His head snapped to the woman. "What?"
Sophie’s beautiful features paled. "It’s not true. She’s lying."
"I swear, Karos. I haven’t gone near him."
Sam snorted. "Not in the last six hours anyway. But last night…it was definitely on, or off if you’re talking clothing."
He curled his lip at his wife. "I knew you two were up to something. You lying bitch." He rounded the bed and slapped her hard across the face.
She came back with an impressive haymaker.
While they fought, Sam freed her hand enough that she could use her telekinesis to bring the knife into her grasp. She tried to cut the net, but big surprise there, it didn’t work.
Suddenly, the knife flew out of her hand.
Cursing, Sam looked to find another Daimon–a young woman–standing in the shadows.
The Daimon tsked at her as she fingered Sam’s knife. "Nice try, but it won’t work." She glanced at the combatants. "If you two don’t stop, I’m going to rip out both of your spines. Open the portal and let’s get this trash to Stryker before it causes any more conflict."
Stryker. Sam remembered him from the demon’s memories. Oh gods, they were planning to take her into Daimon central.
They would kill her there. Why else would they want a Dark-Hunter in their domain unless it was to gut her?
I’m going to be their entertainment.
Panic set in as she fought against the net. A shimmering green mist appeared in the corner of her room. It grew larger until it was big enough for them to walk through.
Sophie went in first while the man came over to pull Sam off the bed.
Sam jerked and struggled as hard as possible, but it was useless. The net wouldn’t let her move. He picked her up like she weighed nothing at all and cradled her in his arms.
I’m going to die.
She knew it with everything she possessed. No one would ever know what happened to her. The Daimons would take her into their realm and do who knew what with her before they ended her life.
So this is how my life ends. Not in battle with me taking as many of them as I can. Not in a heroic act of sacrifice.
She was going to be carried to her grave in the arms of her enemies.
With no other weapon to rely on, Sam sank her fangs into the Daimon’s arm an instant before he would have taken her through the portal.
Cursing, he dropped her.
She hit the floor hard, but luckily it freed her arm and part of her body from the net. She moved to roll out from under it. The Daimon recovered and caught her, then tossed the net over her again.
Ugh! She tried to fight, but that damned net made it impossible.
He rolled her onto her back, bared his own fangs at her, then plunged a dagger deep into the center of her chest–something only a Daimon with superhuman powers could do. Had she been human or a Daimon, it would have killed her instantly.
As it was, it just burned like madness. And if the idiot had possessed a brain, he’d have known that had he left it in her heart, that too could have killed her. But lucky for her, his education was stringently lacking and he pulled it free to let her bleed.
Something that wouldn’t kill her. It’d just piss her off.
"Hurts, doesn’t it?" he snarled. "How many my people you kill that way?"
"Apparently I missed one," she ground out between her clenched teeth as she struggled against the pain. "But I won’t make that mistake again."
Then he went flying over her, head first into the wall.
Completely stunned, she watched as Dev whipped the net off her body and tossed it to cover the Daimon. Using the net, he spun the Daimon around, then let him fly into the wall on the other side of her bed. The Daimon hit it so hard, he went through the plaster and landed in a tangled heap half in her bedroom and half in the hallway.
The bear had strength. There was no denying that.
Sam pushed herself up only to slip on the blood that still poured out of her chest. She grabbed the dagger the Daimon had dropped and went for the bastard.
Unfortunately, his tumble through the wall had thrown the net off most of his body, allowing him to push himself to his feet. He stood to attack.
"Move, Bear," she growled.
Dev didn’t have time to obey before a dagger went whizzing past his cheek so close he swore it trimmed his whiskers. It buried itself in the Daimon’s chest.
With one last foul curse, the Daimon exploded into a shower of golden dust, leaving the net that had been wrapped around his feet to fall to the floor.
Turning, Dev narrowed his gaze on the portal the women had vanished into. As long as it was open, the Daimons could return and grab Sam, who now slumped against her bed. She was bleeding like crazy and panting from the agony of her injury. That sight made him want to reanimate the Daimon so that he could rip his heart out and feed it to him.
But first he had to get her out of here.
Without a second thought, he scooped her up in his arms, grabbed the net from the floor to keep the Daimons from reclaiming it, and used his powers to teleport her to Carson’s examination room in Sanctuary where the doctor could hopefully help her stop bleeding.
Sam was completely disoriented as she found herself inside a windowless room that appeared to be a hospital. There was a stretcher for a bed and glass and metal cabinets that held surgical instruments and medicine. The bear must have used his powers to teleport her.
A little warning before he yanked her out of her house would have been nice. As it was, it made her feel like she was about to be sick. Literally. The bear was lucky he wasn’t wearing her last meal.
Before she could think to protest, Dev laid her down on the bed while he called out for someone named Carson. The moment her skin touched the sheets, other people’s emotions ripped through her. Someone had died on this bed…recently. She could feel his panic as he desperately sought to stay alive and the tears of his mate when he’d lost that fight.
Someone else had been badly wounded while another had been sick…one of the bear cubs. Dozens of images and emotions hit her and, being wounded, she had no defense against it. Her head felt like it was going to explode. She couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t think. Couldn’t escape.
Dev winced as Sam started screaming. She curled into a fetal ball where she trembled and shook. It was like she was being tortured.
What should I do?
Carson flashed into the room beside him, then took a step back, his eyes wide as he took in her hysterical condition. Dev had never seen anything rattle the Native American shapeshifter before, but Carson was definitely wary over this. "What’s going on?"
Dev held his hands up. "She was wounded…. I-I don’t know why she’s screaming." For once he hadn’t done anything to cause it.
Then he remembered her powers….
Dev picked her up and held her close, pulling her as far away from the bed as he could. "Shh, Sam," he whispered in her ear in an attempt to calm her. "I’ve got you. I’m so sorry I forgot."
Sam tensed as the emotions fell away so fast that it left her weak. One moment she’d been in absolute agony.
In the next…
Total peace. It was like being in a sensory dep cocoon where nothing intruded. There were no thoughts. No feelings. It was just her and her alone inside her head. Astonished, she looked up at Dev who watched her with concern creasing his handsome brow.
She nodded slowly, still waiting for the assault on her senses to return. But it didn’t. What ever Dev had, it was still holding. Thank the gods. She laid her forehead against his right cheek and cupped his left one with her hand, so grateful for the silence that she could weep.
Carson approached her cautiously. His long black hair was pulled back into a braid that fell down his back. Extremely handsome, his features were sharp and something about them reminded her of a bird. He reached his hand out to touch her.
Sam cringed and wrapped herself tightly around Dev. "Don’t."
His features offended, Carson pulled up short. "Beg pardon?"
"You can’t touch me. It’ll open a conduit between us and I’ll see everything about you and I do mean everything. Any instrument you touch me with and I’ll know things about everyone you’ve ever used it on. No offense, but I don’t want to be that intimate with you."
Carson let out a low whistle as he held his hands up in surrender. "No offense taken. I don’t want to be that intimate with you either. No wonder you went crazy a second ago."
He had no idea.
Dev scoffed as he shifted her weight. "Yeah, and I don’t want to know what she’s getting from me right now. I cringe at the mere thought."
Sam met his gaze. "We both know what a perv you are."
He actually blushed which made her wonder what was on his mind.
Deciding to alleviate his embarrassment, she wrinkled her nose. "Relax, Grizzly Adams. I’m still getting nothing from you."
Carson laughed. "Damn, Dev. Remi’s right. There is nothing going on inside your head."
Dev cut him a vicious glare. "You better be glad I’m holding her, Birdman, else you and I’d be going round right about now."
Carson ignored him as he returned his attention to Sam. "How are you feeling right now?"
"Aside from the gaping hole in my heart and the pain it’s causing, I’m strangely okay."
Dev looked less than convinced. "So what do we do about this, Doc? You have to have something to fix it."
Sam shook her head. "It won’t kill me. Take me home and I–"
"No." Dev cut her off before she could finish her thought. "You can’t go home. The Daimons could come back through the hole they made or be there waiting for you and you’re in no shape to fight them. Why the hell did you invite them into your house to begin with? What were you thinking?"
His accusing tone seriously offended her. "You think I’m insane? I did not invite them in. I…"
They both fell silent as the reality of that thought went through them simultaneously. Daimons couldn’t enter a private residence without an invitation–that had been part of Apollo’s curse that was designed to protect humans from them. If a place was public domain, they could enter.
But her private residence should have been completely off-limits….
"How did they get in?" she whispered, trying to think of something she might have done. But there was nothing. She’d been extremely careful about setting up her home and no one other than she had been in it.
Dev shifted his weight before he spoke again. "You really didn’t invite them in?"
She shook her head.
Carson stepped closer. "Maybe they came in as pizza delivery or something and you forgot."
That was a ludicrous thought. How could she forget something so intrinsic to her sanity? "No one comes inside my house. No one. Not for any reason. I know better. If they touch something, even briefly, it contaminates it and I have to throw it out." Another valuable lesson she’d learned from her one-night stand with Ethon.
Dev met her gaze. "Then how did they get in? You leave a window open with a note on it or something?"
She gave him an irritated smirk. "Yes, yes I did. I told them to come in and make themselves at home and while they were at it, to immobilize me and stab me straight through the heart ’cause I’m just that effing bored."
Carson laughed. "Wow, someone who has your knack for sarcasm."
Dev glared at him.
Sam sighed before she continued with only a tiny bit less venom. "I don’t know how they got in. I happened to have been asleep at the time they entered. Maybe what ever’s allowing them to walk in daylight is also allowing them to come into a house uninvited."
Carson’s face paled as if the thought of that horrified him. "This can’t be good."
"Oh, I don’t know." Dev’s voice was saturated with his own sarcasm this time. "I think it’s great that they can come in and suck us dry. Remind me to leave my window unlatched tonight. Oh wait. It don’t matter anymore. Day. Night. What ever. Come steal my soul, you worthless bastards. I’m open like a twenty-four-hour blood diner donor."
Carson didn’t respond to that in the least as he kept his attention on Sam. "If they can come into any home anytime they please and we can’t stop them…We have skidded off the hell ramp into Shitsville." He indicated Sam’s injury with a jerk of his chin. "We need to get that tended before you weaken any more."
"No. I’ll be all right." She had no intention of anyone touching her if she could help it.
Dev notwithstanding. And she definitely didn’t even want to think about Dev and the fact that he held her like she was petite–something she most certainly was not. Nor did she want to think about how feminine and dainty he made her feel.
Or how great it’d been to make love to him…
Forcing those thoughts away, she focused on the matter at hand. "What we have to do is tell Acheron they can get into homes and let the other Dark-Hunters know before they’re attacked like I was."
Dev arched one brow. "I can’t do anything if I’m holding you. Not that I mind. I’m just saying."
She looked down at the floor, wishing she could stand on her own two feet. "I need some of my shoes."
Carson frowned. "You can’t even touch the ground?"