Marked (Book One of the Marked Saga)

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Treacherous Intentions

“What the hell are you talking about?” Regan demanded.

Duncan smiled again, but he didn’t say anything. Instead, he sat on the edge of the bed. He patted the covers beside him and said, “Have a seat, Regan. It’s been a while. Let’s catch up.”

She backed up. She didn’t want to go anywhere near him, ever again. Except maybe to sink her fangs in his throat. She snarled, making her point clear.

He sighed, then stood up. “You disappoint me, Regan. Your parents brought you up better than that.”

Anger flared up in her, causing her to scream out, “My parents, who you killed! You’re such a sadistic bastard, and I can’t wait until the day I kill you.”

He shook his head in mock melancholy. “I’m sorry to hear that,” he said. “I’ll return once you’ve calmed down somewhat.”

He walked over to the door. He knocked on it three times, and then it swung open. Two more Kuren stood beyond the door, each with a polar bear spirit. Duncan stepped out of the room, backwards. Regan launched herself towards the open door, but she was too late. She slammed into the door, metal ringing as she made contact. Regan snarled and began punching at the door, beating on it until her knuckles bled. She howled and cursed, roaring out threats that she’d kill anyone that came near her.

“You might want to stop that,” a familiar voice said above her. “Otherwise the guards will tie you down.”

Regan quickly backed up, glaring at the small vision panel at the top of the door. She snarled, her teeth aching as she felt her canines grow and sharpen. She was very close to shifting, and she could feel her control slipping away.

Pained, green eyes stared back at her. Caíl blinked, then said, “Regan, I’m so sorry, but—”

“Shut up,” she growled. “I don’t want to hear a word from you.”

He sighed. “Please, let me explain. I had no choice.”

“Oh, really? You didn’t have a choice? Dammit, Caíl, you always have a choice!” She struck the door again. When pain shot up through her hand, wrist, and arm, all the way to her shoulder, she grit her teeth and welcomed the pain.

Stupid, stupid, stupid! She thought. I should never have given him permission to enter the valley!

“Not this time!” Caíl roared.

“Oh, you didn’t have a choice,” Regan muttured in mock apology. “It’s all good, then, because you had no damn choice!”

He sighed. “He was going to kill her,” Caíl said quietly, his voice so soft Regan almost didn’t hear him.

“Kill who?” she asked.

“Leah,” he said. “He was going to kill her.”

Regan frowned. “I thought you barely knew her.”

Caíl sighed, muttering in a foreign language. “No,” he said. “She was the girl I found in London, the one I took in.”

Regan frowned. “I thought Duncan…” she trailed off, steeling her expression. A raging storm of emotions warred within her. She was torn between hate, anger, pain, and sadness. She hated Caíl for lying to her, and she was angry at him for betraying her. She was hurt at Caíl’s betrayal; up until then, he had been the only one that believed in her. He was the only one that stuck by her, no matter what.

But mostly, she was sad that it had all been a lie. Everything he had said, everything he had done. It wasn’t real, and Regan felt a strange emptiness at the realization.

“He did kill her,” Caíl said. “But she had vampire blood in her at the time. I was in the middle of burying her when she reanimated.”

“Why?” Regan asked, her voice barely above a whisper.

“Why what?”

Regan glared at him, a low growl rumbling in her chest. “Why did you lie to me?” she demanded. “Why did you put me through this hell? I’m being hunted down as a traitor now because of you!”

Caíl slammed a fist against the door, the metal ringing as he made contact. “Because he would have killed her again!” Caíl roared. “He took her again, and told me to do a job if I wanted her safe. So I helped plan the crash to kill you and your family.”

Regan’s blood ran cold, and she froze in shock. That night came rushing back at her, in clear detail. The car, the semi, voices arguing. Ever since meeting Caíl, one of those voices had seemed familiar. Now, everything made sense. He was the man that stood over her, watching as she died.

“Why’d you bring me here, then?” she asked. “I’m dead now. Why bother?”

Caíl sighed. “Incentive,” he said.

“Incentive for what?”

“For your sister,” Caíl muttered, a defeated tone to his voice. “He wanted you, to use as leverage for Grace to come to him.”

“So he can kill her,” she said, realization dawning on her. There was only one of the MacEntyre family still alive, and Duncan would want her gone. If he succeeded in killing Grace, then the MacEntyre clan would be wiped out, and Duncan would win.

Regan turned away from the door, feeling suddenly exhausted. She sat on the edge of the bed, laying her head in her hands.

“Regan, please. You have to understand, I never—”

“Just go,” she said. “Leave me be.” Regan raised her eyes to look at him through the panel. “Just know this—if I ever see you again, if I have the chance, I will rip your throat out with my teeth.”

Fear flashed through his eyes. He continued to stare at her for a moment, and then the panel closed, leaving her to the pain and darkness left behind.

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