His cock slammed inside her vagina. Stretching her, filling her as they both cried out at the clawing, greedy lust that had taken control of their bodies. There was no time to ease into their race for completion. Their bodies were frenzied, locked together in a dance of agonized pleasure. His hips drove his erection deep, thrusting hard and fast. She felt the small thumb of flesh that began to grow tautly erect on it just under the head of his cock. It raked the gripping muscles that milked his shaft until with one last heavy thrust it fully emerged, locking him in deep, jerking, pulsing against the sensual trigger deep within her body as his sperm erupted from the head of his cock.

Merinus saw stars. Her climax was like a ravaging beast as it ripped through her body this time. She couldn’t breathe, she could only convulse against him as his teeth bit into the skin between her neck and shoulder, just enough pain, just enough edge to drive her into madness. It was long moments later before she felt Callan collapse to the bed beside her, drawing her tight against his heaving chest as he dragged the blankets over their cooling bodies. He held her close to his heat, his hand pressing her face into his chest, his body wrapping protectively around her.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered, his voice agonized. “Oh God, Merinus, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.”

She pulled back from his chest, staring into the tortured depths of his golden eyes. She was sated, relaxed. Her body no longer throbbed, lust no longer clawed at her insides.

“For what?” Her hand lifted weakly to caress the hard line of his jaw.

“I hurt you.” He laid his hand over hers, pressing it close. “I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Hmm,” she murmured. “Hurt me again some more next time then. You must have found a cure.”

“What?” His voice was shocked.

“I can sleep now.” She closed her eyes to do just that. “It doesn’t hurt anymore, Callan.”

She snuggled against his chest, feeling his arms come around her with a hesitancy that brought tears to her eyes. She kissed his chest weakly, then let the darkness and the incredible warmth of his body lull her


into peace. For the first time since seeing his picture on her father’s desk weeks ago, Merinus was at peace.


It was barely dawn when Callan brought Merinus quickly awake. With his hand over her mouth, his voice a quiet hiss in her ear, he warned her to silence. Staring up at him in surprise, Merinus nodded her head, barely recognizing the savage standing before her.

His expression was hard, frightening in the dim light of the room. What was even more terrifying was the fact that he was dressed in dark fatigues, his hair tied back, his amber eyes glowing with an eerie light within the darkness of the room.

“Here.” He jerked her shirt over her head as he pushed her shorts into her hands. “Dress quickly.”

He was already dressed. As she dragged her shorts nervously over her hips, he handed her socks and her hiking boots.

“Hurry,” he urged her as she pulled the socks and boots on and laced them with trembling fingers. As she rushed to dress, Callan was stuffing small boxes in a backpack, his movements hurried but controlled. Muscles bunched beneath the clothing, tight and hard, his body tense in preparation for danger. This was not a relaxing wake up call.

“What’s wrong?” Confusion filled her voice, though she fought to keep it at a low whisper.

“We have company. Soldiers.” He grabbed her hand when she tied off her boot and drew her quickly to the door.

It was then Merinus saw the dull glint of the gun he carried in his hand. Small and lethal, the silver black color gleamed subtly in the darkness, reminding her of the death that always surrounded him. She took a deep, steadying breath, following him as he drew her from the bed. Keeping his other hand wrapped carefully around her wrist, he pulled her from the bedroom, heading cautiously down the dark hallway. Merinus couldn’t hear anything. She strained to detect any sound out of the ordinary, but all she heard

was total silence, and the dull thud of her own heartbeat. They moved carefully along the hallway, staying flat against the wall as he drew her towards the kitchen. Drawing her down to a crouch, Callan moved her into the kitchen and over to the door that led into the garage. There, he turned the doorknob silently, standing alert as he inhaled slowly.

He jerked the door opened and rushed her across the concrete floor to the hidden door. It opened before they could reach it. Sherra waved them in quickly, dressed in fatigues as well, a gun in her hand.

“Get her dressed.” Callan pushed Merinus towards Sherra as he headed to where the doctor was packing equipment in desperate haste.

“Leave anything you don’t have to have. Samples and notes only, Doc.” Callan grabbed several cases of just that and rushed them to a waiting jeep parked at the end of the cavernous room. “We don’t have time for the rest.”

“How close are they?” Sherra pushed pants and a T-shirt at Merinus as she glanced back.

“They’ll be through the security system in a matter of minutes. It will take them no time to find the hidden door,” Callan barked. “Get your shit together and let’s get out of here. Taber and Tanner are keeping track of them and they’re working on the doors now.”

Merinus hurriedly took her boots off, jerked her shorts over her legs, then her T-shirt over her head. As she struggled to put the boots back on then, she glanced up. Only then did she see the small earphone and mic that he had over his head. He talked quietly into it for a second as he loaded another box into the jeep.

“What about Dayan?” Sherra questioned him as Merinus jerked on the pants and pulled her boots back on.

“Out of contact.” Callan’s voice was hard, cold.

“He ran again?” Sherra questioned in amazement, anger pulsing in her voice. Evidently it wasn’t unusual for Dayan to be out of the line of fire when trouble arose.

“Packed.” Callan ignored her question. “Sherra, you and Dawn get the doc the hell out of here. Get to the safe house and wait for me there. You know what to do if you don’t hear from me.”

Merinus felt fear crawling through her body. What would they do? What about Kane? Sherra was supposed to meet with them that morning, she knew.

“You promised Sherra would meet Kane.” She stared across the room at Callan’s cold expression.

“And we weren’t attacked until I talked to that cutthroat brother of yours,” he bit out. “Until I know if he’s the one who betrayed us, then he can cool his heels where he’s at. This isn’t a team, Merinus, like before. This is a full assault, over a dozen soldiers. They aren’t taking chances this time.”

Merinus shook her head at the accusation in his tone.

“Kane didn’t do it. He didn’t know where we were.”

“Kane is a soldier, Merinus,” he growled. “He could have had a trace on that fucking cell and pinpointed

us within minutes. Had I not been so concerned with your worry and fears, I would have thought of that. I’ve risked us all with my own ignorance.”

Merinus bit her lip as he strode quickly to her, pulling a large backpack over his shoulders and carrying the smaller on his shoulder.

“We have to go.” He grabbed her wrist, pulling her along behind him as Sherra and the doctor rushed to the jeep. “Hopefully, the soldiers will see the signs of the jeep and follow it as far as they can. Sherra and the doctor will have no problems when they emerge outside, because the area is heavily used by hunters and the road into here is unknown. There’s a smaller, hidden corridor on up here that takes us out into the mountains.”

“How will that help us?” She fought to keep up with him as he rushed through the narrowing tunnel that led through the mountain they were currently in.

“Because I know the fucking area and they don’t,” he bit out. “We’re not safe anywhere else, Merinus. Only here.”

“Call Kane,” she gasped when he pulled her into a shadowed crevice. He pushed a large rock out of the way, drew her into the dark corridor, then rolled it closed once again. Seconds later, a small beam of light lit the way.

Merinus could feel nerves and panic washing over her. Callan thought Kane had betrayed him, she knew he did, and she couldn’t think of a way to convince him otherwise. She knew her brother would have never, ever put her in a position that could get her seriously hurt. Bruised a little, but never hurt.

“Maybe it wasn’t soldiers.” She struggled for breath as he loped along the narrow passageway, pulling her behind him, forcing her to keep up. “Maybe it was Kane and my brothers.”

“Then they came in the wrong way,” he bit out. “Whoever was out there was packing weapons, Merinus, and plenty of them. It was the first thing I smelled. They were outside our bedroom window right before I woke you. If it were your brothers, they should have fucking knocked. And Taber would have recognized your family.”

“Kane wouldn’t try to hurt you,” she argued.

“Dammit, Merinus, the bastard has enough sense to know that an animal is fucking his baby sister. He was furious on the phone. If it were me, I would have already killed him.”

She flushed at the knowledge. Of course Kane would know, but still, she couldn’t see him rushing in and doing anything so impulsive without assessing the situation first. It just wasn’t like him. But she didn’t have the breath to argue further with him. He was moving them quickly through the passageway, his steps silent as she fought to keep her own movements just as quiet. Her boots were soft-soled, but still there was a shuffle, a scrape of leather over stone that seemed to echo around her. It seemed they strode though endless miles of weathered stone before he slowed the fast walk they were in. He began to move slower, easing her through the corridor, his head tilted as he listened carefully.

“We’re getting ready to move out of the tunnel. I want you to stay quiet, Merinus and stay right behind me,” he warned her as he stopped and laid his mouth at her ear to speak. “No matter what I tell you to

do, you do it, and do it quickly. Do you understand?”

His voice was quiet again, that throb of savagery in it making her heart beat out of control. She nodded her head quickly as he glanced back at her. His eyes glittered in the darkness, a dull gold, furious, cold. He extinguished the penlight and eased around a corner, moving silently toward the dim light ahead. He stilled, his fingers going to her lips as his head tilted, listening intently. He pushed her against the wall, indicating she should stay there, stay silent.

He was going on without her. Merinus shook her head violently, her fingers gripping his arms. Then she heard a sound, a shuffle of feet, a light scrape against stone. Her eyes widened, terror flooding through her. Callan’s eyes narrowed as he pushed her tighter into the stone, a warning in his expression as he pulled the gun from his belt and began to move away from her. Merinus took a deep, silent breath. She fought to keep her breathing normal, her heart rate slower. She couldn’t hear anything past the desperate drum of blood rushing through her body. She was terrified. Her own fear was like a separate entity choking her, strangling the breath in her throat as Callan moved silently away from her. She watched his face, seeing the cold threat in his expression. This wasn’t the lover she had known in the past days, or the teasing, elusive prey she had stalked the weeks before. Callan was now the creature those damned scientists had created. Cold, hard, his body primed and ready to fight.

Stay! He mouthed silently.

She nodded, unwilling to worry him. Kane had warned her many times of the danger of a soldier allowing his concentration to fracture under fire. He had to be able to fight without the baggage of internal or emotional conflict. She pressed herself tighter against the stone, watching him desperately, praying he knew she would stay put as he warned her to.

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