“What the hell do you mean Julian’s coming for you?” Sean demanded. “Explain that. You did that disappearing act again. You were here . . . but not.” Sean searched her face for answers. Kat tried to move away, but Sean wrapped both of his hands around her face. “What. happened?”
“I had another vision.” Kat shuddered and closed her eyes for a second, then took a deep breath. Suppressing her anger caused her gums to ache from holding her fangs back.
Breathing came much easier to her, despite being Awakened. Maybe it was because of the new strain of Awakened she became. Shaking her head, she cleared her thoughts. She couldn’t think about those changes. Being a Kiusaaja allowed her to see future events. Thanks to Jake, she adored that name.
She wasn’t crazy about having seen Julian hunting her.
No. No, she couldn’t say that. What she saw in the woods wasn’t Julian.
That beast was The Reaper. The Reaper was hunting her. The solid black, massive wolf form glistened like liquid coal under the light of the moon. The beast reeked of death.
Headed right for her, death was on its way, and soon by the looks of it.
The weirdest part of the vision was that it didn’t seem imminent. This time it seemed . . . farther off. When she experienced the previous vision before the meeting of the clans, she remembered the way it felt. That the vision and events would happen soon. This wasn’t the same. Her abilities had advanced to the point where she could see farther into the future.
The hunger for Julian’s blood flowed through her. Sean snapped his fingers in front of her face. “Kat, focus on me. Stop thinking about that vampire and look at me, dammit.”
Kat blinked. “Sorry, what?”
“What was the vision?”
“Julian. He was in the woods just outside the hotel, hunting me. In his wolf form. Death in his eyes.” Kat took in Declan, Hunter, Jake, and Max. She was no longer as hungry for playtime with them as she’d been a few minutes ago. She turned back to Sean. “I don’t understand. I’ve never seen him like that. I’ve never seen him in his wolf form.”
Sean nodded. “We seldom take them. We’re still just as strong.”
Kat swallowed the lump in her throat. She said what Sean wasn’t. “Except when you’re hunting. Your tracking is better, the scents are easier to distinguish.” Her first encounter before she’d been Awakened was with a pack of wolves. Vincent sent them after her.
Sean gave her a nod, aware of where her thoughts were heading. “Yes. We can find our prey much easier in wolf form.”
The pack of wolves she encountered when everything began had included a few of the men in the room. “Like me. When you hunted me for Vincent.”
Sean brought in Declan and Hunter not long before he killed the last Raaka leader, Cameron, her prior mate. Vincent was the Raaka Leader before that who wanted to hunt her down and who started this entire mess. Because of Vincent, her entire life had changed. Declan and Hunter weren’t a part of that original pack. At least she was almost certain they weren’t. They did seem familiar when she first met them. Never gave it much thought though.
She’d even given up her dog walking job because they—the dogs—hated her near them now. The few times she’d tried to go visit with the people she used to work for, three of the dogs had tried to bite her, and that job no longer fit her anyway. So she was still working on a new path in that arena.
Kat never forgot that Sean was the ringleader of the hunting party, but she did forgive him. Hell, he was the one responsible for Julian’s near death moment and that too she forgave him for. Even though her life had changed so much, she didn’t hate everything about the experience any more. She didn’t know what she would have done without the group of men in the room.
She was grateful for them.
Jake cleared his throat and Max grinned. Kat caught Sean’s amusement. He never apologized. That wasn’t in his nature. “Yes. Like when we hunted you for Vincent. If Kober hadn’t interfered that first night, we would’ve found you, and caught you. I almost had.”
“You sound sure of yourself.” Kat smirked.
“Do you deny that? Think me swayed that easy from what I want?” Sean asked, trailing the back of his finger down her cheek.
Leaning into his touch, Kat said, “I wouldn’t allow you to be my mate now, or when I’m Queen, if that were the case.”
“You already are Queen, Your Highness.”
“I know I said that to Julian, but we both know not everyone has accepted that fact. Until I make them accept it, I am far from the Queen.”
Sean’s fingers curled around her chin, then pulled her closer. “No. You are Queen. It’s not about accepting that fact. You are Queen. Don’t let one vision weaken you into a little bitch. It doesn’t become you. You are stronger than that.” He tightened his grip until Kat winced.
“Okay,” Kat mumbled beneath his grip. “The things I let you get away with.”
A low rumble echoed through Sean. He wrapped his arm around her waist, and dragged her deliciously against his body. With that move, he reignited the previous hunger with ease. “Don’t forget, my precious toy, I’m still stronger. You’re not as skilled as me. I’ll take you over my knee.”
The hunger burning in the depths of his eyes made her shiver, but not from fear. Hunger spread through her system, and throbbed throughout. Kat slid her arms around his neck. He tightened his grip at her waist. She gasped. “We both know I will take you up on that threat . . . just to get you to do it.”
“Trouble, pure trouble,” Hunter grated.
Sean shifted his attention over her shoulder to Hunter. “Trouble I enjoy.” He dropped her to her feet and stepped away. Kat grumbled her protest. Sean tapped her on the nose. He moved across the room to perch on the edge of the couch, leaving her to stand in the center of the floor. Kat raised her hands.
“What the hell? You grind my body against yours, then leave me hanging? I’m stuck in a room with testosterone that sends my nerves into overdrive and you put me on display. Now who’s trouble?”
Sean laughed at her mounting agitation. “You’re adorable as shit when you’re angry. Keep it up.” He lounged back. She was on stage. For him.
“Oh, nice. I haven’t done something like that to you. So not fun.” She crossed her arms and pouted.
Max laughed. “You reek of lust for him. I admit, he did the right thing. Sitting across from you in this state is—”
“Delicious,” Hunter said, his voice thick with craving.
Kat pursed her lips. “I am not turned on for your benefit.”
“Stop pouting, babe. You know you love it.” Babe. Why did a pleasurable tingle caress her spine whenever Sean said that? “We all know the pout is put-on. It just adds to the cuteness.”
“I take back my mention of enjoyment over being your mate.” Kat stuck out her tongue.
Sean laughed. “Keep it up. I’ll send them out of the room.”
“As if that scares me? You confuse me with someone who cares if they were to watch. But then maybe I’d rather be alone with you.”
Sean leaned forward and his eyes darkened. “No, you don’t. You want Jake to grind against you again. Only you want me to tear that dress off before it happens. That way those clothes won’t be in your way.”
Kat flushed and her body burned at the thought. Her voice thickened, “You forgot to mention the part about how Jake needs his clothes removed. Otherwise, I’m naked and he’s not? Incredibly unfair if you ask me. I’m not a plaything.”
“I could always use another taste. Her blood tastes great,” Jake said.
Remembering the way he felt rubbing against her core caused her body to tighten with a need for release. Her eyes darkened in desire.
Sean blew out a breath. “Fuck. Now that’s what I’m talking about. You could take down an entire city with that hunger. We need to bottle you and sell the scent. As you get stronger, you’ll be able to control your essence. All Awakened will feel it. I sure hope you don’t lose any of that essence when you begin to Awaken more like you.” The wood frame cracked under the pressure of his fingers clamping down as he held back from taking her.
“You would grow tired of me, would you?” she asked with a delicate tilt of her head.
A dark grin caressed those full delicious lips of his. Sean shook his head. “That body? Highly unlikely. I love that gorgeous athletic non-stick figure. Fuck, no.”
“You just want me for my body.” Kat rolled her eyes.
“I want you for everything. That blood singing through your veins, the power in you. That ability you possess to manipulate others. The ability to forge a new breed. Your brain. Your heart.”
Kat slid her tongue out along her lips. “Careful there big guy. You’re beginning to sound like you love me.”
A cute grin enveloped Sean’s mouth. “Who wouldn’t?”
“Tsk, tsk, tsk. Let’s not play at those ridiculous games. I don’t want your love Sean. I wanted your loyalty, your respect, your commitment. That means far more. I’d have to be convinced you’re capable of the emotion. Which, I’m not.”
Sean laughed and relaxed. He shrugged. “I tried. I do know the feeling of adoration. I think it’s safe to say we all adore you. When you’re not being a pain in the ass. Then, not so much.”
“You’re too much.” She pursed her lips. “Really.”
Jake cleared his throat. “Sean, you’re taking off her edge. How about stirring it back up?”
Sean glared at Jake, which made him snap his mouth shut. Jake raised his hands in mock submission. Sean kept his attention on Jake for a moment more, waited until he made sure his point was made, which Kat noted. Even before becoming the Raaka leader Sean’s authority over this group proved very interesting.
“You wanted a repeat performance of the day in your condo, Kat?” Sean asked, taking in her dress.
Kat bobbed her head up and down; maybe a bit too fast. “Yes.”
“Remove your dress,” he ordered.
The others in the room sat up. Kat trembled under their scrutiny. Moving back over to where Sean remained on his mock throne, her obedience didn’t waver. She slid her arm up her back, then eeaasseedddd the zipper down. With every second that passed, the hunger from the men within the room tripled. Her fingers shook with the longing. Her grip fumbled with the zipper before she was able to slide it down.
Kat brought her hands up and slid one strap from one shoulder, then the other. Once she pulled the straps down, she allowed both to slip from her shoulders. The silky fabric drifted down her arms.
With a little adjustment of her body, the entire dress puddled at her feet, leaving her bare in front of the men, save for her shoes. Without need of direction from Sean, she kicked one off, then the other.
The room filled with the heat of the men and their craving. Kat’s body responded in kind. She tightened her hands into fists to keep some semblance of control. Sean did nothing more than recline there, leaving her to wonder what he planned next.
The men’s ogling of her body felt like hands, massaging her cravings until her body quivered worse than before.
Despite the intense need burning through her body, Kat enjoyed the control Sean held over the men. Those men wanted nothing more than to rush over and have their way. Not one of them dare defy Sean and act on that urge. The possessive stare he kept upon her made her need for his touch grow.
I love the control you hold over them.
Sean scanned the room, back to her, picking up on her thoughts. His eyes gleamed with authority. Sean said to Hunter, “You’re up. Find a place to feed and drink. Now that Julian knows her plan, we can’t take our time. You all need to feed from her, increase your strength.”
Hunter stood up, paused. He wondered if his leader was being serious. Sean gave him a curt nod. “I feed from her every night. I drink enough that she should show some weakness. She shows none. Jake fed from her and look at her. The wound is healed. You can feel the hunger and strength that remains.”
A soft, “oh” from Kat drew Sean’s attention. “I’m catching on. I hoped for more fun to be attached to that, but I see what’s going on.”
Sean chuckled. “There will be that too. If you’re a good girl and do as I say.”
Hunter walked over to Kat and lowered his massive body to his knees in front of her. A man from nightmares. Someone people didn’t want to pass at night on the same side of the street. They crossed to avoid being near him. Wasn’t from his appearance as much as his presence. Her body clenched.
A dark smile crept across his face right before he wrapped his hands around her hips, and pulled her forward. His fangs descended and he leaned his head to the side, then sunk his teeth into her upper thigh.
Kat gasped and tangled her hands in his hair. Gripping tighter and tighter, she made Hunter deepen his bite. A growl rumbled through his body, causing her body to tremble against him.
Kat gave over to the heat burning through her core, and her head dropped back. She moaned with pleasure. Hunter’s hands slid down the back of her legs and up to her lower back. He pressed her further into him. The blood surged through her body and her teeth elongated with the craving for more. A deep growl burned through her and the pleasure built wave upon wave as he drank his fill, until Sean’s order slashed through.
“Enough.” The fierce authority in his voice left no room for disobedience.
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Dark Illusions: The Final Chapter – Extended Edition is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, stories, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2015, 2018 Kim Iverson, 2021 Kimberly Sue Iverson
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