Read Smashed Online

Authors: Trina M. Lee

Tags: #indie, #menage, #PNR, #novella, #Supernaturals, #UF

Smashed (8 page)

BOOK: Smashed
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Grabbing him by the front of his jacket so as not to touch him, I dragged him close and glared into his youthful face. “Give me one reason why I shouldn’t kill you.”

“I never wanted to harm you or Alexa,” he stammered. “Not really. I only helped Shya because I knew Alexa would rise again if she died as his sacrifice.”

“That’s the only reason you helped Shya?” I shook my head in disbelief. “So it had nothing to do with the power and prestige he promised you?”

He gave a slight nod that lacked commitment. “Ok, maybe it had something to do with that. But I wouldn’t have done it if anyone innocent had to die. I promise. I knew she would be ok.”

“Shut. Up.” I gave him a shake, and he fell silent. “Don’t for a second think that you mean a damn thing to me just because I turned you. You don’t. You’re nothing but a deal I got sucked into. And now you’re a liability.”

“I want a truce. Please.” His dark eyes were wide, fearful. He might have been a black magic practitioner with vampire blood raging through his system, but he still had a sense of self-preservation.

“A truce? A truce comes with trust. And I don’t trust you.”

“Just give me a chance to prove myself.” Gabriel held up both hands in a desperate gesture. “No demon owns me. My choices were my own. Just like this one is.”

“Better not let Shya hear you say that. I’m pretty sure he thinks otherwise.”

I released him with a shove. He recovered fast thanks to the vampire body I had bestowed upon him. Shya thought he owned the kid, but as I stood there sizing him up, I began to see an opportunity.

My blood ran through Gabriel’s veins. Alexa could bind vampires to her with an ease I’d never known. Between the two of us, we could turn Gabriel into something pretty special. Something that would belong to us, not to Shya. Already I knew that Alexa would protest such a line of thought, but she wasn’t here right now.

“He can think whatever he wants to,” Gabriel said, tossing long, disheveled hair out of his eyes. “I know I was just a deal to you, but I can be more than that. I can be worth keeping around.”

I didn’t doubt that. It was the risk that came with keeping him around that concerned me. “I’m tempted,” I said. “Really, I am. But what can you give me that I can’t get elsewhere?”

Gabriel drew himself up to his full height and looked me square in the eye. “I can see things nobody else can. I can tell you what I saw when we touched.”

Those were the magic words that sent me from calm to boiling over in a split second. I stood there stiff with anger, unmoving. Of course I had wondered. The moment I’d touched him at Shya’s that night, it had crossed my mind that he might see something. But I’d been here before, and living with the knowledge of a future event was a kind of hell I didn’t wish to relive.

“I don’t want to know. Believe me, I’ve got no use for your clairvoyant shit.”

“Not even if it involves Alexa’s sister?” There was no taunt evident in his tone, no snide intent. Somehow that made it worse. All I heard was a threat.

The intent to hurt him was all I needed to have him screaming. He begged me to stop, his words broken and pained.

“Especially if it involves Alexa’s sister.” Maybe there was no keeping Gabriel around. Death might be best for him after all. “Trying to manipulate me with something like that is fucking low, kid. You do want to die, don’t you?”

“Fine. Forget I said anything. I just thought you’d want to know, and you can’t blame me for trying to stay alive. I am not ready to die again!” His shout ended on a wail. He pounded a fist against the ground in frustration, bloodying his knuckles. Yet, he never raised a hand against me.

“For fuck’s sakes,” I muttered, dropping my hold on him. “Get up.”

Slowly he rose, eyeing me warily. “Look, man, I’m sorry. It’s all I have to work with. It’s not like I can overpower you.”

“If I let you live,” I hissed. “I don’t want to hear another word out of your mouth about Juliet O’Brien. Do you understand?”

“Yes,” he said with a tired nod. “Not a word. She doesn’t even exist.”

“Except that she does. And now you’ve gone and put things in my head that shouldn’t be there. Don’t think I’m going to forget that any time soon.” I was furious that he tried such a seedy tactic. I was also somewhat proud. No vampire made by me was a coward. Flighty perhaps. Even a little unstable. But never a coward.

Gabriel shrugged, offering no further apology. He stood there looking like a dog who’d just been kicked. It was convincing enough to make me question the validity of it.

I pinned him with a fierce glare. “Don’t mistake my mercy for weakness. The second you give me a reason to think you’re up to something, you die. I don’t give a good goddamn if it pisses Shya off either. Oh, and another thing. If I find out you’re making vampires for him, I will destroy you and every damn one that you make.”

The atmosphere was tense with the weight of my promise. We stared at one another until Gabriel’s composure faltered.

“He wanted me to do it. That was before everything went down. I haven’t though and I don’t want to.” Something like sorrow crossed his face. It tugged at the pesky sympathetic spark that flickered deep within me. I suppose I should have been grateful to have Alexa’s light, but at times it produced more guilt than I deemed necessary. Though I imagined it was much the same for her with the darkness.

“Are you asking for help?” I questioned, feeling oddly obligated to this vampire I’d made. It was an unwelcome sensation.

“Not yet. I’ll deal with it.” Gabriel’s expression hardened. He thrust out a hand and said, “Thank you. For not killing me. I know Alexa wanted you to do it when you turned me.”

I stared at his hand and laughed. “Thanks, kid, but I’d rather not. Better watch out for Alexa. If she comes across you, she probably won’t be as forgiving.”

“I saw her, before it happened. I touched her, and I saw how bad it would be when she became a vampire.” He shook his head as if it were a shame.

“Alexa isn’t like us, Gabriel. She’s a creature of light forced to live with a hunger rooted in darkness. You and me, we’ve always been ruled by the dark. We can’t even begin to understand what she’s going through.” There was an unspoken warning in my words. I trusted that Gabriel was intelligent enough to catch it.

With a nod, he said, “I should’ve let her help me. Everything happened so fast. I made some stupid fucking choices.”

“As we all have. And you will have more to make yet. Choose wisely.” I wasn’t the best person to hand out advice, yet I felt obligated to say something.

Gabriel made a sour face and shrugged. “I’ll let you get back to your night. Thanks, Arys.”

I watched him go, walking down the street with a lanky shuffle. I hoped like hell that I hadn’t made a mistake by letting him live. His remark about Juliet stuck with me, burrowing inside my mind to take root like a parasite.

Whatever it was, it had to be bad.

 

* * * *

 

Using the burner phone from the glove box of my car, I placed a call to Juliet. She answered with a short, clipped greeting that went from professional to personal once I announced myself.

“I thought you were going to do something about Alexa,” she snapped. “An agent has gone missing, and Briggs is sure that she’s behind it. He’s insisting we issue a capture order for her.”

“A missing agent?” I pondered this, curious.

“Sylvia Rollins,” Juliet said. “She was one of the agents in charge of Kale Sinclair when he was in our facility. She has a way of dealing with vampires that Alexa found distasteful. Now she’s missing. You put it together.”

I chuckled. Yeah, that sounded like Alexa. The woman could hold a grudge.

“If Alexa has her then don’t expect to see her alive again.” It meant nothing to me if Alexa wanted to settle some unfinished business with a torture happy FPA agent. I was only disappointed that I couldn’t watch.

“I don’t expect you to give a damn about Sylvia, but you should give a damn about what will happen to Alexa if she ends up our prisoner.” Juliet’s tone held a note of concern rather than a threat. “My hands are tied, Arys. I don’t have the clout to change orders like this. We will be hunting her.”

“Like I said, then I will be hunting you. Every one of you who makes a play for her. Should I come by and tell that to Briggs myself or can you handle passing that message along?” My tone very clearly held the promise of bad things to come.

Juliet rushed to respond. “No, don’t do that. I can tell him. Nobody has to die, ok?”

I picked at a mark on the seat of the car beside my leg. “Can you meet me somewhere? I just want to talk about this. Face to face. You pick the place.”

There was hesitation on the other end as she analyzed my request. I thought about what Gabriel had said and wondered if I should have found out what it was he’d seen. No, I decided; I didn’t want to know. Just because he saw something to do with Juliet and me didn’t mean he saw the worst-case scenario. I would never harm Alexa’s sister. On second thought, it was very unlikely that I would do such a thing, though I suppose it was always possible.

“I can meet you at the Tim Horton’s on 104
th
in an hour.”

“Perfect. I’ll see you then.”

I hung up the phone and tossed it back into the glove box. I wasn’t entirely sure where I was going with this little meeting. If she was as much of a stubborn, hardheaded woman as I suspected she was, I expected Juliet to come alone. That’s what I was counting on.

When she arrived at the coffee shop, I was already there, observing the few late night customers. The place smelled of strong coffee and humans. Juliet sauntered in, adding the aroma of wolf and perfume to the mix.

She ordered a coffee before sliding into the seat across from me. “Was this really necessary?”

“Everything I do is necessary.” I was annoyed to find Gabriel’s words lingering in my thoughts. That little pecker. “What does Briggs plan to do with Alexa if he can catch her without having his throat torn out?”

Juliet shrugged and shook her head. She planned to lie to me. Already I could see through it, and she hadn’t so much as uttered a denial.

“I don’t know. He’s been gunning for her for quite some time now. I’ve done all I can to convince him that she’s not the threat he believes she is. He thinks that because I’m family, my view of the situation is biased.”

“Is it? Alexa is under the impression that you’d sell her out in a heartbeat if you thought you were doing the right thing.”

A grimace marred Juliet’s pretty face. She sipped from her coffee and glanced about the place before answering. “I wish I could say she was wrong. Unfortunately, I do think the FPA acts in the best interest of humanity. I don’t always agree with their methods, but I don’t make those calls.”

“So you’re basically saying that you would stand by and allow Briggs to do whatever he wants to Alexa because it’s best for humanity?” I questioned with a shake of my head. “Both you and Briggs are fucking idiots. Alexa was born to protect humankind. She isn’t the enemy.”

Juliet squared her shoulders and gave her dark hair an angry toss. “She just kidnapped a federal agent. She’s killed publicly. If we turn a blind eye to her then we wouldn’t be doing our job.”

“You don’t have a fucking job. You’re working for a human run government sector that mistakenly thinks they have a say in the paranormal world. They don’t. And you, being a werewolf, shouldn’t even be affiliated with them.”

“I didn’t come here to be told off.” Juliet stood up to leave. “Thanks for wasting my time.”

I rose as well, reaching out to grab hold of her arm. “Don’t go,” I said, with a gentle pulse of power meant to enthrall.

She shook her head as if confused. Then her eyes widened as she realized what my intent was. Juliet tried to pull away, and I forced her to meet my gaze. I watched as she struggled against my hypnotic pull and ultimately failed.

Her eyes glazed, and she stared at me as if I were the most wondrous thing she’d ever seen. That had been easy enough. Now to see if I could pump her for info.

“What does Briggs plan to do with Alexa?” I asked, continuing to wrap Juliet in my thrall.

She swayed slightly on her feet, likely lightheaded from the rush. “He’s given strict orders that she’s to be caught and kept alive. That’s all I know.”

Imagining Alexa as a government lab rat was enough to make my blood boil, but it was important to remain calm so as not to upset the connection between Juliet and me. I stared into Juliet, drawing her in deeper. She fell hard. It was likely that she’d never been enthralled by a vampire like me before, making this slightly enjoyable. Her pupils dilated in excitement, and the telltale scent of desire arose from her. I stopped her when she reached for me.

“Tell me something about Briggs that I don’t already know,” I commanded. “Tell me his secrets. A man like that has to have many.”

“Secrets,” she repeated. “My relationship with him is a secret. It’s frowned upon to fraternize in the workplace. He doesn’t want anyone to know.” She grimaced then, a scowl twisted her expression into something ugly. “He killed an agent right in front of me once. He claimed the man was a traitor, but that was a lie. Briggs was the traitor. He wanted to silence Jeff, because he knew something.”

She gazed beyond me, seeing something or someone that wasn’t really there. I shook her lightly, bringing her gaze back to mine.

“What did Jeff know about Briggs?” I asked, encouraging her to keep talking.

“He knew about the experiments Briggs ordered. The private ones the higher ups know nothing about.” Juliet appeared worried, like she knew she shouldn’t be sharing this but couldn’t stop it from coming out.

This was getting interesting. Finally, something I could work with. “What kind of experiments?”

She clamped her mouth shut. Her lips pressed into a thin line, and she shook her head. “I can’t.”

I needed to turn things up a notch, not something I could do in a public place with witnesses. Gently, I guided Juliet toward the exit. She clutched her coffee and allowed me to lead her.

After escaping the harsh fluorescent lighting, we stopped in the parking lot where nobody was around to save the little wolf from the big, bad vampire. Turning her to face me, I touched her cheek with a caress meant to stir the part of her only touched by human men. Her inexperience with vampires made it far more exciting than it should have been.

BOOK: Smashed
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