It took her only fifteen minutes going at full pelt to get to Sebastian’s house. She crashed out of the woods that cornered his neighborhood when she remembered she was a wolf. Sheepishly, she cowered back, and fell down into the grass so she could gaze around at the surroundings. It looked like she was going to have to go through the backyards and hope to Artemis no one saw her.

There were a few hairy moments. Such as when she thought the first backyard was clear and made to shoot through it and under the fence into the neighboring yard. She just managed to squeeze herself back behind a garbage can when a short, squat woman trundled out the back door with a pile of laundry in her arms. As soon as the woman’s back was turned Caia streaked across it and out of sight.

Two houses from Sebastian’s and her coat was soaked with sweat.

“Is that a dog?”

So startled at the booming male voice that came from behind her, Caia tore off, not even pretending to hide, and jumped the six foot fence that bordered Sebastian’s house. There was some commotion behind her so she scuttled to the back door scraping and whining as loudly as she could.

Caia had never been so thankful to see anybody in her life.

“Caia?” Sebastian asked in amazement, his eyes darting around and then coming back to her. “What are you doing?”

She whined again and he ushered her inside.

“My mom and dad are visiting Cera. The kids all like each other,” he explained.

She whined again as if to say ‘and I give a rat’s ass?’


“I’ll get you clothes.” He nodded and hurried out of the kitchen.

Back in a flash he held a pair of jeans and a large Killers t-shirt. “The jeans are my mom’s. I couldn’t find a shirt for you, though, so you’ll just have to wear mine.”

Caia waited for him to leave but he just stood there with his hands jammed in his jean pockets watching her. After a moment’s padding, she growled politely, and he took the hint and left.

Her change back was just as quick and again she marveled at it. It felt almost like cheating, she thought as she pulled on the clothes. Sebastian’s mom’s jeans were a little on the long side so she rolled them up as best she could, and pulled on Seb’s shirt. It smelled of him and she wondered momentarily if he had lied about not being able to find her a shirt from his mom’s closet just so she would be encased in his scent. Shaking it off as paranoia, Caia wandered through the house until she found him sitting, waiting for her in his living room.

He smirked, drinking in the sight of her and she felt his rush of pleasure at seeing her in something he owned.

“I need shoes.” She distracted him.

“What size?”


He grinned and got up. “My mom’s an eight, that’ll do, right? Mom has really small feet for a tall chick.”

“You call your mom, chick?” she called after him.

“Not to her face.”

Once she had on sneakers and socks Caia was able to explain the entire mess to Sebastian.

When she was finished, Sebastian shook his head in disgust. “I can’t believe he did that.”

“Yeah, well, I should have seen it coming. He’s so...”

“Obnoxious,” Sebastian supplied cheerfully.

“I was going for overprotective, but obnoxious works just as well.”

He grinned and then stilled, looking serious and very grown up all of a sudden. “So what’s the plan?”

Caia began to pace, hoping to Gaia that Sebastian would go for it. “The guys are staying at a Motel called Motel En El Camino. I thought we could take your car and head out after them and meet up with them there. Once we’re halfway there, they’re not going to send us back, and if they try to, this time I’m pulling out the big guns.”

Sebastian looked worried. “Magik?”

“Yes. If it’s the only way.”

“Caia, you sure you want to do this?”

Yes. Didn’t he understand? Jaeden had been kidnapped because of her and now four of the pack’s strongest young males were headed out after her. Lucien was headed out after her. And they didn’t have the backup they needed. She wouldn’t let them do this alone.

“I have to.”

Sebastian nodded. “Then let’s go.”

“Sebastian, you don’t have to. You could just give me your car.”

He chuckled and shook his head. “No way are you leaving me out of the action.”

27 - The Fight Before Battle

Sebastian left a note for his parents telling them he was at Caia’s. He guessed once they found out the truth they would already be with Lucien, who would most probably call Ella to let her know Caia and Sebastian were with him.

The drive was quiet except for when Caia gave him directions. The closer they got, the stronger the icy pull she felt from Ethan was. What disturbed her more was the shades of familiarity that hit her every now and then as they passed a town; incoherent thoughts would reach out at her, some dark, some dismal, some mundane. But she could have pinpointed the exact location of those thoughts, told Sebastian to turn the car around and drive right up to the spot of those thoughts.

This is what Marion is talking about, she sighed, leaning her forehead against the car window. Her body was humming with connections that grew more numerous as the hours ticked by, until Caia felt like she could burst out of her skin. It scared her more than she liked and she put a plug on her emotions so that Sebastian wouldn’t scent her fear and mistake its reason. She was frightened by the thought of being connected to thousands of Midnight magiks and just what it would do to her sanity once she reached full capacity.

“Are you OK?” Sebastian asked quietly, keeping his gaze straight ahead. “You know we could just turn back.”

“Is that what you’ve been thinking for the last two hours, Seb?” she replied, trying not to be snarly. His response was tense silence. “No, I didn’t think so. My bet is that you’ve been playing over and over in your mind Jaeden’s rescue.”

He smirked wryly. “You know me so well.”

“I need to get her back, Sebastian. There is no going back.”

He nodded and let the silence fall between them again.

They couldn’t be too far behind Lucien and the others. Caia breathed in deep relief when they found the Motel the guys had said they would crash at, and sure enough Lucien’s truck sat parked outside a room further down the lot.

Caia got out of the car, her heart pounding. She could hear Sebastian’s beat just as erratically as hers.

“He’s going to kill us,” Sebastian murmured, coming around the car to stand close by her.

“Hasn’t seemed to bother you before.”

They walked slowly towards the room, picking up the others’ scents until they were standing immediately outside room 15. The door flew open before they could even knock and Christian stood staring at them incredulously, before ushering them in without a word.

Caia blinked in the dull darkness of the large motel room with its brown faded curtains closed across all the windows. Aidan sat on one of the twin beds with a matching look of incredulity and horror on his face. Lucien and Ryder were nowhere to be seen, and Caia couldn’t smell either of them nearby.

“What in the Hades are you doing here, Caia?” Aidan jumped up, pulling her further into the room as Christian shut the door. Sebastian clung closely to her and Aidan frowned, sniffing her. His eyes widened and he spluttered at Sebastian, “You didn’t dare.”

Just then the door banged open nearly knocking Christian on his ass. Caia gulped as Lucien strode forward, his eyes on her, blazing with undiluted fury. Her gaze swung past them to Ryder who wore a mixed look of disappointment and sympathy.

“Are you insane?” Lucien’s guttural growl was so animalistic even the other guys flinched back. And then he seemed to catch the scent of the air around him and his silver eyes darkened to almost black. Caia would always be thankful for how quickly Ryder reacted, grabbing Lucien back by the arms and enlisting Christian’s help to restrain him while he writhed and spat and growled, his eyes locked on Sebastian with bloodthirsty intent.

“Why do you smell like him?” Caia flinched back from the snarl. At first she was so taken aback by how uncontrolled Lucien was, truly scared of him for the first time, that she looked around at the others in incomprehension at his question. Sebastian had paled, but stood bravely tense. Caia automatically reached out to ease him by placing a comforting hand on his shoulder. It was a bad move. Lucien struggled harder and almost freed himself before Aidan joined them to hold him back.

“Caia,” Ryder groaned, struggling to hold onto his friend. “He means why do you smell of Sebastian?”

Oh dear goddess, she slumped in relief, understanding now that he had misinterpreted Sebastian’s scent on her. Oh, she flushed, embarrassed at what they were all thinking. They thought she and Sebastian had...

Well... that isn’t insulting in anyway.

“Oh, for goddess sake,” she snapped stepping forward, trying to be unafraid of him. “I’m wearing Sebastian’s shirt that’s all.”

An eruption of disjointed growling followed this.

“He’s asking why?” Ryder snapped, looking truly pissed at her now.

“Because I was bare ass after running wolf-style through the woods to get to his house.”

Lucien snarled some more and looked more than ready to decapitate Sebastian.

Caia threw up her hands. She knew Alpha’s could get pretty protective of their mates but this was just obscene, especially considering she had told him where to stick their mating. “Oh for the love of Gaia, nothing happened!” she cried. “But thanks for the swell opinion.” This was directed at them all, because they had all been thinking the same thing.

Sebastian shrugged, trying to remain cool. “She’s telling the truth. I wouldn’t touch her without her say so.”

Oh such the wrong thing to say. Caia glared at him as Lucien struggled some more. “Sebastian, maybe you should wait outside.”

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