Ice Warrior: (Dark Warrior Alliance Book 13), page 15
Zander crawled on all fours to his side, panting. “What is it?” his brother asked.
“I’m no’ sure,” Bhric breathed, his chest heaving.
Alex’s panic was a living entity in his chest and made it difficult to breathe. Fuck, he couldn’t even think straight.
Off to the side, Bhric heard clapping. “Damn, that was some good shit, there. I can’t wait to spar with you two,” Tristan shouted as he continued to clap his hands.
Bhric didn’t know the newcomer very well, but he had a feeling the young male was going to meet his fists a time, or two, before he became an adult. The stripling was a hothead and had a big mouth that needed shutting. It reminded Bhric of what he’d been like at that age.
“Show’s over. Get oot, everybody,” Zander ordered as he propped his back against the ropes of the ring.
Bhric looked over to see Tristan, Gerrick, Rhys, and Nate leave the training room. He couldn’t blame them for watching. He would’ve been on the front row with popcorn if Zander and Kyran were going at it.
Bhric crawled his way over to Zander and sat beside him. They were a bloody mess. Zander’s nose had stopped bleeding, but his hands were covered in Bhric’s blood. Bhric rubbed his jaw and checked to see if any teeth were loose, all the while his chest tightened further.
“Great fucking shot,” Bhric murmured as he stretched his mouth, making sure it wasn’t broken.
“Aye, it was,” Zander laughed. “I think you punctured my lung, arsehole.” His brother’s complaint was laced with affection as he cradled his side.
“Remind me never to fight you again,” Bhric replied as he took a deep breath, and coughed from the pain that followed. He wished it was solely from the beating he’d taken, but that was only half of it.
“Duly noted. Now, you ready to talk aboot what’s going on?” Zander asked sincerely.
With a heavy sigh, Bhric looked to the ceiling. “‘Tis Alex. I doona know what I will do if she doesna want this mating. I’ve never felt like this before aboot a female. I canna survive withoot her, and it scares the fuck oot of me,” Bhric admitted.
“Aye, tis verra scary. I remember feeling the same way aboot my Elsie. She wasna sure if she wanted to mate me, either. I was oot of mind for a while, remember?” Zander asked.
Bhric recalled when Zander destroyed the war room when Elsie was in danger. It seemed destructive behavior ran in the family.
“Aye, I do. You were an impossible jackoff,” Bhric teased as he rubbed the ache in his chest.
“I doona have all the answers, brathair, but what I do know is we have all faced challenges with our mates. Not one of the warriors at Zeum has had a smooth ride where mating is concerned. Have faith in the Goddess’s choice for you. I believe in my heart that it will work oot between you and Alex. She may need time, but ‘tis worth it in the end. She’s your Fated Mate. There isna a greater blessing,” Zander explained and his words of wisdom reverberated in Bhric’s mind.
As much as Bhric wanted Alex to rejoice along with him, this was an enormous change to her life. Of course, she would need time to adjust. And yes, she might reject him for a bit, but she couldn’t deny the connection they shared. All it took was one touch, and they were both ravenous for each other.
Again, his mate mark pulsed. It wasn’t so much an urging to complete the mating as it was a foreboding. Bhric rubbed his side, trying to soothe the burning pain.
“Your mate mark bothering you?” Zander asked.
“Aye, the fucker is relentless,” Bhric responded. “But, there is this strain along the mating bond and I think it’s making the pain worse.”
“Can I see it?” his brother questioned. Bhric nodded and lifted his t-shirt.
Zander gasped. “Holy, shite. That isna the Tarakesh cross,” he stated and looked to Bhric, shock written across his face.
His brother was right. It hadn’t dawned on Bhric until Zander mentioned it. Zander and Kyran’s mate marks were a cross that represented their family lineage. Bhric’s was completely different, a combination of fire and water.
“It would seem your mark is more aboot Breslin than our family. Makes sense, given you’re twins. Still, I wonder the meaning behind it,” his brother observed.
“I doona know. I didna think aboot it until you said something,” Bhric answered, looking at the brand that signified he found his Fated Mate.
Before he could think more about the anomaly, Orlando rushed into the training room.
“Hey, sorry to break up your lovemaking, but I just got a call. There’s been an attack at Harborview. Several deaths and multiple injured,” Orlando said in a rush, his emerald eyes connecting with Bhric as his hand raked through his white-blond hair.
Bhric’s mate mark pulsed again, and he knew Alex was involved. The sensations bombarding his body were Alex reaching out to him. The bond they shared was warning him. Was she hurt? Or worse?
Leaping to his feet, he barked, “What the fuck are we doing standing around? Let’s get there, now!”
Alex was in trouble and time was of the essence. Bhric dashed out of the room, not waiting on the others.
His mate needed him and he refused to fail her.
Alex came to, feeling smothered. It wasn’t that she couldn’t breathe, but an invisible force surrounded her. She sat up, trying to push through the barrier, but couldn’t. She stretched her legs, and her feet hit an iron wall with a loud clang. Startled, she strained against the darkness and saw she was in a cage.
Of course, she was locked in a cell. Wasn’t that what all bad guys did to their prisoners? Cursing the demons that kidnapped her, Alex rattled the bars to test its durability. Solid as a rock.
Groping around in pitched blackness, Alex found the door to the cage and discovered it was padlocked. She grabbed the bars and pulled to a standing position, relieved she had the room to stretch vertically. The movement caused an exploding pain in her head, and Alex cradled her face.
It felt like her skull was cracked, and an image of Crocell’s fist hurtling towards her face flashed through Alex’s mind. The side of her neck was on fire, as well, and she recalled the sharp claw burning and slicing the flesh behind her left ear.
Touching the area, Alex nearly vomited as pain assailed. The flesh wound was deep, and blood trickled down her neck in a steady stream. That was surprising. She would’ve expected the heat from the demon’s glowing claw to cauterize the injury, but it didn’t. Alex needed to stop the bleeding and lifted the hem of her top to absorb the fluid as she applied pressure over the area. She told herself this pain was nothing compared to what she had survived with the surgeries, reconstruction, and cancer treatment.
Alex wanted to swallow a bottle ibuprofen and go to sleep, but there was no way to lie down without curling into a ball. It wasn’t an ideal situation, but she wasn’t cuffed, so she had some freedom of movement.
There was a small amount of light coming from underneath a door on the other side of the room, and it took a few minutes for her eyes to adjust to the darkness. Once that happened, Alex could make out several more cages in the room. The floor beneath the cages was hardwood and in dire need of sweeping. Dirt and debris were everywhere, and she prayed her allergies didn’t kick in and make her even more miserable.
She was in a house, and given the smell, an abandoned one. The sickly-sweet scent of death and decay told her something, or someone, had died in the home. She prayed it was an animal, and not a person.
She squinted to see if there was anyone in the other cages, but it was too dark to tell. When she leaned down, she thought she saw a silhouette.
“Hello,” she whispered as her shaking hands clutched the bars. “Is anyone there?”
“Shhh. Keep…quiet,” a female croaked out a whisper. “They’ll come back if they hear you.”
“Who are you? Are you hurt?” Alex asked.
Alex was relieved that she wasn’t alone, but she’d dealt with enough injured people to know a few th
“My name is…Rebecca. I’m bleeding,” the woman panted. “Don’t think I will make it. Please tell my mom I love her.”
“Rebecca, listen to me. My name is Alex Layne, and I’m a doctor. Where are you bleeding?” she asked, initiating triage.
“Everywhere. My head is the worst,” Rebecca whispered. “And, I’m so cold.”
“Yes, it is freezing in here. Stay with me, Rebecca. I’m going to try and get out of here and help you,” Alex told her and started to shake the bars.
The rattling of metal filled the room, drowning out the other noises. It suddenly occurred to Alex that there was traffic outside, which meant they were in a city somewhere. She wondered how long she’d been unconscious. There were no windows that she could see, so it was difficult to tell if it was day or nighttime.
“Stop,” Rebecca cried out. “Please don’t bring them back. I…can’t take anymore.”
The desperation in Rebecca’s voice stopped Alex. Sliding her hands down the bars, she searched for a way to escape her cell. Suddenly, she felt a slight bend in the bars where she gripped them.
Before she could explore that further, a door opened and light from the hallway flooded the room. Seconds later, a shadow filled the entry, blocking the light. One of the demons strolled into the room followed by the other.
Alex chanced a glance and saw five other cells in the room, four of them occupied by women. All but Rebecca lay in a ball surrounded by filth. The fact that the scent of death overpowered the pile of feces stopped her heart. She looked closer, but couldn’t determine if the others were alive, or dead.
These demons were going to kill her if she didn’t get out of there.
The strips of cloth the demons wore were clean and free of blood, and if Alex wasn’t mistaken, Cresil’s wing seemed to be in better shape. It was still smaller than the other, but it didn’t look mangled like the last time she’d seen it. Again, she wondered how long she was unconscious.
“Look who’s awake,” Crocell murmured as she approached the cage. The malevolent smile on her face was chilling. This being had no heart behind those black eyes. “Isn’t she pretty, sister? She reminds me of a doll.”
“Yes, she’s quite the specimen. I need her essence now, to heal my wing. Can I have this one? I promise to make it quick,” Cresil whined.
The demon sounded like a petulant child and talked about killing as if she were shopping for a new outfit.
“We will have the power linked to her mate soon enough, but I want to play with this one. She’s so tiny and frail. I can’t wait to see how quickly she breaks, given humans are such pathetic creatures,” Crocell replied.
“What do you want from me?” Alex asked.
She’d rather be prepared for her outcome. The element of surprise did nothing for her. Plus, Alex wanted to keep the evil bitches talking long enough to find an escape, if possible.
“We want your Goddess-blessed power. As a Fated Mate, the soul you carry is an irresistible drug for our kind. The high is better than feeding from all the spirits in the Underworld,” Crocell boasted.
“And, it heals grievous wounds. Your blood will make me whole,” Cresil purred as she approached Alex’s cell.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Fated Mate? What is that? I’ve never heard of such a thing,” Alex lied, hoping to convince them they were wrong about her.
“Ha. Nice try, pet. Kadir’s spell is infallible. There’s not much you can hide from our Dark Magic. Kadir was brilliant when he devised the locator spell, but he didn’t have time to explore the full scope of what he created before that vampire’s seedling destroyed him,” Crocell explained.
Alex had no idea what they were saying. They might as well be speaking in a foreign language.
“I can’t wait to see how she responds to our exciting game of torture,” Cresil said and laughed. “We haven’t had the pleasure of a marked one yet.”
“I should remove my spell and find out if the mate experiences her death,” Crocell snarled.
“But, exposing her could lead him to us,” Cresil suggested.
“I’m not afraid of a citizen, even if they bring the Dark Warriors. We can take any that come our way,” Crocell reassured her sister.
These women were insane. The two combined may stand a chance against Bhric if he was alone, but he’d never come without his cavalry.
The roomful of hulking men was overwhelming, but Alex was ecstatic Bhric’s fellow warriors were so domineering. They would wipe the floor with the demons’ wings.
“Release your spell, I dare you,” Alex encouraged. “You will meet Bhric’s wrath.”
Cresil’s eyes widened while Crocell’s narrowed with satisfaction. Alex surmised she’d made a mistake, but wasn’t sure what it was. She expected the torture to follow, and was surprised by Crocell’s words.
“Ah, so you’re the Vampire Prince’s Fated Mate. Seems luck is on our side, sister. Absorbing her connection to the warrior will be a huge advantage,” Crocell said as she began to pace back and forth.
“Exactly. We can finally locate their compound and find that fucking brat,” Cresil added as she grabbed the bars to Alex’s cage and shook. The force tilted the cage and Alex scrambled to the corner, unsure of what the demon would do next.
“Leave her be for now. We must prepare new spells. Lucifer will be pleased when we are the ones to free him,” Crocell murmured as she headed out of the room, her sister hot on her heels.
Alex meant to unbalance the demons, but instead, she’d placed Bhric, and his family, at risk. Tears built in her eyes as she prayed for a way to get out. She wanted to escape and warn Bhric of the danger coming his way, but more than that, she wanted to live.
Bhric barreled past the human police officers and hurried into the hospital. Zander and Jace were a step behind while he heard Orlando and Santiago stop to deal with the cops. From the sight of the emergency room, the humans would need their memories wiped. Thanks to Orlando and Santiago, their positions as detectives for the Seattle Police Department granted the warriors access to crime scenes, so they could cover up the existence of supernaturals.
Bhric didn’t give a shit about the chaos or the humans. All that mattered to him was finding Alex. His mind whirled and his heart raced while his body demanded action. His link to Alex was the one thing he clung to when he remembered nothing else of his life, and it was that bond that had kept him sane and grounded when his memories returned. And now it was gone.
Pulling the short strands of his hair, he tried to breathe past the devastation that threatened to bury him alive.
The unmistakable smell of brimstone filled the air and nearly choked him. The slightly sulfuric scent represented death and dismemberment, and he panicked as he considered Alex’s fate.
Surely, he hadn’t pissed off the Goddess to the extent that she would give him a mate and then allow her to be taken away.
“Alex!” he roared as he thundered through the hall.
He kicked a table aside and stepped over several bloodied bodies wearing green scrubs. He hated that so many innocents were murdered and felt responsible. He had no doubt the demons specifically picked Harborview because of his mate.
He recalled when the demons planted a locator device in Cailyn’s best friend, Jessie, and tried to manipulate her into doing their bidding. Luckily, their plan failed, but it wouldn’t surprise Bhric if the blue twins had targeted Alex to get to him.
It was impossible to pick up Alex’s scent, and Bhric punched the wall. If he didn’t find her, he was going postal on the entire fucking city.
The first staff member he came across turned out to be a male. His throat was ripped to shreds. His nameplate said Peter Hendrickson, and Bhric recalled him from the night he’d been in the ER.
Moving on, he raced into a room and saw a male huddling against the back wall with a young pregnant fem
“Brathair,” Zander murmured. “You need to calm doon. You’re scaring the humans and causing a bigger scene.”
“I doona give a fuck. I need to find Alex. I canna feel her, Z,” he admitted, unable to mask the despair threatening to choke him.
“Och, I am the last person to chastise you for losing your composure, but going off half-cocked is going to make the search harder for you. You need to try and connect with your mate. Let us search the rooms,” Zander ordered.
Bhric knew what his brother was doing, and refused to be patronized. If Zander thought he could lessen the blow if he found Alex’s body before Bhric, he was sadly mistaken. Zander had spent his life protecting him and his siblings and was acting out of love, but Bhric didn’t need it right now.
Bhric balled up his fist, ready to punch his brother’s face, but stopped when he remembered how Zander found Elsie after she was kidnapped. It was Zander’s telepathic connection to Elsie that led the team to her. They wouldn’t have reached Elsie in time if it hadn’t been for Zander locating her.
Bhric prayed his connection to Alex resurfaced enough to do the same thing.
“Shite. You’re right, brathair. I canna think in here. I will be ootside. Come get me if you find even one drop of her blood,” Bhric demanded.
Zander squeezed his shoulder, and Bhric saw the determination in his brother’s Sapphire-blue eyes.
“We will find her then kill those blue bitches,” Zander promised.
Bhric nodded his head and forced his feet to carry him in the opposite direction of Alex’s search. Once outside, he inhaled deeply and caught the same myriad of scents.
Closing his eyes, Bhric reached toward the portion of Alex’s soul he carried within. Slowly, the tendrils wrapped around Bhric, holding him together.
He exhaled his relief. Alex was alive and out there waiting for him to rescue her.
BRENDA TRIM SERIES:
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