THERON

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FOUR.

The facility is lit only by the sparks from firing guns. Like a strobe light in the very darkest of haunted houses, it’s a bit disorienting and my werewolf senses are scrambled.

Human screams and guttural cries hit me from the left and from the right courtesy of Alex, DeLoren, and Kai, who have taken a more offensive approach choosing lycan canines over guns. The stench of warm blood evades my nostrils. I feel the need to snort, or sneeze but dare not least my loss of focus results in me catching canine influenza.

But the chaos that surrounds me is nothing compared to the storm inside me. Still reeling from moments earlier, my head is pounding and my chest is aching and yet, I tear through wave after wave of Superlunar security.

Carefully dodging bullets I assume are laced with everything lethal to me and my kind, I extend no mercy. While the more compassionate side of me knows these humans are just doing their jobs, expecting to come home to their families after a dramatic and terrifying day at work, the animalistic side of me hasn’t one fuck to give now. So, the man currently held within my deathly headlock needs to tread very carefully.

“Where is Theron?” I seethe, my hot breath hitting the side of his face. Normally, I would be more cautious about where I place my lips but presently I lacked any and all self-control.

The mercenary struggles within my stronghold. “Who?” He grunts, honestly.

Unfortunately for him, I don’t have time for even the most minute amount of fuckery.

Seven minutes, Alex had said.

We have seven minutes to find Theron and get the hell out before reinforcements arrive—and by “reinforcements,” I know he means military.

We were not equipped to handle that foe.

Now three minutes have passed and time refuses to slow in assistance of my plight.

I growl, frustration starting to get the best of me, “Wrong answer.” It takes less than half a second to snap his spine and I am onto my next victim. Someone will give me directions... until then, they are all destined to die by my hand.

I am no longer Catalina Bakkas.

I am a she-wolf searching for her endangered mate.

Goddess help all those who cross me.

Panic begins to rise within me. Similar to Time, it has also become my enemy. Anxiety washes over me like waves to the shore and the tide continues to relentlessly escalate. As more men fall and dying cries dwindle into eerie quietude my earpiece comes to life, Rhys’s voice sharing my internal turmoil, “Gamma to Alpha, we got company up here.”

“How many?”

“Three.”

I roll my eyes. “You can handle three,” I huffed, thoroughly annoyed he interrupted me for such a minor detail. A sigh comes through the other end, “Not three men, Cat—three chinooks. Heavily armed.”

I can’t prevent the tick of my jaw in response to the level of anger I instantly feel. Why didn’t he just say that in the first place?

Fucking men.

“Then use the B.A.G,” I instruct, “I need more time.” The airwaves crackle with one singular word, “Over.”

“Do I even want to know what a B.A.G. is?” DeLoren raises his brows. I shake my head, assuming damn good and well that he didn’t want nor need that knowledge. Technically the acronym stood for Big Ass Gun, which, wasn’t actually a gun but a grenade launcher. Obviously, we preferred not to announce such a weapon was in our possession.

Theron’s scent still lingers in the halls. Though extremely faint, as if he had passed through some time ago, my body follows the smell on its own accord, all control now lost to the magnetic pull of a one-sided mating mark. An invisible string seems to link us and I am being towed down the passageway, my feet moving without personal provocation. I try mind linking—begging him to tell me where he is and yet I receive nothing but silence in response, accompanied solely by my pounding heart.

DeLoren halts abruptly, his head turning to a hallway on the right. “Lina, wait,” he speaks softly, almost mindlessly, his thoughts appearing to be somewhere else.

I don’t have time for this.

My feet urge me to move left, a beckoning call luring me in the opposite direction... a direction I’m positive leads to Theron. And yet, simultaneously, scents to the right slam into me. As if an imaginary fist connected squarely to my nose, I am taken aback—the smells threatening to knock me off balance.

Blood...

Fear...

Hopelessness.

That direction reeks of despair and death and I cannot bear the thought of what might be down that particular hallway. But I am not given a choice as Kai grasps my arm and tugs me ever further away from Theron.

Explosions can be heard from the ground above me, only background noise to the confusion that now reigns supreme within me. But I allow Kai to guide me nonetheless. The airwaves have gone silent so whatever is happening topside is out of my hands now.

DeLoren and Alex round the corner before us. I instantly sense an intense rage erupt from the Ancient and now I am afraid of what lies around that corner.

Still, Kai refuses to release me.

When my eyes finally fall upon the scene in front of me, I immediately know my dread has been accurately established.

Bile tickles and teases the back of my throat, a promise to expel itself from the confines of my stomach. Anger and sadness whirl inside me, twisting and churning like a tornado that threatens to destroy everything before it.

There, illuminated by the red glow of emergency beacons, a dozen metal examination tables hold wolves in various stages of transformation. They are splayed, their long-dead eyes glazed over with shame for the intrusive way their insides are exhibited.

I want to run.

I want to cry.

I want to vomit.

But the shock of it all freezes me.

I can’t move.

I can’t breathe.

I can’t even think.

My trance breaks only when someone above us pleads, “Help us.” Her voice is hoarse, laced in terror, and seems to echo down around the large space and I now see the extent of Superlunar’s evil.

Thousands of my kind—my species—fill the area as far as the eye can see. In a room that must be six or seven stories tall following the height of the mountain it resides in, cages and cells are stacked one on top of the other lining the walls and filled to the brim with werewolves and lycans. Their wary eyes turn to me, caution and hope sprinkled together.

I choke back the tears that have begun to brim my eyes. My voice cracks as I turn to Kai. “Free them,” I beg him. His eyes meet mine, a fire burning within and it is like nothing I have seen before from the normally cheery and carefree Ancient. His murderous demeanor equally terrifies and excites me at the same time.

“Take Alex and find T,” DeLoren grits, his eyes scanning the horrors before him, “We’ll get them out.” His tone is robotic, yet chilling and my spine reacts accordingly. Similar to Kai, his gaze holds an unspoken promise he is currently swearing: Revenge will be harsh and swift for Superlunar.

Every second seems like an eternity and every step feels like an inch as I realize I don’t know what awaits me when I do find him. The memory of what I just saw on those autopsy tables is permanently seared into my brain and I pray Theron is not in the same condition. His immortality would prevent death but the pain such an act would cause him hurts my heart.

I pick up the pace, not caring what may be lurking around the next corner. The hallway is long and never-ending—a nightmare that has jumped into my waking life. It twists and turns like a snake through the mountain and I’m not certain it will ever end.

And it is in that moment, the second I started to lose hope, Theron’s scent becomes increasingly stronger... a scent accompanied by blood and death. I bite back the sob that promises its escape, praying with every footfall that it is not Theron’s.

Behind the last door—the only door—at the very end of this hellish hall is my mate. I feel the pull.

The draw...

The attraction...

Tossing out the very last remnants of caution I might have left, I burst through the door. The smell of Theron surrounds me. I inhale deeply, instantly comforted by the familiarity. The blood I smell is not his, thankfully. But the headless body by the door assures me Arthur Grimes will no longer be an issue for us. Further scanning the room, a girl lay deceased, her hair splayed across the floor. I ignore the sympathy that causes me... there is nothing I can do for her now. But it’s when my eyes finally catch sight of Theron, panic returns in full force.

Chained to a chair, his head is slumped forward chin to chest and his body is too lax. I can hear the beating of his heart, but only just. As I rush towards him I notice the beads of sweat that line his forehead. His overly handsome face is unnaturally pale and I understand now why I couldn’t reach him through mind link.

Alex hovers beside me, his forlorn look is discouraging, to say the least. There is an unspoken confirmation between us—an unfortunate knowledge that whatever Alex’s aunt had planned, whatever she wanted from Theron, was finalized.

Leaning my forehead against Theron’s, I draw strength from our closeness. I don’t know what happened and I certainly don’t know what consequences may come but he is alive.

He is alive and I am thankful.

Alex will now lead us out of Frankenstein’s castle and I swear on all that the moon shines upon, I will bring this mountain down.

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