Marked (Book One of the Marked Saga)

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Escape... Or Not

“Let’s go, Mejhan.”

Regan shot to her feet, her eyes narrowed as the cell door swung open. She snarled as three Kuren, two of them wolves and the other a bull, stepped into her room.

“Where are you taking me?” she demanded.

They simply ignored her. The bull jerked his head, and each of the wolves took an arm, leading her out of the room.

As soon as they stepped from the cell, Regan made her move. She stopped, her feet dragging as the Kuren continued walking. She allowed her body to go completely limp, causing the wolves to growl in frustration. They released their grip to adjust their hold, and Regan used the small window of opportunity to act. She threw a leg up, kicking one of the wolves in the stomach. He snarled, and she swung her legs around in a windmill as she got to her feet.

Regan crouched low, growling low in her throat. One of the Kuren lunged at her, and she dodged the attack while delivering a counter strike to his ribs. He cried out in pain, and after Regan kicked him away, she turned down the hall and ran.

An alarm sounded, turning the walls red as alarm lights began flashing. Regan cursed and turned a corner, hoping to find an exit soon. She rounded another corner, and then froze when she saw Caíl standing before her.

“Out of my way!” Regan snarled.

“Regan, stop this,” Caíl pleaded. “We’ll figure this out together. I promise, I won’t let Duncan hurt your sister.”

“Shut up,” she growled.

Caíl sighed. “I only did what I did to keep Leah safe,” he said. “You would have done the same thing.”

That caused her to pause. Would she? Regan would like to think that if the roles were reversed, she wouldn’t have done what Caíl did. But if she was being honest with herself, she knew he was right. Her sister meant more to her than anyone else did in the entire world, and she would have sold him out to keep her safe.

But it didn’t mean she forgave him for betraying her. Regan snarled and lunged, shifting into wolf form in midair. Her claws caught his shoulder as he dodged out of the way, slicing into his shoulder. He hissed in pain, then shifted as well and attacked. Regan tensed her muscles and leaped forward, meeting him in the middle of the hallway.

They collided, bodies pressed together as they each fought to gain the upper hand. Caíl had a paw on Regan’s chest, holding her back from latching her jaws around his throat. He pushed forward, throwing her onto her back.

Regan yelped, throwing her legs out above her to stop Caíl as he descended upon her. He snarled, jaws snapping as he reached for her throat. She used her front legs to hold him back, while kicking at his belly with her back legs. He yelped, moving off of her. She rolled over and leapt to her paws, spreading her legs wide and snarling in his direction. Her fur stood up on end, and electricity crackled through the air.

Caíl frowned, and then they were knocked off their feet as a rumble shook their building. Regan stumbled for a moment, and then straightened once again. She glanced at Caíl and he said, Hunters are here.

She cursed. Caíl was looking off down the hall, distracted. She quietly backed away, unwilling to alert him to her escape. Once she had created enough distance between them, she turned and raced away.

The building shook again. Regan turned a corner and stumbled down a flight of stairs. As she fell, she shifted back to human form. She landed at the bottom in a heap, and after pushing herself to her feet she took off running again.

Regan fell against an open window as the building shook once more. Men and women raced by her on this floor, and she recognized a few of them as vampires. Luckily, no one paid any attention to her. She glanced out the window, down to the churning waters of the Hudson River below. Just as she began considering jumping through the window, the building quaked again, pitching her over the side.

Regan cried out as she fell, her gaze locked on the river below. She closed her eyes, and then she was overtaken by cold as she slammed into the river.

She couldn’t breathe. Panic began to cloud her mind, and as she thrashed around in the water, she lost all sense of direction. She couldn’t figure out which was was up, and just as darkness began creeping into the corners of her mind, she felt an arm around her waist, pulling her. She allowed her rescuer to bring her to the surface, where she gasped for breath and began coughing and spluttering. She and her savior began to make their way to the shore, his arm still wrapped around her torso.

When they reached the shore, Regan crawled onto the bank on all fours, gagging and retching as water and air battled with each other for her lngs. She collapsed, falling onto her chest in the mud. She fought against the pull of her eyes, wanting nothing more than to sleep.

She raised her head, looking forward to the pair of boots standing before her. She frowned, her nostrils flaring as the scent of bear, raven, and cheetah entered her nose. Regan cursed and glanced up, staring into the dark, angry eyes of the polar bear Breccan.

“Shit,” she muttered, pushing herself to her feet. Breccan smiled, while Sybil and Douglas advanced towards her on either side. Fury and hate flashed in their eyes, while fear cut through her. She had three angry hunters in front and to the sides of her, with the Hudson at her back. She was exhausted, hungry, and she had no weapons. She was trapped.

Her fingers began to tingle. The air crackled with energy, and a strange sensation bubbled up beneath her skin. It was as if she were a volcano, and as the pressure increased, she knew she would erupt at any moment.

The next moment happened so fast, Regan had no idea what happened. The hunters all charged at her, just as she raised her hands to them. Blue lightning flashed from her fingers, and the hunter barely managed to dodge her attack. Regan gaped at her hands, dumbstruck, as Breccan slammed a fist into the side of her skull. Regan felt her eyes roll back into her head, and then she collapsed on the bank of the Hudson River.

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