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“Not anymore it’s not.” She took a sip of her beer, savoring the refreshing coolness as it slid down her dry throat.

“Did you plan to fight them? Kill them? Follow some of them home?”

When she didn’t respond, he let out an annoyed sigh. “Leave through the front of the bar, but meet me around back in a couple minutes.”

Surprised, she looked at him. “What?”

“It’s time for your second lesson. Never underestimate your opponent.”

“What are you going to do?” She eyed him suspiciously. He was being far too relaxed.

“Start a fight,” he said.

Before she could respond, he was striding toward the pool tables with that arrogant swagger she recognized all too well.

Shit. If he was starting a fight, she had no doubt he’d be the victor. She’d seen him in action a couple of times and the man had a liquid grace and raw strength that scared the holy hell out of her.

Chapter 4

Jayce was almost positive Kat had come here looking for trouble. Or APL members, to be more specific.

After that hot kiss they’d shared earlier he hadn’t been able to get her out of his mind—though when was she ever far from his thoughts? He was always wondering what she was doing, where she was and whether she was okay or not. Hell, even when that explosion had tossed him through the air barely hours ago, she’d still been in the recesses of his brain. The feel of her underneath him in that barn, arching up against him, all sexy and pliant, made him ache. He hadn’t wanted to stop at kissing. No, he’d been so caught up in the feel of her long, lithe body that he’d broken his own damn rules. They’d been training. He should have had more control.

He’d followed her to apologize but she’d gone to December’s house, so he’d waited for her. When he’d seen her leaving, he’d sensed guilt from her. It hadn’t been overt—for someone so newly turned she was surprisingly adept at controlling her emotions—but it had struck him as odd. He’d wondered if she felt guilty for kissing him, but quickly dismissed the idea, as it didn’t make sense.

Now that he’d followed her here, he wondered if that guilt had anything to do with her appearance at this bar. He’d just barely made it back to Fontana in time to track her. He’d left the laptop with one of Connor’s packmates who’d followed Kat back to December’s. While he wanted to know what was on it, he wanted to talk to Kat a lot more.

Without outright accusing her, he wouldn’t know if she’d taken the list of APL members from Liam’s house. Connor had printed out a handful of copies and one had definitely gone to his brother. Unless Kat had been doing some undercover work of her own recently, Jayce couldn’t figure how she’d known APL members hung out here. And he didn’t believe in coincidences.

Jayce had known about this hangout thanks to intel that one of the Council leaders had given him a few weeks ago. The kind of APL members that frequented the bar weren’t the kind of guys Kat needed to tangle with. Shifter or not, she was about to learn that things aren’t always what they seem. Unless his intel was wrong—and he hoped the hell it was—these guys were likely hopped up on vampire blood, which would give them enhanced strength. It wasn’t permanent for humans, but as long as they were drinking it, they could take on vamps and shifters and be on fairly even footing.

Now he was about to find out if the rumors that a certain violent sect of the APL was indeed drinking vamp blood were true. He’d already confirmed that there was at least one dealer in the vicinity selling the shit, so it was likely. And Ned sold to anyone. Not to mention that he’d clearly been taking his own product. Which made sense. He couldn’t sell stuff that made his clients super strong without being able to protect his product and himself.

Jayce didn’t usually go around starting fights, but right now he had no choice. Kat needed to see what she would have been up against if she’d come in here with guns blazing. The thought of her going off by herself and something else happening to her made him shudder. Nothing would happen to her again. Not as long as he was around to protect her.

Jayce scanned the bar for other possible threats and found none. At least these guys would have a slim chance against him if they were taking vamp blood. Not that he cared one way or another. This was about teaching Kat. He glanced over his shoulder and saw her ducking out the front door.


He quickly reached the pool table where two men, probably in their forties, were playing. Two others, in their mid-twenties, lounged against the wall, both smoking cigarettes.

The two younger guys looked at him curiously, but the two playing pool didn’t glance his way.

Time to change that.

Jayce grabbed one of the almost full beers on the edge of the pool table and took a big swig. Then he slammed it down on the table, sloshing the amber liquid everywhere.

One of the men glared at him. “Motherfuc—”

Jayce bared his canines, letting them elongate, then drew them back in. There was a moment of shocked silence; then someone sucked in a quick breath.

Four sets of eyes narrowed at him with pure hatred.

Grinning just to piss them off, Jayce picked up the beer again and took another swig. “I’ll be out back if you pussies want to join me.” Without waiting for a response, he headed for the exit.

Once outside he spotted Kat leaning against the wall, her arms crossed over her chest, looking sexy as sin. No time to admire her sleek figure, though. “Get behind the Dumpster. Now.” As he said it, he glanced around. Directly behind the bar was a thick cluster of woods. No cars or people back here thankfully. And more important, no video surveillance.

For a moment he thought Kat might argue, but she muttered something under her breath about him being bossy and then ducked behind the giant green box. Just in time too.

The metal door opened, slamming against the outside wall with a sickening bang. Out burst the four men, cocky and ready for a fight. One already had a gun with a silencer drawn and another held a knife.

Jayce’s inner wolf smiled. This was going to be fun. Stripping off his leather jacket, he blindly tossed it toward the building. Before it had hit the concrete wall, Jayce had drawn the two blades he always kept strapped to his chest. The razor-sharp titanium-like weapons gleamed wickedly under the moonlight.

As the enforcer, he preferred fighting with blades and in human form. He didn’t trust himself enough to let his beast out. Not for these guys. The situation would have to be a hell of a lot more dangerous for him to do that. He wasn’t fully in control of his wolf form, and when he let it out, things tended to get bad and bloody. Of course, they were probably going to get bloody in a few seconds anyway.

One of the younger guys, who had a spiked Mohawk, spoke up. “Where’s that slut you walked in with? When we’re done with you we’ll show her a good time.” Lust and something evil oozed out of him.

Jayce didn’t think. The blade was out of his hand and embedded in the guy’s chest before he could stop himself. The thought of any of these men touching Kat made him want to spill their blood and savage their bodies. He almost never lost self-control. Not over a simple comment. But where Kat was concerned . . . sense didn’t enter the equation.

Time seemed to freeze as the man’s eyes widened and his mouth opened. But nothing came out. A trickle of blood dripped from the wound and onto his T-shirt. Before anyone could react, the man’s body began to disintegrate rapidly, turning to dust and leaving only his clothes behind.

That was when Jayce knew that these men—or at least that one—were taking vamp blood. Likely a lot of it, considering what had just happened. Drinking vampire blood wouldn’t turn humans into vamps—it just gave them a lot of strength. Unfortunately for these humans, his two blades, passed to him by his father, had been blessed by the fae about a thousand years ago with a very specific purpose. While against humans they were as deadly as any regular blade, against vampires they were positively lethal. Since the guy was ingesting the supernatural elixir, the magical blades had done what they were made to do: literally suck the life out of those with vamp blood in their system.

In the expanding silence, Jayce wanted to curse himself for his reaction. He hadn’t wanted to kill any of them. He’d just wanted to rough them up and show Kat she couldn’t afford to underestimate her opponents. If she’d gone up against these guys by herself, she wouldn’t have been able to hold her own. Not until she had more training.

No time to dwell on what had happened. The man with the thick graying beard reacted first. He lifted his pistol and fired at Jayce.

The puffs of air emitted when the bullets passed through the suppressor echoed in Jayce’s ears as he used his supernatural speed to dodge out of the way. He rolled to the dirt and gravel surface with lightning speed, striking out with his foot at the closest male.

As Jayce’s foot connected with the guy’s ankle, the male tumbled back, slamming against the hard earth with a grunt.

Jayce jumped up, extended his arm, and slammed his blade into the guy’s chest. The man didn’t even get out a cry of surprise before his body also began to deteriorate at sickening speed.

Pain shredded through Jayce’s shoulder before he could turn toward the other two men. He’d been shot before, so he knew the sensation, but at least it wasn’t a silver bullet. If it had been, the pain would have been more acute.

As adrenaline pumped through him, he dove for his first fallen blade. Picking it up, he threw it again. The sound of flesh tearing and a man’s cry greeted his ears, but he ignored it as he hurled himself at the man with the gun.

With his other blade Jayce sliced the man’s gun-toting arm, knocking the weapon from the guy’s hand and onto the ground. The wound sizzled from the impact of the blade. Groaning, the man lashed out with a balled fist that connected with Jayce’s jaw.

The strength behind the punch made it clear that this guy had a hell of a lot more than human strength flowing through him. Jayce exaggerated the effect of the blow, letting his head jerk back as he stumbled.