“Sons of bitches,” she gasped, fighting to pull herself through the dense undergrowth of the jungle. “I hope they’re screaming in pain.”

Shestopped, her body tightening as she gritted her teeth against the weakness that dropped her further to the ground. She could feel her juices dripping from her body, thick and hot from her greedy cunt. The arousal was more than she could bear now. Her body was hungry, starved for fulfillment, demanding a release that just didn’t exist.

“Aiden…” she cried out his name, desperation born of fury, pain and fear echoing in the air around her. Ithurt, this need. The pounding fury of sexual hunger was unlike anything she could have imagined. Damn, it was worse than before. She tightened her thighs, fighting the pain of the arousal. It throbbed through every cell of her body, tightening her muscles to a screaming peak as her womb clenched in need. She could feel the blood running along her abdomen, the rippling pulse in her womb. Just her luck, she thought, she was going to bleed to death before she could ever effectively escape. Stupid scientists.She had been under their noses for years as they fought to find or to capture a Breed mate. They had kept the semen collected over the years, preserved for use, constantly watching for a candidate for their evil. They had no idea she existed. No idea she had become bound to Aiden the day she had so foolishly swallowed his semen. But, boy, had they tried to make up for lost time after they found out.

She had messed up, allowed them to catch her aiding the Winged Breeds. They had needed a woman at the time to place with the leader, Keegan, and for a while, debated her use. Until they checked her blood, and found what she had found years before. A hormone known only to the Wolf Breeds and a high level of the aphrodisiac reported to run only through the blood of mated females. From that moment on her life had become hell.

“Bastards.”Her teeth gritted as her womb convulsed again.

She clamped her hand to the incision in her stomach, praying the bleeding wouldn’t become severe again. Sometimes it did. Sometimes, she was certain she would die. The sounds of gunfire, explosions and the screams of war could still be easily heard. Charity breathed out wearily, knowing she had to move, she had to drag herself farther away from the fighting, the possibility of capture. She wanted tolay down and rest, to forget the horrors of the bastards she had hopefully left behind. But time wasn’t on her side, and sleep was only a prayer. She dragged herself to her hands and knees and forced her body to move. Just a little farther, she promised herself. She shuddered as a leaf raked her nipple. Oh hell, it felt too good.Too damned good. Her nipples were hard points of exquisite sensation with no hope of relief. She knew well that no amount of touching them, of stroking her straining clit would bring anything more than an increase in arousal.

“Going somewhere, Charity?” She froze. Still on hands and knees, her eyes widened as a pair of boots and long muscular legs came into view.

Her gaze lifted. Up, over the shadowed expanse of tight thighs, a hard abdomen, a wide chest. His face was dark, his silver-gray eyes hidden, but she knew that voice.Knew his voice, and God help her, his scent.Rich and wild, with a hint of summer heat.

“Excuse me. Girls night out,” she gasped as her womb shuddered again, peaking with pain, as though his

scent called to her arousal.

She fought to change course, knowing she was caught, knowing there was no hope. He moved to counter her.

“You’re in heat,” he growled. She heard the fury throbbing in his voice and remembered his last vow to her. She shivered in dread.

She leaned against the thick trunk of a tree, sitting down wearily. She knew she was going into shock. She held her hand to her abdomen, feeling the blood that eased past the incision. She didn’t bother to answer his accusation. There was no denying her arousal, or her depleted strength.

“So sue me.” She leaned her head against the tree, watching as he hunched down in front of her, his body so tempting that if she had the strength she would have attacked him then and there. “Goaway, I don’t need your help.”

She needed his cock. There was a difference.Hard, thick and long. She whimpered as she felt her cunt pulse more of her thick juices to her thighs. Glorybe , she needed to be fucked. She hated the thought of dying, so aroused,unsatisfied .

“Was I offering to help you?” he asked her, his voice a bit too casual and light. Then he paused. She watched his head tilt, heard him inhale roughly. “Charity, you’re bleeding.” His voice had changed, edged with reluctant concern.

“I’m dying, Aiden,” she whispered then, sadly. She would never know his touch, never know satisfaction.

She heard his indrawn breath, and wondered how he could smell the blood over the scent of raging lust.

“Not yet, you’re not,” he bit out, moving so quickly she could only cry out as he swung her into his arms, against the hard warmth of his chest. “You won’t escape me that easily, Charity.”

God, his body was hard, hot. One arm looped around his neck, the other pressed to her abdomen as she fought to stem the blood welling from the wound there.

She inhaled his scent, so wild and clean, as her breast brushed against the fabric of his shirt.

“I need you,” she whimpered against his neck, the painful lust overcoming common sense or any shred of modesty.

She was naked in his arms, and he was hot and aroused. She could smell his arousal as well.A stormy, primal scent that wrapped around her, edging her own lusts higher.

“And you will have me,” he grunted.“Sooner than you know. But not while you are bleeding to your death.”

“You owe me,” she cried out bleakly. “You do, Aiden. You owe me. Please make it stop hurting.”

His arms tightened around her, his pace increasing as she moved against his chest. She was in need. The lightning flashes of aroused pain were torturous, worse than they had ever been before.

“Soon, Charity.”His answer was a breath of sound.A promise or a warning? She wondered. “Sooner than either one of us needs.”

He was striding through the jungle, moving at a rapid pace, holding her snugly to him, sharing his heat, his strength. Beneath her hand the blood flowed from her body. She could feel the chilling weakness washing over her and knew that this time she would not survive the loss of blood. She had lost too much, and the transfusions took too long for her body to accept. She would escape in death. What he had sought so many years before had now come to her.

“Can I sleep now, Aiden? I’m very tired,” she asked him faintly as she felt the weakness closing over her.

She heard him curse. The sound was dark, deadly. The scientists had once again stolen what he believed was his.First his control, and now his vengeance.

She allowed her head to fall to his chest, a smile to shape her lips. And on a silent breath she whispered goodbye as darkness stole over her.

Chapter Two

“She’s yourmate, she can only accept your blood.” The doctor hastily prepared for the transfusion as her assistant stitched the incision on Charity’s abdomen.

The pale skin was smeared with blood, too much blood. It had run in slow rivulets down her abdomen, smearing her thighs, and the smooth bare flesh between them. He had felt her weakening seconds before he reached camp, felt the fight that had always been so much a part of her slowly drain from her fragile body and knew he was losing her. She was dying in his arms. His jaw bunched as he fought the anger surging through him. He turned his face from her, staring at the side of the tent that held the field hospital. If he watched her, looked at her lying there so pale and helpless, he didn’t know if he would be able to contain his rage. He had been warned of what was to come, though he had given little credence to the Breeds’

declaration of psychic abilities to the point they claimed to possess them. He had scoffed at their knowledge of the bonds he knew would exist between them.Had mocked their predictions of the events to come. He had assured himself that night in the Labs had been due to the drugs, nothing more.Even though some internal sense had warned him otherwise.

He had been prepared to treat her as coldly, as cruelly as he would any Council lapdog. But the moment he had caught her scent, had seen her face, so pale, so distressed, he had been unable to maintain his determination. Her scent called out to him, her delicacy terrified him. She was so tiny now; so fragile he wondered how she had managed to escape on her own. She appeared too weak to even stand under her own strength, let alone to have escaped into the jungle.

He was within seconds of destroying every Council soldier and scientist they had taken, rather than holding them for questioning later by the Breed lawyers and government officials heading for the area. Remembering the smell of blood, of her impending death was nearly more than he could stand. They had done this to her. They had stripped her of all dignity and used her for their insane experiments. They had nearly killed her in their drive to play God.

He didn’t stop to question his conflicting feelings regarding Charity. His fury over her betrayal of him, his hatred that she had stayed with the Council rather than fighting to be free.His desire for her, his fury at her. It all converged inside him until the morass of emotions became overpowering.

“Stop growling at me, Aiden,” the doctor bit out nervously, her dark face watching him intently. “It doesn’t hurt. It’s just a needle.”

She inserted said needle into the vein, opening the valve to allow his blood to ease gently through the tube that connected him to Charity. He didn’t care about the damned needle. Over the course of his lifetime he had seen more needles than he could count.

“She’s not my mate,” he snarled, unable to hold the words back any longer. He knew the lie for what it was, though. “I have not accepted this.”

The doctor snorted. She was young for her remarkable skill in Breed medicine. A bit on the short side, with full breasts and hips most men would ache to clasp close. Her skin was as pretty as milk chocolate, and she had long, sleek black hair that fell down her back in a multitude of braids.

“Her body says otherwise.” She crossed her arms beneath her breasts as she stared down at him, glancing often at the speed of the transfusion. “You can’t deny the mating, Aiden. You know that.”

He looked up at her broodingly. She watched him as she would a recalcitrant child. The forced patience and mocking amusement had him baring his teeth in warning.

“I can deny whatever I wish,” he snapped. “I did not mark her. How can she be my mate?”

She frowned at the question. Her studies into the mating phenomena that began with Hope were well known. She was determined to learn why the Feline Breeds had bred so easily, whereas the Wolf Breeds had been unable to. The scientists had theorized for years that the inability to breed could reverse. It had been proven with the Feline Pride. The Wolf Packs had not yet accomplished that last battle with nature, though.

“If what I suspect is true when she swallowed your semen in that Lab six years ago, that was all it took. I suspected the mating could occur without the mark, and this proves it. The blood tests don’tlie , Aiden. Her body is bound to yours. The hormone and unique DNA that marks it matches yours perfectly. The enzyme in her blood that rejects any other transfusion further proves it. Deny it all you like, but she’s a part of you.”

Aiden refused to answer the charge. His blood boiled at the thought of being tied to this woman.Any woman. The life of a Breed was too dangerous. The life of a Breed mate was even more so. The low, vicious growl that rumbled in his throat couldn’t be silenced. The silent disapproval of his conscience was just as loud.

Had it not been for Keegan warning them that her body would accept no other blood but Aiden’s, they

would have lost her.Not that Dr. Armani hadn’t run the first vital testing for blood match. She had run the tests as her assistant prepped Charity for the transfusion. Each second had seemed a lifetime as she bled uncontrollably.


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