Aeron had blinked and found himself inside Reyes’s bedroom, a knife in his hand, Danika’s neck so beautifully close…

“Nope,” Sabin said. “We agreed.”

They would not show the cage to Hunters—even doomed ones—for any reason, so that Hunters would never see what it could do. Just in case.

“Learn anything else?” Sabin asked, changing the subject.

But Aeron saw the gleam in the warrior’s eye. Because the cage had been mentioned in mixed company, this Hunter would die after their session. “Just a confirmation of what the captive women told us. They were raped, impregnated, their babies meant to be used to one day fight us. Already there are half-immortal children out there being raised as Hunters, but Greg there doesn’t want to save his fingers and toes and tell us where.”

The sobs became silent, the Hunter so scared his throat was closing. Any moment, he’d pass out.

Paris gripped him by the neck and shoved his head between his legs, the rope that bound him pulling tight on his wrists. “Breathe, damn you. Or I swear to the gods I’ll keep you lucid another way.”

“At least he still has his voice box,” Sabin said dryly. He held a curved blade up to the light and flicked the tip. Blood instantly beaded on his finger. “Unlike his friend in the cell to the left.”

“My bad,” Paris said, but he didn’t sound repentant. There was an almost maniacal gleam in those blue eyes.

“How’s he supposed to answer our questions if he can’t speak?”

“Interpretive dance,” was the wry response.

Sabin snorted. “You could have used your powers.” His faculty for seduction worked even on men.

“I could have, but didn’t.” Paris scowled. “And I won’t do so now, so don’t ask. I hate these bastards too much to lay on the charm, even for information. I still owe them for the time I spent as their prisoner.”

Sabin glanced at Aeron, an unspoken why didn’t you stop him drifting between them. Aeron shrugged. He had no idea how to deal with the fierce, violent soldier Paris had become. Was this how the others had felt about him?

“So right now we’re determined to learn the location of the kids?” Sabin asked. “That it?”

“Yes,” Aeron replied. “One of the Hunters admitted that they range in ages, anywhere from infancy to teenager. And yeah, they’ve been raping immortals that long. They were able to do so without getting caught because of their location. That cavern in Egypt was once a temple to the gods. It’s protected, though no one knows by who—or how we bypassed that protection.

“Supposedly the kids are faster and stronger than any Hunter that has come before. Oh, and get this. Most of the incubators, as this bastard called them…they were immortals Ashlyn found.”

Ashlyn had the unique ability to stand in one location and hear every conversation that had ever taken place there. Before coming to Budapest, she’d worked for—hell, dedicated her life to—the World Institute of Parapsychology, an agency that had used her skills to hunt immortals. For “research,” they’d told her.

“We can’t tell her,” Aeron added. “She would be devastated.” Learning she’d inadvertently been working for Hunters must have been bad enough; the discovery that her abilities had been used to help breed new Hunters might be too much for the gentle pregnant woman.

“We’ll tell Maddox and let him decide what to leak to her.”

“Please, let me go,” Greg begged, tone desperate. “I’ll take the others a message. Any message you want. A warning, even. I’ll tell them to stay away from you. To leave you alone.”

Sabin lifted a vial of dirty-looking liquid from that velvet pouch. “Now why would I let you give them a warning that I can deliver myself?” He popped the cap with his thumb and poured the stuff over his blade. There was a hiss and sizzle.

Greg tried to scoot his chair back but it was nailed in place. “Wh-what is that?”

“A special kind of acid I like to mix myself. It’ll eat through your flesh, burn you from inside out. Vessels, muscle, bone, it doesn’t matter. Only thing it can’t eat through is this metal, because it’s straight from the heavens. So, are you going to tell us what we want to know? Or am I going to shove this blade into the bottom of your foot and work my way up?”

Tears streamed down the trembling man’s face, landing on his shirt and blending with the blood already caked there. “They’re in a training facility. Everyone calls it Hunter High. It’s a subsidiary of the World Institute of Parapsychology. A boarding school where the kids are kept as far from their mothers as possible. There they are taught how to fight, how to track. Taught to hate your kind for the millions you’ve murdered with your diseases and lies. The millions who have killed themselves because of the misery you spread.”

Excellent. Now he was sounding like the Hunters Aeron so loathed.

“And where is this facility located?” Sabin asked flatly.

“I don’t know. I honestly don’t know. You have to believe me.”

“Sorry, but I don’t.” Slowly Sabin approached him. “So let’s see if I can jog your memory, shall we?”


IF ONE MORE PAIN-FILLED, gut-wrenching scream echoed off Sabin’s bedroom walls, Gwen was going to hurt someone! It had been going on forever, it seemed. Didn’t help that fatigue beat heavy fists all over her, weighing down her eyelids, fuzzing up her brain, making this seem like an endless nightmare. But she was determined to keep both her eyes and ears open, just in case one of the Lords decided to sneak in and hurt her.

Like they were hurting the man currently begging for mercy. Beyond any doubt, she knew the Hunters were being tortured. That’s where Sabin had gone. That’s why he’d abandoned her so quickly. His “work” was the most important thing in his life.Know him so well, do you? No. But she knew he despised the Hunters, knew he craved their destruction as much as she craved normalcy and would do anything, anything to ensure it.

She understood his desire. They’d taken something from him, a loved one. More than one loved one, actually. They’d taken something from her, too. Many somethings. Her pride, the normal life she’d just started to carve out for herself. She hated them as much as Sabin did. Maybe more.

They’d watched Chris rape those women with lust in their eyes, wanting a turn of their own. They hadn’t stopped him, hadn’t even protested his despicable actions. So even though the screams were driving her insane, stopping Sabin wasn’t on her to-do list. Those Hunters deserved what they got. However, each and every one of those screams reminded her that Sabin wanted her to help him purposely end life.

Could she?

Just the thought caused bile to rise in her throat and fear to infuse her blood, turning the cells to acid and blistering her veins. Over the years, she had killed. Oh, had she killed.

At nine, she’d killed her tutor for giving her an F. At sixteen, a man had followed her into a building, had jerked her into an empty room and locked the door. He’d lasted thirty seconds against the Harpy. At twenty-five, she’d moved from Alaska to Georgia, following Tyson—which was what prompted her mother to cut all ties—and finally started college, something she’d wanted to do years earlier. She couldn’t handle that rowdy a public, her sisters had said. And they were right. A married professor made a pass at her, that was all, yet she’d ripped into him as if he’d tried to slice her throat. Her third week of college had been her last.

Her sisters claimed the Harpy would not be so volatile if Gwen stopped combating what she was, but she didn’t believe them. They were a bloodthirsty lot, constantly fighting, with a body count that staggered her. She loved them, but though she envied their confidence and strength, she didn’t want to be like them. Most days.

Another agonized scream.

To distract herself, she explored the bedroom, picked the lock on the weapons chest and pocketed a few of the throwing stars Sabin had hidden there, only yawning three times—an improvement. Some skills a girl never forgot, and B and E was something her family took very seriously. Should have done this sooner. She picked the door lock, as well, and sneaked into the hallway—only to backtrack into the bedroom the moment she heard footsteps.

Why am I such a coward?

Another scream, this one fading into a gurgle.

Trembling, yawning again, she eased onto the mattress, forcing her fuzzy mind to consider what was around her rather than what she was hearing. The bedroom was a surprise. Hard and masculine as Sabin was, she’d expected sparse furnishing, blacks and browns, nothing personal. And on the surface, that’s what she saw.

But under the dark brown comforter were vibrant blue sheets and a feather-top mattress. In the closet, he had an array of funny T-shirts. Pirates of the Caribbean. Hello Kitty. One that said Welcome to the Gun Show, with arrows pointing to his biceps. Behind a veil of lush plants was a sitting area he’d rigged with a pillowed floor that looked up to a ceiling mural of castles in the clouds.

She liked the conflicting sides of him. Like the harsh yet boyish aspects of his face.

“Hello, hello, hello,” a female called. The door she’d just shut flew open and a tall, gorgeous woman strolled inside, a tray of food balanced in her hands. Judging by the scent wafting from the plate, there was a ham sandwich, a handful of Baked Lays, a bowl of grapes and a glass of—Gwen sniffed—cranberry juice.

Her mouth watered. Maybe it was her intense hunger or perhaps her lack of sleep, but the intruder wasn’t even a blip on her radar. “Wh-what do you have there?”

“Pay no attention to the food,” the stranger said, placing the tray on the dresser. “This is for Sabin. The jerk conned me into making him a meal. I was told you weren’t to touch anything, I’m sorry.”

“Uh, no problem.” It was hard to speak, her tongue felt so swollen. “Who are you?” She couldn’t pull her gaze from that tray.