Home > Reaper Unleashed (Deadside Reapers #7)(5)

Reaper Unleashed (Deadside Reapers #7)(5)
Author: Debbie Cassidy

“I’ll get them,” Dean said.

He grabbed the keys off the table and was headed out when a thought occurred to me.

“Wait.”

He stopped in the doorway. “Fee?”

But instead of responding to him, I looked to Hunter. “There’s a ceremony to crown a new alpha right?”

“Yes, to make it official.”

“How long does it take to prepare it?”

“They’ll need to summon the magistrate, a class of Loup responsible for officiating and swearing in new alphas. It’ll take a day for him to get here. So probably tomorrow night. Ulrich will want that crown on his head. Fast.”

My mind whirred. “Grayson, you need to go back to the House.”

“What?” He looked less than impressed.

“Ulrich may reach out. He may send spies to scope out our pack. He knows I’m Eldrick’s daughter. He’ll expect Hunter to bring Eldrick to me. You need to act normal. Tell him I’m in the Underealm. We can’t let him know we’re aware of what’s going on.”

Grayson looked over at Hunter then down to me. “You want to stay here?”

“I’ll be safe here. Get Uri to deliver the herbs. He won’t be tracked.”

I could see Grayson turning over the plan in his mind, and I knew he wouldn’t find a fault with it.

This was the best way. It would buy us time. Lull the Rising pack into a false sense of security while we planned our next move.

“You’ll call me with the plan?” Grayson said.

“Yes. Be ready to move at short notice. We’ll need our best fighters.”

Grayson bared his teeth. “Oh, we’ll have them.”

He left with Dean, and then it was just me, Hunter, and Petra.

I looked over at Eldrick. His lips had some color now. “How is he?”

“He’s holding up,” Petra said. “I’ll keep watch over him and let you know if anything changes.”

She didn’t get involved in pack politics, but this was her giving us permission to do what we needed to do.

“You said you had a plan,” Hunter reminded me.

“I do. We can discuss it in the kitchen.”

“You have blood on your cheek,” he said. “Get cleaned up first.”

I looked him over. “You have blood everywhere. You should take your own advice.”

He glanced down at himself, and then plucked at his shirt. “Fuck.”

“Come on, there has to be a change of clothes somewhere in this safe house.”

I headed out into the hallway and up the first flight of stairs. The corridors were narrow and poky, and the brown carpet gave the place a dingy air, but I guessed the décor didn’t really matter if you were using the place as a hideout.

I peered into the first room, which looked like a study. The second one was a bedroom with a large dresser. Hunter entered the room as I pulled open the top drawer. T-shirts were neatly folded in rows, black and navy colored. Bingo. I tugged one out and checked the size. Large. Hunter was definitely a large.

“Take off your shirt.” I turned to face him.

His gaze dropped to the shirt in my hand and then flicked up to my face. Okay, so I could totally just hand him the shirt and leave him to get changed, so why wasn’t I?

For a moment I thought he was going to tell me to leave but then he hooked an arm over his shoulder and tugged his shirt over his head. His bronze skin was smeared with streaks of dried blood that had seeped through the material of the T. I ran my gaze over his chest and down his defined abs.

“We need to clean you up.” My voice came out thick and husky. I cleared my throat. “Must be a bathroom up here.”

Once again, he could do that himself, so why was I leading the way down the hallway to the black and white tiled bathroom?

I set to work filling the sink with warm water and grabbed a washcloth. Hunter joined me, his body so close, I could feel the heat emanating off him. The size of the bathroom gave us little choice on proximity.

He didn’t ask for the washcloth, he didn’t hold out his hand for it, and I didn’t offer it. Instead I faced him and began to run it over his taut skin in short even strokes to clean off the blood.

Rinse, repeat.

I didn’t look at him. I couldn’t. There was a strange thrumming tension between us, a zinging that made my insides quiver as I worked. I cleaned his chest and his upper abs and moved down toward the V.

He grabbed my wrist. “I can take it from here.”

My pulse was racing, but his tone was cool and collected. I relinquished the washcloth and looked up at him to find his dark eyes filled with an intense fire that stole my breath. He kept his gaze locked with mine as he dipped the washcloth in the water, squeezed it out and then brought it up and swiped down my cheek, along my jaw and down my neck.

He studied his handiwork. “You’re clean. I’m going to shower. We’ll talk after.”

He stepped around me and began to unbutton his jeans.

I needed to go, but my legs wouldn’t co-operate.

He made to push down the waistband, stopped and turned his head to the side offering me his chiseled profile. “You want something more, Fee?”

Want… Shit. “I’ll make some food.”

I backed out of the room and closed the door behind me.

Something had shifted and changed between Hunter and me, and I wasn’t sure how or when, but there was no denying that I wanted him. Not my Loup. Not the beast.

Me.

Chapter Four

Hunter

Fuck. It takes everything I have not to haul her to me and claim her full lips. The way she looked at me, the hunger in her eyes. Does she even know what she’s projecting? But I can’t back down. I can’t be the one doing the chasing. Not anymore. I won’t be an object of pity. I won’t be the second to Grayson’s first.

If she wants me, she’ll have to take me as an equal. If she wants me, she’ll need to tell me just how fucking much.

For now, all I can focus on is Eldrick and my pack.

The Rising pack has been my home for the last decade and I won’t lose it to some trumped up Loup who thinks brawn is the answer to every fucking problem.

Ulrich may have the muscle, but he doesn’t have the shrewdness of mind it takes to run a pack like Rising. He’ll drive it into the ground and turn it into something base and perverted.

I should never have brought him in, but I saw myself in the broken parts of him, and I wanted to do for him what Eldrick did for me. I wanted to put him back together.

I failed.

I have no idea how many extra bodies the Rising pack has recruited. Larson was building an army, and not all those connections have been severed. We have no true estimate of numbers aside from a lot.

I shower and dress quickly and join Fee in the kitchen. She’s putting something in the oven when I enter. My gaze drops to her ass. It’s a perfect ass, round and peachy. My hands itch to cup it.

Fuck this.

I pull out a chair, and she turns around quickly, startled, but then she smiles and my heart beats faster.

“You look better,” she says.

“What did you make?” I glance at the oven behind her.

“Oh, just a pasta bake. Quick and easy, and it’ll give us energy for what’s to come.”

She pours two cups of coffee and brings them over. “Here. Drink.”

Her maternal side makes me hard. No idea why. I give her a flat look. “I can take care of myself, Fee.”

Her cheeks tinge pink. “I know. It’s just coffee.”

But she knows I’m talking about more that the coffee. I’m taking about the washcloth bath, and yes, I could have stopped her, but…fuck, having her touch me like that, even if it was through a damn washcloth was too much for me to pass up on. I push the image out of my mind and focus on her face.

“We don’t have the numbers to overpower Ulrich’s men.”

“I know,” she says. “But hear me out. Not everyone is going to be on Ulrich’s side by choice. From what I’ve seen, Eldrick is a good alpha. Fair and kind, and that goes a long way. Not everyone will want Ulrich in charge.”

“They won’t speak out. They’ll be afraid. Besides Eldrick is in no position to fight for his throne. And me?” My stomach tightens. “After the poison Larson’s pumped into the pack, I’ve lost their trust.”

She nods slowly then lifts her chin defiantly. “But I haven’t. I’m Eldrick’s daughter. I’m an alpha, and I’m part of a Tribus. That’s bloodline and power right there.”

Fuck, she might have something. “Go on.”

“Eldrick wanted me to help him with the pack… I think…I think he wanted me to take over it. He said he was tired. That he wanted to step down.”

“Ulrich must have sensed his weakness.”

“I turned him down, but I see now that I was wrong.” She looks down at the table. “I failed him. He needed me and I didn’t help.”

Oh fuck. She’s feeling guilty, and I can’t help but reach across and cover her hand with mine.

She looks at me in surprise.

No doubt she thinks I’m an unfeeling monster. I can’t blame her. The way I handled this fated mate thing…

“It’s not your fault.” I pull my hand back. “And your plan might work. We may be able to sway enough Loup to join us, but if we fail, even the power of our Tribus won’t be able to fight off all of Ulrich’s men.”

“But surely the magistrate can intervene? That seat should go to me, right?”

“If unopposed, yes. Rising pack is usually ruled by blood, and Eldrick presented me to his pack as a son because he had no heir of his own… Until you. However, in the face of a coup by power, a challenge of power must be presented.”

I can see she’s finally getting it from the way she taps the table with her fingers.

“So, if we aren’t able to garner the support, we’ll have to wrest control, is that it?”

   
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