Fated Surrender by Alanea Alder

“Why did he do this? He has never brought anyone in before, only the blood, only the blood,” the voice repeated over and over.

  “Hey, it’s okay. My mate will be here real soon, and then we can leave this place. How long have you been here?” she asked gently.

  “What day is it?” the man asked.

  “November 14th. It will be Thanksgiving soon.” She kept her voice soft and even.

  “Months. I’ve been here months,” the man said. To Madison it sounded as if the man’s mind was clearing each time he spoke. She tried to keep him lucid in case the little psycho came back.

  “We’re going to get out of here soon. Little Psycho was on the phone taunting my mate when I blacked out. He should be here any minute.”

  “I don’t think we have a minute.” The man’s voice turned guttural.

  Madison felt a shiver run down her spine. When the figure turned to look at her, two bright-red eyes stared at her. She was locked, bleeding, in a cell with a vampire. That’s what he had meant when he said Connor wouldn’t make it in time. Trembling, she took a deep breath.

  “Please. You have to stay strong just a little bit longer. Help is coming,” she pleaded as he inched forward.

  “They’ll be too late. He hasn’t fed me this week, and now I know why. All of the others, I knew they died, but he gave me their blood from an IV bag. I didn’t kill any of them. But I can’t help myself now. He’s killed you and damned my soul.” The man’s voice broke.

  “It doesn’t have to be that way. My mate is Connor Arkadion, he knows Prince Gabriel, they are friends. I know that Prince Gabriel will be able to help you. Just hold on.” She watched as his body froze at the mention of the vampire prince. She decided to keep talking about the prince.

  “I’ve met Prince Gabriel and his beautiful mate, Ashby. Ashby was upset, because he and the other Inner Court members had forgotten to plan the Thanksgiving dinner. He has been exposing the coven to different foods and was scared they would be hurt if they missed out on the biggest feast of the year. In the end the prince volunteered to bring wine. I can’t wait to see what is in his wine cellar.” She kept her voice light. At the word cellar the man flinched.

  “French, Italian, reds by year. Whites in the refrigerator case,” the man mumbled.

  “Do you like wine?”

  He ignored her and began to inch forward.

  “I’m not going to lie, I’m scared to death. I don’t want to get mauled and drained. Please, please try,” she begged. He stopped his advance and began to breathe heavily.

  “My name is Madison. Madison Claybourne Arkadion. What’s yours?”

  The man crawled into the weak beams of light and turned his face to her. His appearance caught her off guard. Even though his hair was matted and dirty, it didn’t take away from the warm honey-blond color and white streak highlights. He looked like he loved to spend time in the sun. She looked in his eyes, which were fluctuating between a brilliant emerald green and a burnished red. The man pounded on the floor with both fists. When he looked up his eyes were green. He was weeping and looked like he was in so much pain.

  “My name is Rhys.”

  * * * *

  “Fan out. Knowing this sick fuck he will want to witness Connor’s pain.” Baron directed the Sentinels as the Arkadians rushed into the building with Connor.

  MadisonMadisonMadisonMadison.

  Her name became a chanted prayer in his mind.

  “Here!” Daniel yelled out, finding the long smear of blood first. They followed the thick trail down the hallway until they came to a cell door.

  “Madison!” he yelled, pounding on the metal door. He looked at it helplessly. It would take them hours to get in without a key.

  “Connor! Hurry! Rhys can’t hold on much longer,” she screamed.

  Connor’s head snapped around to Gabriel, whose eyes suddenly blazed red. Wave upon wave of power poured off the man as he stepped forward and dug his fingers into the metal as if it were butter. Seconds later he had it ripped off its hinges, and he threw it to one side.

  “Madison?” He ran into the room to see his mate huddled in the corner, a figure just inches in front of her.

  “Rhys, hold on. Gabriel is here.” Connor took a step back as Rhys turned his head. He saw the blank eyes he associated with killers. The pair of bloodred eyes followed his every movement as Rhys hissed at him.

  Gabriel stepped past Connor and kneeled beside Rhys.

  “There you are, my son. You have been lost for a long time. Let me take you home.”

  Connor felt Gabriel send his power into Rhys. For a moment the red rescinded, and his friend’s green eyes returned. Just for a second Rhys stared out at them before the red flared, eating the green color bit by bit.

  Rhys hissed at Gabriel and turned to Madison. Gabriel moved so quick Connor couldn’t track his movements. One second Rhys was in front of Madison, the next both men were in the hallway. Connor rushed over to Madison.

  “Will he be okay?” she asked, crying. Connor couldn’t answer. He was too busy running his hands over her body. When he pulled her away from the wall, she gasped. He felt moisture on his hands. He gently lifted his mate and carried her out into the hallway. Laying her down on her stomach, he carefully lifted the blood-encrusted material away from her back. She whimpered.

  “I’m sorry, baby, I have to see how bad it is.”

  Without jerking her body, he gathered material on either side of the sliced fabric and ripped it in half, exposing her back. What he saw had him feeling ill. There were four slices running from the base of her neck to her tailbone so deep he could see her spine in some places.

  “Baby, you have to shift,” he pleaded.

  “Can’t, drugged,” she slurred. He placed his hand on her chest and felt her heartbeat begin to slow.

  “She can’t shift. What do I do? Aleks! What do I do!” Through his mate bond he felt her begin to slip away.

  “Gabriel, I’m begging you. Please donate some of your blood so that my brother’s mate may live,” Aleks begged of Gabriel.

  Connor looked over to the prince. He cradled Rhys in his arms ever so gently. His long pale fingers wrapped around the back of Rhys’s head, holding him to his neck. The beauty of the moment in the middle of such terror etched the scene in his mind. Gabriel looked as though he were nursing Rhys the way a woman nursed her baby.

  “I’m kind of indisposed at the moment. Daniel, do you agree to donate your blood?” Gabriel asked, his voice a hollow imitation of what it normally was. Daniel jumped up and nodded enthusiastically.

  “Just a few drops, Daniel, just enough to get her to shift,” Gabriel warned.

  Daniel’s fangs elongated, and he pricked his finger on his own fang. Gently he put his finger in Madison’s mouth. He swirled it around and removed it. He looked at Connor, worried.

  “Come on, baby, just a few swallows.”

  “I always swallow,” she joked, her words faint. Connor’s heart flipped over. Here she was moments from death and she was still giving him a hard time.

  “We’ll test the validity of that statement later. Shift,” he ordered, and her heart rate began to race. Seconds later a large white Bengal tiger lay sprawled over his body. He lay on the floor and buried his hands in her fur. He could feel her purr vibrate over his entire body.

  Exhausted, he closed his eyes. He didn’t care that he was on the floor with his mate in an abandoned warehouse, only that she was alive and in his arms.

  “I still say we got gypped. I want to shift into an animal.” Daniel pouted.

  Madison lifted her head then buried her cold nose in Connor’s neck. He laughed.

  “Baby, you lied. You are closer to four hundred pounds than three fifty.”

  The Bengal tiger stared down at him, her sky-blue eyes flat and unamused. She stood, letting Connor scoot backward and stand. She then curled up in a ball and wrapped her tail around her body.

  “Sir. I don’t know how to say this, but we need to put the va
mpire down.” Baron walked up to Connor, the Sentinel squad at his back.

  Madison opened one eye, stood and majestically sauntered over to Gabriel, effectively putting her between the Sentinels and Gabriel. Her mouth opened and she hissed long and loudly at the men.

  “Baron, that vampire is a member of Gabriel’s coven, one of his children. I can’t let you kill him, not when there is a chance to save him,” Connor protested. He noticed that the Arkadians spread out behind him, forming a wall between the Sentinels and Gabriel.

  “Professor, you know as well as I do that in these cases when their eyes go red and they turn feral, there is no way to get them back. I’m sorry. I really am, but if we let him go he will kill.” Baron widened his stance, not backing down.

  “Those other vampires chose to kill. Rhys didn’t have a choice in any of this. He was kidnapped and held against his will. There is no blood on his hands, his soul is intact. He refrained from attacking Madison, even though he was starved and she was dripping blood. I saw his eyes, Baron, they were green, even if it was for a second, they turned back to green,” Connor argued and Baron shook his head.

  “Dammit, look at him!” Connor yelled, throwing his arm back to point at Gabriel.

  The Sentinels watched Rhys suckle at Gabriel’s neck. His hand gripped Gabriel’s collar, and his head lay peacefully on the Prince’s chest.

  “Look at him. Gabriel is one of the oldest vampires in existence, he is Rhys’s creator and he is donating his own blood to save his child. Gabriel’s blood is one of the rarest substances in the world, and he is giving it freely to save Rhys. I can not let you kill him. Not now. Not when he has finally been found.” Connor met Baron’s eyes.

  They stared at each other for a minute before Baron nodded.

  “Prince Gabriel. How long before you know for sure that he cannot be saved?” Baron asked.

  “If his eyes don’t return to normal within the first month, then I won’t be able to save him,” Gabriel said, sounding weaker.

  “We’ll visit again in a month. I am not doing this to be an asshole. But if he has to go down, it might be easier to let me do it.” Baron ran his hands over his shaved head.

  “I appreciate the sentiment, but if anyone will put my child to rest, it will be me.” Gabriel’s voice held no emotion. Baron nodded.

  “Connor, we’re moving out. I doubt he will return here. But we’ll monitor the place just to be on the safe side. We’re back to square one with this killer. He said he was moving on, now we have to wait for bodies to start popping up again.” Baron growled.

  “When you catch him, I would like to be present for his judgment,” Gabriel announced. Coming from him it didn’t sound like a request.

  “Of course. Connor, we’re taking one of the SUVs,” Baron said, giving a half bow to Gabriel.

  Connor nodded then started counting people. They had enough room for Madison, but no one was expecting to find Rhys. Connor watched as Daniel walked over to Aleks and pulled on his hand. His head jerked to Gabriel. He mouthed the word please. Aleks nodded and walked over to Gabriel and Rhys, rubbing his hand between Madison’s ears.

  “Gabriel, you’ve given enough. Any more and we’ll have to carry your ass out of here. If you’re still set on donating more to him later, do it after you’ve rested and eaten. If I take you back to Arkadia sucked dry like a Capri Sun, Ashby is going to kick my ass,” Aleks teased.

  Gabriel graced them with a rare smile.

  “We couldn’t have that. It would damage your grumpy reputation.” Gabriel closed his eyes and eased Rhys off his neck. The man made weak protesting noises before settling down to sleep. When Gabriel opened his eyes he looked at Daniel.

  “I always underestimate you. You and your brother surprise me at every turn. I’ve never been prouder of the two of you than I have been these past few months,” Gabriel complimented the small vampire.

  Connor was completely unprepared for Daniel’s reaction.

  “Oh my god you’re dying! I let you get killed. Roman is going to crucify me. Oh god, I hope Roman kills me before Mikhail gets me. You can’t die!” he cried. Gabriel sighed and pulled a cell phone out of his suit jacket pocket. With one hand he dialed a number.

  Smiling, Connor walked over to his mate before joining her on the floor. She licked his face before she rested her head on her crossed paws.

  “Noel, who is there for security? Kurt and Lauri? Good, send them to the address I’m about to text you. Have them bring the vampire restraints from our dungeon…”

  “It’s all my fault!” Daniel slumped down on the floor, sobbing.

  “It’s just Daniel. No, he’s fine. Get here as fast as you can, I have Rhys. We need to restrain him and get him back to Purgatory…” Gabriel stopped midsentence as Rhys hissed in his sleep at the mention of their club.

  “Second thought, we’ll take him back to the coven house and get him set up in our basement. He was kidnapped for Shifted Death Noel. Yes. Yes, contact whoever you can. He will need a constant supply while we wean him off of shifter blood. Yes, hurry.” Gabriel ended the call and quickly texted the address to his club manager. With an exasperated look of affection he watched one of his youngest vampires come unglued in the middle of the hallway.

  “Do you really think I am dying because I paid you a compliment?” Gabriel asked, sounding a bit stronger. Instantly the tears stopped. Daniel turned and looked at Gabriel, his innocent eyes spilling over with tears. Silently, he nodded.

  “I am sorry for that. Ashby is helping me become more approachable,” he admitted. Daniel sniffled and crawled over to where Gabriel sat on the floor with Rhys cradled in his lap. Daniel wedged himself between Madison and Gabriel and rested his head on Gabriel’s thigh. With his only free hand, Gabriel ran his hand over Daniel’s hair. Daniel’s breathing evened out and he fell into a light sleep. Everyone else sat with the backs against the walls of the hallway and waited for Kurt and Lauri to arrive with the extra vehicle.

  “I can see what Ashby was talking about. You’d be wonderful with a baby,” Connor said softly. Gabriel’s eyes showed a hint of surprised before returning to his normal sarcastic smirk.

  “I should have known you were the one to help him talk to me. I was going out of my mind with worry. He seemed so heartbreakingly sad and he wouldn’t open up.”

  “You do realize he is reeling from pregnancy hormones right now?”

  “Yes, but I think that Ashby really does want a child. He is young and he has experienced all of these powerful emotions, which will only get stronger when the babes are born. As you can see, I have many children.” Gabriel indicated to his full lap.

  “I think Ashby would find it hard to mother and fuss over men and women who are hundreds of years older than he is. He may be their prince, but he still is the youngest,” Connor pointed out. Gabriel blinked.

  “I never thought about it that way. I have already reached out to some of my council contacts in regards to adoption. I’d do anything to make my mate happy.”

  “Wouldn’t we all?” Connor asked softly, looking down at his mate. Gabriel inclined his head.

  Aleks walked up with Kurt.

  “We’re ready to head home.”

  Chapter 9

  In the end, to keep the smell of shifters out of the car, Daniel, Rhys, Gabriel, Kurt, and Lauri drove back in one SUV. Aleks, Duncan, Emmett, Gavin, and Benedict stayed in their SUV, and Finn, Connor, and Madison took Connor’s truck home. Finn volunteered to drive so that Connor could stretch out next to his mate in the back. Five minutes outside of Arkadia, Gabriel’s car broke away and headed toward the coven house. By the time they reached the clinic Madison had shifted back and was gloriously naked, awake and looking around. Connor was not amused at the way that Finn kept laughing at him when he growled every time Finn went to turn around. Madison laughed and snuggled into Connor’s jacket.

  The truck door opened and Doc Claybourne stood there with a white hospital blanket for Madison. His face was pinched w
ith worry. Connor handed off his mate to her brother and followed them into the clinic. He watched as Doc gently eased his sister down on the bed.

  “Okay, let me see,” he demanded. Sighing, she removed Connor’s jacket under the blanket and rolled onto her stomach and let her brother pull the sheet down to expose her back. Connor stood beside the bed and traced his fingers down the puckered, pink lines. To still have this much visible damage after a shift, it was evident her wounds should have been fatal.

  With a trembling hand, Doc carefully pushed on the skin on either side of the furrows. Connor looked over and saw that Felix wore an identical sick expression on his face. Connor was about to say something to Felix about how ill Doc looked when the small redhead forced his mate to lie down on the bed opposite of Madison.

  “I’m so sorry, Maddox,” Madison whispered. It was only then that Connor make the connection. Madison, Madelyne, and Maddox were triplets. He had felt her pain and as a doctor he knew that it had been life threatening. He had to sit in Arkadia, completely helpless, and endure it.

  Connor looked over to where Doc lay on the bed, one hand covering his eyes as tears dripped down his face. Felix stood on the other side of the bed with a death grip on Doc’s other hand.

  “I thought I had lost you,” Doc said brokenly. Connor swallowed hard around the lump in his throat. He brought the blanket up and tucked it in around Madison.

  “I’m harder to kill than that,” she joked. Doc looked over to stare at Connor.

  “Vampire blood?” he asked.

  Connor nodded. “Daniel donated a few drops. Psycho drugged her so she couldn’t shift and heal,” he explained.

  “Just when I think I have a handle on paranormal medicine.” Doc shook his head.

  “I feel so stupid,” Madison whispered. Connor, Doc, and Felix stared at Madison.

  “Don’t say that, baby. He had this planned down to the minute. He killed three Sentinels at the perimeter to get in and to create an escape route. He shot Ricochet to create a diversion. Like Daniel said, he’s a sick bastard but he’s smart.” Connor rubbed Madison’s back in small round circles.

 
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