But they all stood frozen.
“Don’t have a lot of charm, do you?” Brody murmured when Lucas reached the stairs.
Lucas froze. Actually, he had all the charm he needed.
Sarah glanced back. “Lucas?”
“Keep going, Sarah. You and Piers wait outside.” Because he knew what was coming. There was only one reason Brody would have stayed behind.
“Lucas . . .” Now Piers sounded worried.
Lucas inclined his head. “Don’t worry. It won’t touch me.” His gaze was on Brody.
“It?” Sarah repeated. “What’s—”
“We need to go,” Piers growled and pulled her up the stairs. “Trust me. Shit, I’ve seen his work before.”
A faint smile curved Brody’s lips. “You really should just let me handle this. I can take Rafe out, nice and neat.”
Neat? Since when was fire and singed flesh neat?
“You do it your way.” His claws dug into the wooden banister. “I’ll do it mine.”
Brody nodded. “Fine. If that’s what you want.”
Then the guy was moving. Stalking back toward the death room that Josette had used. Figured. Maya would want that place destroyed.
And Brody had a thing about making Maya happy.
Lucas’s feet pounded up the stairs. He’d just reached the top when the scent of smoke teased his nostrils. Yeah, just what he’d thought.
Lucas shoved open the door. He spared a glance for the old demon. “Better get a head start on running. The stampede will be coming up soon.” Once they realized there was no stopping Brody’s fire.
Because Adam Brody wasn’t your run-of-the-mill shifter. In fact, Lucas had never met anyone quite like him.
Got to find Rafe first. Pack business. The kill wasn’t for an outsider.
The demon turned and scrambled, rushing for a side door.
Screams drifted up from below. Voices rose and fell.
Lucas kept walking. He could have barred the door behind him. Made the monsters who liked the dark suffer more, but then, that wasn’t the point, was it?
No, his job now was to wait and watch. To see just who crawled free and scrambled for safety.
And who went running to Rafe.
The heat from the sun hit him when he stalked outside, but it was nothing compared to the fire igniting in the bar. The dragon knew how to burn. Others ran out behind him. The female vamp. Figured she’d escape first. Vamps didn’t get along so well with fire.
Sarah waited for him with her hands on her slender hips. “What the hell was that? Did you want to piss off every paranormal in the place?”
“Yeah, I did.” A group of demons flew past him. McKennis rushed into the parking lot. Looked like the back of the bear’s shirt was smoking.
Sarah marched toward him. “You succeeded then. They’ll be gunning for you, they’ll be—”
He covered her body with his, pulling her close and kissing her just as he heard the explosion behind him. Glass shards rained onto his back, some breaking through the skin. He didn’t let her go. His lips opened over hers and his tongue thrust inside her mouth.
She breathed his name and the lust surged through him. Dangerous. No, those jerks running away weren’t the ones he needed to worry about. They wouldn’t hurt him.
But Sarah . . . yeah, she just might be able to.
He eased back and gazed down at her. “Lucas . . .” She looked over his shoulder and her eyes widened. The growing fire was reflected in her gaze. “What happened in there?”
“I think Maya and Brody wanted to make sure Josette didn’t try casting her circles there again.” He threw a fast glance back at the bar. Now the place was really burning. Those orange and red flames stretched straight to the sky.
Sarah’s breasts brushed against him. “But how’d the fire start?”
He pressed another kiss to her lips. “Babe, you don’t want to know.” From the corner of his eye, he saw McKennis and the female vamp. The vamp jumped into a pickup while McKennis fled the scene on foot.
And he also saw the old demon. Not running, just staring at the fire, watching the place burn, and there was fury on his face.
“Who do we follow?” Piers asked, coming up beside him.
“You go after Maya. Make sure that Josette keeps her nose clean.” Like that was going to happen. Playing with dark magic was like taking crack. Or so a witch had told him once. Just a few hits were all you needed to get hooked, and that was one addiction you couldn’t beat.
He stepped away from Sarah. “We’re following the demon.” Because the guy had whirled away from the building and was now rushing down the alley. Moving fast for someone so old. But then, Lucas didn’t really think the guy was old. A demon didn’t just use glamour to disguise the true color of his eyes. If the demon had enough power, glamour could be used to hide anything . . . or to transform the demon into just about anyone.
A lesson Marley had taught him.
“Stay close,” he said.
“Try to keep me away,” she told him and then they were running, heading right for that alley, sticking close to the old building’s walls. The stench of garbage hit him and old alcohol burned his nose.
The demon was moving fast. Didn’t really matter how fast he ran, though, Lucas had the scent now.
Sarah kept pace easily, rushing just as quickly as he did through the narrow alley. In the distance, a fire truck’s alarm screamed. Lucas knew that by the time the truck got to the scene, the building would be too far gone to save.
Brody didn’t screw around.
Neither did he.
The demon burst from the alley. Lucas froze, and threw up a hand, blocking Sarah. That demon wasn’t just running blind. He was heading for a black van, one with a familiar cable company’s logo on the side.
His gut twisted. The van didn’t fit with Rafe’s setup. No way, but . . .
The door flew open as the demon approached and the guy jumped inside. The van’s motor snarled to life. Lucas’s eyes slit.
“No, wait, Lucas, I think—”
Too late. He raced forward just as the tail-lights flashed on. They weren’t getting away from him that easily.
Once again, the back doors of that van flew open. Only Rafe wasn’t the one glaring down at him.
A woman stood there. A woman with long red hair and golden eyes. The demon was right behind her, gripping her shoulder.
“Told you he was comin’!” the demon cried. “We need to go, we need—”
The woman smiled at him.
“No, Karen! Don’t!” Sarah’s scream of fury.
But the woman lifted her hand and tazed him. Fucking tazed him.
The electrodes shot right into his chest. His body jerked, shuddered, and the shock rode hard through his system. The tremors didn’t stop after a few moments, they just continued, shaking his whole body—she must have amped up the tazer.
Growling, his hands flew up and he yanked out the electrodes even as the electricity still pumped through him.
The redhead’s lips parted.
“That all you got?” he asked, his claws ripping out. “Not good enough.” Then he attacked.
Lucas leapt up and landed in the van, tackling both Karen and the demon. Sarah jumped up behind him, ramming her knee on the bumper. She ignored the stab of pain and focused on the danger.
“A tazer?” Lucas laughed at that. “Did you really think that shit was going to work on me?”
Sarah scrambled closer, her breath panting out from the run and the adrenaline that spiked her blood. “Lucas, she’s FBI, she’s—”
“Tazers work well enough on coyotes,” Karen Phillips said, her voice calm, as if a wolf shifter didn’t have his claws very near her throat. “I figured it was worth a shot.” Her gaze darted to Sarah. “Besides, if I’d shot you, I knew she’d be seriously pissed.”
The demon made a sound somewhere between a whimper and a moan.
Then there was a click. A very soft, very dangerous click of sound. Sarah glanced up and found herself staring down the barrel of a gun. One that a guy—a young guy with dirty blond hair but one very steady hand—had aimed on her.
The driver. No wonder the van wasn’t flying down the road. The driver had stopped to get in on the action in the back.
“Tell the wolf to back off,” the blond ordered.
Lucas didn’t look away from Karen. “Tell the dumb asshole to drop his gun or I’ll start slashing his partner.”
Ah, yeah. Sounded like a Mexican standoff to Sarah. “You heard the man.” Sarah extended her hand toward the driver. “But don’t drop it, just give it to me.” Because she’d been itching to get her hands on a weapon. Tired of being defenseless.
The guy didn’t move for ten seconds. Then Lucas’s fingers drew closer to Karen’s chest.
“You’re FBI!” The blond yelled at Sarah, veins bulging in his neck. “You’re supposed to be on our side! You can’t just stand there and let—”
“She’s not FBI anymore.” Lucas’s glittering eyes lifted. “She’s pack.”
Suddenly, the agent’s hold wasn’t so steady.
The demon tried to sidle toward the still-open back doors. Not going to happen. Sarah moved slightly, putting her body between the demon and freedom.
“Curtis, give her the gun!” Karen yelled. “I know shifters. He’ll slice me before you can even fire.”
“Yes,” Lucas said softly. “I will.” He smiled. “Then I’ll come after you, Curtis.”
Curtis swore and turned his hand, offering the gun to Sarah. She reached for the weapon, wrapped her fingers around the butt of the gun—
The demon tried to jump out of the van. Right. She’d expected that. One fast elbow jab and she had him slamming into the side of the van. Still holding the gun, Sarah yanked the back doors closed, one at a time.
Then her gaze swept the small scene.
“You can . . . get off me now . . .” Karen glared up at Lucas. He shook his head and leaned in closer. “Wanna tell me why the hell you smell like coyote . . .” He inhaled and Sarah saw a muscle jerk in his jaw. “And wolf?”
Uh, oh. Sarah pointed the gun at Curtis. “Drive. Get us out of here.” They’d wasted too much time. Left those back doors open too long. There were too many other eyes out there, watching.
“Drive?” The guy parroted. “To where?”
“My place,” Lucas said. “And, yeah, I’m sure you know exactly where that is, right?” His right hand waved toward the row of surveillance equipment that lined the interior of the van. “You bastards have fun watching?”
Curtis didn’t answer, but he did crawl back toward the front of the van.
Lucas rose slowly and Sarah could see the leashed tension in his body. “Who is she, Sarah?”
Sarah licked her lips. “Karen and I worked together, back when I was in the FBI.”
“I figured that much.”
The demon was on the floor, glaring at them both. Karen sat up, her shoulder brushing against his. The agent wasn’t glaring. In fact, she didn’t look the least bit pissed.
Karen wasn’t known for keeping her cool. Sarah’s internal alarm went on high alert.
“Is she a charmer, too?” Lucas asked.
“No, I’m human,” Karen told him, a little heat finally slipping into her voice. “We do exist too, you know.”
The driver shoved down the gas pedal and the van lurched forward.
“Fuck, I need out of here!” the demon yelled.
Lucas shot a piercing gaze at him. “Want me to shut you up?”
The demon’s mouth closed.
“You don’t smell human.” Lucas turned his gaze back to the agent.
“That’s because I’ve been living with the coyotes for the last five months.” She pushed her hair out of her face. “Hang around animals enough, and their scent sticks to you.”
Half-true. So Sarah called her on the lie. “And it helps if you visit a certain mambo in the area and get a special oil that gives off shifter scent, right, K?” Because Karen wasn’t the only agent who’d used that trick. Only Sarah hadn’t visited Marie. On another mission, she’d used the warlock, Skye, to get the oil.
Karen’s head inclined toward her.
“Is that why you smell like wolf, too?” Lucas wanted to know.
“No.” Karen’s breath eased out. “That would be because one of your precious pack kidnapped me. What you’re scenting . . . that’s your boy Dane.” One red brow quirked. “But I’m guessing you already know that, right? You recognized his scent, and I’m sure he would have briefed the big old alpha right away.
Lucas smiled. “Yes, he would have.” He leaned in toward her. “He also would have told me that a human woman named Karen helped to get him captured, that she was working with the coyotes.”
The van hit a pothole and Sarah grabbed the side of the vehicle to steady herself.
“Not with them,” Karen said, a faint line appearing between her brows. “Working undercover. You know what that is, right, wolf? When you have to do shit that makes you sick . . . all so you can keep the innocents in the world safe.”
“There are no innocents,” Sarah whispered. “Not anymore.”
Karen’s gaze cut to her. “She knows. Sarah’s worked undercover more times than you can count. She blends. It’s what we do. We get in, make ’em—” She shut up, fast, when she caught Sarah’s narrowing eyes.