He watched, fighting to keep his face expressionless as Sherra gave Merinus the injection. He knew Doc wasn’t giving her a normal contraceptive. The injection wasn’t as powerful as the Depo-Provera shots given in a gynecologist’s office. They lasted only days and didn’t affect the system as severely.

“I hate these shots, Sherra.” He could still hear the throb of anger in Merinus’ voice.

“I know,” Sherra soothed her as she pulled the needle free. “We have all the samples we should need for a while. Until there’s a change.”

“There better be a change soon,” Merinus said firmly. “I’m getting sick of this. There are things I need to do.”

She needed to leave. Callan tamped down the instinctive fury he felt at that thought. She wanted to leave here, to put distance between them if he continued to refuse to give in to her demands to return with her, to reveal himself. His teeth clenched. She was so innocent, too damned innocent. There was no way he could be free of the Council as easily as she believed. If it could have been done, then Maria and Doc would have found a way to do so before her death.

“Callan, Doc still needs samples from you,” Sherra informed him, disrupting his thoughts. “Daily. When will you be in the lab?”

Callan shrugged. “Whenever you are ready. Send Dawn up to stay with Merinus.”

“I don’t need a babysitter,” Merinus retorted, her earlier anger still evident in her voice.

“Too bad,” he told her, unconcerned. “I am not comfortable leaving you alone, so I will ensure you are not alone. Your wishes in this don’t matter.”

He ignored Sherra’s look of surprise, Merinus’ narrowed eyes and flash of stubbornness.


“Geez, Callan, I think all this excess testosterone flooding your system is putting you in overload.” Sherra frowned.

“Testosterone overload?” Merinus gave an unladylike grunt. “More like asshole overload if you ask me.”

Callan growled low and deep at the defiance in her voice.

“And don’t you go doing that growling thing at me.” She pointed her finger at him commandingly. “I’ve had it with you this morning, Callan. Don’t bother leaving that lair in the basement if you can’t act decent.”

His cock was throbbing. He could smell her arousal already and he could feel his blood pumping hard and demandingly into his cock. He should throw her across the table and fuck her into a screaming orgasm before leaving her. That would teach her to defy him in such a way. The thought of her, stretched out across the dark wood of the table as he drove inside her was nearly an irresistible vision of lust. She would throw her head back, beg him to ride her harder, deeper. He breathed in deeply.

“Let’s go.” He stalked across the room as he ordered Sherra to follow him. “Another minute in this woman’s company and I will become violent.”

“Or I will,” Merinus muttered, though her voice sounded weaker, more petulant than furious as it had before.

Strange, she had not pouted since he had first set eyes on her, he didn’t expect to hear it coming from

her now. Let her pout, when he returned to her, he would show her who the dominant one was between them. He would make her scream for her release, beg him to throw her into orgasm. And he knew how to do it. The Council had been amazingly thorough in his lessons. Sex could be a weapon as well as a pleasure. A tool to kill, or to cajole, whichever the situation warranted. He would show her that foreplay could be a torture, a lesson in pleasure so incredible it bordered on pain. His cock jerked at the thought. Damn it, tests first, then he would show his woman who was boss.


She wasn’t about to wait on him. She was fed up with tests and orders, and the throbbing, heated need that pulsed through her body. All she had to do was get away from him. That was all. The enforced confinement only bred the dependency her body was harboring for him. If she could just get away from him, then she could control it.

Merinus hurriedly dressed in jersey shorts, a light tank top and her running shoes. She tucked some cash in the zippered pocket of the shorts, then slipped from the house. She knew the other three males were patrolling the hills around the cabin for mercenaries, but she hoped they were overlooking the main road in. A vehicle could be heard easily coming in, she knew. That area wouldn’t be a weak point. Taking a deep breath, she sprinted across the yard and worked her way into the forest that bordered the road. Staying close to the graveled track, she kept just inside the tree line, jogging quickly toward the main road.

It wouldn’t take Callan long to find out she was missing, and tracking her sure as hell wouldn’t be a problem for him. She had to get to camp. Callan may have stolen the cell phone she carried with her, but there was a spare hidden in the jeep. And the jeep was still there. She had heard him discussing it with the others that morning. He wanted them to get the jeep and begin taking her camp down, removing all traces of her from the area.

Despite Sherra’s attempts to ease her fears, Merinus feared Callan’s intentions. He spoke so easily of killing those soldiers. What was to keep him from killing her when their passion had ended? When his body no longer craved her, when his lusts dimmed for her. She would become an inconvenience, one that knew his secrets.

Fear rushed through her veins, giving her the added adrenaline needed to push herself, almost at a run,

over the two miles of rough terrain to the main road. There, luck was with her. She had no more begun a hurried jog down the pavement when a car passed, then slowed. Relief washed over her when she saw the young girls watching her expectantly.

“Hey, ain’t you the journalist that’s been running around town?” the blonde, gum snapping driver asked her with a smile.

The girl waitressed evenings at the small restaurant she ate in, Merinus remembered.

“I need a ride back to camp,” Merinus told her urgently. “Could you drive me there?”

She was sweating, her blood thundering through her veins. She needed Callan. She swallowed at the bile rising in her throat as she fought the weakening symptoms.

“Sure. Get in. You look kinda sick, though. Sure you don’t want to go to the doctor?”

Merinus pulled the back door open and slid in thankfully.

“No doctors.” She barely halted the shudder of her body at the thought of someone touching her. “Just take me to the access road to my camp. I’ll be fine from there.”

She wondered if her jeep was still there. Another cell phone was hidden there, a spare, just in case, Kane had told her. She had to get to that phone.

“Sure. No problem.” A heavy foot hit the gas and the car shot forward. Merinus bit her lip, fighting the need to scream out at her to stop, to take her back to Callan. Addictions could be cured, she told herself. Detox. Kane had gone through it a long time ago, and he told her once, any addiction could be cured. All you had to do was fight it. Just fight it. She could fight it, Merinus assured herself.

Her fists clenched in the pockets of her shorts, her body throbbed and the air became stifling. She tasted blood from her teeth biting into her lips and she was forced to clench her teeth instead. Control, she chanted to herself. Control. Kane said all it took was control.

The roar that erupted from Callan’s throat when they realized Merinus was missing almost shocked him. He knew it shocked the others. Dawn whimpered, Sherra flinched. The three men whose sole job it was to protect the house paled.

“You didn’t even know she was out there?” The primal growl in his voice had the three men taking a step back.

“We were above her, Callan. There was no reason for us to believe she would try to slip away from you,” Taber defended them all.

“And why would you not patrol the road? Do you think no one would think to use it?” he bit out harshly.

“What the hell is it there for?”

“We would have heard—”

“Nothing if they were on foot as Merinus was,” Callan rasped furiously. The rage pulsing through his body was hot and violent. Damn her to hell, she had run from him. Taken money and the keys to her vehicle and ran, despite the needs raging through her body. And she needed. He knew, because the hot throb of lust was making him demented.

“We miscalculated,” Taber admitted.

“You fucked up, there’s a difference,” Callan accused him. “She’s headed for camp.” He pushed his fingers through his hair, fighting to think. “She’ll want her vehicle so she can run. Let’s go.”

He turned on his heel, unwilling to wait any longer.

“Sherra, you and Tanner head for town, make certain she’s not there. The rest of us will head to camp. My damned luck she’s fucking called in the Marines by the time I get there.”

The Marines or those damned brothers she kept threatening him with. That woman thought her brothers could move the damned world if they wanted to. He bit back an oath of disgust as he jumped into the Bronco and turned the key. Taber and Dayan followed quickly, settling into their seats as Callan tore out of the driveway.

“She’s becoming a liability, Callan,” Dayan charged as they sped onto the main road minutes later. “A danger to us.”

“Shut up, Dayan.” Callan flicked a glance at the other man through the rear view mirror. He watched fury wash over Dayan’s face, his brown eyes narrowing in offense. Callan was passed caring. Respect came with a price. He and Taber had fucked up, and Callan would be damned before he would accept the responsibility for that himself. They each had a job to do and he had done his part. The other males had failed in theirs and the price could end up being their lives if they didn’t find Merinus.

“She shouldn’t have much of a head start on us,” Callan bit out. “No more than an hour, and she would have taken much of that jogging to the main road.”

“Could be less if she didn’t get a ride right off,” Taber offered. Callan flicked him a sarcastic glance. Of course, she would have got a ride right off. No one around here left anyone walking.

“If she’s called her family, you’ll have to let her go, Callan,” Dayan bit out. “We’ll all go into hiding again. There’s no other choice.”

Callan refused to answer him. He turned sharply onto another graveled path, a short cut that would take him right to the area Merinus had parked her jeep. The drive was mere minutes compared to the half hour it would take by going around. He prayed he got to Merinus before she got to that damned jeep. If she managed to get out of the county before he caught up with her, then they were both in more trouble

than he even wanted to consider.

Callan would not even consider letting Merinus go. He couldn’t. Not yet. Not now. Not while his body was inflamed, his natural instincts to subjugate his mate rioting within his body. He couldn’t believe she had made such a damned foolish move. That the strong, determined woman he was getting to know would run in such a way. That she was brave enough to tempt the beast lying just below the surface.

She was sweating, her breathing laboring in her lungs by the time she reached the small clearing where her jeep was parked. It was still there. She was almost crying in relief as she stumbled against the vehicle, fighting the zipper to her shorts pocket and struggling to pull her keys out. She nearly dropped them twice before she managed to fit the key into the lock and twist it. She scrambled into the interior, shuddering, her body weak, unsteady as she groped at the glove box to open it. The door finally fell open, revealing the spare cell phone that Kane insisted she keep up. Flipping it open, she keyed the rapid dial and listened for the call to go through.

“Merinus!” His voice was a desperate yell across the line.

“Kane,” she gasped, lying across the seat now, clutching her stomach. “Oh, God. I’m in trouble, Kane.”

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