“How much longer will this take?” He flicked a contemptuous glance at the blood-filled tube that led from his arm. “I havework to do.”


The scent of her need, even unconscious, was destroying him. Sweet and tempting, the subtle fragrance stirred him, keeping his cock engorged,his body ready to take her. He hated the uncontrolled response. The need, as hard and brutal as it had been while the drugs pumped through his system years before.


“She is more important,” she informed him, her voice turning cold. Aiden lifted his lip contemptuously. To the doctor, she might be more important. To the Wolf Breeds she might be more important. To him, she was the enemy, he assured himself. He would not let his unruly body sway him where she was concerned. She had worked with the Council for years now, been a part of their inner workings, knew their secrets and their evil. Even when she could have escaped them, she stayed. Working with them rather than fighting to be free.


No sane person could have spent so many years in the bosom of such monsters and not be like them. The denial that clawed in his heart for so many years refused to accept this, but Aiden knew it was no more than the truth. He would not be led by his emotions in this. Charity was a Council doctor, one of their most valued Lab Technicians and budding scientists, and yet none of them saw the potential of betrayal here.


“All done.”Dr. Nicole Armani’s voice was soft, yet tinged with disapproval as she removed the transfusion catheter. “You can return to whatever you deem important now, Aiden.”


He rose slowly to his feet.


“How long will she be unconscious?” He prided himself on his control then. He stood before the doctor, careless, unconcerned.


“I don’t know, Aiden.” She shook her head, watching as the assistant worked over Charity. “She’s lost a lot of blood, her body was in shock from whatever drugs they had pumped into her, and she was already weakened. It could be hours, it could be days.”


He flexed his fist carefully. “I’ll have one of my men stationed as guard. If she awakens, call for me. If not, she will be leaving on the air transport coming in this evening.”


“Aiden, she’s too weak.” Dr. Armani turned on him in angry surprise. “She may not survive the trip. She needs to be stabilized further.”


His mouth opened to snap at her, to reinforce the order, but his gaze was caught by the silent, too pale woman on the bed. He wanted to howl at himself in rage as an unfamiliar weakness rose inside him. She was too pale.Too weak. He wanted her away from here, yet he couldn’t endanger her further. Some instinct he couldn’t deny or fight refused to allow him to test her fragile strength.


“When?”His voice was a harsh, contained growl of fury.


“Not before she stabilizes,” Armani said again, her voice stubborn.“A day, a week, whatever. I’ll let you know when she can be moved.”


Frustration bit at him with sharp, hungry teeth. Charity would soon be in more danger by staying here than she would be if she were moved too early. The implication of her health and the war raging through the jungle with the escaped Council soldiers and Coyotes was a difficult problem. One he needed to resolve quickly.


“We have limited time here.” He gnashed his teeth together, frustration mounting inside him.


“Aiden, do you want her to die?” She turned on him then, facing him with a frown, her black eyes glittering angrily. “It’s my job to keep her alive.Period. Do you think I don’t know what I’m doing? I will let you know the minute I think she can be moved. If all goes well, possibly—and I stress possibly


—tomorrow.”


He raked his fingers through his hair in a burst of anger. “We may not have this time you need, Doctor,”


he bit out. “We must be cleared out of here as quickly as possible. You are aware of this, I assume?” He sneered the question at her.


They couldn’t afford an organized assault by soldiers possibly on their way to free those taken captive. The war between the Council and the Breeds was heating up in ways that left him struggling for the answer to their survival.


Dr. Armani drew herself stiffly erect. Her brows lowered dangerously, a tight smile shaping her lips.


“Don’t push me, Aiden. I am not one of your Enforcers and I won’t be ordered about. You take care of your responsibilities and I will care of mine. We’ll both live that way.” She was beginning to appear decidedly violent.


“Are you threatening me, Armani?” he questioned her then, dangerously. No one had dared threaten him since the day they escaped the Labs.


“Sounds like she is, Aiden.”Faith stepped into the tent, dirt-smudged, and frowning in concern. “We need you outside. Jacob and Wolfe just pulled in the head scientist. It’s Robertson, and he’s ready to talk.”


Robertson. Dr. Andrew Robertson, second only to Bainesmith, before her death. He would now be considered the Council’s top expert in Breed experimentation. Aiden smiled coldly. He glanced back at Charity, promising himself that she would awaken soon, and when she did, she would not escape him or his vengeance.


“Were they able to retrieve any of the records?” he asked her quickly, forcing his mind away from Charity and her fragile health. “We need those records, Faith.”


She shook her head as they rushed from the tent.“Nothing, Aiden. Keegan was able to get into the records room before the explosion. Let’s pray they were destroyed. From what I’ve seen, we don’t want to know what happened here.”


He heard her compassion, her pain. And in many ways he agreed with her. The Lab had been hell, the smell of death and depravity nearly strangling them as they entered it. They had enough nightmares. God knew they didn’t need anymore.


“Let’s go see if we can choke some facts out of him then,” he smiled mercilessly. “I’m in the mood to be persuasive.”


Chapter Three


He was in the mood to be sick. Aiden stood inside the jungle, just out of sight of camp and fought to breathe. It wasn’t the sickness in his gut that caused the problemsthough, it was the emotional turmoil pitching through his soul. He wiped at his damp face and assured himself it was the heat of the night, not tears that dampened his face.


Propping his arm against the tree beside him he buried his face against it, his muscles taut from the tension riding his body. God help him, he wanted to kill them all. There were twenty-five soldiers and nearly a dozen scientists restrained within the tent he had just left and he wanted to rip their throats out. He wanted to hear their screams of pain, see them on their knees begging him a second before he tasted their blood.


His fists clenched in driving fury as he stood there, fighting to control his breathing, his rage. We tied her down. The hormone had to be inserted directly into the womb with the ability to view the resulting changes. We decided rather than going in through the cervix, that it would be easier to make the incision into the womb itself and insert the camera probe directly inside. Easier for them.The growl that rumbled in his throat was a primal protest to the claim. It was no easier. It was more painful. It was a shock to the body when none was needed, and she had nearly bled to death more than once in the process.


Included in the experiments was a hormonal aphrodisiac made from the hormone in his semen. The arousal it produced was found to have stimulated the ovaries in some way. They were merely awaiting a new ovulation period before attempting to force conception with the few remaining samples they had of his sperm. They had been certain the changes within her womb would allow conception to occur. Her records had revealed the ingestion of his semen. They had found the perfect specimen for yet more of their monstrous tests. For six months. Six agonizing months where she had wasted away to nothing, driven closer and closer to the brink of death.


And had she died, they would have tossed her body away as yet another broken specimen. She wouldn’t have mattered, only the results of the tests did.Tests that stripped the mind and horrified the soul. He was still reeling from the reports the guards and lower level scientists were more than eager to give in exchange for their lives.


“She lives. This should be all that matters.” He raised his head, staring at the Winged Breed they had been forced to drag from the flames of the Lab as he fought to return and save the woman he knew was still held there.


Keegan was nearly six and a half feet tall though lacking the heavy muscle that most Breeds developed. Not that he appeared weak. He stood tall, his arms crossed over his chest, aristocratic and graceful. His long brown hair fell past hisshoulders, his amber eyes were intent and focused. Aiden shook his head. He still couldn’t believe they had managed to do it. They had given man wings. Full, strong, graceful wings that folded upon his back. They extended from his boot-shod feet to the top of his head with nearly an eighteen foot wing span to hold his human body within the sky. The bone work of the Winged Breeds was less dense and more flexible than those of full-humans and other Breeds. He was a miracle of genetic perfection, and psychic to boot. Son of a bitch, if he wouldn’t be a pain in the ass.


“I should kill every damned scientist sitting in that tent,” Aiden growled. “Eventually they’ll be released, just as the other bastards were six years before. It will never stop, Keegan.”


The knowledge that there was little he could to stop the madness ate at him, just as it always had. The experiments still continued and the Council cruelties seemed to only magnify each time another Lab was found. There was no mercy, no humanity in the men and women who ran those Labs. Only the experiment mattered.


The wings at Keegan’sback shifted as though in agitation. He breathed in deeply, his gaze rising to the sheltering branches overhead before his eyes returned to Aiden’s.


“It seems very hopeless I know,” he sighed. “But I do not believe it will always be so, Aiden. I believe the new future, desperate though it may be at times, will make a way for us all. We must prepare our children for that day. Keep them strong enough to lead.Strong enough to survive.”


As though the Breeds needed children to worry about as well.Innocent lives thrown smack in the middle of a scientific war on humanity versus the lack of.And as Keegan hinted, victory would be a long way down the futuristic road.


Aiden grunted. “Yeah, I figured I could forget ever seeing it myself.”


He wiped a hand over his face before spearing his fingers restlessly through his hair. Regaining his control was a battle this time. This Lab, the tests that had been described to him,were too horrific for him to accept.


“A day will come when it will end. But it is yet far off,” Keegan finally shrugged. “Nature has smiled on us, though. She has found us worthy of life, and of continuing. Your mate will prove this to the world. Your son will help lead in a future race to triumph. We can do nothing but pave the way for him and the others that shall follow.”


Mate. His teeth snapped together at the word.His mate and his child. He ignored the flare of heat in his cock, fought back the instinctive possessive instincts and snarled violently.


“I do not accept this woman as my mate,” he bit out.


A chuckle echoed in the darkness.Keegan’s laughter. His superior attitude was beginning to grate on Aiden’s nerves.


“Nature has done this for you,” Keegan informed him with no small amount of amusement. “Perhaps she


knew you were not worthy to choose. Often pride and our human frailties will hide the truth from our eyes until our mistakes are too excessive, have caused too much damage to ever set right. So she has instead given such choices to the animal that resides in us, to recognize our other half. The one created exclusively for us.”


Aiden snorted. “There are, at last count, five women for every male out in the world…”


“There is at present less than a dozen female Breeds from all those created. There are over six hundred known Breed males, and perhaps more unknown.”

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