Carys saw it too. “He’s getting away!”
When her body tensed with purpose, Rune felt her fury emanate through his bond to her. She was pissed as hell and ready to kill.
“Don’t even think it, love.” Rune grabbed her arms and ground out a curse. “Forget about him.”
But his woman was Breed, and her power coursed through her as ferociously as it did him. As it did in any other of their kind. Her blue eyes burned bright amber in an instant. She tossed her head in defiance, fangs bared. “I can’t forget about him until I know he’s dead.”
She pulled out of his hold. Then she vanished into shadow and was gone.
Rune bellowed her name as he pushed to his feet behind the shelter and opened fire on his father’s guards.
Carys flashed up the tower stairs only seconds behind Riordan.
There was a small chamber at the top, and a door that appeared to open out onto the battlements. Riordan had his hand on the latch as Carys caught up to him. He yanked it open—then shrank back on a cry as the early morning sun’s rays reached for him.
He slammed the heavy wood panel on a curse and wheeled around.
Carys stood there, her assault rifle aimed on him. “Like a rat in a trap,” she said, throwing his own words back at him.
But Riordan had a gun too. He raised it on her. “You think you’re man enough to take me on?”
She dodged the shot with ease. Her Breed speed took her to the left side of the small room. Riordan pivoted and fired on her again. Another dodge, and this time instead of letting him see where she ended up, she gathered the shadows and taunted him into wasting more rounds. She zipped and zagged, taking far too much satisfaction in his wild, ineffective aim.
His panicked shots ricocheted off the stone walls.
Then his rifle jammed.
Carys felt a cold smile spread over her face as she let the shadows fall away. She stood directly in front of him now. “I’m not man enough to kill you. But I am woman enough.”
She fired on him twice—a bullet in each shoulder. He jerked back with the impact, his arms hanging limply at his sides. He dropped his useless weapon, howling with pain.
Carys’s vision burned red with contempt for him and all the evil he had done. “That’s for Rune’s mother and the other Breedmate you killed.”
As he hissed and coughed, she lowered her aim and blew out both of his knees. He dropped to the floor it utter misery, writhing and convulsing in a tight ball at her feet. “That’s for Rune and his sister, Kitty.”
Carys stood over him, her gun’s barrel leveled at the spot between his furious amber eyes.
Riordan snarled, thick spittle dripping from his open mouth and fangs. He stared at her in seething outrage. But Carys saw fear in his gaze now too. He was beaten and he knew there would be no coming back from it now.
“Just do it, you bitch! Kill me, you fucking daywalker freak!”
“No.” She shook her head. “A bullet would be too merciful. And I’m fresh out of mercy where you’re concerned.”
“Huh?” His confusion was short-lived.
Carys slung her weapon over her shoulder and reached down to grab Riordan by his collar. As soon as she started dragging him across the floor, he began screaming. He wailed and thrashed, begging her to let him go. All in vain.
She opened the door to the roof.
She hauled Rune’s tormentor outside, into the clear heat of the morning sun. She didn’t flinch, didn’t blink, merely watched in pitiless silence as the lethal rays devoured him.
~ ~ ~
Chase was at the head of the Order’s charge as the warriors poured through the exploded main gate in full UV gear. Debris and smoke plumed in front of his face shield. Bullets zipped past him as he and his comrades stormed the courtyard, returning fire on Riordan’s guards who shot at them from windows and arrow slits inside the fortress.
Lucan’s voice came over the shared audio link that fed into the warriors’ earpieces. “Units, fan out as discussed. First team, secure all entry and exit points. Second team, sweep every corner of this goddamn place until you locate Carys. We take out anyone who stands in our way, except Riordan. I want that bastard taken alive.”
So did Chase, because he wanted to be the one to kill him.
With the assigned units splitting off to carry out their missions, Chase, Lucan and Dante advanced on the castle’s main entrance along with Nathan, Aric and the team from Boston.
Half a dozen of Riordan’s guards confronted them as soon as they crashed through the door. A heavy gunfire exchange lit up the central corridor before the warriors mowed down their assailants.
More shots rang out deeper inside the fortress. Lucan motioned for Chase and the others to follow him toward the commotion. They took out a couple more gunmen in the corridor as they came up on the great hall. Nearing the arched entryway, Chase wasn’t quite sure what he was looking at.
The bodies of several gunmen lay scattered and bloodied across the wide expanse of the room. Three more guards crouched in various positions in the room, exchanging fire with another Breed male who was hunkered behind the massive stone shelter of the ancient fireplace.
The warriors picked off the trio of Riordan’s men one by one.
In the sudden quiet, the other shooter held up his weapon in surrender and slowly limped out from behind his cover. The immense, dark-haired male was gravely injured. He had a makeshift tourniquet tied around his blood-soaked thigh and was bleeding from too many other places to count. His face was bruised and lacerated, his eyes bleak, but hot with amber fire.
“Jesus Christ,” Aric gasped. “It’s him. Carys’s fighter.”
And from the look of him, he’d been busy taking on his father’s thugs alone until the Order arrived.
Chase lifted his face shield. “Where’s Carys?”
“She went after him.” He pointed to a stairwell entrance in the corner of the great hall. “She wouldn’t let me stop her.”
Dread and disbelief swamped Chase. “She’s gone after Riordan? Alone?”
No. Please . . . fuck, no.
“The stairs go up to the tower roof,” the fighter said, already moving in that direction despite his serious injuries.
Chase didn’t wait another second. Summoning every ounce of strength his Breed genetics had given him, he flashed into the stairwell with his heart in his throat.
Intense light poured out from the small chamber at the top of the stairs. He stepped into the room and immediately closed his visor, his arm raised to cover his eyes, even though they were shielded from the UV rays by his protective gear. It took a moment for his vision to adjust.
It took even longer for his mind to process what he was seeing.
The access door to the roof was wide open.
Carys stood outside in full sunlight.
She held something in her hand—a tattered shirt. Swirling around her in the morning breeze was a cloud of dark ashes. They scattered away into nothingness as Chase stared, dumbstruck.
Carys turned then. She looked over her shoulder at him, fangs bared, eyes ablaze with molten amber.
Chase could hardly breathe as he looked at her now. He’d been terrified that he would reach the top of the tower and find his beloved little girl destroyed by the evil that lived here. Instead, he found a vengeful Valkyrie, with the wind stirring her hair like a tempest, and the tattered remains of her enemy clutched in her unforgiving grasp.