Born of Ice (Page 28)

Born of Ice (The League #3)(28)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

“Run!” Sway shouted. “We’ll meet at the rendezvous.”

Devyn slid his weapon out and started firing at the enforcers. “Go!” he ordered her.

“Not without you.” Alix grabbed his arm and pulled him after the others.

Devyn would have protested, but at this point, they were being swarmed, and there was no time to argue with anyone.

Hell, they barely had time to run.

Taking her hand, he cut through the underbrush, wishing they had on thermal-shielded suits that would keep their pursuers from using infrared to pick up their body heat. As it was, right now they were moving targets, and he had no idea if the others had already been apprehended or not.

But more than that, he felt the pressure on his wrist that warned him he was pushing himself too hard. It was his warning sensor that monitored his body.

Shit.

Alix slowed down as she noticed that Devyn was falling behind. She doubled back to his side. “We have to hurry.”

He shook his head. “You go on. I’ll cover you.”

“Don’t be—”

“Alix!” he snapped. “Don’t argue with me. I can’t keep up with you.”

“Of course you can.”

He glared at her. “No, I can’t. I have a severe heart condition.”

She frowned at his words and the note of panic in his voice. “I don’t understand.”

“When Clotilde attacked me, she sliced through my heart. Because I’m half Rit and half human, there’s no donor. Rit anatomy is very different from a human’s. One of the biggest is that they have a six-chamber heart. What I have inside me is a mechanical heart my father made, but it won’t take this kind of abuse. I can’t keep running or it will explode and kill me.”

She winced as she realized what this meant. He was going to be taken.

And he was willing to sacrifice himself for her.

But looking up into those dark brown eyes that haunted her, she knew she couldn’t leave him to his enemies. “Then I’ll stay with you.”

“Don’t be ridiculous.”

She eyed him. “You wouldn’t be here but for me.” She was the one who’d put all of them in harm’s way. “I won’t leave you.”

Devyn wanted to tell her what kind of fool he thought she was, but as he stared at her, he realized something.

I love her.

In spite of the lies. The deceit and aggravation. In spite of everything, this woman meant the world to him. And he didn’t want to see her hurt.

“I don’t want to lose you, Alix.”

“Then you understand how I feel about you.”

He pulled her lips to his for a quick kiss. “All right. We’ll do this together, then.”

She inclined her head to him. “Together.”

But then he realized exactly how many enforcers had been sent after them. It was actually ridiculous to go to this kind of effort for a runner. There were far worse criminals in the universe.

Hell, he was related to most of them.

The attention would have been flattering had he been in a better mood. As it was…

He wanted to kick their asses into oblivion.

Alix led him to a small dip in the woods where they had some degree of protection from their pursuers. “I think I have an idea. Can you fly one of their airbees?”

“Yeah.”

She nodded and he could see her calculating something in her head. “How much charge do you have in your blaster?”

“Three-quarters.”

She smiled. “All right, then. Let’s play dead.”

Devyn wasn’t sure about her plan as she had him lie down on the grass. She lay by his side. He had an idea of what she wanted, but he’d rather blast his way out.

Trust her. Something much easier said than done, but in the end, he listened.

Within seconds, the probers were there to check on them. Devyn waited until the first one got off his airbee and came over. The moment he touched Devyn, Devyn grabbed his arm and pulled him forward. His partner shot, searing the blast across the man’s chest.

He screamed as he went down. Devyn pulled his blaster out and shot the other one. He grabbed the link from the one who’d fallen closest to him and put it in his ear so that he could keep tabs on the others.

“They’re headed this way.”

Alix nodded as she slid onto the seat of the airbee. Devyn got on in front of her. Wrapping her arms around his lean waist, she slid closer to him and held tight while she tried to ignore how good he felt in her arms.

Devyn kicked the thrusters into high gear. They rose up and shot forward at a speed that was terrifying. While she’d seen airbees before, she’d never actually ridden one.

This was scary.

And as the enforcers realized that there were two of them on it, they gave chase.

“Hold on tight,” Devyn warned.

Alix buried her face against his shoulder and locked herself around him with both her knees and her arms.

Devyn shot through the brush, hoping to shake the enforcers off them. But that was no easy feat. Especially given the fact that with two peole, they were at a severe speed disadvantage. Airbees were designed for a single rider, and while Alix didn’t weigh that much, it was enough to be deadly to them.

Through the link, he could hear that they were setting up a trap for them.

He shot left, away from the trap, deeper into the woods. The little bastards weren’t making this easy for him.

Why should they?

‘Cause I don’t want to die.

And as the enforcers closed in, he began to see a dismal end to their chase.

Until Alix drew his blaster from his holster and opened fire on them.

To his shock, she was an amazing shot as she took them down one by one.

“Girl, you’ve been holding out on me.”

She laughed in his ear. “I was my father’s gunner.”

“I can tell.”

Laughing, Devyn headed for the town. It didn’t take long to reach it, but as they pulled in, he realized it was crawling with their enemies. Everywhere he looked, he saw a uniformed officer, either local or League.

Damn, who would have thought…

He abandoned the stolen bee in a full lot, so that hopefully it wouldn’t be found for awhile.

Alix glanced around nervously. “You think the others have been caught?”

“No. Nothing’s been said through their link. They’re still hunting all of us.”

Alix let out a breath in relief. “Where do you think they are?”

“Hopefully somewhere waiting on us.”

They skirted around a group of enforcers who were questioning the locals.

“There they are!”

Devyn let fly an expletive that made her blush before he pulled her down an alley. The guards fired shots that narrowly missed them.

He turned to the right and ran down an even tighter alley that turned sharply to the left. Alix ran in front of him until she got to a fence that cut her off.

Devyn picked her up. “Climb.”

She moved as fast as she could until she was on the other side. He landed beside her. Leaning back against the fence, he clutched at his chest as if his heart was hurting.

“They’re calling in reinforcements.”

Her stomach sank.

CHAPTER 13

Devyn whipped around, drawing his blaster at whatever fool thought to stop them. But the moment his gaze focused, he couldn’t breathe as he stared into the one face he’d always wanted to meet.

His older brother.

Time seemed suspended as they stared at each other, locked in momentary disbelief.

The loss of this one single person had haunted his father in ways he couldn’t even begin to understand. Every year on the anniversary of Paden’s birthday, his father lit a candle and prayed for him. Most of all, he wished him well, even though Paden wasn’t there to hear it. He also had a gift delivered to Paden wherever he was living.

One that was always returned unopened.

And still his father tried, refusing to give up on his child. It was one of many things Devyn admired about his father. But it was also a source of anger for him.

Because with every present returned, he watched a part of his father die. Every time, year after year, his father reached out only to have Paden bitch-slap him for the effort.

At twelve, he’d been angry enough to ask his father, “Am I not enough son for you that you have to try and claim one who hates you?”

His father had pulled him into a fierce, crushing hug. “You are the greatest son any man could ever have and you’re better than any I ever deserved. My love for Paden doesn’t take anything away from how I feel about you, and it never will. But you have to understand that I grew up without a father, and it’s a pain I’m glad you don’t know.

“Paden was brought into this world against his will, and I don’t want him to ever think his father doesn’t love him. Yes, it hurts to be kicked when he refuses to talk to me, but I’ve been hit a lot harder in my life and if he wants nothing to do with me, that’s all right. It will never change the part of me that loves him. The part of me that taught him how to tie his shoes and brush his teeth—just like I taught you.”

He had brushed the hair back from Devyn’s head and kissed his brow. “At least this way he knows someone out here still loves him. Sometimes that’s all we have in this world. When everything else falls down around us, just knowing that there’s another person who will miss us when we’re gone is enough to see us through our darkest moments. Never underestimate how powerful that knowledge can be.”

It was only after Devyn had adopted Omari that he fully understood what his father had meant that day. Blood didn’t make a family.

Caring did.

And now he was face to face with the son his father still grieved over.

Paden’s gaze narrowed dangerously. His finger tightened on the trigger.

Just as Devyn thought he’d be shot, Paden aimed the blaster over his shoulder and shot the enforcer behind him.

Confused, Devyn didn’t react as Paden grabbed him by the shirt and shoved him through a door. He pulled Alix in behind him and motioned for them to be quiet as he locked the door. The room was someone’s small office, complete with a desk, office chair, two padded chairs in front and a computer.

Devyn exchanged a puzzled frown with Alix while Paden closed the curtains to block their presence from anyone outside.

Paden’s eyes were blazing as he neared Alix. “Why couldn’t you have just done what you were f**king told?” He growled low in his throat. “You’ve screwed all of us now. Good job. Really. It’s what I get for thinking a slave would obey me without thinking on her own.”

She shook her head. “What are you talking about?”

He raked Alix with a fierce sneer. “I was going to use your fabricated evidence to convict Merjack. I’ve been trying to bring that bastard down forever, but he’s too clever. He’s always hiding everything he does and he leaves no trace for us to find. His hatred for Kell was his only weakness. Now … dammit. You’ve ruined everything.”

Devyn was stunned by Paden’s tirade as he pieced together what he hoped was the truth of his brother’s motivations. “You’re not trying to kill me yourself?”

It was Paden’s turn to look baffled. “Why would I do that?”

“Oh, I don’t know…” he said in a voice dripping with sarcasm, “our history and your hatred of my father?”

Paden’s face blanched. “You know who I am?”

“My older brother.”

He expected Paden to deny it, but he didn’t. Instead, he shook his head in disbelief. “I didn’t think Syn would talk about me to you.”

“Why not? He loves you. He always has.”

“Bullshit. He’s not even my father.”

Devyn was disgusted by his brother’s betrayal and his continued rejection of a father who only wanted to love him. “How can you say that about someone who loves you so much? Honestly, I think he’s an idiot for not cutting you loose after the way you’ve treated him. But—”

Paden pulled out his blaster and held it to his head. “You know nothing about me. I’m not his son.”

Devyn disarmed him so fast, Paden couldn’t do anything but gape. He tightened his grip on the weapon, tempted to beat him with it. “I’m not your bitch, boy. Don’t hold a gun to my head unless you’re shooting it. It won’t go well for you. And you better be glad our father loves you because right now that’s the only thing saving your life.”

Paden scoffed as he continued to stare at him in complete disbelief. “You really don’t know, do you?”

“Know what?”

“Syn isn’t my biological father.”

Devyn narrowed his gaze at the last thing he expected to hear. “What?”

“My mother had an affair with another doctor at the hospital where he worked. We’re not really related.”

It couldn’t be. Surely his father wouldn’t keep chasing after a kid who wasn’t his? Why would he abuse himself for someone who … “Does my dad know?”