Warrior (Relentless #4)(9)

by Karen Lynch

“Sara!” the dark-haired boy yelled before his bare feet hit the ground. He ran to us and held out his arms for her. “Is she…?”

I made no move to hand her over to him. “She passed out, but she’s okay.”

The boy let out a harsh breath. “I don’t know how to thank you.” He reached for her again. “You can give her to me.”

The affectionate way he looked at her made me want to crush her to my chest. There was no way I was handing my…orphan over to a naked male, even if he was her friend.

“You might want to get dressed before she wakes up,” I suggested dryly.

“Shit!” The boy and his friend ran to the mouth of the alley. I heard them talking in hushed voices as they pulled on their clothes.

I studied the dark lashes and pale skin of the girl in my arms, and breathed in her scent that was a mix of sunshine and spring rain. Never had I found those scents overly appealing, but on her the combination was alluring and sweet at the same time. My eyes moved over her lips, and I had to resist the sudden urge to taste them.

She looked so young and innocent, and I would have given anything to have shielded her from the evil she’d faced tonight. She’d been incredibly brave, but I worried about how she would be affected by all of this when she woke up.

The attack wasn’t the only thing she’d have to cope with. Her lack of fighting skills proved she was no warrior, or even a trainee. She was an orphan, and she was in for an even bigger shock when she learned the truth about what she was.

I still had no idea how she had survived this long on her own. I’d need to call for someone who had experience dealing with orphans and helping them acclimate to their new life. Paulette worked with the most difficult cases. I’d call her.

“I’ll take her now.” The dark-haired boy approached me slowly as if he half expected me to run away with her.

I reluctantly placed her in his outstretched arms, and then I cursed myself for the sudden rush of sentimentality. I should be off tracking down that vampire, not standing here acting like a lovesick boy.

“Thank you again,” her friend said thickly. He held her like she was a porcelain doll that might break if handled too roughly. I got the impression that none of them knew what she really was.

And none of them had any business being here. What was the pack thinking, allowing their pups, and what they obviously believed to be a human girl, out at night with vampires roaming the city?

I was furious at them and at myself for letting the vampire get away. I snatched up my sword and sheathed it, then reached for the fire escape. Silver wounds slowed a vampire down, but a mature vampire could still cover ground quickly.

“Take her home,” I growled over my shoulder.

“Where are you going?” the red-haired boy asked.

“Hunting.” I started up the ladder without looking back. “Get her out of here.”

On the roof, I found the vampire’s blood trail. I called Chris to let him know what had happened, and he said he’d try to pick up the trail on the ground. I let my Mori come closer to the surface to enhance my senses. I could already see and hear far better than a human, but the more my demon emerged, the easier it was to smell the vampire’s blood.

I followed the blood trail across the rooftops of four buildings before it disappeared. At the last building, I made my way to the ground, but the trail was cold. Chris was a good tracker, and if the vampire was anywhere in the area, he would find him.

I swore softly. I should have handed the girl over to her friend as soon as I’d caught her and then gone after the vampire. A warrior fresh out of training would have done this job better than I had tonight. I wasn’t used to failure, and I didn’t like it one bit.

My mood was dark when I started back to the bikes. But instead of going behind the club, I stood in the shadow of a building where I could observe Sara and her friends, unseen. She was awake and sitting on a bench with the werewolves on either side of her. My gut twisted when I saw how lost and scared she looked, but there was nothing I could do for her now. I’d find out where she lived and send someone to collect her. It was better that way.

I watched them stand and walk to a blue Toyota parked on the street. Easy enough. I’d catch the license plate when they drove past me.

Sara and the dark-haired wolf got in the car. The redhead stood outside and made a phone call, most likely to his Alpha if his unhappy expression was any indication. The news that vampires had attacked someone in werewolf territory was bound to get the pack riled up, and Maine had the largest werewolf population in the country.

The boy hung up and got into the back of the car. I waited for them to drive away, but they sat there talking. After a few minutes, worry began to gnaw at me. Why hadn’t they left? Was something wrong? She’d looked okay as they’d walked to the car, but there was no telling how an ordeal like that would affect her.

Before I realized what I was doing, I left the shadows and strode toward the car. The werewolves jumped out of the car and intercepted me before I reached it.

“I thought you left,” the dark-haired boy said harshly.

“I came back.”

He scowled. “About that. What is a hunter doing around here? This is not Mohiri territory.”

Instead of answering him, I looked past them at the girl approaching us. She was pale, but otherwise she looked unharmed, and I couldn’t help but admire her resilience.

“Hello again. You seem to have recovered quickly from your adventure.” When she didn’t reply, I waved a hand at her two companions. “So, these are the friends you spoke of earlier. It’s no wonder you were attacked, with nothing but a pair of pups to protect you.”

“Hey!” the redhead protested angrily.

She pushed between the boys, clearly not happy about my criticism of her friends. “It’s not their fault. How could they have known something like this would happen?”

“How indeed?”

A frown creased her brow. “What do you mean? What’s going on here?” She turned to the dark-haired boy. “Roland? Do you know this guy?”

This guy? My demon and I had been in turmoil since we met her, and she had no clue who I was or my connection to her.

Roland shook his head. “I’ve never seen him before.”

“But you know something about him? What does Mohiri mean?”

“I am Mohiri,” I said, drawing her attention back to me.