Born of Fury (Page 30)

Born of Fury (The League #7)(30)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

“You are Fain’s brother.”

“Taught him everything he knows.”

Bastien arched a disbelieving brow.

Hauk grinned. “About electronics. He taught me fighting… usually by sitting on my ass until I got big enough to make it hurt when he tried.”

“Ah.” Bastien grabbed food and water. “So what’s the plan now?”

“Pull back. Keep them after me and away from my family until reinforcements arrive.” He pinned Bastien with a hard stare. “If I die, go out with a major body count.”

“My kind of plan.”

Hauk took a few minutes to siphon fuel from the two airbees on board the skimmer and add it to the ones they’d ridden in with.

“If you need a good defensive place to lead them to, there’s an old abandoned base not that far from here where I make my home.”

“Bredeh’s?”

Bastien furrowed his brow. “You know it?”

Hauk laughed at the bitter irony. “Yeah, I do. It’s where I sent my family.”

“Oh. Damn. Hope they don’t find my  p**n .”

Hauk arched a brow.

“I’m kidding. I have it all locked up.”

Laughing again, he shook his head. “You have been alone far too long.”

Bastien sobered. “Yeah, I have. It’s good to be around people again.”

“Not people, human.”

“Not human, either, brother. Lost my humanity a long time ago when I got betrayed into this hell of a life.” Bastien glanced back to where they’d left the majority of bodies. “The caves will give us some cover, but trap us in an attack.”

“Yeah. We’re in the middle of the great Oksanan desert. Not a lot here, period.”

“Nothing but buzzards and raiders,” Bastien agreed. “Look, I know you don’t want to chance leading them to your family. But I’m thinking that we can use the old transmitter at the base to signal your girlfriend’s transport back from the city.”

Hauk went cold at those words. “What do you mean?”

“The blond who joined you? I couldn’t really make out her features, but she came in locally, right?”

“You saw her arrive?”

Bastien nodded. “She was dropped off a little ways from your camp a few days ago… You look like you had no idea.”

That’s because he hadn’t. “What all did you see?”

Bastien shrugged nonchalantly. “It was a small transport. Looked like it came out of one of the cities here. Didn’t appear space-worthy. It lacked shielding and…” His voice trailed off as he met Hauk’s gaze. “Why are you so pissed now?”

His breathing labored, Hauk felt sick. “Because I think I just handed my kids off to my worst enemy.”

And when he got his hands on Sumi, he was going to show her exactly what happened to people who ran afoul of an Andarion’s wrath.

CHAPTER 16

“Can’t we stop yet?” Darice whined as he intentionally dragged his feet in the sand.

Again.

And again Sumi shook her head. Even though it was late and she was exhausted herself, she didn’t dare make camp right now. “We have to find someplace to sleep that’s not out in the open.”

“But I’m so tired.”

“We all are¸ Darice,” Thia snapped at him. “You’re not alone in the misery. Now shut up already. You’re only making it worse. For all of us.”

Sumi yawned as she forced herself to continue on. That set off a round with the kids, who quickly followed her example, and made her long for their fierce protector to lead them to safety.

“I wish Dancer was here.” Darice rubbed at his eyes. “He wouldn’t be so mean to me.”

Thia rolled her eyes. “Then why do you treat him so bad? Huh?”

“Because he makes me mad. I don’t understand why he can’t please my mom and make her accept him already.”

When Thia opened her mouth to respond, Sumi shushed them. “Do you hear that?” she whispered.

Both Thia and Darice looked up with pale faces.

“Engines,” they said in unison.

Sumi nodded. “We have to find cover. Run for the rocks.” It was next to nothing, but it was better than being out in the open. Illyse rushed ahead to crouch down.

Pulling out her blaster, Sumi prepared to defend them as best she could.

They’d barely reached the rocks when two airbees came into view. She held her breath, hoping the riders wouldn’t see them.

At first, she thought it was safe and they’d skim right by their location.

Until the airbees turned back.

Lining up the shot, Sumi was just about to fire on them when she recognized the black and brown Andarion desert clothes on the one rider. Hesitating, she looked through the scope to make sure she wasn’t imagining things.

She wasn’t. She’d know that massive, sexy male anywhere.

“Dancer,” she breathed, lowering her weapon. She motioned for Thia and Darice to stay hidden with Illyse so that she could make sure he wasn’t being forced to track them down. The rider with him could be anyone.

Friend or foe.

As soon as Dancer saw her, they landed the bikes.

Thank the gods he wasn’t hurt. Weak with relief, she hadn’t realized just how scared she’d been for him. How much his safety mattered to her.

Until he approached her with a stride that said he was out for her blood. This wasn’t the Andarion who’d been so protective over the last few days.

This was the warrior who’d stormed a League prison and killed everyone who tried to stop him from saving the people he’d come to protect.

“What have you done with them?” he demanded in a deep, terrifying growl.

His furious tone stunned her and she wasn’t quite sure what he was asking. “What? The kids?”

“Darice! Thia!” he shouted.

The moment they stood up, he ran straight to them and jerked them against his chest as if he’d been terrified for them. Her throat tightened at the sight of his protectiveness. He kissed each one on the head before he turned his angry glare back at her.

Why was he so furious? What had she done?

“What’s going on, Uncle?” Thia asked. “Is everything all right?”

The rage on his face was tangible as he made sure to keep himself between her and the kids. “It is now.” Hauk released them. He glanced over to Bastien, who was staring at Sumi as if viewing a ghost. “You two know each other?”

Sumi shook her head.

“Omira Hauk?” Bastien asked.

Hauk went cold. Those words definitely confirmed that Bastien knew Fain well enough to have seen the photo his brother kept of his ex-wife. And the panicked expression on Sumi’s face told him she wasn’t ignorant of that name, either.

Not by a long shot.

Just what the hell was going on?

Bastien scowled at Hauk. “What are you doing with your brother’s ex-wife?”

Blood fire shot through him with a ferocity so raw, he wasn’t sure how he kept from killing Sumi right where she stood. He’d put a lot of faith in a woman he barely knew.

And he was done with it.

Hauk gathered Thia and Darice and put them on the airbee he’d been riding. He locked gazes with Bastien. “Get them to the base. And you better not betray me.”

Bastien scowled as if offended he would even suggest it. “I would never.”

“Good. ’Cause that blonde, whose ass you’re ogling, happens to be the most precious and beloved daughter of Nemesis. And he has only one rule for dating her… don’t.”

The color washed straight out of Bastien’s face. “Your father’s Nemesis?” he asked Thia.

Thia sighed heavily. “On a good day, yes. On bad ones… let’s just say you never want to be on the same planet with him.”

Bastien locked gazes with Hauk. “Nothing, and I mean noth-thing, will happen to them.”

“Good. Because if his daughter so much as stubs her toe on your watch, he will hunt you to the end of time, even if he has to come back from hell to do it.”

“I don’t take threats, Hauk. But this one… I consider a suggestion for my continued health and well-being. Thanks for the heads up.” Clearing his throat, he inclined his head at Thia and Darice. “Follow me.”

Hauk didn’t move until they were gone. Only then did he turn back to Sumi. The fear in her eyes choked him, but he was through being her pawn. Through buying into whatever game she was playing.

He wanted answers and he was going to get them. Even if he had to kill her to get to the truth.

Sumi couldn’t move as she saw the raw fury burning in those eerie Andarion eyes. He’s going to kill me. She knew it. She could feel it with every part of her being.

It was just like facing Avin all over again.

But she refused to cower. It just wasn’t in her. Ever defiant, she stood strong and waited for the coming storm his stance promised to bring.

Hauk paused in front of her. His massive size dwarfed her and made her feel small in comparison. “You are here to end me, aren’t you?”

Sumi swallowed hard against the lump in her throat. “I’m not here to kill you. I was never sent here for that.”

“Then why are you here? Really? Bastien told me he saw the transport you were in. The one that dropped you off so that you could reach my camp. You’re not on the run. If you weren’t sent here to kill me, then what do you want?”

Biting her lip, she blinked back tears as she saw the unadulterated hatred in his eyes. It shouldn’t matter to her that he felt that way toward her.

But it did. Much more than it should have. It was like being kicked straight in the gut. She couldn’t breathe as everything slammed into her. And she deeply regretted hurting him in any way.

Her thoughts whirling, she tried to decide what to say or do. What it would take to win back the trust that she’d shattered. Strange how her own life didn’t matter to her anymore. Honestly, she couldn’t remember the last time it had. Since the night she’d killed Avin while he was trying to murder her, there had been nothing left of it anyway. Just one unending nightmare in hell.

Maybe that was the way it should be. Maybe it was what she deserved for being so blind and stupid.

“Answer me!”

She jumped at the ferocity of his demand. “I know you hate me, Hauk. You have every right to. And I know you’re going to protect what you love. It’s what I’ve learned to expect from you.” She pulled the knife from her sleeve sheath.

He stiffened, but didn’t move as she approached him with it.

She flipped it in her hand and held it toward him, hilt first. “Take it.”

He didn’t budge. “Why?”

“So that you know I’m telling you the truth. Kyr sent me here with orders to gain intel on you. To find something that would tie you to The Sentella and, more importantly, to the prison break on Brinear.”

His eyes snapping fire, he took the knife from her hand.

“I found what he wanted,” Sumi continued. “My first day here.” She brushed at the tear that fled down her cheek. “It’s in your pocket. I put it there when I kissed you so that I wouldn’t be tempted to ever use it against you.”

Hauk scowled at what she was telling him. Was it true? Did he dare believe a single word from her lying lips? “I don’t understand.”

She drew a ragged breath and the bitter pain in those hazel eyes made him ache for her. Though why he should feel such for an assassin who’d come to ruin him, he had no idea.

“My Kalea is all that matters to me. She doesn’t deserve to grow up as a League soldier, in their brutal custody. Or worse, be trained as an assassin. You promised me you would save her. And I know Andarions stand by their oaths. Please don’t back out on that, no matter your feelings toward me. I can face whatever Kyr does to me as punishment over failing this mission, so long as I know she’ll be safe. I don’t trust Kyr to keep his word and release her. I can’t afford to be that stupid. But I do trust you, Dancer. I do.”

Hauk narrowed his gaze as he heard the heart in her words. She definitely wasn’t lying now.

And he would never see her innocent daughter harmed, but he had to know what she was talking about. “What evidence?”

She reached into his pocket and pulled out his small PD. Turning it on, she flipped to an old photo of him with his best friends. “Anyone who’s seen footage of the five of you fighting in Sentella battlesuits can tell by this who makes up their High Command. You really should delete it.”

He double-checked to make sure the file hadn’t been copied or forwarded.

It hadn’t.

“I don’t understand.”

Her hazel green eyes glistened with unshed tears. “As I said, I can’t afford to trust Kyr. I know better. I’ve seen the cruelty he’s capable of. What he relishes doing to others. He has no honor or decency. No love of anyone. And I’m not really sure I can trust you, but between the two of you, you seem the more honorable. I know how important family is to you. That you respect it and your oath, above all. Even when you shouldn’t. Even when it’s harmful to you.” She swallowed hard. “Kill me if you must, if it’ll make you feel better about your family’s safety, but please save my little girl. She shouldn’t have to pay for my mistakes.”