His lips came to her ear.
“Play nice, queenie,” he ordered.
“Jesus, fucking, God, she’s a goddamn wildcat,” the other swore from behind them.
Their smell hit Sonia then.
She’d smelled them before.
They’d tracked her before. They were the menacing ones.
But they’d always kept a distance. Now, obviously, there was nothing distant about them and this made terror slice through her.
He held her easily. His strength was hard to miss. She was kicking out with her heels, connecting with his shins and he didn’t even so much as grunt.
He could snap her neck in an instant, she knew it. How she knew it, she couldn’t say, she just did.
Still, she fought his hold and only stopped when she noticed what he was doing.
Her body went solid.
He was sniffing her.
She held her breath.
“Fuck, do you fucking smell her?” he asked against her neck, his arms tightening painfully.
She felt his comrade get close but she heard him pull in breath through his nose.
Then his friend muttered, “Jesus.”
“You touch yourself tonight, queenie?” her captor asked, his voice a leer.
Her body jerked with surprise.
Oh my God, she thought hysterically, they’re like me.
“Sure she did.” The other got close, bending from his enormous height to peer in her face. “She doesn’t smell like that normally. I would have noticed.”
For some strange reason, her captor was rubbing his temple against her neck, her jaw, her cheek. “Christ, I’m getting hard.”
“What do you think?” his friend asked, getting closer, his voice dropping, becoming ugly with greed. “Will we get medals, promotions, or both, we do her before the king can claim her?”
Sonia’s body locked tight as fear froze every muscle.
“Both,” her captor muttered, his hand moving from her mouth, down her neck, her chest, his aim unmistakable as he continued, “Me first.”
She opened her mouth to scream. Her captor’s friend’s hand shot toward her face and she gave an almighty heave to get loose when they heard the thundering, unbelievably terrifying howl.
Everyone froze but Sonia’s eyes shot to the door.
The man from her dream stood there.
Then he moved, dropped down and crouched low on both legs and not even a second passed before he surged up…
And the man was gone but, suddenly – she could not believe her eyes – her wolf, alive and snarling, was flying across the room.
He landed on her captor’s colleague who went down with a wounded yelp.
Sonia, thinking vaguely that her fear was making her hallucinate, got one chance to look and saw a spray of blood spurting across the room before she was tossed again.
She flew through the air and fell down, the back of her head slamming against the corner of her bedside table. She felt a brief moment of pain and she heard a vicious snarl at the same time she could have sworn she heard the tearing of flesh.
Then everything went black.
Ryon walked into the throne room of the Territorial Mansion and he felt his jaw grow tight.
Desdemona sat on the throne on the dais, her dark, gleaming hair around her shoulders, her face fully made up, an honor guard of twelve flanking the back of the throne and down the steps of the dais.
She, at least, was smart enough to know if she wanted to try something it would take at least thirteen of them to bring him low.
However, she wasn’t smart enough not to appear unaware of their surprise visit.
Or there was the distinct possibility she was still panting for the opportunity to see Callum and she’d hastily thrown this circus together for his benefit.
Fuck, Ryon had called her only a half an hour before and she’d managed to pull together this show.
He barely got two steps in the room before the entire guard dropped to a knee, fell forward on a hand and gazed at him, heads up.
Much more slowly, Desdemona gracefully alighted from the chair and she took her time moving a step to her left before she fell into the same ceremonial bow.
Ryon hadn’t seen her in years and she hadn’t changed. Haughty because of her high birth, conceited because of her extreme beauty and stupid because she just plain was.
She was lucky it was Ryon moving toward her. If Callum had seen that demonstration, he’d have her head and deserve it.
He might have it anyway and deserve it more.
Desdemona, daughter of Titium and Governor of the Western Territories of the Americas was about to learn that King Callum was not, at all, like the patient, generous, benevolent King McDonagh was.
Without a word, he walked up the steps of the dais, sat in the throne and muttered, “Rise.”