Bound to Darkness(Midnight Breed,book 13)(15) by Lara Adrian
And unknown, potentially lethal, power.
As he set the box on the work table in the spacious records room, Gabrielle held him in a troubled stare. “Are you sure this is a good idea?”
“Far from it.” He swung his frown on the other members of the Order gathered there that day. “No one’s gotten close to this thing since Jordana brought it to us in Boston last week. I’d feel a hell of a lot better if we keep it that way until we know for certain what it can do.”
“Maybe Jenna can give us that answer,” Darion said from the other side of Lucan.
Dare, Gideon and Savannah had paused their intel collection on Riordan as soon as they heard the warrior Brock had arrived in the predawn hours from Atlanta with his extraordinary mate.
Visits from the couple to D.C. were frequent, due to Jenna’s work on the growing collection of Breed archives, yet her appearance at headquarters was always an event. It was hard even for Lucan not to gape in wonder at the genetic miracle that was the former Jenna Tucker-Darrow.
Born human and fully mortal, it wasn’t until she’d been attacked by the last living father of the Breed race—an otherworldly Ancient—that her incredible metamorphosis began. Instead of killing her, the alien creature implanted her with a minuscule bit of biotechnology.
That chip, to this day residing under the skin at Jenna’s nape, contained the Ancient’s memories and his DNA. As it took root inside her body, the genetic material began to transform the woman from basic Homo sapiens to something . . . other.
Impervious to injury, illness or age, Jenna was also inhumanly fast and strong. But her transformation had not stopped there.
Soon after the chip had been implanted in her, a small dermaglyph had appeared on the back of her neck. Now, twenty years later, her pale skin was covered in intricate glyphs. They even tracked up the back of her skull, faintly visible under her shorn brown hair.
Brock stood beside her on the other side of the long table, the black warrior’s dark hand stroking his mate’s shoulder. “You’re not the only one with heavy doubts about this, Lucan.” Brock’s lips flattened as he shook his head. “I don’t want anything to happen to you, babe.”
Jenna tilted her head. “Believe me, neither do I. But the dreams—the memories—have been getting more vivid, more intense, all week.” She gestured to the closed titanium box in front of her. “I can’t help feeling that this is the reason why. I have to know.”
Lucan had to give the former Alaska State Trooper credit. Jenna never shrank from a challenge, and fear didn’t seem to have any place in her vocabulary. That didn’t mean she wasn’t making every person in the room more than a bit nervous on her behalf.
“May I?” she asked Lucan, reaching out for the lid of the box.
At his nod, she lifted the clasp and opened the container. Her slow exhalation joined several others as the Atlantean crystal was revealed. All of the Order and their mates had seen the unusual, egg-sized object at the Boston command center upon Jordana’s return. But seeing it again did nothing to dim the reaction again now.
Just looking at it, no one would mistake the crystal for anything found on Earth. It was silvery, yet clear. Smoothly polished, yet it seemed to sparkle with thousands of tiny facets beneath its surface. Where it sat in the center of its titanium box, the crystal seemed to pulse with mysterious life.
“There are really four other crystals like this somewhere?” Gabrielle asked, moving closer along with everyone else.
“According to the Atlantean who took Jordana captive, there are,” Lucan said. “Two were stolen from their realm ages ago. Only one remains with their queen now. Another is with the colony of Atlanteans who defected from the realm. And this one.”
Jenna glanced at Brock. “I have to do this. If the crystal can tell us anything more about the Atlanteans or the Ancients, I have to know. We all have to know.”
He nodded as he caressed her cheek with the back of his big hand. “I don’t fucking like it, but I’ll be right here beside you.”
She turned her mouth toward his palm and pressed a brief kiss there. “I’m ready to do it,” she said, glancing to Lucan. “I want to do this.”
When he gave her a nod, Jenna reached into the box to pick up the crystal. “It’s warm.” She lifted it into her hands, holding it as if it were fragile glass. “It’s getting even warmer. I can feel some kind of vibration in its core. It feels powerful . . . alive, somehow.”
She closed her eyes, concentration pouring over her pretty face. Only seconds passed before the glyphs on her hands and arms began to pulse and fill with color.
“I don’t like what I’m seeing, Jen.” Brock’s warning was grave, full of dread for his beloved. “You’d better put it down now, baby.”
She gave a faint shake of her head, but didn’t speak. Lucan wasn’t even sure she could speak in that moment.
Her hands closed tighter around the crystal as she sank deeper into whatever had a hold of her now. Light began to emanate through the gaps between her fingers.
“Jesus Christ,” Brock growled. “I’ve never seen this happen to her before.”
Lucan agreed. Everyone gathered there fell into an uneasy silence, but Jenna seemed oblivious to everything but the crystal. Lucan muttered a low curse. “Okay, we’re done here.”
Brock was already reaching for his mate. “Baby, let it go.”
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