Dark Instincts(2)

By: Suzanne Wright

Roni awkwardly fought to unclip her seatbelt. It eventually snapped open, and she cried out at the sensation of falling onto a bed of glass. She shelved the pain as she righted herself and began to slide toward the backseat on her stomach. “Tao, wake up! Get to Shaya!” All she received was another moan.

“Shit! One of them is awake!” Rather than flee, the strangers redoubled their efforts to open the door.

Their efforts paid off.

Just as the top half of Roni’s body wriggled through the gap between the seats, the door was yanked open, and a tanned arm reached for Kye.

Roni unsheathed her claws and sliced at the limb, causing it to flinch away. Her wolf growled her approval. “I swear to God, if any part of your body tries to touch him again, you won’t get it back intact!”

“You bitch!” Two arms reached inside this time, both sporting claws of their own. One set of claws acted as a barricade between her and Kye while the other set cut through the belt that secured Kye’s safety seat to the car. In a lightning fast motion, the arms caught him before he and his seat could crash to the floor.

Roni stabbed her claws through one long, muscled arm, past bone, and all the way into the rear seat, pinning the arm in place. He howled in pain, hurling obscenities at her. Well, she had warned him; he’d chosen to ignore her, so there was really no need for that kind of language.

With her free hand, Roni worked Kye’s belt open. His little body toppled out of the safety seat and onto her outstretched arm. If her wolf could have sighed in relief, she would have. Curling her arm around him, Roni pulled him tight against her body. Only then did she release the would-be-kidnapper from the grip of her claws.

She was feeling a hint of victory when someone grabbed a fistful of her hair from behind. Turning her head as much as the strong grip would allow, she realized that the second male had come at her from the other side of the car. He held her in place by her hair while the other shifter frantically struggled to drag Kye from her grasp. The toddler was wailing and clinging tightly to her, absolutely terrified. When two large hands got a firm grip on his little waist, panic bit into her. No, no, she wouldn’t let—

Her hair was suddenly released, and a scream mingled with a familiar animal growl that meant Shaya had shifted into her wolf form. While Roni was relieved that she was conscious again, Roni did not want the pregnant female, ruthless or not, fighting a male shifter.

“Don’t shift!” the other male yelled. “A car’s coming!”

Footsteps thudded along the ground as the two males disappeared from view. Seconds later, there was the sound of a car speeding away, and a heavy sense of relief surged through Roni.

Hearing Shaya’s wolf pawing at the vehicle, whining, Roni assured her, “We’re fine.” But, really, Roni wasn’t fine. Her head was now throbbing, her body ached in several places, and her vision was starting to blur and darken. If she passed out again, she would be seriously unhappy. Dominant females did not pass out, dammit.

“Roni, how badly are you guys hurt?” Shaya asked, back in her human form.

Roni wanted to answer her Alpha female; wanted to ask Shaya how injured she was and reassure her that everything would be fine. But Roni’s mouth suddenly felt stuffed with cotton, her chest felt tight, and black spots were dancing before her eyes. Worse, there was a horrible ringing sound that made her head pound even more.

She opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out. Her wolf began to panic once more as the ringing became deafening and a dark veil fell over Roni’s vision.

Then there was only blackness.


Sitting on an infirmary bed at Phoenix Pack territory half an hour later, Roni flinched as Grace used tweezers to pluck yet another piece of glass from Roni’s palms. Silently, she seethed, annoyed with herself. She—a dominant female who could outrun both her brothers, who could defeat a wolf while in her human form, and who had once almost made an Alpha male sob when she beat him at an arm wrestle—had passed out. Twice.

What was wrong with the world?

“Done,” announced Grace. “I have to thank you again for what you did. I dread to think what could have happened to Kye if you hadn’t kept him safe.”

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