Born of Fire (Page 4)

Born of Fire (The League #2)(4)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

Aching pains stabbed his groin.

Yeah, that’s just what you need to add to your already f**ked up day. Sleep with a woman who wanted to hand him over to his enemies. A woman who had no compunctions about shooting him. Or, as he looked at his bleeding forearm, carving parts off his body.

If he had one single brain cell left in his head, he’d deplete her memory and dump her in the nearest hole. But he couldn’t quite bring himself to be so cruel. Unlike her, he had a conscience about handing people over to those out to torture, kill, and maim them.

Sighing, he picked her up from the floor and carried her from his bedroom to the couch.

Damn, she weighed nothing. Didn’t the woman ever eat? If he were still a doctor, he’d run a nutrition diagnostic on her. She couldn’t be healthy at this weight.

But then, like him, she was a gutter rat and it was hard to find food in the sewers. That kind of desperate hunger never went away even when there was food around.

The whistle blared again. “Syn?”

He gave a small prayer of thanks Caillen Dagan had seen the right moment to call him. That boy had always had good timing . . .

With a final look at the shapely form draped across his couch, he crossed the room and picked up his earpiece that kept him in contact with the pilots who worked for him.

“Yeah, Dagan, what do you need?”

“Kasen just called and she’s accepted a run to Lyrix. She wants me to go with her and I don’t dare let her go alone. You know how rough that place is. Anyway, I was supposed to do the Prinum shipment for you tonight and since I can’t be in two places . . . Is there any way you can get someone to cover for me?”

Syn glanced back at the tracer on his couch, debating the sanity of leaving her.

“Syn?”

He frowned at Caillen’s anxious voice. Caillen hated asking for help and Syn had never been one to deny a friend in need. Besides, Caillen protected nothing like he did his sisters, and he respected the man’s devotion. If there was anything he understood, it was that family came first.

And Caillen was like a brother to him. “Sure, I’ll do it.”

“Thanks, bud, I owe you.”

Clicking off the link, Syn tossed it back on the counter and shook his head. Caillen had always been a bit waxed when it came to his sisters. So waxed that in all the years Syn had known him, he’d only met one sister, Kasen, and that had been by pure accident.

Something bad had happened to one of them when they were teenagers and it’d severely scarred Caillen. Syn had no idea what it was, since he tended not to pry into people’s personal lives.

He figured if Caillen wanted him to know, he’d volunteer it. Until then, it was none of his business.

A soft moan drew his attention back to his current problem. Intrigued by his catch, he returned to the couch.

He stared down at her, hoping he was wrong about her identity . . .

She didn’t look like a Dagan. At least not Caillen or Kasen, but then genes were screwy things. He didn’t really look anything like his sister or mother either.

Except for his eyes . . .

He flinched at the reminder. His father had punished him well for sharing that bit of his mother’s DNA. The sad thing was, his father had actually loved her and while they’d been together, he hadn’t been quite as psychotic. But after she ran off, he’d turned his hatred for her to the two kids the bitch had left behind.

He pushed that thought away and stared down at the tracer.

For now, she lay unmoving, her long, reddish brown braid falling over the cushions, down to the floor. Picking it up, he marveled at the silken texture. He’d never seen hair quite that shade. Dark red strands were entwined with gold, brown, black, and ash. Like rich mahogany.

The leather Armstitch battlesuit she wore was of an outdated style, probably around ten years old and by the fit of it, it looked like she’d bought it used. Still, the cut complimented her lithe, slender figure even if the color did nothing to accentuate her exotic features.

Damn, the woman was built taut and tight, and he could just imagine her wrapping those long, sexy limbs around his body while she . . .

Stop it, ass**le.

That was easier said than done as he stared at her and his c**k twitched. He traced the line of her full, rosy lips with his knuckle, taking delight in the slight, sensual tickle of her breath against his skin. He hadn’t been with a woman in awhile. Too damned long, now that he thought about it. An obvious fact given the way his body craved a woman who wanted his head. And not the one he wanted to share with her.

There was no real reason for the long stretch other than he didn’t like personal entanglements and women, while entertaining for a couple of hours, had a nasty habit of screwing him over any time he gave them a chance. The one thing Mara had taught him with crystal clarity—he couldn’t do enough right in his adult life to shut out all the wrong he’d done as a kid.

More to the point, no woman would ever forgive him for the genetic link he shared with a monster.

So he always kept his liaisons to a single night with women he didn’t know. Women he could keep at a safe, emotionless distance.

And for the last six months, he hadn’t been able to find any woman even remotely appealing.

Until now.

I am psychotic . . . just like my dad.

He’d have to be to even look at a woman like her who was after his ass to arrest it.

And still she appealed to him for reasons he couldn’t understand. Her angry, almond-shaped eyes were closed now, but he vividly recalled the odd, golden shade. There was something very familiar about those eyes. For his life he couldn’t remember what.

Also there was something about her that reminded him of his own sister. The unique way she held her head when she defied him as if she’d faced the worst possible nightmare and still found the courage to continue life’s brutal path. Something a typical person wouldn’t notice. But to those who’d walked courageously through hell and been tested and scarred by its fires, it was obvious.

Too bad his sister had lost that courage.

Pain racked his soul as he struggled against the unrelenting grief that no amount of time seemed to dull. The sight of her lifeless body soaked in blood . . .

Regrets pounded through him and he closed his eyes, wishing he could go back and save Talia.

If only he’d been older, maybe he could have done something to help her.

Bullshit. There had been no help for either of them. He knew that for a fact and still he beat himself up with it over and over again. He hated that part of himself that couldn’t let go of his past.

But this tracer wasn’t Talia. She would never put herself in the line of fire to save him. To her, he was nothing more than a paycheck—a fugitive who needed to be returned because he didn’t deserve to live among decent people.

Whatever he did, he couldn’t allow himself to relax as long as she remained inside his home.

With that thought, Syn searched her body for more weapons to make sure she didn’t have any other means of carving him up. He did his best to ignore the soft curves under his hands as he slid them over the rough leather of her battlesuit, and located weapon after weapon.

Damn, it was like disarming The League . . .

Or him.

Focus . . .

Though she was too thin for his normal tastes, her muscles were firm, no doubt from hours of physical training. He could easily imagine how attractive her lithe body would look draped in nothing but a sheet.

His blood rushed through his veins like lava as his c**k turned rock hard. “Get a hold of yourself. You’re not some horny teen chasing after the first girl who smiled at you.”

True, but there was something about this woman. Something that put a slow burn in his blood.

Yeah, she wants to beat your ass, you masochistic bastard.

Sliding his hands over her firm calf, he located a knife tucked inside her pant leg. He pulled it out and studied the intricate design.

Shit . . .

“I knew it.” The weapon in his hand was legendary. An entwined bird and viper engraved on the silver handle—the symbol of a Gondarion Seax. Only one person in her entire generation had passed Seax training.

Shahara Dagan.

Suspicions confirmed, he sighed in aggravation. You’re so going to die . . .

Shock and disgust poured through him. Well, isn’t this just typical? After months of celibacy you finally find a woman who sets your hormones on fire and not only is she after your head in the worst sort of way, she’s the treasured sister of one of your best friends.

“Just shoot me now and get it over with.” Because that would be kind compared to what Dagan would do if he found out Syn had shot the older sister he worshiped.

He balanced the carefully honed blade between his fingers and looked back at the tracer whose very name made most fugitives surrender immediately.

And no wonder, given they way she fought.

“So you’re the infamous Shahara . . .” He shook his head in amazement that such a petite beauty could inspire so lethal a reputation. “I wonder what Caillen would say if he knew you were here?”

I’m going to cut your balls off, Syn.

Yeah, that would probably be it . . .

On the good side and if Syn was lucky. If Dagan was having a bad day . . .

He shuddered.

Rolling his eyes at his typical luck, Syn placed the knife on top of the other weapons and devices he’d taken off her. He picked up her blasters and locked them, along with everything else, in the wall safe in his bedroom.

What was he going to do with her?

Unbidden an image of her writhing nak*d in his bed flashed before his eyes and he grinned wickedly. That was definitely what he wanted to do with her.

But hormones aside, he had to be practical.

The woman wanted to hand him over to the authorities. Seax’s were unfortunately notorious for their unshakable sense of justice and honor. And she was honor bound to take him in no matter what argument he made.

He wasn’t about to be executed for crimes he hadn’t committed and he damn sure couldn’t kill her without upsetting Caillen.

So where did that leave him?

Screwed blue and tattooed.

Maybe he should call Caillen after all . . .

Syn scoffed at the thought. If he knew his friend at all—and he did—Caillen would kill him for stunning her.

So what options were left?

Kill her. Hide the body.

If only he could . . . Damn, stupid conscience. Why had the gods given them that gift? It definitely should have come with a return policy.

In the end, he had no real choice about it. When she regained consciousness in another hour or so, he’d try to talk sense into her. With any luck, she’d share her brother’s reason and intellect.

Gods, just let her be more reasonable than Kasen. Otherwise he would have to kill her.

And lie to Caillen for the rest of their lives.

Yeah . . .

With that thought foremost in his mind, he moved to the front door and switched the scanner back on. Now she’d have no choice except to stay put until he could think of some way to escape this tangled nightmare with his life intact.

Shahara moaned, her temples throbbing a painful beat. Blinking open her eyes, she wondered why she felt so terrible. Her sight focused on the white stucco wall before her where a beautiful Chinergov painting hung. As she stared at the impressionist’s interpretation of a huge, black bird in flight, she instantly remembered what had happened.

Where she was.

That slippery bastard had shot her!

With a gasp, she sat up, her head protesting the sudden movement. Ignoring the pain, she forced her blurry eyesight to clear and scanned the room.

It was empty. Thank goodness.

Silence buzzed in her ears and she wondered where Syn had gone.

Why had he left her alone?

Well, she didn’t care about the answer. As long as he wasn’t here, he couldn’t kill her, or keep her from leaving. Stealthily, in case he was in the bedroom or bathroom, she slid off the couch.

Without a sound, she crossed to the door and reached for the controls. Before her fingers touched the keypad, she glanced up and gnashed her teeth in frustration. He’d reactivated the scanner.

You double bastard, rat punk!

You didn’t really think he’d make it easy for you, did you? No, but a woman could always hope for a brain injury that would leave him stupid and make it easier on her.

If only . . .

She wanted to curse and strike out at the almost invisible beams that crosshatched the door, but she knew if she did that, they’d singe her flesh with a burn far worse than any fire. Worst of all, they’d trip an alarm.

She was at his mercy.

Instinctively, she reached for her weapons. As expected, they were gone along with the lockbox she’d used to breach the security system earlier.

Clenching her fists, she wished she could strangle Syn. Without her lockbox, she had no hope of guessing the scanner’s code. Grimson had designed his security systems too carefully and the number sequences were too intricate to ever be guessed by random choice, or remembered from her earlier success.

There was a nine in it . . .

Some place.

Yeah, that wasn’t exactly helpful.