Hell. Of course she needed a bath, he thought in weary disgust. The question was, could he maintain control long enough to help her with that?

“I’ll help you.” He tried to shrug as though he could do it with no problem, but already his body was heating further at the thought of it.

She watched him broodingly. He could see the battle going on in her head. She wanted the bath, desperately. She didn’t want him helping her with it though. Finally she sighed in resignation.“Fine. As long as I can get clean. The most I should need is help getting out of the tub. I can handle the rest of it on my own.”

She should have been a Feline, he thought.Damned independent, stubborn female.

“Where am I anyway?” She suddenly grimaced as she stared around the kitchen. “Are we still in South America?”

“Colorado.” He rose to his feet and cleared the table quickly. “The government allocated us several hundred acres here as a home base. The compound is heavily fortified with several dozen army personnel as well as Air Force support from the base across the mountain.”

“The compound.”She nodded then. “I’d heard of it. When I get better, I’d like to see it.” She didn’t look at him, and for all her appearance of unconcern he could tell it mattered to her to see what they had accomplished. Aiden didn’t care much for the fact that it pleased him.

“When you can walk comfortably, I’ll take you on a tour,” he promised her softly as he moved to her drooping body. “Come on. Let’s get you back to bed. You need to nap a bit more before you’re ready to do anything.”

She sighed bleakly as he lifted her into his arms once more. “I don’t sleep well, Aiden.” She tried not to lean against his body. He could feel her tensing, holding herself away from him as she fought to maintain her control. He would allow it, for now, he thought.

“I have something that will help you sleep, baby.” He laid her back on the bed before moving back to the kitchen.

When he returned, he carried a glass of water and a sedative Armani had approved for Hope and Faith last year.

“It’s just a sedative,” he told her when she stared at the small pill in his hand. “Our doctor had to create one especially for Hope and Faith. Sometimes, they don’t sleep well either.”

There was a single week of the month that the two women were more like rabid animals in their temperaments than grown women.

“Did she check…”

“She checked everything, Charity. Trustme, the damned woman doesn’t miss a thing. Now take your medicine like a good girl so you can rest. You will need your strength soon.” He gave her a wolfish smile. All teeth and male amusement.

Her eyes narrowed on him but she took the pill, swallowing it with a long drink of water before lying back against the pillows.

“Now sleep.” He tucked the blankets around her. “I’ll check on you later and help you get a bath.”

Her eyes were closing even as he spoke. Aiden resisted the need to brush the hair back from her face, to caress the delicate line of her jaw. His fist clenched as he turned on his heel and stalked from the cabin before his need overcame his good sense. She was going to make him crazy, he thought. Then he grunted mockingly. Or perhaps she already had.

Chapter Eight

The next morning, Charity was able to move more comfortably from the bed and to hobble through the house. Dressed in one of Aiden’s T-shirts and another pair of drawstring sweat pants with the ankles rolled up quite a bit, she made her way through the small cabin in search of food. She hadn’t expected to awake alone. She had been prepared for yet another confrontation with Aiden, but the respite was more than appreciated. She was still weak, still tired. The months of experiments within the Labs had damned near killed her and she was smart enough to know that. It still could. But at least she had slept for a change. She didn’t know what was in the little pill Aiden had forced down her throat twice more the day before. But whatever it was it had thrown her into a sleep deep enough to allow her mind to ignore the pulsing arousal that tormented her. Unfortunately, it returned with a vengeance when she woke up.

Her body was sensitized, achy, the flesh tingling wherever she touched. Her cunt was moist, throbbing in longing. The sexual need that burned in her body seemed worse now, as though his touch had somehow stoked the fires already burning within her.

An hour later, the light meal finished, the dishes stacked in the sink, she looked around and admitted the silence of the cabin was starting to get to her. As much as she had prayed for peace over the past years, such silence was so foreign it was almost frightening to her. From outside the cabin she could hear the sudden sounds of vehicles and voices raised as orders were shouted. It wasn’t imperative, nor seemed alarming. Moving to the couch, she peaked outside the large window behind it to see what was going on.

The view was breathtaking. She ignored the movement going on in what appeared to be a central area of command in favor of the beauty of the mountains surrounding them. She needed to see more, ached to smell the breeze off the mountains. Standing up, she moved carefully to the front door. The wounds on her feet hadn’t been severe, thankfully, and she hoped within a few days they would be healed enough to allow her to more thoroughly investigate the Breed compound she had heard so much about in the past years.

The scientists she had worked with had been outraged, furious, when the United States had declared the Breeds were fully human. The explosion of outrage over the experiments and the uses the Council had envisioned for the Breeds had swept the world.

When the United States had apportioned the land in Colorado out to the Breeds and aided them in building the large protective compound, the fury within the Council had overflowed to the Labs. Recapturing or killing the Breeds was out of the question now. The focus of the world was frowning so heavily on those suspected and known of being within the Council, that any movement toward recouping their loses had been put on hold.Except for the Coyote Breeds. The Council had finally found the perfect soldier there. They followed orders precisely, their mercilessness nearly equal to their creators. She stepped out on the porch, breathing in the clean, crisp air of the early fall morning and stared around with a sense of surprise.

A tall stone wall enclosed the acres-large compound. From where Aiden’s cabin sat, slightly higher atop a rise, Charity could see the crystalline lake outside the enclosure, as well as the rolling hills that led to thickly forested mountains around them.

Inside the compound, friendly chaos seemed to reign. The cabins were set some distance apart, providing privacy and a sense of freedom, she thought. There were quite a few trees growing within the compound, a large blue pond, and several long, low buildings and storehouses. It was beginning to resemble a small town.

The central portion of the area was, at the moment, filled with dozens of men and women unloading boxes of equipment from several trucks that had pulled into the compound. Guards watched from a safe distance, automatic rifles held in readiness as hard eyes watched the commotion. There had to be over a hundred Breeds milling about, as she could see.Which meant there were likely many others sleeping, working, doing whatever it took to keep the place running. The entrance to the compound was heavily fortified and guarded as well. It would be damned near impossible to get in or out without being seen. And despite the beauty of the compound, it was still that…a heavily protected area.

Charity bit her lip as she eased herself onto the rough wood porch swing to the side of the porch, and continued to watch the work below. They were still imprisoned, just in a different way. The freedom she had always envisioned for the Breeds hadn’t come about as she had thought it would. As she watched the commotion going on, she realized her appearance on the porch hadn’t gone unnoticed. She was being watched and carefully guarded. One of the men stood within a small stand of trees, the other in a fortified stand atop the compound wall. Both watched her with hard, determined gazes.

The enjoyment she had taken in feeling the breeze wash over her, smelling the clean, natural scent of the lake beyond and watching the men below at work suddenly dimmed. She rose to her feet and made her way carefully back into the house.

They didn’t know, she thought. They couldn’t know how she had helped them in the Labs, how she had helped plan their rescue. Few people did know. She had been a shadowy figure on the edge of the group working to destroy the Council and its mad schemes.

Not that they had succeeded. She pushed her fingers wearily through her hair as she stretched out on the couch and gazed moodily up at the ceiling. They were still creating, still experimenting, playing God and destroying lives.

The sudden opening of the door had her jerking upright, turning to watch as Aiden came into the cabin. He closed the door as he turned to look at her.

“Doing okay?” he asked her carefully.

“I was,” she drawled.“Until a second ago.”

Mocking amusement lit his eyes.“Too bad. I have to sleep sometime.”

He bent over, unlacing his boots before toeing them off with a sigh of relief.

“You didn’t sleep last night?” she asked him curiously, wondering what he had done.

“I was working last night.” He moved to the kitchen.

“Working at what?” She frowned, realizing she had no idea what he did.

“Security.”He shrugged. “I coordinate all the little details that keep the compound secure. We had someone sniffing around the perimeters of the wall last night.”

“Coyotes?” she asked trying to still her fears. The Council would not let her go without trying to recapture her. The tests they had conducted on her were too important. He shook his head. “I’m not certain. We could never tell for sure.”

Charity watched silently as he pulled a bottle of water from the refrigerator and took a long drink. His head tilted back, revealing the stubborn curve of his chin, the strong line of his neck. His dark flesh glistened with perspiration, the open collar of the cotton shirt revealed dark, tempting flesh. Her cunt clenched, her breasts aching as her gaze went to the hand wrapped around the bottle. Large, strong hands, surprisingly graceful looking for a man.

“Have you eaten?” He lowered the bottle, placing it back in the refrigerator as he glanced at her.

“I ate.” One hunger was satisfied, the other was killing her.

“I have to run into town in a bit,” he told her. “Do a drive-through and see what I can see. Want to go with me?”

The invitation caught her off guard. She looked at him in surprise.

“What do you mean, see what you can see?” she asked him. “I thought you were going to go to sleep.”

“Nap.”He shrugged, watching her more closely now. “It’s getting worse, Charity. Are you ready to stop fighting it yet?”

She shook her head. “What?” Confusion shot through her. She had no idea what his question meant.

“The arousal.”He walked to her slowly, stopping at the edge of the couch, his eyes darkening. “We’d both sleep better if you stopped fighting it.”

The amusement and knowledge in his voice and expression had her eyes narrowing in anger.

“Ah. I see.” She folded her arms across her breasts. “So, everything would work out if I would just go ahead and let you fuck me.Right?”

He stilled then. Finally, after a long moment, he just shook his head as his expression flashed with regret. He sighed wearily. “Forget it. I don’t want to fight with you, Charity. This situation isn’t sitting any easier with me. But facts are facts. You’re in pain and I’m your best bet, baby, to escape it.”

She’d rather die horny.The self-satisfied, egotistical bastard. What made itworse, was the knowledge that he was right.

“It gets easier.” She shrugged. At least, it always had before. “How long was I unconscious anyway?”


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