light.” The Guardian flicked the penlight over Jonah’s ear.
“You’re right. You simply annoy me.” The redhead replied to the Guardian and pulled a slim black zip up case from inside of his Mary Poppin’s trench.  Unzipping it, Jonah looked over the tiny lock picking set and the small selection of cutters and pliers. Feeling hot breath on the back of his neck, Jonah turned to stare at Cadence again.  “Really?  I am about to disarm a bomb here.  So if you would kindly remove yourself from my ass that would most appreciated.”
Knox chuckled. The small laugh turned into a full on body shake with tears included.  He could feel both men watching him to his left but he couldn’t help it.  Maybe it was a survival technique to let go of some of the tension or maybe it was that he loved how Blaze picked on Cade like he was a four year old.  Either way, he felt better.  Even if he was currently sitting on a bomb, Knox had been through worse and that was an emotional consolation.    “Okay, do it.  We need to get in there.  They’re going to need us.” Knox sighed and cracked his knuckles before settling back into his seat gently.
“Okay,” Jonah replied flatly. Obviously the guy was losing it under pressure but he had to commend the blue haired giant for lasting this long.  While the procedure was easy compared to disarming most pressurized explosives, the location and removing the casing, would not be easy.  A vibration from Cade had the Guardian quickly delving a hand into his coat.  Cadence pulled the phone out and looked at the screen---it was Ghost.  “What’s happening?” The Guardian slid the phone to life and asked.
“Is this Cade?” An unfamiliar voice greeted him and the Guardian hissed.
“Yes.  Who the fuck is this?  Where’s Ghost?” Cade shot to his feet and his eyes went red in the rain.  Lightning cracked in the sky above them and he looked up with bared fangs.
“Look man, I’m J.J.--Ghost’s friend---and my amigo is fucked man.  These assassin fuckers are using poison dipped blades…maybe bullets even. I don’t know but I’m getting him out of here.  He’s out cold and I think he needs fresh blood.  You need to call your boys in Cade.  One stab with that knife took Ghost out man.” The man that called himself J.J. rushed into the phone. It sounded like a warzone behind him.
Cade’s blood went cold and he spun to look at the building that his brothers had gone into.  “How do you know that he needs blood?  How do I know you’re not one of them?”
“I just do and you don’t know.  You’re just gonna have to trust me.  Get your boys out of there man.  Like now.  We’ve got Gio, so if you wanna come join the party, call me back.” The line went dead.
“What’s going on?” Knox’s blood pumped at the angry panic in Cade’s voice. Ghost, he thought. What the fuck did you do now bro?
Cade held up a finger and dialed Micah. Come on baby pick up.  “It’s Micah.  I’m not here…”
“Fuck!” The silver eyed vamp screamed and dialed Hill.  Seconds later he shook furiously as Hill’s voicemail came up.  He knew there was no point in calling Rowe.   The prince was already past picking up a phone or thinking rationally for that matter.
“Cade! What’s happening?” Knox’s heart went on overdrive.
“They stabbed Ghost with poison Knox,” Cade growled.  “He’s out cold and now my mate is in there facing the same thing.  I’m going in.”
“What!” Knox leaned forward and Blaze shot his arm out to still the giant vamp.
“I got the casing off.  If you move off this seat, you’re dead.  Slowly…that’s it…” Jonah did his best to lean over the seat without touching it and soothe Knox back into position.  “Easy now.  This Ghost guy must be someone important to you I gather.  So that means he’s either big and bad or really fucking smart right? He’ll be fine…” The weapon’s guru whispered in the shaking pissed vamp’s ear and ran his fingers over a massive thigh.  “He’ll be okay Knox.”
The redhead needed the big guy to calm down so they didn’t all blow sky high and kept his caresses to a minimum.  He almost gasped when Knox grabbed his hand and squeezed it---those dark eyes staring out the windshield.  “Go Cade. We’ll good here.  Go…” Jonah said quietly to the Guardian while he stared at Knox.  Hand in hand with the blue haired beast, Jonah listened to the Guardian’s boots pound at full speed towards the building behind them. 
~~~~The Holding Room, Sublevel 3~~~~
Dan moaned as Nova ripped his leather pant leg down the seam and pulled him closer.  The pain from the cuffs at his back didn’t matter anymore because of the warm ecstasy at his ankle that pumped endorphins into his body.  Knowing this was wrong had fled Dan’s conscious minutes ago and getting closer to the big vamp was all he could think of.  Watching with dreamy eyes, Dan saw the vampire’s body begin to fill out with muscle and color, those arms getting thicker and the metal spikes in Nova’s body were pushed out with a chorus of clinks to the floor.  Bruises and slashes feathered away like a painting in reverse from Nova’s sweaty skin.
Nova groaned and pulled Dan’s backside into his lap.  The human’s slender leg now perfectly lined with Nova’s body and he ran his hand down the inside of Dan’s trembling thigh..  The little blonde was sexy and he smelled divine, like fresh rain.  Although, something was bothering Nova and he couldn’t remember what it was as he lapped at the delicious blood trickling from the human’s ankle into his
mouth.  With a hiss, Nova gripped Dan’s hips and rubbed that perfect little backside together against his naked erection.  It had been so long and the human wanted it, so why not?  Nova wanted the blonde so badly and dropped Dan’s leg in favor of the twitch beating along the blonde’s neck.  On all fours, the vampire leaned down over the human’s body and growled his need.
Dan---in his lusty haze--begged Nova down to him on a whimper and bared his neck while his eyes sought out the newly repaired arousal between the vampire’s legs.  “Nova…” he moaned and arched as fangs suddenly pierced his neck.  Nova’s hand covered Dan’s zipper and squeezed the erection forming there—his thumb dipping inside the leather pants and toying with the head of Dan’s cock. As soon as his eyes closed in pleasure, Dan gasped.  A rage that was not his own covered his lust and a pair of violet eyes filled his mind as did…Nova’s.  The vampire snapped out of his feeding frenzy immediately and found himself plastered to the opposite wall within seconds.
“He is here…Rowen will kill me for what I have…oh God…” Nova looked down at his body and patted his skin in disbelief.   It had been so long since he had been whole or fed.  He had almost forgotten what it was like to be a vampire---to be strong and powerful…to be a warrior.  Looking from his naked body—including his disgraceful arousal-- to the stirring human on the floor, Nova knew he had to get Dan to his prince. He would not fail his grace this time. “Dan, can you hear me?  I have to get these manacles off of you.  We must hurry.  Dan?”
Rowe.  Dan had seen him, felt his anger, Rowe was here---he could feel him near.  The fuzzy euphoria cleared and Dan noticed how much his body ached.   Then he noticed the giant vampire looming above him.  “Fuck!” The blonde screamed and rolled away.
“Dan, it’s me…Nova.  It’s alright I will not hurt you.” Nova held up his hands in a show of trust.
After the realization dawned on him, Dan sighed. “You scared me.” He shuddered and stretched his back before looking down at the new bulge in his pants.  Shit, this was so bad.  Rowe was going to murder them both, Dan trembled. How could he have been so stupid? He’d fed another vampire?  Rowe would never forgive him.  He wouldn’t forgive himself.  He’d cheated on his mate.
“I’m sorry, Dan.  I didn’t think that would…” Nova started.
“Rowe’s here.  He wasn’t supposed to come here Nova.” Dan shook his head and felt the tears come to his eyes.  “He’s so angry at me.  I should have never done that.  Oh my God.”
“Dan, if I had a mate, I would walk through hell to bring them back.  You will never know the bond you share until you are one of us.  To be apart like this would eat him alive.  Do not fight him or be angry with him for loving you.  Reach out to him; for I assure you human...he is not angry with you, he is angry with me.” Nova crept forward on his knees and Dan avoided looking at the fully erect arousal swaying between the vampire’s legs.  Rowe was going to freak. Dan sighed, like really fucking freak when he saw him with a very naked Nova.
With a squeak from Dan, Nova swung the lean male around and with a quick jerk, broke the cuffs apart.  Reaching up, he yanked his own collar off with both hands and stared at it for a moment.  Many centuries he had worn this metal around his neck and now he would never wear it again.  He was free—the feeling of joy short lived as they were still in danger.  Surveying the rest of his body, Nova realized that sometime during his feeding he’d pulled his own manacles apart and only the thick metal cuffs remained on his wrists.  He looked like some savaged slave.  But that was alright---Nova thought---because he was about to be savagely violent anyway.  Hundreds of years in their hands would be avenged tonight.  Body by body, he would make up for what he had lost and that all started with Nigel.  The rape, the torture, the beatings, and bodily experiments; they would all end tonight. 
“Dan, close your eyes and concentrate on his face.  Let him know you are alright and that we are below the ground.” Nova instructed.
Dan looked between his hands that still had cuffs around them with a bit of chain left dangling in astonishment.  Turning, he looked up into Nova’s face and cocked his head.  God, if he didn’t know any better, he’d say Nova was definitely related to…
“Dan!  Hurry please.  I can feel someone nearing and if they open that door I will kill and you won’t have another chance to think freely.  Please send him something through the bond so he does not go feral and forget himself.  He is not angry with you!  Please, do as I say.”
Dan was misty eyed at the mention of the word feral.  He’d heard about that from Maggie and it wasn’t good.  To this day, Mags still regretted her beginning as a feral and the life she had taken.  So as scared as he was of his mate at the moment, Dan shut his eyes tight to seek out Rowe, if that was possible.  Somewhere in the rage flooding Dan’s every nerve was a cry of relief from Rowe.  Dan had found his mate and Rowe could feel him back.  Dan couldn’t help but reach out with his hand even though he couldn’t actually touch the prince.  A tear rolled down Dan’s cheek with his eyes still shut as he finally realized how much he wanted Rowe near.  He’d been so wrapped up with the idea that keeping him away was for the best that he hadn’t realized how much he craved the vampire’s arms around him and to feel that playfully deep voice rumble against his skin. To feel safe again.
“Rowe!” Dan cried and fell to his knees with a sob.  He thought about where he was---the concrete walls, the heavy door with the keypad, the...bed.  He felt Rowe like he was physically with him; the vampire’s beast graduating to level two as the image of a bed was shared between them.  And then the connection was lost as Rowe raised a blade.  “They’re being attacked,” Dan gasped back to reality. 
“As we are to be,” Nova bent an iron pole from the bed frame like it was nothing and snapped it off at a sharp angle, sparing not a second to appreciate his renewed strength.  Instead he focused solely on being the creature he was born to be while protecting his grace in the process. “But fear not your grace. I will kill every single last one of them.” The warrior vamp’s voice dug deep into the silence of the room and his feet shifted wide as he prepared to slaughter his enemy on the other side of the door.
~~~~Just down the hall, Sub Level 3~~~~
Nigel and the control room technician were escorted down the hall towards the holding room where Dan and Nova had been placed for safe keeping.  He had wanted them both of them together so their transport to the boat would be quicker if the Guardians proved better than he thought but now the Guardian’s weren’t what he feared. Nigel glanced over his shoulder once before resuming his straight forward walk.
The copper haired vamp knew that after that last round of testing, Nova would be near the brink of death so he couldn’t touch his newest little one.  It was a shame that they didn’t have time to play or that Nova couldn’t be a little stronger.  Nigel would have loved to watch his vampire slave make his new pet scream by pounding into him like the savage he really was.
The image had Nigel licking his lips and making a plan for later…after they were away from here.  The situation with a feral vampire on the loose was not in the plan and even though a few of his men had some of the weapons from testing, they were not enough to take out Jessica Walker.  Her make-up was brand new and that allowed her to regenerate far faster than any of the vamps because she was still growing so to speak.  Not only that but her bloodlust and need for revenge kept her adrenaline at a higher level than theirs and this allowed for Jessica to keep going far longer in combat.  She was just plain deadly.
Having worked all this time towards their goal, Nigel wouldn’t let that little wench ruin everything. He had already secured their research and was having it shipped out tonight, so that was covered.  The other Royals on his side were in place in case of emergency and his escape route was ready to go.  He could already smell the victory of the Guardians at his feet.  Everything was going just as planned…minus the feral.
Nigel cocked his head and stopped in his tracks---his nose turned to the wall as he took in a deep breath—scenting the hall around him.  The scent of fresh human blood made his two guards twitch with excitement and they eyed the human tech longingly.  Pushing past the guard, Nigel growled at the sealed door and rushed to the keypad.  His finger shook as he tried punching in the code but he knew that one was wrong---he’d had them changed last night.
Scenting something other than human blood, he simultaneously heard blades and guns being pulled from his guard’s bodies. Slowly, Nigel turned his head and bared his fangs at the darkened end of the hallway to his left.  The florescent lights above gave off a hum and flickered to life for a few seconds---illuminating the deranged and blood soaked form of Jessica Walker at the end of the hall.  Darkness consumed that end again and only the emergency light above the four males remained.  Nigel swallowed and pulled the gun from his back---hoping to Lucifer that it was enough.  With his left hand he tried to remember the new code and punched it in, watching the damn red light come on again in failure. 
“James, has level four been cleared and shipped out?” Nigel carefully asked his technician who nodded. He had to be sure.  It was all they had. If this was it for Nigel, the legacy needed to endure.  The others would know what to do.  He patted his jacket to make sure his phone was there. “They were packing up the vans to head out when we came down here,” James replied softly and hid behind the guard closest to him as the hum of the florescent light sounded again.  “I can’t do this…” the tech whispered and inched back along the wall as the lights flickered to life again.
Jess was illuminated for a few seconds---mere feet from the foursome who gasped and backed up.  James screamed as she stepped into the light with a crack of her extended hands and the technician turned around.  The man sprinted away as fast as his legs would allow him from the female with blood staining her face and body like she was once a beautiful doll who had been hand dipped in a nightmare.  His lungs burned from the overexertion to his body, his lack of exercise evident in his slowing pace. 
Nigel gripped his gun and pointed it at Jessica, who in turn ignored him---favoring her running enemy to him momentarily. With a strange stretching noise, the female vamp moved her arms like she was getting into them place and leapt at the wall above the guard’s heads, only to bounce away from the shot of Nigel’s gun.  She screeched after James like a stallion on fast forward. Her bare feet moved so quickly they didn’t make a sound.  The newly changed vamp only wanted one thing…revenge. And body after fleeing body, she took it.  In her violent thoughts, this human’s blood didn’t matter—only the destruction of his evil body.
Backing under the light again, the two dense vamp guards pointed their useless guns in the direction of the technician and the monster.  They could make out the shapes in the dark but the features were obscure---none of it mattering except that those two stayed at the other end of the hall.  Let her eat him, the dark skinned guard thought, better him than me. The tanned guard next to him turned and regarded him with the same thoughts exactly. 
“Gabe, you have the fucking code?” Nigel hissed at the darker guard, only to hear a scream of terror rip through the hallway in response.  Following another scream was the sickening crunch of multiple bones and a hungry growl. Wet slapping limbs and dragging noises sounded from the darkness and the guards hurried over to the keypad.
Gabe grabbed his phone and pulled up the codes---typing the new change into the keypad so they could hide in the holding room to await help.  “When we get inside we’ll have to secure Nova.  I can feel his strength returning.  But he’s cake compared to that crazy bitch.” Nigel placed his palm flat on the reinforced door and heard the beep of freedom from the keypad.  The door whooshed open and Nigel looked up into the face of a murderous giant---a shank ended iron rod in his grip and bared fangs ready for action.
The guards behind him gasped as a growl sounded from next to them and the two men turned.  Jessica Walker dropped James’s mauled head at their feet and bared her fangs with a ripple of her lip.  They knew they were dead; a feral in front of them and a man who had been at the boss’s mercy for hundreds of years. Yeah, they were fucked.  Gabe looked at his fellow guard one last time before they opened fire into the space where Jess had been a split second ago.
“What the fuck?” Gabe hissed.  A splatter of blood hit his forehead and together Gabe and the other guard looked up at the system of pipes above them.  The bloodied feral cocked her head with an inhale before dropping onto the guards with the shriek of a banshee. 
~~~~The Stairwell, SubLevel 1~~~~
Never in his existence had Rowe been this angry.  Not when he had cranked a blade through his own father’s chest and ripped his head off, not when Dan had told Cade he’d never touch Rowe intimately, not when Hill had groped up his mother.  Never had Rowe been pissed like this.  Thinking was second as his body sliced through the dark, night goggles rendering his enemy a limelight green, and their eyes showing up like glowing marbles before their lids shut for good as his blade took their lives.
“Yo Rowe!  He’s dead bro, stop!” King screamed and pulled the prince off a completely limp corpse whose features were now comparable to ground beef.
Looking down at the remnants of the once living that were seeping through his fingers, Rowe pictured the hands that had touched his pet---the fangs that he had felt pierce his mate’s neck.  That vamp was dead already in the icy blonde’s head and now it was his mission to find the room with the bed and cut the fanger’s heart out for real.  No one touched his Daniel but him.  That blood was for his nourishment only and speaking of…he was hungry. This was only getting worse.
“Pet…” Rowe hissed and cut his goggled eyes to King, who raised his brows and rose to give the prince some space.  He didn’t have to see his prince’s eyes to feel the power rolling off him in waves.
“Yeah, Rowe.  That’s where we’re headed.  I can smell him this way. And something else…what is that? Fuck bro…” King rubbed his nose to make sure he wasn’t imagining it.  Cold vamp blood wafted their way from the stairs below, the stench indescribable.  “Someone make it here before us or what?”
Fuck that, Rowe thought, Nigel was his to kill. The prince jumped over four dead assassins--that looked like a puzzled mess of limbs and heads--and landed on the lower grated platform with a thud of his boots.
“Or you could just take the steps there big guy,” King offered with a sarcastic wave of his hand.  Rowe growled back up at him. “Or not, jumping is good too.”
 Almost at his babysitting limit, former undercover detective Valjana steadied his blade and wiped his forehead of sweat before following Rowe down to the next level.  Thinking on a few minutes earlier, King shook his head. They had barely made it through the blow hole upstairs when a dozen assassins had crept out of the dark like armed spiders.  Maybe half of them were out before Rowe had started babbling non-sense about Dan in a room with a bed and some vamp drinking his life latte.  King didn’t even know that shit was possible.  Sure he’d know if Chloe was pissed or horny or like sad or whatever…but to actually talk to her from a distance and in your head?  Mind done blown, King shook his head.
Now he was assisting the prince on a hack and slash adventure down into the unknown.  It was like he was inside his Xbox and he should’ve had a free moving scope with a health bar somewhere in sight.  All this creeping around corners in the darkest of the dark to shoot or stab newly turned vampires?  Yeah, King wondered why they didn’t just choose an abandoned asylum as their secret lair---would’ve stuck with the video game theme better, he grinned. Getting a whiff of that awful dead vamp stench again, King adjusted his goggles and took his position along the wall, as together---he and the prince-- stepped onto the second sub-level platform with weapons at the ready. 
“One,” King started and Rowe nodded cranking the door handle.  “Two, three, go.” 
Rowe yanked the door open and immediately glided through the entrance, waiting just inside for King to slip past with his rifle level steady at the shoulder---searching out any vamp jack-in-the-boxes within his attached scope.  The smell in here was worse and even Rowe cleared his throat.  “How many dead do you think?” The prince asked his partner.
“I don’t fucking know but there’s a lot.  That’s for sure.”  King cranked his rifle around as he heard an eerie creak and then saw a flicker of light from down the hall to the left.  “I think we got something.”
“I can’t feel anything near us anymore.  It’s like they’re moving towards outside…” Rowe concentrated on feeling out the vamps in the building. It was like they were fleeing but couldn’t get out fast enough.  Something was…  “Come on, something’s happening below and I can smell that Dan has been through here.”
“Yeah man D is all over this place.  Up ahead, the smell’s getting stronger.” King agreed and the two men hauled boot down the empty hallway---noting the dead bodies and ripped out keypads along the way.  Something crazy had gone down here.  “Here,” King growled.  Dan’s blood and scent was all over this room. 
The flickering turned out to be a florescent light that had been ripped out and now hung by a few wires from the ceiling.  It swayed back and forth behind a large male body.  “Fuck man.” King coughed away from the body. The back of its neck and well everything about the male’s back was gone as if he’d been scooped out like a melon.  Real fucked up, King thought.
“That’s the guy from the club,” Rowe hissed noting the tattoos on what skin was left and crouched low to the floor.  Upon cranking the dead dude’s head to the side, Rowe got a look at what was left of the dipshit’s mug.  “Yeah, this is him.”
Standing again, the icy blonde kicked the head away from the body like a soccer ball and roared.  He took in the rest of the room and eyed the stained mattress on the ground, the chains hanging from above it and then the large pool of blood in the corner that smelled like Jess.  Oh God no, Rowe’s eyes flickered with a certain softness.  Jess?  They wouldn’t have…they couldn’t have, he hoped for a few seconds but just knew she was gone.
“Rowe,” King interrupted the prince’s obvious pain.  “He’s still alive.  Let’s go and bring him home.”
“She is dead, King.  He will never be the same again,” Rowe’s voice broke a little and he shoved past the Guardian to the hallway with determination.  A scream unlike anything either of them had ever heard filtered through the floor and the prince turned around to look at King.
“Yeah, I heard it.  Let’s go!” King shot past Rowe and the prince caught up----banging open the stairwell door and leaving behind the two or three dozen dead vamp bodies lingering on the ground. Two feet onto the platform and a rush of assassin’s came up the stairs at a dead run.  It took the group a few seconds to realize a rifle was pointed in their direction but they caught on pretty fast.
“Look, you get the hell out of our way and we won’t dance.  I don’t give a shit about any damned Guardians right now.  You ain’t worse than that thing down there.  Guaran-fuckin-teed,” the vamp in front negotiated with his best city boy flare.
“Yeah, we don’t negotiate with terrorists.  Welcome to America, home of the free, not home of the ‘I work for a dude who has blood slaves’.” King countered and put a hole in the guy’s face. The body fell face first down the stairs and when the Guardian flicked his gaze back up, he was met with shock from the small crowd.  They all heard the sounds coming from the level below, the assassins looking back and forth like cornered rats. “Anyone else wanna start talking about the creature feature below?  That is, before I blow your mug off?”
Rowe grinned slyly and hummed his approval at King.  For the first time, he realized how much sense they made as partners in combat.  The prince and king…it was meant to be.  “Tell us…now.” Rowe added and raised his bloodied blade to the group of seven.
“It’s some new turn man.  She’s fucking crazy strong yeah?  You saw that shit in there didn’t you?  That was all her---one female man.  Just one!  Probably tried to jack her up like the X they got chillin in three.  That fucker is so far gone though…” The smallest one with the goatee shook his head as if just now remorseful at the torture of a member of his own race.
“What X?  You mean you have another prisoner?” King pointed his machinery at Goatee.
“Yes…Nigel’s had him for centuries or something.  He’s like the guy’s prized slave.”
“What is his name!” The prince thrust his blade at the crowd and they huddled together---backing into the corner of the platform below.  Whatever was below must really be something terrifying if a bunch of full grown males were about to pee there pants.
“We don’t know,” the small one piped up again.  “They keep him locked up.  He’s one of yours though…a uh Royal right?”
“Wow, you’re brand new huh?” King raised a brow and the closest assassin swallowed; the small bob of his Adam’s apple visible in the green vision of King’s goggles.  Another scream ripped through the wall and then all was silent.
“Fuck this.  You ain’t gonna move?  Then I got a little something for ya, you Royal asshole,” the biggest one boldly pushed forward and aimed a crossbow at Rowe’s chest.  “Let’s see what you do with…” The door flung open and Cade growled with a fully loaded sawed off.  Not a word was said as he blew a fist sized hole out the front of the big assassin---the poisoned crossbow clattering to the floor.
“Anymore of you got some dipped goodies for me?  Don’t matter really…because I’m going to fuck you all up.” Cade declared and proceeded to let shells tumble over the stairwell as he made Swiss cheese of the assassins. When he finished, the Guardian reloaded and shoved the gun in the holster across his back and pushed past King and Rowe---not even bothering to try and walk around the mush of bodies under his feet. He stopped and crouched to grab the crossbow and put it to his nose.  It smelled like metal and blood, duh.  But also there was a faint underlying scent...charcoal maybe?

“Cade?”  Rowe called out.
“We’ve got more problems.  Ghost is down and shit almost just got worse…” he pulled the dipped arrow from the bow and pulled his pack from his back.  “If that arrow would’ve pierced your skin, it would have put you out, just like Ghost.  Nigel had the ammo either manufactured with a substance or he’s dipping them in poison or something that blocks our healing abilities.  And now I can’t get a hold of my own mate…so yeah.  Excuse me if I don’t fucking stand here with my mouth hanging open like you two.” Cade rose and pulled the blade from under his pack out and walked down into the darkness like a total badass.
“Ghost?” King growled to the prince who scraped his blade along the metal railing with a thrum of power.
“Get you asses down here!” Cade called from below and Rowe growled---jumping over the railing to land right behind the Original Guardian. 
“Why can’t you fucking take stairs like a normal person?  Damn it, hold up!” King called and tried his best not to slip on the blood of his enemy.
~~~~The South East Entrance to Sub Level 3 ten minutes earlier~~~~
Hill helped Micah slide to the floor after he finished off the last assassin with a vicious slug slaughter to the face and gut.  “How you holding up Micah?” The former Navy Seal pulled his arms out from under Micah’s shoulders.  Something was very wrong.  The bleeding wouldn’t stop and Micah was starting to slowly slink into a state of paralysis.  It was only a fucking shoulder slice, no biggie until it just wouldn’t stop flowing. 
“Numb…everything is…” Micah took in a nice deep breath.  “Tell Cade…and Isaac.  Love…love…” And that was when Hill’s partner closed his eyes. 
“Oh hell no.  Micah? Micah!” Hill shook the tall vamp but got no response---only slack weight that tilted to the side and hit the floor with a thump.  Sliding to his knees, Hill checked for a pulse and found one but it was faint.  The breathing was the same.  It was like he was in a coma or something yet the wound at his shoulder continued to bleed.  This was bad.
He didn’t want to attract attention to them but the goggles weren’t allowing him much in the way of detail.  Pulling off his night vision, Hill pulled a light stick from his belt and cracked the eight inches in half with a good shake.  Their section of the tunneled out hallway was illuminated with a neon yellow---allowing Hill to see Micah more clearly with the vibrant glow next to him.  He brushed the dark strands of hair out of Micah’s eyes as a courtesy and unzipped his own jacket and pack to get to his tank underneath.  Ripping the material from his body, Hill proceeded to pull Micah’s jacket off and tie up the wound with the tattered fabric to hopefully give them some time. 
The last thing Hill did was pull out his cell phone and text Cade. The service was shit down here, so it was a hit or miss if the Original would even get it.  But he couldn’t move Micah around if this was more serious than he knew and they were running low on ammo after that crazy battle royale earlier with the assassins.  Knife fighting wasn’t exactly a go with a big ass male slung over your shoulder either. So a hope and prayer kind of text it was.  Micah hurt. Bad. Can’t stop bleeding. Something’s wrong. South East. L3. He hit send and felt a chill go up his spine at the deep growl from somewhere behind him---that wasn’t an assassin or anything he’d ever heard before.  Clutching his submachine gun, Hill turned and pointed into the darkness beyond the stick’s glow. 
“Come out, come out…” Hill taunted to the dark and a small slender foot stepped into the light, followed by another.  Something sparkly hit the light and gave off the effect of a disco ball as a small figure came into view…dragging something. 
Hill realized the sparkles belonged to a ragged mini skirt and a black top was ripped up to expose a bra?  Holy shit…the female vamp turned and hissed at Hill.  “Jess?” Hill breathed in horror.  Her eyes glowed red and long fangs protruded from her bloody mouth.  Blood…it was everywhere.
“Jess?  Honey it’s me…Hill, you remember?  Nina’s, uh husband.” He stayed still.  Even raising his hands in defense could get him killed---he could sense that from her.  She was dangerous.
Jess cocked her head and let go of the upper body of an assassin.  The head and chest flopped to the ground and Hill had to keep his mouth from opening in shock.  Pretty sure she’s not home in there, Hill thought.  “Honey, where is Dan?  Have you seen your brother?” Hill started and the female rushed forward until her face was inches from the Guardian’s as she awkwardly crouched on her toes. Hill inhaled through his nose quickly as his heart rate peaked in surprise.
“Danny…” she hissed and searched his eyes with her fangs bared. 
“Yes honey, we’re trying to help Rowe find him.  But now Dan’s friend Micah is hurt, so we have to get help.” The Guardian felt like he was talking to a child.  Well, a child with fangs and a craving for bodily demise. 
“Danny missing,” she lisped.  “They hurt! They hurt!” She growled and beat the ground, looking back up.  “Hurt too?” She frowned and her bloodied finger reached out to Micah.
“Yeah he’s hurt.  Are…are you hurt Jessica?  Did they hurt you honey?” Hill extended his palm up to show her he didn’t want to fight her.  She flinched and went still as the Guardian softly put his hand on her crusted arm.  “What did they do baby girl?  They turned you huh?”
Jess blinked and then slowly drew a finger over neck with narrowed eyes.  It was the scariest thing Hill had ever seen---the image would stay with him forever.  Dan’s sister covered in blood like fucking Carrie, her body all contorted like she didn’t know how to relax, her eyes like the devil himself with a look to match, and one of her dangerous digits dragging along her throat with a yellow glow to her back.  It was like being haunted by the living. 
“They slit…your throat?”  She nodded and flicked her eyes in the other direction, moving her body as well.  She looked like death in physical form ready for the great hunt as she brought her nose into the air and inhaled deeply.  “Him.  Smell,” she hissed.
“Smell who? C’mon Jess, talk to me honey.  Who do you smell?” Hill leaned forward and she put an chilled hand on his knee.  Turning her eyes to him, Jess smiled wickedly.  “Keplar…smell.  Rip him…blood…” she laughed and clapped his knee.
Oh hell no, Hill raised his brows, she just laughed…at that? “Who is Keplar, Jess?”
“Take Danny.  Kill Keplar.  Kill all them…” she lisped through her fangs and twitched a bit.  What was she? Hill wondered.  He hadn’t heard of this before. Was she really even a vampire? 
“You mean Nigel?” Hill leaned forward and she cocked her head recognizing the name.
She frowned at Micah again and nodded with the eyes of a huntress at Hill before taking off into the dark like a breeze of air, leaving him to wait for help.
~~~~~Sublevel 3, The Holding Room, present~~~~~
Nova stabbed Nigel in the shoulder with the twisted metal rod and punched the leader’s entire body into the wall like a note with a thumb tack.  The head of the assassins roared and fished into his pocket as Nova turned to look at the blood soaked female staring at him.  There was an understanding in their eyes, a mutual hate for the man pinned to the wall by the shoulder.  She hissed and pawed at the first guard like a lioness batting her prey’s head and took the darker guard down completely.  The tiny female twisted his neck and kicked out behind her.  With her one foot sweeping behind the second guard’s legs, she used her other to kick his chin as he fell---breaking his jaw with her strength.
Nova had only a second to admire the tiny creature before he heard a beep and turned to see the tiny black box he’d seen Nigel carry around before thrown to the floor.  “Go ahead Nova.  You can kill me but I’ve…” The leader paused thinking of how to explain to this otherwise savage what he’d done.  “…already told my brethren of what has happened with that box there.  My second in command has been alerted of my death and will be on his way to the city shortly.  You will never be safe again for we will always come back.  All of you will die.  Their mates, their families, the children…they will all die because they refused to take what was ours and be who we were meant to be.  The humans will be slaves at our feet soon enough. ” Nigel was calm as he spoke and his eyes flicked to Dan as the last guard gave a choked scream. 
Dan realized Nova was waiting for the creature in the hallway to finish and he backed into the wall out of fear.  “All you had to do was say yes little one and this would have never been her fate.  I just wanted to know why you?  Why they wanted you, one measly human? And…well, maybe to play a bit before we got down to business.  Who are you Daniel Walker?  Why do the most powerful of our kind flock over you so?” Nigel smiled at Dan in disbelief.  The man was crazy. 
The noises outside stopped and Dan’s heart felt like it stopped as well.  “Because you spawn of hell, he is my grace.” Nova dropped to one knee---still completely nude and bowed to Dan.  “He is my prince’s mate and he will forever be cared for by his people.” Rising again, Nova smiled. “And it is also why I will see you dead for what you’ve done to not only myself but him as well.”
Dan cried in terror as a bloodied figure crept into the room like a creature of the damned and stopped next to Nigel with bared fangs.  The human looked the figure up and down and took in the details slowly.  The body, the bracelet, the sequins, the hair with a few spots of blonde...Jess? Oh God, Jess.  “Jess!” Dan cried in horror and slid down the wall with tears. 
Immediately, the creature cranked her head at him and was at his side like magic.  “Danny?” The word was otherworldly and eerie and Dan shuddered at her red eyes and fangs.   “Danny hurt?”  A tear split the crusted blood on her cheek and she reached out to touch him but Dan flinched away with a gasp.  Jess looked down in shame and snatched her hand back to wrap it around her ankle with her other---she huddled into a tiny ball a few feet from Dan.  “I…I…try” She shook her head and twitched like she was trying to say it but couldn’t figure out how.  “I…I...he…” She screamed into her knees with frustration.
“Jess?” Dan snapped out of his fear as she started to cry.  He might have been scared but now he realized his mistake.  What was he doing, Dan frowned, this was his sister and this wasn’t her fault.  “Jess, hey,” Dan whispered and scooted closer, trying not to shake as he did so.  The blood covering her body reminded him of his birthday when…no…he couldn’t think like that right now or he wouldn’t make it out of here.
This is Rowen’s mate?”  Nigel roared.  “He killed my Avin!  His mate will die!” With a renewed hatred, Nigel ripped the rod from his shoulder and swung it at Nova’s face. The connection caused a ripple in Nova’s cheek and the pain was immediate but tolerable for he’d had worse. Red eyes met dark ones and the Royal and assassin squared off, ready for bloodshed. Nova was still naked but it was almost more intimidating that way, Dan thought looking at the fearsome muscles and lines of the vamp’s body that stretched and bunched as he moved. Nova was raw power in a body now that he’d been fed.
Grabbing his head in his hands, Nova jerked the bone back into place and felt it knitting properly under his fingers before he dropped them into a fighter’s stance. Nigel threw the rod out into the hallway and put his hands up---ready to take on the Royal.  Moving first with a well reserved memory, Nova struck his right fist across Nigel’s face and grabbed the leader behind the neck only to bring Nigel’s head down to meet the his knee. More vamps were approaching and Nova knew that Dan had found his sister, even though she was so obviously in need of real blood, not this chemically imbalanced grade that the assassins had provided her and…him on a rare occasion. 
“Daniel!” A roar from down the hall, along with the pounding of boots, made Nova look up.  Using Nova’s distraction, Nigel whipped his head up with a crack and kicked the Royal in the side, snapping a few ribs before hauling back and evening up the face hits for this round---his knuckles planting flat into Nova’s mouth.
Dan rose when he felt his mate close by but was thrown against the wall by Jess, who spread her arms and legs protectively to shield him from whatever was approaching.  “Jess, it’s Rowe!” He cried and she cocked her head as if the name was slightly familiar.  His heart pounded, his eyes watered at the thought of his mate, and Dan yearned to get around Jess but he knew she could throw him around like a sack of feathers if she wanted to.  So he stayed put.
Nova hissed and spit blood onto the concrete floor---backing Nigel into a corner on the side of the bed.  The Royal rolled across the sheets and faced Nova with a grin from the other side of the mattress.  “Always with the bed Nova, what’s wrong?  Couldn’t get enough of this the first couple hundred years?” Nigel slid a hand down to his covered cock and Nova growled---jumping onto the bed in a crouch.
Three men poured into the room with extraordinary weapons of detail and texture and Nova couldn’t help but stare. His eyes went beyond the weapon and his cuffs clinked against the bed frame as he slid off it slowly.  Violet eyes stared at him in awe and recognition for a few seconds before the prince turned and pointed to Nigel.  You…” A few strides took Rowe to where the leader of the assassins was in the corner.  His beast enraged, Rowe snatched Nigel by the hair and flung him into the middle of the room.  Two wide steps towards the traitor brought Rowe to his knees.   Straddling the thinner figure of Nigel, who was grunting and trying to move out from under the prince, Rowe punched him in the face.
He looked up to Daniel reaching for him and trying to get past…what the fuck is that?  The female growled and spit at him and Dan screamed for Rowe but the prince looked down and was lost at the chance to rip Nigel to pieces.  Nothing else mattered except for the Royal who had betrayed his kind and touched Rowe’s mate---separating them from each other.
Dan’s hand fell and his eyes overflowed with pain.  Rowe didn’t want him—he was that angry about earlier.  It was his fault though, Dan fell against the wall and melted into it as he cried softly.  He had fed Nova willingly…he had cheated on his mate.  Who would want that right?  Hugging himself, Dan stared at the man who had said he loved him and felt his heart break into a million pieces.
“Take my mate from me?” Rowe roared and his eyes went feral. The punch that followed made everyone flinch.  “Fuck you.  Take out one my brother’s?” Rowe flicked open a knife from his belt and flattened Nigel’s hand across the floor.  “You don’t do that.” The Prince sliced through a digit and flicked it away while listening to Nigel scream.  “Go ahead Nigel, scream for me.  I like how that sounds,” Rowe hissed and proceeded to cut off the rest of Nigel’s left hand.  “That is for touching my mate you scum.” The screams were almost deafening and Dan sobbed against the wall, holding his hands over his ears.  Cade reached into his pocket and looked at his phone with a shiver.  He couldn’t feel Micah and even though he was happy they had found Dan, Micah was…more important.
“Hold his head,” Rowe spoke to no one in particular and Nova jumped to kneel behind the leader’s head, holding it with both hands while the vampire underneath whimpered.  With a struggle, Rowe held Nigel’s jaw open.  Three minutes later and Dan was in the corner puking up whatever was in his stomach.  Rowe had cut…oh fuck.  So gross, Dan lurched and threw up again.  Why wasn’t Rowe over here?  Why didn’t he want to touch me? Dan started to fall apart.  He just couldn’t believe that even though he had fucked up that Rowe would just forget him like he was nothing.  The pain of being tossed aside was unlike anything he’d ever felt.  It was worse than any beating or knife wound as Rowe denying him cut deeper than blade ever could.
A little touch to his back had him turning around to see Jess, which only added to his nausea and Dan hurled again---bracing a hand against the wall for support.  At first he had wanted nothing more than to have Rowe hold him but the vampire seemed more interested in cutting off Nigel’s body parts than touching him.  Jess frowned but nodded and crawled back to the end of the bed to try something.  She looked at Cade with recognition and he watched her curiously.  Why was she so docile and content now?  She was feral…wasn’t she? Cade thought.
“Cade…” she cocked her head and hissed.  “Cade, Micah...” She blinked and rose slowly.  “Micah hurt…he…he…” Jess fisted her hands in frustration and Cade rounded the game of operation and came to stand in front of Jess.  Looking down at the shaking creature, Cade tried his best to keep from shaking her to get more information. “Where Jess?  I can’t get a hold of him.  Where is he?”
“Glow.  Hill help.  Glow,” she tried.  “Show.” She grabbed his hand in her sticky one and pulled him.  “Show!” She screamed when he wouldn’t budge. “Hurt!”  Had she been thinking about those words and how to tell him this entire time?  Holy shit, Cade thought, what did they do to you?  Where was the smart, pretty, fun Jess?  He wanted to cry just looking at her.  But she was so adamant that he had to believe her…scary as shit or not.  She knew where Micah was and her red eyes softened for him.  Jess was in there somewhere.  She couldn’t be a monster.
“I’m going back out there,” Cade said above Rowe’s growling to King.  “I’m…I’m sorry bro.” Cade let Jess pull him out of the room and out into the darkness.
“Cade! Wait!” King couldn’t take this shit anymore.  He couldn’t watch and Rowe was scaring Dan so badly.  The poor human was sick as hell in the corner, sobbing, and covered in dirt and blood.  Rowe didn’t even see his mate suffering---Nigel bleeding for Rowe’s pleasure was all that mattered to the Royal.  “Rowe!” King shook the prince’s shoulder as he proceeded to cut off Nigel’s arm.  “Rowe!  Look at your mate!”
Hearing something annoying to his right, Rowe glanced up with his blood red eyes and growled at the man who was mouthing something to him.  He couldn’t hear over the rush of his own blood pumping in his ears.  But something awful wracked his body, something sad and tired, something lonely and sick.  He felt like laying down his blade and crying but he just couldn’t let Nigel breathe any longer.
“Rowen!” The dark eyed male to his front slapped him in the face and sat back on his heels.  Everything slowed down and Rowe took a deep breath, looking at the completely naked man that he hadn’t seen in a very long time. Nova?  It was him. After all this time…Nova.
“You’re mate needs you my prince.  He is suffering,” Nova murmured.  He too had been wrapped up in the slow torture of Nigel that he had forgotten of Dan as well.  Until King had shook him out of his bloodlust and he realized their mistake.  Nigel was second to Dan and the human needed attention immediately.  Nova looked to the trembling blonde in the corner and felt immediately ill that someone so fragile had to be here, had to see this.
“My mate?” Rowe breathed and heard the sobbing wretch in the corner.  He crawled off a shuddering Nigel and Nova took his place---keeping the knife lodged in the leader’s body so he couldn’t heal.  Rounding the bed on his knees, Rowe saw a small form huddled in the corner---the male was shaking and a hand was flattened against the wall for support.  He was dirty, his pants were ripped, and chains hung from his cuffed wrists.  Pain ripped through Rowen and he slowly reached out to touch the human with recognition.  “Daniel?” His fingers shook and the human pressed himself into the wall further.  “It’s me pet.  It’s Rowe,” he whispered. 
Red rimmed green eyes turned to him and Rowe lost it---that look was so tortured, like Dan’s soul had been ripped out.  “Call us a ride.  Now!” Rowe turned and barked at King.  The Italian hopped to it and dialed Yuri.
“Pet?” Rowe invaded the small corner and avoided the mess on the floor. 
“Rowe?” Dan unfolded his arms and whispered---tears running down his face. He flinched for a second before he let Rowe touch his arm. 
“Yeah…” Rowe cried and pulled Dan’s body to him.  Those slender legs wrapped tight around him and Dan buried his face in Rowe’s chest with a wounded cry.  To smell and feel the prince under his hands was like a dream Dan thought he’d never know again.  He couldn’t stop the tears or the gasps of joy as Rowe immediately brushed Dan’s hair away from his neck and…
“Not here!” Nova shouted.  “It should be private, for you know what will happen.  Forgive me your grace, but he deserves better than that. After all of this…”
“He’s right big guy.  Let’s get D somewhere clean and safe alright?” King came up behind them and Rowe growled but realized they were right.  His fangs ached for his lover’s blood but he could wait…for his Daniel.  Knowing what he’d do the minute Dan’s blood was in his system, Rowe didn’t want his pet to remember that here.  It would be just them and somewhere quiet and relaxed.
“Don’t let go,” Rowe murmured to Dan who just sobbed again and held on tighter.  “It’s alright my love.  Never again pet.  Never again.” Rowe had to refrain from even kissing Dan’s skin or he would be on him like a lion to fresh meat.  Denying himself, the prince rose with Dan in his arms and cradled his mate’s head gently.
“My prince, I would ask your forgiveness for partaking of your mate.  I was but starved when he forced his blood upon me and could not help myself.  My intent was to protect him with my strength and nothing more.  Please…forgive me,” Nova whispered with a tear.  Rowe stopped in his tracks and looked down at his cousin with a longing in his heart.  The last time he had seen Nova was the night he killed his own  father.  They never had found a body but they were certain that Nova had been dead.  He had so many questions but they would have to wait.  They needed to get out of here.
“I cannot be angry with you for the protection you offered my mate.  Rise Nova, for you belong among your brothers and not on the floor like that scum below you.  I…” Rowe just couldn’t believe that after all this time, Nova wasn’t dead.  He just couldn’t and neither would Knox. Knox was going to flip his lid. “I…I will have you know that Knoxtian is here as well.”
“What?” Nova’s tearful eyes shot to the prince with a gasp.  “Truly?” His body shook from head to toe at the sound of that name.  “Knoxtian…”
“Yes.” Rowe didn’t offer any details because Nova looked ready to flip a switch at any moment himself.  Looking down at his beloved, Rowe smelled that clean smell under all the dirt and what not.  His pet needed attention above anything else, even Nova.  Dan shivered as the shock wore off and he felt the damage done to his body along with the emotional trauma.  He let himself go slack in Rowe’s embrace and his eyes glassed over as he retreated into the safety of his own head.  He couldn’t think about anything anymore…
King cuffed Nigel’s ankles together and roped up his torso before slinging the traitor over his shoulder and cocking his gun once more.  He was just about to remind Rowe about Cade and the others when the ceiling rumbled and small debris shook from above.  “What was that?” King asked and then he knew.
Rowe looked over at King. “Knox!”  They took off down the hall with a still naked Nova right on their heels.
~~~~Ground Level, The SUV, Ten Minutes Ago~~~~
“Okay, I’ve got the wires exposed now,” Jonah said to Knox who kept breathing deeply to relax.  His fingers dug into his knees and he couldn’t stop thinking about the way Blaze had touched him, all soft and what not.  It was weird yet also made Knox wanna show the little devil a fucking great time after this was all said and done.  And he was going to…that was for sure.  Hell, why didn’t he just say something?  He wasn’t shy.
“Only five wires.  That’s good.  Lowers our chances…” Jonah mumbled, talking to himself as he followed the path of each wire that was jimmied into a corresponding hole.  Whoever made this did so on the fly and it wasn’t any stock explosive that he’d come across.  Not as easy as he had originally thought.  Shit.
“You into guys?” Knox startled him.
“What?” Blaze screwed up his face and looked at Knox.  “Did you just ask if I was gay while I’m disarming a bomb for you?” Really man? 
“Yeah, I did.  You like that or what?” Knox raised a brow and Jonah shook his head in disbelief, crouching back down to the wires under the seat. 
“I’ve dabbled but nothing serious.  Happy?” Jonah adjusted the light at his ear and grabbed the wire cutters.
“Good to know,” Knox grunted. 
“How about you oh blue haired great one?  You into cock up your ass?” Jonah laughed it off. Fuck, this guy was crazy.  Must be getting tense again and just letting his inner babble fly off the chain, Jonah thought.
“No. I’m into my cock up your ass actually.”
Jonah sputtered and dropped the cutters.  “Wha…what?  I’m sorry I think…I uh heard you wrong.”
“Nope.  You heard me just fine.” Knox grinned and relaxed his fingers.  “When we’re done here and we got our boys safe and sound, I’m gonna dabble you seriously.  So if you don’t mind, I’d appreciate it if you hurried up.  I wanna check on my boy before we get the party started.”
“You are not just going to tell me that I’m gonna bend over for you.  Are you serious?  I am cutting wires to an explosive and you’re the one making demands? Huh uh, I don’t think so.  You can forget coming anywhere near my ass.  Now shut up so I can fix this and get out of here.”  Blaze was hella pissed.  How dare that oaf assume he was some ass slut that would give it up like that, not that Jonah hadn’t thought about Knox.  Jonah had been looking at the guy’s thicker-than-life thighs for the past half hour from his crouch underneath the vampire.  How long they were, how good they looked in that leather, and those boots? Uh meow baby.  But that didn’t make it okay to just tell him he was getting fucked for cutting some wires.  Was this the guy’s backwards version of thank you?
Knox reached out and threaded his fingers through the straps at Blaze’s chest and brought them face to face.  Blaze took in the sexy as hell tattoo that threaded small black lines like vines around Knox’s hairline and that fucking hair hiding one of his dark as night eyes.  How could you not want to swoon at that kind of male? “You don’t argue with me.  I get what I want and I want you tonight, in my bed, with my big fat dick up your tight little ass while I spank the shit out of you.  So yeah, I think you will bend over for me or else.”  Jonah shivered and almost came in his pants.  Holy fuck, he was so serious. 
“Or else what?” Blaze swallowed.
Pulling their faces closer together, Knox’s breath whispered over Jonah’s lips.  “You also dabble in ‘or else’ too?  Because I fucking specialize in it…”  Jonah knew exactly what ‘or else’ was now and fought to breathe at the thought of being helpless to Knox but he wasn’t sure he could be that submissive.  Sex was one thing, but submitting to another male vampire was not his style.  “I’ll take that as a no.” Knox grinned and let go of Blaze’s straps.  “Doesn’t mean you won’t still do as I tell you.”
And that was that, the bigger vamp shut his trap and tapped his fingers against his knee like he’d never even mentioned giving it Jonah in the first place.  But the red head knew it happened and Knox would surely ‘remember’ when the night was done.  Swallowing back everything else, Blaze went back to the wires when he heard the screech of tires peeling around from the back of the building.  He turned and saw two black vans with sketchy written all over them trying to make a break for it.  There were vamps driving and shit was about to get real. 
Blaze crossed his arms and pulled two Sigs from his hips and aimed for the tires.  The first van spun out as the front tire popped with Blaze’s aim but the second parked it---obviously something important was in the first vehicle and the two vans were to stick together.  The driver of the second vehicle opened the door and aimed his gun out the window, intelligently shielding his body behind the door.  But it wasn’t enough and Blaze watched the heat signatures register from behind his glasses and aimed for the guy’s heart through the door. The few days new vampire took it hard to the heart and went down momentarily, the impact to the door slowing the bullet—delivering pain but not a fatal wound.
Like he was on a moving target range, Blaze rolled away from a shower of machine fire with his coat tails flapping like wings behind him.  Shouting to Jonah from the front seat, Knox tried to move but the red head shot out the side mirror in warning.  Knox straightened and snorted but grabbed the shotgun next to him and blew out the windshield—making sure to avoid the hood at all costs.  Last thing he needed was to blow himself up on purpose. 
From this angle it was like playing a duck shooting game.  When they moved, Knox shot to kill.  He heard a laugh from outside and then feet on the roof.  Fucking Blaze was a crazy bitch, Knox smiled, just like he liked them.  He pumped his gun and let the hot shells roll down his leathers as he blew the head off a vamp running at them. Only one more left that had use of his eyes and legs.  Jonah would have to spot him because Knox couldn’t really move. 
A shot rang out and then another and then another.  Hearing the silence that followed, Knox searched out the heartbeat above and sighed in relief when he instead got the pounding of Blaze’s boots.  “I’m good buttercup.” The red head startled Knox from the front of the SUV.  “Worried about me?” Jonah smiled wickedly, obviously high with gun lust.
“Well it wouldn’t be any fun for me to get blown up without having tapped that ass now would it?” Knox stared at Jonah and saw the heat spread over his swirling eyes.  He wondered if he could make his little red headed slut cry, if he could chain him up tight so he couldn’t move an inch, if he could…
“Fucking hell Knox!  Cut it out.  I was just making a joke.  No need to basically piss on me with that scent.” Although Jonah was irritated, Knox smelled fantastic—his arousal like a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies that you could already taste on your tongue.
“Oh really? Joking?  You smell like dessert over there red.  Now get your sweet ass over here and cut some wire so I can move.” Satisfied, Knox crossed his arms with a cheeky smile.
“You…ugh…you irritating son of…” Jonah growled and pulled his glasses off to wipe the rain from them.  Putting them back on, he noticed the still moving heat signatures in the vans.  None of them as hot as a vampire and all of them seemed to be…locked up maybe?  “Hold up Knox.” The redhead held up a finger and pointed his gun at the nearest van.  Nearing it, he kicked the side and listened to the scream for help.  What the fuck?
Walking to the back door, he held his gun steady with one hand and turned the latch at the back.  Opening the double doors, he felt cold air hit him like the A/C was still on and then took in the sight before him.  Six humans, two females and four males were shackled to the sides of the van and in between them were strapped in silver cases with codes labeled on the side facing him.
He turned to the female and pointed a gun at her head.  “I’m going to take the tape off.  If you scream or signal someone, I will put a bullet in you.  Nod if you understand.” The small coffee skinned woman nodded, her fearful light eyes darting around the van as if to make sure everyone was okay.  Yeah, he was talking to the right person, the leader of the pack.  Ripping off the tape, the woman groaned and flexed her hands which were still locked to the wall behind her.
“Name first, then we’ll go from there alright?” He eyed them all until his dark gaze hit up the female again.
“I am Dr. Suarta Najihm and these are my colleagues.  You are not one of Nigel’s people then?” A slight middle-eastern accent hinted in her words.  She was afraid also but she disregarded that mostly because she worried for the others—it was in her eyes.
“No. I’m not but I am...yes well.  You wanna tell me why Nigel has a pack of doctor’s strapped to the back of a van with some rather delicate looking cargo here?” Blaze eyed the cases that were definitely of a medical grade.  Whatever was in them could be bad news for everyone. 
“These cases are only filled with the lab supplies.  The other vehicle carried the latest batch of serum and our notes.  Nigel’s men claimed we weren’t to all be in one vehicle in case one of the vans was compromised.” She swallowed and flicked her light, almost yellow eyes to the ground.  “We were asked to lead a research project involving a simple study of human make-up versus that of an animal last fall and our lab space was privately funded in the Biology Department at NYU—it was a dream for all of us.” She snorted and shook her head.  “Soon after, our anonymous employer asked us to come to his home for the weekend as a thank you of sorts.  We obviously agreed and…the rest is history so to speak…literally.  Can you tell me of a human alive who had studied your kind?”
“Well this is not good at all is it? No sir.  Not one bit.” Blaze sighed and pushed his dripping hair back from his face, his spikes returning momentarily.  Humans studying vampires?  Honestly?
“Would you please help us?  I can see you are not like them and we will not run.  We merely wish to continue our study but not for Nigel or his purpose.” Suarta cut her eyes to Jonah.  “As a person of intelligence, does the unknown not entice you?”
“You all want to keep studying vampires?  I’m supposed to let you out so you can start cutting us open to fulfill some sort of possessed craving for the unknown?” Blaze raised a brow.  “Honestly woman.”
“No!  We study cells, genetics, DNA, healing properties, ways to help you!  We aren’t butchers or mad scientists!  Please, let us go!” She screamed through her closed teeth and her wrists strained at her cuffs.  The desperation in their eyes, the strain in their shoulders, the fight slowly dying the longer they were restrained in this van going nowhere—Blaze wasn’t an asshole.
“Knox?” Blaze sighed and held up a finger to Suarta, walking around the open door to get Knox’s phone.  He wanted to talk to Cade or that charming prince of his before he went and let a bunch of humans with ‘notes’ out of that van.
Everything went in slow motion from there.  He heard the gravel slide under a set of boots, he smelled the assassin behind him, heard Knox scream his name in warning.  Then Jonah saw the blue ass giant raise his own weapon and spring his boots against the floor of the van before leaping out with a loud blast of his shotgun.  Gunpowder and fresh assassin blood filled the air in the second after the shot. A breathe between time and space was all they had. Blaze met Knox’s dark eyes before his body was impacted with the powerful force of the Hummer’s explosion.
~~~~South East Entrance, SubLevel 3~~~~
Cade could feel his mate close by but he couldn’t really feel him.  The other male wasn’t responding to Cade’s desperation and that only meant one thing. Running as fast as his feet would carry him, Cade shot down the hall with tears in his eyes and his lungs burning from forgetting to breathe.  “Micah!” He screamed down the dark tunnel.  “Micah!” He couldn’t stop shouting his lover’s name—with some glimmer of hope that the father of his child was still alive.
He felt something powerful nearby and then he sensed something else.  Pointing to the glow coming from around the corner, Jess took off ahead of Cade.  Micah, he shivered and followed her.  Entering the room, the Original saw Hill bent over Micah who smelled like…blood.  “What happened?” Cade growled and dropped to his knees next to the former Seal.
“I thought you got my text? Ah fuck it. He got stabbed in the shoulder by one the assassins and he won’t fucking heal.  He just passed out and I can’t wake him up.  He’s still breathing but not by much Cade.” Hill looked up with tired eyes at his leader, only to be gently shoved out of the way by the auburn haired Guardian.  Perching off to the side of the wall, Jess watched the darkness for unwanted vampires, guarding the Guardians from any further damage.  Scanning the halls with her senses Jess felt nothing and returned her eyes to the males next to her. She was starting to get tired and her body ached with pain but she didn’t know how to tell them.  Thinking and talking didn’t correlate when she tried.  So she waited for someone to take care of her. Maybe they would remember she was still here.
At first it had been all about the blood.  That was all the she wanted from them but the more blood of theirs she drank, the angrier it made her because it wasn’t what she needed.  Even the human that had run earlier, had tasted like Keplar.  She still tasted his sour flavor on her tongue.  When she had finally found Danny, she couldn’t drink from him either.  She wouldn’t do that to him and as hard as it was, she had backed off, even though the pain was gut-wrenching. 
Bending over Micah, Cade pressed a kiss to his forehead and looked at the wound for the first time.  Removing the fabric knotted around it tightly, the Guardian noticed the strange black color taking over the wound and the blood oozing rather than dripping.  Micah needed his blood and Cade began to shuck his pack and jacket off as quick as he could.  He would give Micah exactly what he needed.
“Hold on baby.  I’m going…” He said to the man that couldn’t hear him and Cade’s eyes watered.  Just as he was going for the knife at his belt, the ceiling shook and dust rained from above.  A loud boom echoed down the halls.  Hill looked at Cade.  “Knox.”
“Help me get him out of here.  We can’t stay here now.  The police will be here any second.”  Cade started shoving everything he could into his pack.  “Jess, can you understand me?”
Jess’s lashes fluttered but she looked at him and nodded once.  “Can you carry Micah’s gear until we get outside?”  She nodded once again. “Jess?  Are you okay?” Hill reached out and she plastered herself against the wall.  “She needs blood Cade.”
“Don’t we all Hill!” He shouted and Jess groaned.  “Help.” She managed and pulled Micah’s pack to her body.  “I...I’m sorry honey.  I’m…” Cade turned his head away. 
“C’mon.  I’ll get his feet.” Hill offered and together the three of them slowly made their way up to the ground level.  Every step got longer for Jess and as Hill slammed open the door to freedom and the cool night air hit Jess’s face, she took one breathe and collapsed.  “Jess!” Hill helped lean to lean Micha against Cade before he dropped to his knees and pulled the heavy pack off her tiny frame.  “Honey can you hear me?”
Jess was shaking so badly that her fangs kept piercing her lip from the chattering and her eyes faded from a blood red to a sickly green---small red lines still swirling within them.  Her body was giving out, her adrenaline was all gone, and she couldn’t go on.  She was starved.  “Can she take our blood?” Hill looked up to Cade who looked about ready to scream. 
“I don’t know Hill.  Maybe, but I think she needs human blood. She hasn’t even fed properly since she’s been turned.  That’s why she’s feral.” Cade replied and took a deep breath with Micah against his chest. 
Voices came from the front of the building and out of nowhere King appeared with three humans.  Jess immediately turned her body—still shaking but oh so hungry—and lunged for the group of humans.  Not even King was fast enough to stop her and her fangs connected to a man’s throat before he could blink.  Straddling him to the ground, the tiny blonde got to feed rightfully for the very first time. 
~~~~~~The Front of the Building, Explosion Site~~~~~~
Blaze groaned and tried to turn on his side but something heavy was planted against his chest and the rest of his body for that matter.  Coughing to the side as the dust thinned a bit, Blaze shook his head of his broken glasses while surveying what he could of the flaming shrapnel that had once been a Hummer.  Turning his head to the other side of the bulk atop him, the red headed vamp saw the overturned van that carried Nigel’s latest project and…shit.  The humans, they were bound inside the other vehicle.
Knox.  Where was Knox? Jonah began to panic a little when the entirety of everything came slamming back at him.  He finally heard the crying, the screaming, he smelled the fire, heard it crackling as the heat warmed his skin from yards away.  “Knox?” He tried to sit up again but the mass on top of him prevented him from doing much of anything in his state.   His hand tried to push against the dark shape and that was when it stirred.  A violent shake and then some labored coughing came from above him and Blaze knew in an instant what was on him.  Knox.
“Knox, it’s Blaze,” he wheezed.  Now that he was slightly struggling and Knox was shifting his weight, breathing was becoming harder to do. 
Everything hurt and he was pretty sure his back was fucked because it burned like salt in a fresh wound only ten times worse.  Pushing up on his shaking hands, Knox looked down into Jonah’s scraped up face and sighed.  “You…okay?”
Jonah stared up into Knox’s filthy face and felt like crying but he would never tell the other male that.  As much as Blaze liked weapons and death, he hated to see the good guys go, especially the hot ones.  “Yeah, I’m straight.” Jonah turned his face towards the screaming again and Knox coughed—grimacing his way off Blaze and onto all fours a few feet away. “Holy Christ.  Knox, your back.” Jonah gaped and immediately turned his attention to Knox’s bloody state.
“Go. Help them.  Humans over there,” Knox wheezed but felt his back starting to heal around his shoulders first.
“Knox seriously it’s all the way down.  And I mean all the way.” Blaze reached out to touch the other vamp’s skinned up backside but thought better of it and settled for stroking the back of Knox’s leg.  Upon closer inspection, Jonah saw the skin starting to fill in at the vamp’s left shoulder—the cells regenerating before his eyes and covering up the unsettling damage of the blast.
“Go Jonah.  You…” Knox coughed. “You can look at my ass later.”
That earned the blue haired vamp a smile and a pat on the thigh.  “Right, better contain myself.” Jonah laughed and got to his feet.
“Yeah, you better because I call the shots.  Not you.”  Turning back around, Blaze grinned and shook his head at the healing vamp.
“So you think.” Jonah winked before he took off for the other van that had been blown into the side of the building.  Sirens rang out in the distance and the weapons guru cursed—booking it for the humans.  They had to get out of here. 
“Help us!  Oh God please!” Muffled screams and the rattle of something came from inside the van holding the doctors.  “Someone help us.”  The door was blown in at a strange angle. Probably from when it knocked against the wall originally, Jonah thought.
Wedging his fingers around the outer door, the vampire yanked the door right off its hinges and spotted Sauta first.  She gasped in relief and gave a small cry of joy.  Pulling the other door off, the other doctor’s relieved faces with still taped mouths nodded with enthusiasm. “Alright, now where were we?”
~~~~Front Entrance, Parking Garage, Main Level~~~~
King still held his weapon on the off chance that any really stupid assassins were left.  At this point the mission--which had started out blind--had gone total Helen Keller and he was done taking risks.  He had a mate and a child to get home to and a prince and his mate to protect.  They were done being sidetracked.  Not having two shits of an idea who the fuck this naked guy running with them was didn’t help his mood either.  But Rowe seemed to know exactly who he was.  Plus the guy had obviously been the X the assassins had referred to earlier.  Hundreds of years being tortured by the guy draped around King’s shoulder?  Yeah that had to blow in the worst kind of way.
“There,” King pointed his rifle at the door to the outside and Rowe all but sprinted with Daniel wrapped around him like a coat.  Nova took up the rear and when they reached the door he held it open for the rest of them but stopped to look around him for the first time.  Strange colorful markings were painted on the walls of this place and some sort of colored glass sparkled under more of those unnatural lights that hurt his eyes.
“Nova!” Rowe hissed and the dark haired Royal looked out the door and truly saw the modern world for the first time.  He’d always been kept underground and when they did move him it was with a blind fold in one of their ‘vehicles’ as they were called.  Nova almost wept at the sight before him. There were no lush rolling hills or tall peaks of rocky terrain.  There were no clear streams or running deer.  Not even the fresh scent of the wild outdoors could be found over the stench of grime and foreign compounds in his nose.  It was awful—these tall masses of brick and roads of black with yellow lines over the earth. It was truly awful.
But knowing his prince desired his presence Nova looked around quickly and darted out of the doorway and into the world of the city.  Lights on curved posts stretched over the street which was currently covered in fire and metal pieces, leaving Nova more confused than when he began.  “What is this?” He went wide eyed and looked at the smoking black ring they were all yelling over.  His feet stung and his naked body began to sweat from the fire around them.
“Hey bro, look I know your spaced or whatever but you gotta keep up with us.  If we still have assassins somewhere out here and you’re without lead and like buck naked it’ll make you an easy target ya feel me?” King rattled off and looked around quick and then up, checking the rooftops and the visible windows.  Nova stared at him blankly and darted his eyes around too.
“Assassins and…lead?  And why would you have me feel you?  Are you hurt?” Nova looked King over until he saw the Guardian roll his eyes.
“Shit this night just got longer.  Alright look stay with me.  Understand?” 
“Yes.” Giving a quick nod to King, Nova followed him through a maze of fire.
Against the wall of the building, Rowe slid himself and Dan to the ground next to a very fucked up Knox.  “You’re healing?” Rowe shook with relief and brushed his friend’s hair out of his face.  His fingers came back covered in sweat but Knox was worth it. 
“I’m okay. Just hurts like a bitch.  You call Yuri?  We’re gonna need a ride and we got company a few minutes out.” They both stopped and listened to the sirens coming closer.
“Yeah, King? What did Yuri say?” Rowe yelled and the Italian and the extremely naked Nova came up behind Knox.
“Said downtown management was coming to clean this up.  Ride was on the way already.  They also have Frank and the girls.  I guess Jess’s place was being straight up taken over when they showed up.  Frank is freaking out and I can only imagine what he’s gonna do when he sees Jess.  Man tonight is just like…”
“Yeah…” Rowe pulled Dan close and the small human still said nothing. “Pet?” Shaking Dan gently, Rowe got no response, not even a blink from the curly blonde.  The smell of Dan was overwhelming him again but every time the prince moved an inch from his mate, the human clung to him with a death grip. Dan needed out of here and quick.  Hell, the both of them did. 
“Any word from Cade?” Rowe asked Knox who was still bent over the ground—his back almost healed but the new skin was still thin and very sensitive.
“No.  Last I saw of him, he took off to find Micah.  We need to find Ghost, Rowe.  We can’t leave him to some fucker who doesn’t know shit about us.”  Seeing Blaze come out of the back of a van down at the far corner of the wall, King nodded to Rowe. 
“You stay here with Rowe and watch this.” Dumping Nigel on the ground in front of Knox with a gurgle from the traitor, King pulled out a blade, handed it to Nova and flicked the end of his nose before catching up with Blaze.
“Now that’s just messed up.  Where’s his arm and what in God’s name happened to his mouth?  Ah shit, Rowe!  That’s fucking disgusting but…if I didn’t feel like an elderly burn victim right now, I’d probably do worse.” Knox grinned slowly and winked at Nigel who gurgled some more but stayed still for the most part.  “And who the fuck is supposed to guard this lump?  He doesn’t exactly look like he’s going to run away any time soon.” Knox chuckled and then coughed.
“Do you require any help?  I could try to find some water to clean the outer skin away.  It would not hurt as much.” Nova offered to the poor soul below with his face turned towards the ground in pain.
Knox went cold as the sound of the dead greeted his ears.  That voice, even after all these years, he’d know that voice.  As painful as it was, Knox leaned back on his knees until his ass rested on his heels.  Wiping his hair out of his eyes, he saw Rowe looking between him and the person behind Knox.  “Everything was happening so fast.  I almost forgot...Knox we didn’t just bring back Daniel.”
Nova immediately was seized with emotion.  He forgot his surroundings in this cruel dark world without a proper sky and focused on the male with blue hair and reforming artwork across his back and arms.  “Knoxtian?” He whispered and slowly crawled in front of the vampire.
With a strangled groan, Nova rose on his knees and stared at his older brother—tears forming in his matching dark eyes.  “You are really here.  Or am I dreaming?” Nova looked around in disbelief and the tears flowed freely.  “This cannot be real.  I must be dead and this is the hell they have put me in.  I believe if I touch you, you will disappear.”
There were only three times Knox could remember crying and all three of them were the deaths of his family—his mother, his father, and Nova—his baby brother.  “He took you?  He…” Knox growled and tears rolled down his face, making that four times.  “That thing!” He roared and reached out for Nigel. “He took you from me?”
Catching his brother’s solid fingers in his, Nova pulled Knox to his chest instead of letting him hurt himself further trying to kill Nigel.   Knox struggled a bit against Nova but soon found his face buried in his little brother’s shoulder while he wept and Nova gently combed fingers though his hair.  He shook with the weight of so much guilt and pent up anger that he didn’t know when it would all stop.  Knox was losing it at the sight of the man he’d believed dead for hundreds of years.
Doors banged open around the corner and they all looked, Nova and Knox included.  They saw the humans milling around the end of the van.  They saw King get a funny look and walk to the corner with his weapon—a few of the humans followed him, probably feeling safer that way. And then they saw Jess Walker leap upon the male in the middle and take him down to the asphalt.  She fed upon him quietly. There was no bone breaking or head cranking this time.  She just wrapped her arms around his head and torso and fulfilled a need.
Dan watched silently with glazed eyes as his sister drank blood from a living person.  It was different watching it from the outside when the last time, you had been the one being drank.  But that wasn’t what bothered him.  What bothered Dan was that Jess was gone now.  The only family he had left was now a creature, not like these vampires around him. No, she never had that kind of choice.  She’d been murdered with a knife to her throat and he had watched.  He’d watched the blood spill from her neck like it was water down her chest. 
He’d watched his dad bleed her before.  He’d heard those screams another time too.  Looking at her now, everything seemed to melt together and Dan burrowed deeper into his own head.  He didn’t think he’d ever come out again and if Rowe left him for it...he was prepared to end it all.  He could do it now.  Yeah, he was ready if he had to.  He’d seen enough of what the world had to offer.
“Daniel?” Rowe peered down and frowned.  The male’s emotions were flat and lifeless.  The prince couldn’t feel a thing from his mate and that frightened him beyond anything happening tonight.
Tires screeched to a stop on all sides of them and six black SUVs blocked off the area from view—effectively shielding the explosion site and thankfully Jess.  The sirens got louder and dozens of vamps started to pile out of the cars.  Rowe recognized a few Royals from Hightower’s management and then there were some not so familiar faces.  A thickly muscled man in a well cut black suit with short dark hair looked around and extended a hand to his passenger from outside the car.  A petite male stepped down from the SUV and pushed back his shoulder length black hair.  The beautiful male’s ocean colored eyes landed on the prince and he looked up at his companion.
Hand in hand they walked over to Rowe and Dan.  “I’m to assume you’re Rowe?” The larger man spoke and the prince nodded.  Who the fuck was this guy?  For one he was sinfully gorgeous and for two he was well spoken and smart.  Having played around quite a bit, Rowe knew this guy’s type but even this man seemed to be above the type.  The smaller one’s eyes went a bit wide at the sight of Nova’s undressed state and his cheeks reddened but not from the heat of the dying fires around them.
“Yeah and you are?”
“New Head of Management.  It’s nice to meet you Rowe.  I’m Oliver Caldwell and this is my…well?”
The smaller male rolled his eyes and raised a brow.  “Mate, Olly. Mate. You could say boyfriend just fine before and now we shortened it up for ya and you still can’t say it?”  The tiny dark haired creature crossed his arms and huffed.
“Baby you know I didn’t mean it like that.  What happened to making you part of the conversation?” The Oliver fellow lowered his voice and smoothed a hand down the petite one’s back. 
“Oh sure, only when it’s convenient for you.  You don’t want to say it, fine.  Then I won’t be one.” A small pout and he turned back to Rowe.  “I’m sorry. I’m Tate Raymee, this man’s assistant.”
“Tate! Watch that mouth boy.” Oliver narrowed his eyes and Tate’s eyes widened with a blush and Rowe actually wanted to smile.  Shit, even in a hell storm these two were entertaining.  It was clear enough they were so fucking in love but the prince had a feeling they liked to push each other’s buttons for later.  Looking down into his own lap made Rowe somber again.  Would he ever have that with Dan again?  Probably not…if he were being honest with himself.  “My mate was going to tell you to follow us.  You have rooms waiting for you at my place downtown. We have all this taken care of.”
“What about her?” Rowe pointed to Jess on the corner and Oliver raised a brow.
“Who is that?” Tate murmured.
“That is my mate’s Daniel’s sister, Jessica.  She will need a great deal of care.”  Brushing a few stray curls off Dan’s forehead, Rowe swallowed as his gums ached and looked back up to the pair.
Oliver got a strange look on his face and crouched in front of Rowe in disbelief.  “Holy shit. D?  Is that you? What happened to him?” 
“How do you know him?” Rowe’s nostrils flared and he clutched Dan tighter.
“We go way back.  Cade, Dan, and myself were all friends back in college.  This is unreal.  Dan?  Is he alright?”
“He’ll be fine.  Now what about Jess?”  Rowe couldn’t believe Dan knew this man.  This big, muscled, fuck party with legs was Dan’s college chum?  Yeah fuck that. 
“We we’re instructed to send Jessica Walker and King back with us. I can’t believe I didn’t even think about it…Jessica Walker.” 
“Then do it and get us out of here...please.” The prince narrowed his eyes at Oliver Caldwell.
~~~~Downtown, The Head of the Cartel’s Home~~~~
Angling his mouth, Ghost received more of the sweet liquid down his throat and tightened his hands on the half-naked body in his lap.  Young, maybe twenty and smelled like citrus.  He was delicious and his skin was a deep cinnamon—soft and smooth as Ghost’s hand ran down the male’s spine while he fed.  The smell had stirred him out of his coma and although the hit man had been very weak, a few swallows of the boy’s blood down his throat and Ghost could feel his wound healing like it should have all along.  Whatever that shit was, it couldn’t hold up against fresh blood and the Latin vamp thanked God for that. 
In the corner, leaning against the back of his chair with his legs sprawled out wide, was J.J.  His chocolate eyes never left Ghost’s gaze while the Guardian fed. A few minutes of the boy in his best friend’s lap gyrating and moaning and Ghost was done.  His craving was gone and his wound healed.  Looking into the boy’s eyes, the Guardian murmured words of thanks and the male slid off the bed and exited the room. 
“You wake up from a poisonous coma and you still have manners?” J.J. rose from the chair and pulled his jacket off.  “Sleep well beautiful?  He gets paid for this, he isn’t a call boy.  He’s food.”
“Yes but he still deserves care doesn’t he Jose?  Would you treat me like trash if I fed you to keep you alive?  Even if you paid me?” Ghost flicked his hazel eyes to J.J.  “But that isn’t what we’re talking about, is it?  That isn’t the reason for your anger.”
Jose was silent as he paced the colorful Spanish rug under his feet until he stopped at the foot of his own bed.  “Why do have to be out there doing that?  I have offered you everything now that Bana has retired to Spain.  You could be here…with me… but instead you choose to go out there and get yourself killed.  You choose this life Markos!” He cut his eyes to Ghost, whose was softly lit from behind by the red lighting above him.  He looked like a creature waiting to be let loose—his muscles filled with warm blood and his naked body stirring around under the crisp white sheets.
“You’ve known all along who I was.  You above all others know me the best and when I finally think I click into something just right, when I know rather that I belong, you are not happy for me?  Or is it that you think I have abandoned you Jose?” Looking into those hot chocolate eyes was the hardest thing Ghost had ever done.  The look he received said everything—crossed a line that they could survive but not without a lot of work. 
“I thought you were dead.  Ghost--the darkest assassin in the entire world...dead.  My best friend, the only person I have left…dead.  You didn’t move or speak or barely breathe.  Ah fuck, I have never been so...” J.J.’s fangs grew in his mouth as he saw Ghost’s chest rise and fall quicker.  He dropped a knee onto the bed and leaned towards his friend that was completely naked under the cool sheets of Jose’s own bed.
“You were so what?” Ghost looked at Jose through his thick lashes and felt his dick harden.  There was no going back from this.  “Tell me Jose…”
“So afraid I would never hear your voice again.  Or smell you, or see those eyes…” The golden haired Latin rose onto his knees before his best friend and pulled his button up off his chest—exposing the mother Mary resting over two crossed guns along his pecs.  “So pissed that I didn’t get to touch you or kiss you just once.”
Swallowing back any hint of fear over what he was about to do, Ghost pushed up on his knees and met his friend at eye level.  The sheet fell back to the bed and the Guardian pressed their bare chests together.  “You touch me now.  Do you smell my scent for you?  Or see the way my eyes look at your body?” Pressing his hands to Jose’s naked back, Ghost brought them down slowly.
For years this moment had built but the two men knew this wasn’t love.  Although they were best friends, they lived two different tales and saw two different worlds but in this moment? Their bodies seemed to be speaking the same language and there was no longer a barrier between them. Jose fisted his hand in Ghost’s hair and the Guardian stretched his back like a cat and pushed his friend onto his back with a growl, pressing their mouths together.  They gasped into each other’s mouths and moaned as they sought something they couldn’t quite grasp with their tongues.  Ghost swallowed and pulled back with an deep inhale of air—looking down at the male underneath his naked body.
They were the same in body, in muscle and in everything.  They were perfectly matched and the way their bodies fought to be on top was part of the game.  Who was stronger, who was hungrier?  Ghost ripped J.J.’s pants from his body and tossed them aside.  “Do you smell me now Jose?” Ghost roared and tore the sexy silken boxers from Jose’s groin. 
“Fuck!  You smell like sweat...and…” J.J.’s growled back and bared his fangs—pushing Ghost onto his back.  “You’ll smell like me.  I’m gonna fuck you so hard you’ll wish you were dead.” Jose promised with a hiss.
“Then do it,” Ghost rolled them over.  “Fuck me then Jose.  If you can.” He knew there was no way that Jose was stronger than him right after a feeding.  So with a quick yet tricky roll of the male’s back under his hands, the Guardian put J.J. on his stomach.  “But, you can’t.”
“Fuck it.  Just fucking do it.  Hard.” Jose gave in.  He wanted it so bad. He wanted to feel Markos’s strength inside of him, to know he was real and well.  They needed this.  Hell, he needed this.  So many times they’d sat across from each other wondering what it would be like to the point that they could almost taste each other in the air.  Now here they were skin to skin, heartbeat to heartbeat getting ready to find out.  If something was to happen to Markos after this…Jose would always have tonight. 
“Are you sure?” Ghost pulled Jose by the hair so that the male’s ear was next to his mouth.  “Are you very very sure my friend?” He pushed the golden haired man’s head to the side and licked a line up the tanned skin of Jose’s neck.
“Yes.  Do it,” J.J. groaned and pulled Ghost’s hips close to his ass.  Fuck yeah he was sure.
With their fangs bared and deep rumbling growls rising from their mouths, Ghost spit into his hand and coated himself.  “One last time Jose.  Last chance…” the Guardian hissed between his teeth as his eyes swirled from Hazel to yellow. 
“Yes!” J.J. rubbed his ass up and down Ghost’s cock, feeling the moisture spread between his cheeks--so warm and slick.
“Fine.” Threading his arms under Jose’s, Ghost gripped the male’s shoulders and pulled J.J. onto his cock so hard the Cartel Boss screamed and came all at the same time.
Outside in the hall, two males sat playing cards and smoking cigars.  They had heard every word from inside their boss’s bedroom but like true professionals, they ignored what was happening on the other side of that door.  Luca looked up at his colleague and grinned with a bit of fang—laying out a winning hand on the small table between them.  A scream and the overpowering scent of sex permeated the hall but neither of the men looked towards the noise. 
“You hear something?” Pauly slid a twenty over the table and Luca grabbed it.
“Nope.  You?” The fedora wearing Latin picked up the cards and proceeded to shuffle them.
“Nah. You hungry?  I’m thinking steak,” Pauly replied smoothly and picked up the cards he was dealt. 
“If steak has double d’s and walks like a jungle cat, count me in.” Luca laughed and leaned back in his chair—catching the glass candle holder as it fell from its place on the shaking wall before putting it on the table like it never happened.  The two males continued to play their card game while the boss continued ‘not to scream’.