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“They’re turning. Get the hell out of here, they’re heading in our direction,” the guard at the window called out as he turned and jerked the front door open quickly.


“The Labs,” Nikki called out. “We’ll only be safe in the Labs.”


“Come on.” He grabbed Charity’s arm, rushing her for the door. “They took out Wolfe and Jacob’s cabin and are heading back.”


Charity moved between the guards, making no move to question them or to delay their plans. She was aware of Nikki behind her and the sound of the helicopter as it moved in once again.


“Sons of bitches have to have a plant,” one of the guards cursed as he rushed her from the porch and under the cover of the trees that grew alongside the gravel path. “Let’s move.”


The helicopter was moving in faster now. Charity could hear it, the motor throbbing, rotors beating in time to the desperate throb of her own heart. The guards were runningbeside her, checking behind them often, as curses sizzled from between their lips.


One minute she was running with him, the next she felt as though some unseen hand had picked her up, throwing her through the air as another explosion sounded behind them.


She heard herself scream a second before she hit the ground, the air expelling from her body with the force of her landing. She lay still, fighting to breathe, blinking against the blinding pain that attacked her body.


“Move.”She was picked up unceremoniously and hauled backward at the exact instant that a spray of bullets littered the gravel where she had lain.


All hell was erupting around her as she fought to breathe, to make sense of the screams echoing through the air. She looked around then, gasping, as her heart thumped in fear. The guards were unconscious or dead—she wasn’t certain which—and moving in carefully were three large males, their scent unfamiliar, their faces hard, intent.


“Nikki!” she yelled as she backed away from them, glancing behind her desperately then coming to a stop once again.


Nikki was dazed but standing, held upright by two other men, their shadowed faces determined.


“Come with us, and you won’t be harmed.” She turned quickly as the obvious leader spoke up. “No, Ms. Dunmore. Don’t make me force you.”


She would have fought, but there were five and Charity knew there wasn’t a chance she would escape unharmed.


“You’ll kill us anyway,” she screamed as another explosion rocked the ground. Then she gasped in horror as he smiled. The canines were curved, gleaming, proof that the Coyotes had finally found her.


“I don’t want to hurt you, but I will if I must,” he snarled. “Believe what you will for now, but you will come with us.”


Gloved fingers gripped her arm, pulling her to the hole that had been blasted into the compound wall. Fear snaked through her belly as her body protested the touch, sending flares of pain radiating through her. Thankfully, as he pushed her forward, he released the grip he had on her. Charity prayed that somewhere, somehow Aiden was close by. Prayed he was safe. She could feel her cheeks, damp with tears, with desperation, as she glanced back at Nikki, hearing the other woman’s vicious curses. She was frightened. Nikki rarely cursed unless the fear overcame her natural restraint. That fear increasedher own .


They were rushed through the break in the wall before being pushed quickly into a waiting jeep. Within seconds the vehicle was tearing away from the compound beneath the cover of the thickly growing pines as the helicopter swooped in for another pass at the compound.


“I hope you all fry in hell,” Nikki cursed them as they bounced over a particularly rough piece of ground.


“I hope Wolfe and Aiden castrate you all.”


No answer was forthcoming. The sound of battle receded as Charity fought the rage crawling through her system.Coyotes. They were no more than the Council’s lapdogs. How would Aiden find her now, even if he had managed to survive the attack? He wouldn’t know what had happened to her. Would he believe she had been in the cabin when it exploded? Of course he would.


She crossed her arms over her chest, fighting the desperation she could feel weakening her. She had to find a way free of this.


“Wolfe will pay you more than the Council ever can,” she bit out, knowing the mercenary hearts of the mongrels who had taken them. The Coyotes were known to betray their masters often.If the price was right. “You’re making a mistake taking us back.”


The driver glanced back, his surprisingly light blue eyes gleaming with disgust. “The Council doesn’t own us, Ms. Dunmore, and we have no intention of taking you to them. You’ll be returned to your mate as soon as you have accomplished something for us. Now sit back and relax. You’ll understand in due time.”


Shock left her gasping for breath. He was Coyote. She could see in the curved canines as he snarled, but she couldn’t smell the rancid scent that normally emanated from the soulless Breed. She glanced at Nikki, seeing her eyes narrow, her expression harden as she turned her gaze back to the men in front of the jeep.


“The Council has puppets in many places,” she said.


Charity held her breath. The words were simple, but the meaning behind them she well knew. The passenger turned back to her slowly, his gaze narrowed, intent.


“Puppets have masters. Men play the fools. Breed Law will still yet survive.”


And the answer was given. An answer only a handful of men and women could know.An answer that shocked Charity to the core of her being. Breed Law was barely formed. A code of honor so strict, so tightly enforced, that if a member broke it, be he Wolf, Feline or human, then instant death resulted.


“YourPack?” Nikki questioned. “You aren’t Wolf. You’re Coyote. Who controls you?”


The smile she received in return was hard, mocking in its savagery. “No one or nothing controls us, doctor, save the code we follow.”


“That attack broke the code,” she informed him furiously. “You know the price to be paid.”


“The attack was not ours,” he growled. “Settle back and be patient. Your questions will be answered soon. And hopefully, ours will as well.”


“It doesn’t matter who attacked, Aiden will kill you before you get a chance to explain,” Charity informed him furiously. “You’ve made a mistake, Coyote.”


Broad shoulders shrugged negligently as he turned back to face forward. Nothing else was said. The jeep increased speed as it broke the tree line and bumped onto the main road. The engine whined as gears shifted and the distance between herself and Aiden increased. Charity rubbed her arms and turned to Nikki, questioning their options silently. The other woman sighed and shook her head. Like Charity, she knew they could only wait and see what the end of the journey brought .


Chapter Twenty-Seven


Aiden stared at the hole in the compound wall, the letter he had found tacked to it. Breed Law dictated I make contact. I did so.Many times. Now, the ball is in your court. Though, my friend, I have what I needed. Do you?Del-Rey.


Del-Rey.Aiden had heard the name several times by the spies within the intricate network of information he had built over the years.Del-Rey, the light-haired Coyote who had broken away from the Council years before and disappeared from sight. His pack numbered at several dozen, and all hand picked and trained by him years before.


There was a rumor that unlike the Council Coyotes, Del-Rey and his men had adopted an honor system more brutal than even that of the Breeds.


“When were we contacted?” he asked Wolfe, the need for violence tightening every muscle in his body. Wolfe shook his head, staring into the distance thoughtfully. “There were several messages sent while we were rescuing the Winged Breeds. When I went to answer them, they had disappeared. I haven’t tracked them down yet.”


“I wasn’t told of this?” Aiden growled. As head of security the missing messages would have been an important bit of information.


“You were busy. Hawke’s been investigating the problem and I believe he’s close to an answer.” Wolfe shot him a hard, dark look. “Your mate was more important, Aiden.”


Aiden snarled again, the growl that thrummed in his chest was harsh, warning. “And now my mate is gone, because of a few missing messages,” he bit out. “Once she’s found, Wolfe, I’ll personally track down the traitor and exact vengeance myself.”


Around them, the compound was organized chaos as everyone worked to repair the damage the attack had reaped. The Air Force had finally made their appearance and blown the helicopter into enough pieces to shower the area with metal and burning debris. But not before extensive damage had resulted. Aiden clenched his teeth, fighting to restrain the growl that pulsed in his chest. Fury was a bleak, burning pain in his chest. Or was it fury? All he could think about was Charity. Was she hurt? Had they touched her? Made her cry out in pain? He was nearly shaking with the hard edge of violence fighting to be free at that thought.


“We’ve been betrayed,” he said softly. “Those in the helicopter knew where to strike, and when to move in. Your cabin, Jacob’s, and the one we moved to in the middle of the compound. Each one was


sheltered from their radar and from sight. They knew where to hit.”


“No Wolf Breed would have betrayed that information. It had to be one of the soldiers the Army assigned,” Jacob bit out. “That could explain the missing messages as well as the attack on Aiden’s cabin before.”


Wolfe turned, staring back at the action going on throughout the compound. There was only the three of them at the wall. They had arrived in time to watch the jeep disappear over the rise and to find the note attached to the wall.


“She’s not in danger from the Council. But why would he need Nikki and Charity?” he asked quietly.


“And how did they know when to be here, unless they were aware of the attack coming?”


“There’s rumor Del-Rey has a network within the Council,” Aiden bit out. “After this thing with Charity was resolved, I had intended to set up a meeting.”


Wolfe grunted. “It would appear Del-Rey wasn’t willing to wait. Comeon, let’s get back to the command center. If a message comes through, we need to be certain that we alone see it.”


“Finding our spy won’t be as easy,” Aiden bit out. “When we do, I want him, Wolfe.”


“He’s not under Breed Law, Aiden,” Wolfe reminded him tightly.


“Then I’ll do it quietly,” Aiden bit out. He wouldn’t let the betrayal go unpunished, it didn’t matter who it was, or who they were with. Several of their people had been seriously wounded in this attack, and now Charity and Nikki were missing. Breed Law demanded justice. He demanded it.


“We have to find him first.” He jumped into the open jeep, waiting on Jacob and Aiden to follow before he put it in gear and headed for the communications building. “Breed Law only applies to those who agree to it, Aiden, you know this. But the betrayal won’t go unpunished, I swear that.”


The drive to the communications building was a short one. Once the vehicle came to a stop, Aiden jumped from the back seat and moved purposely to the door. The betrayer had to be part of those who manned the radios and computers for the compound. Nothing else made sense. He stepped into the room, staring around at the men and women working there. Radar, satellite communications, cell phone transmissions, email and radio all came through here. Every man and woman who worked within the large room would have had access to the messages that had come just before they left for South America. One of them had been responsible for destroying them. He moved through the room, aware of Wolfe and Jacob at his back, watching the others carefully. There were over half a dozen Army personnel. He refused to believe a Breed had betrayed the locations of the most important cabins on the compound. No Wolf Breed alive would have betrayed their Pack Leader. The code of honor was a part of them, even before the written law came into effect.

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