The sound of humans laughing rubbed on Jesse’s raw nerves. His pacing wolf was just as furious that anyone would target Harley. She was theirs, even if she hadn’t quite accepted it yet.
Nick’s jaw tightened, and he glared at an unsuspecting Shaya through the window. I’ll kill her.For what it’s worth, began Zander, she is right about branching out.
After everyone left, Jesse and Harley spent the rest of the day alone. It was a day lazily spent lounging, snuggling, bathing, eating, and fucking. Later, they gave their animals freedom and let them run and play together. When it turned dark, the wolf padded back to the lodge with the cat clinging to his back and playfully biting at his ears. Happy.The sound of a twig snapping brought Harley out of her book. Sitting comfortably on a tree branch, she listened harder . . . and heard light footsteps. Someone was coming. Someone who didn’t want to be sensed.Jesse was currently guarding the perimeter of the territory and nowhere near their lodge. And since she’d left her cell on the kitchen counter, there was no way she could call for backup. So she remained absolutely still, straining each of her senses. She scented the prowler before they came into her line of vision. Motherfucker.
Harley watched as they halted a few feet away from the building and stood on their tiptoes, trying to peek through the windows without coming close. Then they started to creep toward the patio doors. She waited until just the right moment before she—in a short series of quick, fluid, silent movements—descended from the branch and landed directly in front of the prowler, who jerked back in surprise. Harley gave a mock smile. Howdy.Licking her lips, Kim glanced around. Where’s Jesse?
You’re not supposed to be here. Her cat took a swipe at the she-wolf.
My mom and I are leaving in half an hour.What the hell are you talking about? Cole was losing his patience. He glanced back at me, but I couldn’t look away from Clancy Gray. Not when I felt the first trickle of realization working its way through the grief still clouding my mind.
That morning, a whole city had been destroyed, and countless lives with it. There would be so many people who would never return home to their loved ones that night, though those mothers, father, daughters, sons, wives, husbands would pass through the afternoon and midnight hours, waiting, hoping. The smoke would seep into the concrete that lined every inch of this place, permanently bruising an already beaten city. In ten years, twenty years, it would still be too terrible to speak of what happened—a morning that a thousand other blinding, brilliant mornings would never ease from memory. But somehow, when Clancy spoke again, it was his words that changed everything.The cure for IAAN, he spat. The one my mother developed, the one Alban kept hidden from you, waiting for the right opportunity to trade it to my father to benefit himself. Clancy swiped at the blood draining from his nose, laughing in that same humorless way. The one that would have taken our abilities away and left us helpless. I burned it to ash, and my father buried it without realizing. Now her memory of it is gone, and no one will ever have the research—no one will take away what’s ours.
A cure. That single word was chiming like a bell in my ears, ringing again and again. My mind couldn’t grasp it, couldn’t recognize it. I’d spent so many years conditioning myself to accept that it was impossible, forcing myself to let go of thinking there was a world beyond the camp’s electrified fence, that the word no longer existed in my vocabulary.I felt myself start to turn, looking to Jude for his reaction—but Jude wasn’t here. I had left him behind. I had let him fall back into the darkness. And it was like seeing Liam and Chubs climbing out of the tunnel alone all over again. It stole the breath from my chest.