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The Coyote sighed wearily as he stared out into the night sky. “Being a Breed makes us much different from others,” he said softly. “I’ve learned this, as I know you have. Full humans are varied in their consideration, their acceptance and their own codes of honor. To exist in this world we may have to make allowances.”

Aiden watched him for long minutes then. The Coyote’s shoulders were defiantly straight, his expression resigned. He leaned against the entrance to the cave, staring out as though the answers to their problems could be found there, in the concealing shadows of the night.

“Get to the point,” he bit out. He was more than eager to head home and to take care of the problems threatening the peace of his relationship with Charity, and his people. The other man turned to look at him slowly.

“The Wolf Breed Packs have, in some ways, adopted the residents of the town, trusting them, believing in them and the propaganda of their officials that the Breeds are welcome. You treat it as though it were a place deserving of your loyalty, when in fact the hatred breeding there could eventually be the downfall of

the Wolf Breeds.”

Aiden took a deep breath, preparing himself for what was to come as he met the other man’s gaze directly.

“What have you learned?”

“Many interesting things.”He gestured back to the entrance to the main caverns. “I kidnapped Anya outside a Council Lab in Russia. The information I learned from her was rather surprising. There are quite a few groups forming eager to see all the Breeds wiped from the face of the earth. Men whose fathers and grandfathers before them have perpetuated the Race wars of the past have found a new fight. The Breeds will never find acceptance, Aiden. We will always find death no matter which course we take or which land we settle. And the conspiracy against them will beginhere, centered around this compound Wolfe builds to protect his people.” Del-Rey’s voice was soft, consoling as he spoke of yet more treachery, more deceit and death.

“No man is an island, Del-Rey,” Aiden reminded him softly. “There are many good people out there, willing to put their lives on the line right alongside the Breeds. We can’t discount them. And our numbers are too small to do anything but pray that acceptance will come, in time.”

“The Breeds are treading many fine lines,” Del-Rey sighed. “And if what I am learning from my own sourcesare true, the Council will never be disbanded. Their funds are too plentiful, and those who would help them, number too high.”

“Who is the spy within our compound?” Aiden asked again. “The rest we will deal with, but he comes first.”

“And if it is not a he?” the Coyote asked patiently. “If your traitor is female and well liked within your community, how then will you justify her execution?”

It would have to be complicated, Aiden thought furiously. Why did he expect anything else now?

“The same as I would any man’s,” he bit out. “They signed Breed Law to work within the compound. Man or woman, they accepted the risks.”

“And if they believe their fight is one justified by their beliefs?” he asked. “How do you punish someone for being true to their beliefs?Or to their own conscience?”

Damn it. A philosophical Coyote was the last damned thing they needed. But mixed with his irritation was his own sense of helplessness. A male traitor would have been easy to kill. A woman… He pushed his fingers tiredly through his hair as he leaned his shoulder against the rock wall beside him. A woman was to be protected, cherished,not executed.

“Interesting questions,” he sighed. “Thankfully, it’s not my call. But she will be dealt with, Del-Rey.One way or the other. Who is she?”

“She is the daughter of the Mayor. She mans your radios and while neither you nor Wolfeare present, she secretly slips information to your enemies through her father. But the woman can be used. She hasn’t betrayed you entirely. Remember, Aiden, who made certain Hope and Faith were not in those cabins before the attack. One of my men watched her movements.Watched as she went to each one and drew them to the communications building only minutes before the helicopter was spotted on radar. The

Council wanted only one woman.The one most likely to breed.Your woman.”

“Jessica,” he breathed the name in surprise. The young woman was in her first year with the American Military. He had thought her shy, timid, not the type to so willingly betray the people she had pledged to protect.

“She may even be unaware she had betrayed you.” Del-Rey shrugged. “Her father, though, is aware of his crimes, as are many in her family and the town she comes from. Can you kill them all?”

And there lay yet another complication. They had sworn to give each man, woman and child in the world they sought to survive in, a chance.Individually. To trust as any full human would, in the compassion and generosity of the human spirit that they had hoped existed. There had been many who had helped them over the years. Many who had betrayedthem. This blow would change how well the Breeds dealt with the town now, and the trust they had placed in them.

“It would be best if you stay hidden here,” he finally sighed, knowing that Charity and Nikki were insistent that the woman be moved to the compound. “You seem to be pretty secure. Until we get rid of the full humans working within the compound, then your woman won’t be safe, and neither will you. The news that Coyotes can mate will rock the Council. It could cause more bloodshed on the heads of those serving you within the organization.”

“They are few,” Del-Rey grunted. “But I agree. I will need some time to alert them and havethem head for safety. We’ve grown rather fond of our new home here; we may attempt to stay as long as possible. The freedom of it is much cherished.”

There was a world of weariness in the other man’s voice. A weariness Aiden knew resided withinhimself

. Their fight had only just begun, and he feared it might turn into a long, bloody battle that the Breeds could ultimately lose.

“We’ll head out before daylight.” Aiden moved quickly for the entrance back to the tunnels. “Go take care of your woman, Del-Rey. And if you would be so kind as to provide one of your sleeping caverns, I’ll take care of mine.”

Charity’s heat had called to him before Del-Rey had drawn him to the vantage point to discuss the reasons why they had taken Charity and the doctor as they had. Aiden had been in little mood to hear excuses but now he well understood the Coyote’s secretiveness. Their problems were only just beginning, and he’d be damned if he knew a way to solve any of them. As the other man had stated, there wasn’t a place on earth where they could truly find safety.

“Aiden.”Del-Rey stopped him as he moved to enter the opening in the floor. Aiden turned back watching the other man carefully.

“If they conceive, the danger only worsens. What then?”

Aiden’s eyes narrowed. “We don’t wait, Rey. We show them now just how savage we can be in defending what is ours. We don’t make mistakes and we keep the Code. Then we start praying. Because I have a feeling it’s the only thing that’s going to save us.”

Chapter Thirty

The scent of her need tempted him, pulled at him,filled his senses with the ambrosia of her heat. Aiden stepped into the small cave Del-Rey had made available for him and Charity. She waited on him, stretched out atop the mattress, watching him with hungry eyes as he closed the rough wooden door behind him.

Candlelight flickered over her features, highlighting the dark depths of her eyes, the creamy complexion of her skin. He could smell the light scent of soap and rainwater, proof that she had managed to browbeat the Coyote Breeds into arranging for a bath.

A sheet covered her from breast to thigh, leaving her long, tempting legs bare. His hands went to his shirt, stripping it off quickly as he reached the end of the bed. He could feel the blood beating hard and heavy through his body, his cock throbbing in demand.

The primitive need to complete the mating cycle, to take that final step, pounded in his brain, in his body. She was his mate.His woman. She had been taken from him, touched by another, no matter how impersonally, his hold on her severed for long, agonizing hours. And more.To the bottom of his soul he believed Charity would conceive this night. Her scent was wilder, like spring nearing.A rebirth. Yet, he could tell her arousal was still heated, painful in her need. Breed mating instinct had never been explained to him. Hell, no one had known it existed until just recently. Feeling his way through each phase of it was the hardest journey Aiden had ever taken. Facing what he prayed was this final phase, was the hardest. He needed her, his body clamored, demanding the final submission, and he was terrified she would refuse. Would he have the strength to walk away from her if she did?

He could feel his own lusts spiraling. Feel his needs burning through his body.

“Why are you waiting?” She tilted her head, watching him curiously. He moved to the side of the bed, sitting down on the mattress slowly as he turned to face her. He would have preferred to wait till another time, but he knew his body, his instincts had finally marked the end of his patience.

He reached out to her, his fingers smoothing over her cheek, his thumb running over her lips.

“I need you,” he whispered, grabbing desperately for his control to ease her into the coming experience.

“I don’t understand.” Her lips trembled nervously, her gaze flickering for just a moment, indicating that perhaps she did understand, or at least suspected.

He sighed roughly. “The mating is not complete, Charity. I’ve tried to wait, to give you time to accept the bonds between us, but I can wait no longer.”

She drew in a hard, steady breath. “This is about the anal thing, isn’t it?” She narrowed her eyes on him as her hands tightened on the sheet that covered her.

He grimaced, feeling her body tighten in rejection. “I will not do this without warning you first, Charity. I swear to you, I will not hurt you. I can do no more than that.”

She arched a brow with insulting sarcasm. “You actually think it’s going to fit?” she drawled mockingly. Aiden couldn’t help but smile. “I know it will, Charity. And soon, you’ll know it as well.”

The most endearing little pout sculpted her lips then. Aiden had not seen this particular expression on her face before. Equal parts determination and curiosity mixed with her disappointment that the loving she had expected would not be coming. She was burning for his touch, her body throbbing in need of release. The heat was an inferno in her cunt, her scent as wild and sweet as a summer thunderstorm.

“Aiden, did I neglect to tell you I’m really not into pain?” she finally asked him carefully, her tone filled with exaggerated patience. “I’m sure you couldn’t have guessed it by now, but it doesn’t rate very high on my list of things to experience.”

He hid his smile. Her smart mouth was one of the things he most enjoyed about her.

“There will be no pain, Charity. I promise you, the moment you ask me to stop, I will do so willingly. But I bet,” he whispered, “Once I start, you will be begging to continue rather than ease up in my possession of you.”

“You’ll stop if I need you to?” Her breathing had increased, her breasts rising and falling against the covering, her nipples poking against the cloth.

“If you need me to,” he promised feeling his own breathing roughen, his cock so hard, so engorged with lust that the pain of it was nearly overwhelming. He could only pray he could maintain the control he needed not to harm her. “Just relax for me, Charity.” He drew the sheet slowly from her body, staring into her eyes, keeping his voice soft, low, comforting. “Just relax and feel.”

She swallowed tightly. “Yeah well, the feeling part is what’s starting to worry me,” she gasped as he lowered his head, lips covering the mark on her shoulder.“Oh hell. I guess we’ll find out now if it really is an exit only.”


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