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Alex(Rylee Adamson #5.5)(6) by Shannon Mayer

I let out a deep, bone shuddering sigh. “Okee dokee. Rylee helps Deidre.”

She nodded and slid around to other side of the bed, and wrapped Deidre in one of the blankets. “Come on, kid. Let’s get out of here.”

I smelled him before I saw him, his musk filling my nose. “Incubus!”

Rylee dropped Deidre and spun, her blades out, but I put myself between her and the man that stood at the far end of the room.

Handsome didn’t even begin to describe him. His beauty shone around him, as if he were some old time mythological god who’d fallen to earth. Silver was all I saw, his hair and eyes, and even his skin shone with a glimmer of silver that hurt my eyes. He was dressed in a pair of black jeans and boots, but nothing else, his chest bare except for the black tattoo of a snake that crawled down his ribs and into the waistband of his jeans, like an invitation to follow it. Rylee started to laugh.

“Oh, did you think you could suck me under your spell? That’s f**king cute. How many girls have you stolen over the years, you pervert?”

He blinked, and frowned, and I stood there, uncertain about what was going on.

“Deidre.” I wanted to remind Rylee that was why we’d come. We had to get her out of here. Not to discuss things with that silver dude.

“Good idea, you take Deidre out of here and get her back to the Jeep. Can you do that?” Rylee didn’t look at me, but if she thought I could do it… .

“Yup. Alex does it.” I scrambled toward Deidre as Rylee advanced on the incubus.

There was a thump and I looked over my shoulder to see the incubus not so handsome as he snarled at Rylee. She had a sword buried in his one shoulder and he was swinging her around, slamming her into the wall.

I wanted to help her, but she’d said to get Deidre out. Deidre stirred and her eyes flickered open.

“Alex?”

“Yuppy doody, Alex here.” I scooped her up in one arm, surprised at how light she was and three-legged hobbled to the door. Glancing at Rylee with each step. The incubus was missing an arm now and blood spurted around the room, adding to the red paint, but he didn’t seem to be all that perturbed by it. And then he managed to bend Rylee backward, like a freaky flexible limbo, her arms trapped behind her, and I thought he’d break her in half. No, it was worse than that. He kissed her.

She slumped in his arms and he dropped her to the ground. “You will be a fine meal, Tracker, but first, I must finish off my last.” His voice rolled over me and I realized that I was the only one between him and the two most important people in my life.

I laid Deidre down and tried to find that fury that had overtaken me with the goblins. Nope, nothing.

Trembling, I tucked tail between my legs and hunched my body over top of Deidre’s.

“Ah, wolf, you can have that human. I will let you take her. She is close to death, her body drained. But fear not, I gave her pleasure she would have never known had I not stolen her.” He was close, only a few feet away, and his arm was… I blinked several times… it was re-growing before my eyes.

The incubus crouched down so that he was at eye level with me. “You see, even the infamous Tracker couldn’t kill me. I think you know it would be a bad idea for you to try, don’t you.”

“No hurts Rylee,” I whispered, dropping my eyes, the urge to pee stopped only by the fact that I was standing over Deidre and she’d kill me if I peed on her.

“Oh, I won’t hurt her. I’ll f**k her brains out, just as I did little Deidre and then she’ll die. But I won’t hurt her.”

He had f**ked Deidre… but she was only fifteen, and he was a grown man. My head snapped up and there was again that disconnect between the submissive werewolf I was and what I knew was the right thing to do. I lunged forward, my teeth snapping closed on his neck, biting through skin, muscle and bone, his scream gurgling in the back of his throat, cut off as I snapped through it all, shaking his body until his pretty head rolled free of shoulders.

“Tastes like shit.” I spit on his twitching body. He was dead, the goblins were dead. Rylee was passed out, and Deidre couldn’t walk.

I grabbed the edge of the blanket Deidre was wrapped in, dragged her over to where Rylee lay, silent and still. I pushed them close and then forced my body between them, so I could fling a front leg over each of them and hold them close. With a deep sigh, I closed my eyes. They were both okay, even if I was stuck.

The light was fading when Rylee finally stirred. With a groan she rolled, and then was on her feet, hands reaching for a blade. “You motherfucker.” She hissed, then stepped over to inspect the body of the incubus. She booted him once, then seemed satisfied with the result.

“Alex, did you kill him?” She turned to me.

I buried my head against Deidre’s neck. “Nope.” I didn’t want her to think I was bad, she might not want me to stay with her.

Her lips tipped up in a quick smile. “Okay. Let’s get Deidre the f**k out of here.”

I gathered Deidre into my one arm again and she let out a soft moan. “No more, don’t touch me.”

Heart breaking for the girl I held, I clung to the past and the horrors we’d both survived. She could survive this, I had to believe that. She was strong enough.

Rylee dropped out of the trap door ahead of me and then I passed Deidre down to her. The kitchen was still splattered with pale blue blood, but the bodies were all gone. As if they’d never been. And the building was no longer silent as the patter of clawed feet skittered around us, and smoky blue eyes that glittered in the darkness followed our every step.

But nothing jumped out, nothing tried to stop us. Rylee carried Deidre to the Jeep first, and then waved me over when no one was looking. Deidre was laid out in the back seat, her breathing shallow.

“We have to get her to the hospital. Then I’ll call her brother. He’s the one who hired me.”

The drive to the hospital didn’t take long, in some ways not long enough. I kept one paw on Deidre the entire drive, knowing she was my last link to the past that kept slipping further away from me. Already standing upright seemed odd, speaking in full sentences silly, not having fur ridiculous. How quickly this new body had taken over everything I’d ever known. Everything except Deidre.

Rylee parked in the ambulance section of the hospital and people ran out right away. She opened the back door to show them Deidre. I crouched down, but she waved at me. “Come on, Alex. Your collar is still on.”

Oh, so they couldn’t see me. I followed Rylee into the hospital.

“You can’t bring that dog in here, Miss.” A slim, blonde nurse blocked Rylee’s path.

“This is the kid’s service dog.” Rylee’s hand settled in the ruff of my neck and I leaned into her.

“Biggest service dog I’ve ever seen,” the nurse muttered, but let us pass. We ended up waiting in a little room off to one side of the ER. Rylee didn’t sit, but instead stood in the middle of the room, her arms hanging loosely at her side. I flopped on the floor, belly down.

“Deidre,” I whispered, and felt Rylee’s gaze flick over me. She crouched to my side.

“Who is she to you, Alex?”

The words wouldn’t come, so I didn’t try. I just stared at the wall, frustrated, and then the frustration faded as the time passed. And the past faded. And I forgot why we were there.

Heels clicking on the linoleum tile drew close to the door and the same nurse who’d stopped us stuck her head in. “We have her in a room on the third floor, you can come and see her now.”

We followed the nurse out, but when I headed to the elevator Rylee grabbed my collar. “Nope, we do the stairs.”

Curious, I followed her into the stairwell, the smell of a myriad of people, and illnesses filling my nose.

Rylee trotted up the stairs ahead of me, pausing on the first landing so she could look me in the face. “Elevators don’t like people like us, don’t use them if you don’t have to. They’ll shut off.”

They didn’t like us? I tipped my head to one side and lifted my eyebrows in a silent query. She rested her hands on her hips. “Supernaturals and technology don’t get along well. Don’t go into any rooms except Deidre’s, and even then we might have to leave quick if her machines start doing weird shit, okay?”

I bobbed my head. I understood, kind of.

The third floor was the children’s ward, by the multi-hued walls, playroom near the nurses desk, and the nurses brightly colored uniforms. But there was no sound of children, and barely a whiff of them. Antiseptics and fear was all that I could smell. I rubbed at my nose with one paw.

“Yucky,” I grumbled under my breath, and Rylee reached out and grabbed my ruff.

“Quiet.”

Right, no talking. Deidre’s room was at the far end of the hall and we walked in near silence to it. The only thing that broke it up was the occasional beep of a machine, the cough of a small set of lungs, the soothing voice of a mother reading a book. All of it gave me the shivers. Kids shouldn’t be in hospitals, it seemed wrong on so many levels… .

Deidre’s room was done in yellows and oranges, and my first thought was that at least it wasn’t red and pink.

She was hooked up to an IV and a heart monitor that blipped in a slow, but steady pattern, a white sheet tucked up around her, one arm bare, the other under the sheet.

Rylee moved to the side of the bed opposite the machines and sat on the edge. “Hey, kid. You awake?”

Deidre’s eyes flickered open. “You saved me, didn’t you?”

Rylee shook her head, and then pointed at me. “No, my friend here was the one who saved you.”

I crept forward, and the tingle that had stayed with me the entire time the collar had been on me, faded and blipped into nothing.

Deidre sucked in a sharp breath, but her hand stretched out to me. “His name is Alex, isn’t it?”

“Yes, you heard me talk to him?” Rylee seemed to take this new development in stride, her eyes widening as she realized that the collar had finally failed. “You aren’t afraid of him?”