Born of Ice (Page 25)

Born of Ice (The League #3)(25)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

And in that one instant, he’d been taken back to the day his family had been slaughtered by The League. And he’d heard his own mother telling him to survive no matter what.

“Devyn! Look at me!”

Instead, his father had seen him as he entered the room. Omari’s first instinct had been to run away and hide like he’d tried to do when his mother had been killed. But as he met his father’s gaze, he knew he couldn’t.

Omari shook his head as those memories burned. “My dad was on the floor, coughing up blood. His skin was already turning blue.” Tears gathered in his eyes as he looked at Alix. “He was dying. I knew it. Even though my grandfather is one of the best surgeons in the universe, I didn’t think he could save him. But when I looked into my dad’s eyes, I saw a raw fire ignite.” A single tear slid down his cheek and he brushed it away. “He reached out for me and I took his hand. His grip was so weak that I thought he was going to say good-bye to me…”

Even so, his father had pulled him close enough so that he could whisper in his ear. “Don’t worry, kid. I won’t leave you alone.”

It’d been the same promise his father had made to him when he’d saved him from The League.

“He fought his way back from the brink of death to keep me safe. To keep the promise that he’d made to me. And I knew then that he’d never abandon me. Not even death would keep him away. My father might be a lot of things, but he’s not a liar or a coward.”

She couldn’t agree more, and the fact that he hadn’t killed her for her pact with Merjack made him a true hero.

And there was no way she was going to allow him to be hurt.

She hoped.

Alix froze when she saw Devyn meeting them at the door to de-ship. This wasn’t the man who made jokes with Sway or who loved his son.

This was the captain she’d glimpsed on her arrival. Cold-blooded and lethal.

He handed her a chip of files he’d fabricated.

Her throat went dry as his hand lingered on hers. This was his life she held…

“As we planned.”

She nodded.

Devyn watched as she left. He exchanged a nod with Nero before he pulled his blaster out and shot Omari where he stood. Devyn quickly caught him before he hit the ground.

Sway gaped. “No, you didn’t.”

Devyn handed his son to Nero. “Get him out of here.”

“He’s going to be pissed at both of us.”

“I know. But I can’t take the chance. He can’t control his powers when he’s emotionally compromised and I’m not going to chance him giving himself brain damage to help me.”

“All right. I’ll keep him occupied.” He flashed himself out with Omari in his arms.

Sway shook his head. “Damn. You planning to shoot me next?”

Devyn holstered his blaster. “Depends. You going to piss me off?”

“Not intentionally.”

“Then I might let you stay conscious.”

Vik cocked his head as he tried to compute everything that was happening. “So what is this plan that you have?”

“You’ll see.”

Alix shook all over as she went to meet Whelms.

Devyn’s half-brother. What could make someone turn on their family so viciously? Especially on someone as decent as Devyn.

He deserves a father like I got stuck with. That would teach him to appreciate a father who loved him.

As promised, he was waiting for her in a small café where he sat checking email on a small handheld device. His features turned to stone as he saw her approach.

Steeling her spine, she moved to stand at his table and noticed that he didn’t invite her to sit.

Because you’re not good enough.

“You have evidence for me?”

She held out the chip.

He looked at it suspiciously before he took it from her hand and plugged it into his portable. And still he left her standing.

Disgusted on every level, she saw the smug satisfaction gleaming in his eyes. “Is it everything you need?”

He turned his device off. “Is this real or fabricated?”

“Fabricated. He’s actually not breaking any laws. His ship is licensed through his father’s company and he runs freight for him.”

Your father’s company that keeps you fed, too, you sleaze.

“I told you, that doesn’t matter to Merjack.”

“I would think it should matter to you.”

He grimaced at her. “To me? Why?”

Because you’re his brother. Not that they favored each other overmuch. The only thing she could see that was similar was the deadly gleam in their eyes. Other than that…

Paden was a loser ass**le.

“Isn’t part of your job to upkeep the laws? I would think framing an innocent man would go against your grain.”

His eyes turned brittle. “Don’t lecture me on the law or my duties, slave. After all, I’m not the one who framed him. You are.”

“Because you gave me no choice.”

He raked her with a sneer. “Whatever lie lets you sleep at night, little girl.” He tucked his portable into his pocket. “And now your services are no longer needed.”

“What about my family?”

“That’s up to Merjack.” He stood up and jerked his chin in her direction as he addressed the table of men next to his. “Arrest this vagrant.”

Alix gaped at his order as the men stood to carry it out. “What?”

“You’re a runaway slave. We’re taking you in.”

No! The lying bastards …

What am I going to do? If they arrested her as a slave, she would have no rights whatsoever. No way to help her family. No say over her own body or future.

And as they reached for her, her panic set in with steely talons. Before she could rethink her actions, she grabbed Paden’s drink and threw it in the face of the first agent to reach her. She kicked him into the other and ran for everything she was worth.

She made it through the door and ran down the hallway until she saw Devyn, who was headed her way with Sway one step behind.

He caught her in his arms. “What the hell?”

“They’re going to arrest me.”

“For what?”

“Being a runaway slave.”

Devyn’s jaw went slack. Runaway slaves weren’t simply arrested. They were publicly tortured as a warning to others who might think about leaving their masters.

Taking her hand, he started to run only to see a group of enforcers cutting off their escape.

“Release the slave,” their captain ordered.

Devyn turned to run back toward the café. His blood went cold as he faced his half-brother. Alix had been right. There was no mistaking Paden’s features.

And as they faced off, Paden raised a blaster and aimed it straight at Devyn’s head. “Surrender the slave or surrender your own freedom.”

CHAPTER 11

Alix’s heart slid into her stomach as she saw the cold, harsh look on Devyn’s face. The lack of pity in Sway’s eyes. Honestly, she didn’t blame them for turning her over to her enemies.

She’d been willing to do that to them. Her ruthlessness deserved nothing more than their combined scorn.

But it still hurt deep inside to know what they were relegating her to. What Devyn, after everything they’d shared, would do to her by his inaction.

If the Rits really treated her as a runaway slave, she’d be stripped nak*d and beaten before a live broadcast as punishment. The price of the broadcast, her punishers, and the enforcers who brought her in, as well as her reward, would be something she’d have to pay back, thus guaranteeing she’d never be free in her lifetime.

It’s what you deserve.

Soul sick over it, she tried to let go of Devyn’s hand. But he refused to release her as he passed a subtle nod to Sway.

To her complete stupefaction, he slid his blaster out of its holster faster than she could blink and opened fire on the Rits. He pulled her back toward the docking bay as Sway covered their retreat.

“What are you doing?”

“Fucking up my life again, I’m sure.” He fired more rounds behind them.

“You can’t do this.”

He snorted. “Little late for that now. I don’t think an ‘Cops, my bad, my weapon accidentally misfired two dozen rounds’ will work to get me out of this.” He cursed as his link started buzzing.

Firing another round, he answered it. “Hi, Mom… Yes, I know my heart rate’s dangerously elevated.” He ducked a blast that almost pinned his head to the wall. “That sound? I’m being shot at, Ma. Gotta go now. Love you much. Hugs and kisses.” He tapped his ear to close the channel. “Where the hell’s Sway?”

Before she could respond, Vik came out of nowhere. He ran past them to find and shield Sway while she and Devyn ran for the ship.

Four enforcers were already there, waiting. Devyn finally let go of her. At a dead run, he went for them. They shot at him while he dodged the blasts. Amazed at his skill, she watched as he fell to his knees and skidded between them, shooting as he slid.

Two went down and the other two dodged for cover.

Devyn jumped to his feet as he reached the ship and popped the controls to extend the ramp. He shot at the two enforcers to keep them pinned down. “Alix! Move it.”

She ran as fast as she could into the ship, where Nero was waiting.

“Get the ship ready to launch,” Nero ordered between clenched teeth. He flashed out, hopefully to help Devyn with the others.

She headed for the bridge to fire the engines and start the preliminaries. As she worked, she looked out to see Devyn, Sway, Vik and Nero fighting off the enforcers.

For her.

Tears swam in her eyes. For the first time in her life she felt like she had a family. One that was willing to die for her.

“Alix?”

She jerked around at the sound of Omari’s voice. He leaned against the doorframe as if he were ill. “Are you all right?” she asked. He shook his head as if he were trying to clear his vision. “Dad shot me.”

“What?”

He brushed a shaking hand through his hair. “Dad stunned me right after you left… What’s going on? Where is everybody?”

She pointed at the monitor. “Ironically, getting shot at themselves. We need to get the ship launched as soon as they’re safely inside it.”

That motivated him. He practically flew into Devyn’s chair to start the flight prep. “Ah, damn, my head hurts. I swear I’m going to kill him for this.”

“I’m sure he did it to keep you out of trouble.”

“Yeah, but damn… I’m seeing stars… Oh wait, I am seeing stars. I’m looking at the course trajectory. Heh.”

Alix rolled her eyes as she scanned the core system and mechanics to make sure the Talia was ready to roll. She heard the motor of the ramp. Devyn and the others must be inside.

A few seconds later, they were on the bridge.

“Jump up, Baby Judy. Jump up.” Devyn nudged Omari aside.

He slid out of the chair and sat on the floor, hissing as he cradled his head in his hands. “Next time, just knock me unconscious. This stunning crap hurts.”

“Sorry.” Devyn fired the lifters.

The ship rose and slammed into the ceiling.

Sway sneered as he buckled himself to his chair. “We’re not cleared for launch.”

“No shit.” Devyn turned to Nero. “Can you get the door?”

“Already on it.” A weird yellow glow emanated from his body as he stared intently at the bay doors. “I swear you are your father’s son.”

Alix strapped herself in as Devyn gunned the engines and flew toward the closed blast doors. Cringing, she expected to slam into them and disintegrate.

Devyn didn’t back off the speed even a little. He shoved the throttles forward with a gleam in his eye that said he was barely one half-step from insanity.

We’re going to die. We’re going to die.

Alix braced herself for the impact.

Just as they reached the doors, they snapped open and the Talia flew straight out.

Nero staggered back, cursing as he put his hand to his head. “That’s some painful mojo. Thanks for the migraine, Dev. Appreciate it.”

Devyn gave him a fierce, droll stare. “You were told to take Omari out of this. Had you done what I asked, you wouldn’t have a headache now.”

“Yeah. That lasted a few seconds until I heard their plans for Ms. Gerran there. I knew you’d never let them take her so I had no choice except to come back and save your rank ass. Besides, I know Fido, and Fido would be out of it for a few while I rescued you guys.”

Omari glared at the Trisani. “I’m not a dog, Nero.”

Nero ignored him. “By the way, you guys seriously screwed up just now.”

“We know,” they said in unison.

Nero locked gazes with Devyn. “Yeah, well, what you don’t know is how grateful your girl is to you. I just thought you should know that you guys are a hero to her… and she thinks we’re all idiots.”