Hypnotic Ch. 08

byCia81©

"First, did you all get rid of your cell phones like you were instructed?" Natham looked at each of the Carthera. They all nodded except for Frisz. His eyebrows drew down and he looked a little guilty.

"Frisz?"

"My beta's wife is in labor. I had to leave my clan in the hands of his brother. The man is competent, but he's young and we've been having some issues with some local hate groups."

Dav hissed, and I could feel his rage. "You brought a cell phone into my safe house? Are you fucking insane?"

"They can track you with your phone. Do you really think our enemies won't be trying to find out what is going on when none of the alphas can be found?" Velaku's anger filled the room. "Give it to Natham, now!"

Natham took the phone Frisz held out. He opened it up and pulled out the sim card, his claws puncturing it to destroy the dangerous object. He threw the phone back at the polar bear with a disgusted look.

Dav urged me to my feet and stood, motioning for me to sit back down. He moved swiftly to a cabinet set in the far wall of the living room and dialed in a number combination in a recessed lock I hadn't noticed. My jaw dropped and I gaped when he opened the doors.

"I'd hoped for time to plan, but I don't know if we're going to get it now," Dav said. "The bear's mistake means that they could be coming for us before the others can get here. Mishtar has to know something is going on by now."

"Mishtar? Why isn't he here?" Merrianne twisted in her seat. "Come to think of it, why aren't more of your guards here, Velaku? I thought you weren't leaving the eyrie unprotected after the way you and your mate were abducted last year."

Dav began to walk around the room passing out weapons. "My guards are not trustworthy at the moment," Velaku said quietly. "Mishtar is a traitor. We've known for some time that a Carthera was guiding these attacks against the clans, but we didn't know who it was. I've seen proof from Isiah and Ahsran that leads me to believe that he plans to kill me for the leadership of the clans."

"A challenge should be answered. No Alpha can claim to rule his clan if he will not face challenges," Frisz objected.

Isiah snorted. "Challenges? Fighting to rule? That's not even close to what Mishtar has planned. I've been working undercover with his group and his plan was revealed the day I came here. He has many Carthera that he's found exiled from their clans, criminals and ferals, just waiting to attack. He led several Falcons, a Hyena, and a Wolverine in an attack on my mate and me earlier today.

"He's not planning to formally challenge Velaku and fight fair. He plans a massacre. First your leader, then the alphas of each clan. Then he'll take over when the confusion is greatest. Once he has control ge will attack the humans until a great war will erupt. He sees Carthera as the victors, but I can tell you the government hasn't been ignoring the possibility of someone trying to do this. They will eradicate all Carthera if they feel the human race is at stake."

Isiah glared at Frisz who couldn't meet his gaze. The bear looked away. "As the alphas of your clans, your lives are already forfeit in his mind. He will send assassins and killers after your mates and your children. Face reality, there is nothing honorable about what is going on here!"

"What do we do?" Eve asked.

Velaku took a deep breath. "We stop him today. He has to be put down along with any followers he leads against us. If they are not standing besides us ready to fight, we have to assume they are part of the plot."

The guns and knives Dav handed out filled the air with a bitter tang. I could smell the powder in the bullets and the cleaning oil on the guns. I swallowed hard.

"I can't fight," I said softly when Dav tried to hand me a knife. I hoped he would understand I wasn't judging him. I just couldn't take that knife. "It's not in me."

"I know. You can help anyone who is injured. But I cannot leave you defenseless." Dav still held the knife out to me. "Please take it."

I shook my head, standing up and avoiding the knife. "Do you have a first aid kit or anything?" I asked.

"Bathroom. The black bag in the cupboard."

I knew Dav wouldn't let this go, but I had to get out of the room. I could feel my muscles tightening.

I dug the bag out of the cupboard and opened it up. The bag was full of everything I could need to treat small injuries. That fact that it was so well stocked chilled me even more than the matter of fact way that Dav and Velaku assumed that Mishtar would be coming for them . . . and for the rest of us too.

Dav must have recognized my need for escape, but that didn't stop him from following me. I was leaning on the counter in the bathroom as I stared at the first aid kit, trying to take deep breaths and calm down when he knocked gently on the door. It was disconcerting that I knew my mate was the one behind the wooden door because I could taste him; his musky scent mixed with a spicy cologne layered with a hint of the hospital we had left only hours before.

This was not how I had expected to spend these hours. Meeting with strange alphas, plotting the death of a male I thought I knew . . . worrying that my mate might die.

He knocked again. "Ellis? I'd like to come in."

I turned on the water for a brief moment, swiping cold, wet hands over my face and slicking back my hair. The cool moisture felt good on the heated flesh of my face.

I turned the lock on the door.

Dav opened it and then shut it behind him. My eyes fixed on the knife he'd wanted me to take that was still in his grip. I bit my lip, tugging on it with my teeth as anxiety threatened to swamp me again.

"Ellis? What's wrong?"

"Are you sorry you mated me?" I asked him.

The look on his face was pure shock. Clearly he wasn't expecting me to ask him that. I don't think I had really expected to say it either.

"What?" he asked carefully. He set the knife down beside the first aid kit, and then cupped my face in his hands. "What's going on in that head of yours? I can feel anxiety, guilt, and anger; what I can't tell is why you are feeling those things."

I shrugged one shoulder, shifting back a little to put some distance between us, but he refused to let go of my face. He frowned; his gentle hold tightened just enough to hold me in place.

"Talk to me Ellis." It was a command.

I sighed. "I'm not a warrior. I'm not someone who can do what you do."

Dav raised an eyebrow. "What do I do?"

"Investigate things, kill bad guys, rescue little babies who have lost their parents. I heard all about Bashta's little niece a few months ago. I didn't know who you it was then, but you saved her, didn't you?"

"Yes, I did. I don't want someone like me though." Dav pulled me closer to him. When he spoke our mouths were a bare inch apart and his breath puffed hot against my lips. "I want you."

His eyes stared straight into mine, the slit pupils widening a small fraction. "I love how steady you are in a crisis, and how you always want to help people. You're someone that others go to for support; they like you. You are exactly the type of male I want beside me as my mate."

He kissed me, and I melted into his body, falling against his chest. My hands slipped around his waist as I lost myself in his taste. This was exactly what I needed. His touch, especially his kisses, reminded me that we were mates and that through our bond we shared the truth of our emotions. My mate needed me just as much as I needed him.

My tongue followed his when it retreated. I traced the thin fangs that had descended in his mouth, scraping the sharp tips. I loved doing that, loved how I could taste the slight bitterness of his venom. I hummed, wishing we had time for him to bite me so I could feel it rushing through my veins, sensitizing my entire body until every touch and thrust set me on fire.

I moaned when Dav began to pull away. I captured his lower lip and sucked hard on it. I opened my eyes to stare into his eyes; his lust was shining in his hot gaze. "Not yet," I whispered as I brought my hands up to hold his head still. I surged forward, desperately seeking the warmth and unique taste that only belonged to my mate. If I lost him, I wanted every touch, every taste, now.

Dav's hands dug into my back, pulling me even closer. I rubbed against him, and his hands slid down to grip my hips almost painfully tight as he ground our erections together. His rough handling sent a tingle down my spine, and I arched and pressed harder against him. This time we both groaned when we separated. I licked my lips, feeling the tingle of his venom.

They felt swollen, hot, and so very sensitive.

"What I wouldn't give for a bed and some privacy," I said with a sigh. I pulled away a little before I made a mess. I was that close.

Dav agreed. "First thing I'm doing when this is all over is take you back to my bed and keep you there for days."

I leaned against him, my fingers rubbing his nipples through his shirt. "Is that so?"

He hissed as I dragged a nail across each one. He reached out with one hand and palmed my sensitive cock through my pants, forcing a gasp past my lips. My head fell back, and I fought to keep my knees from buckling from the aching pleasure that swamped me. I was going to . . . .

It suddenly stopped as he let me go. I couldn't help making a wordless sound of protest. I straightened and narrowed my eyes at him. I could sense that he enjoyed teasing me just a little too much.

"I might even tie you to my bed for a few days." He grinned down at me. "Then you won't be able to escape."

"Just for a few days?"

He shrugged and then raised one eyebrow. "Maybe more."

I couldn't help but smile back. "Promise?"

He nodded, one finger tracing my puffy lips until I shuddered. "The very first thing."

I closed my eyes and rested my forehead on his shoulder. "Okay." I felt him shifting, but I didn't move. I heard the unmistakable sound of velcro and then tugging at my waist. I opened my eyes, looking down. Dav's hands were busy attaching the sheath of the knife he'd brought onto my belt over my left hip.

I bit my still tingling lip. He pushed my face up until I looked at him.

"Please. Take it for me, so I know you have something to protect yourself with. I don't want you to join the fighting, but if something should happen I want you to use it if you have to. Then get away and hide."

I knew he was right. I wasn't a fighter or a killer. I'd only be a liability in a battle. I nodded reluctantly, but I didn't have to like it. "I have the first aid kit. I can help after if someone . . . " I swallowed hard, "if someone gets hurt. But I'm not going to jump into a fight with any Carthera." My erection wilted at the reminder of what we were facing.

Dav squeezed my hips. "Thank you for not arguing."

"Would it do me any good?" I asked. I already knew the answer to that question.

"No."

Exactly.

***

I hadn't known exactly how many clans made up Velaku's territory, but I had been a little surprised only four had come earlier. I realized when we went back to the living room that they had just been the first to arrive. I recognized several of the Carthera clan types including deer, lion, crocodile, owl and some type of small cat. One large man who looked almost fat was standing against the wall seemed to be alone. He was even bigger than the bears; I'd never seen a Carthera that looked like him with his black markings.

"Good, they're all here."

"Who is that?" I whispered to Dav.

He glanced at the man I indicated. "That's Bob."

I looked at him, one eyebrow raised. "Bob?"

"Yes. His name is Bob." Dav looked away from me, joining in the conversation and explaining the situation to the new arrivals. All of them had been smart enough to get rid of their phones, and I could see even the deer were armed. The females seemed to congregate together. There was a smaller male owl sitting on the couch. I debated going to sit with him but the large man was close to him, and I was wary of heading in his direction. I looked back at the women.

"He doesn't look like a Bob," I muttered as I stood next to Dav.

I jumped when a voice spoke from behind me.

"But I am one."

I turned and stared. Up close I could see the pigment of his skin was in a set pattern just like a . . . .

"Killer whale. And Bob is the name I go by," he stared back at me, "but you're right, Snake's mate. It's not my real name. You couldn't say my name with your throat actually."

He didn't seem that scary as he looked. His voice had a strange quality to it, sort of deep and echoing. "I didn't know ocean mammal Carthera existed," I said in a breathy voice. "Are there more of you? Different kinds? Do you live in the water? Do you have a mate here?"

He looked at me in amusement, but Dav hissed, "Not exactly a good time to ask him questions," he tugged me away from the whale shifter, "well, it never is, actually."

"Where are your warriors Bob?" Dav asked with a suspicious frown.

"Outside, helping keep watch."

Dav nodded once at the large, sleek man. "Thank you."

Bob shrugged one shoulder. "Velaku tells me that Mishtar threatens all of us. He is dangerous and needs to be put down. We'll help before we bring the females here."

He turned and walked away abruptly, going back to stand against the wall. Dav gave me a look, pulling me off to the side.

"Give Bob space. He is more dangerous than he looks," he said in an undertone. I opened my mouth, and he gave me a warning look. I frowned but nodded reluctantly. "Why don't you go sit with Wheril? You should rest while you can."

He pointed me toward the couch. I rolled my eyes but went to sit down.

"Hey, I'm Ellis." I held out my hand to the Owl sitting on the couch next to me.

"Wheril." I didn't want to stare at him, but he was striking. His skin was a rich golden brown, and he had dark rings around his eyes. His hair was strange, a sort of feathery brown that fell about his face in wisps.

"You are the Snake's mate?" he asked me. He gave me a shy smile.

I nodded, looking over at Dav. "I am."

"He scares me," he confided with a shrug. I just sort of looked at him, not sure what to say but I didn't have to. He spoke again, "I heard you are a nurse. You work with Dr. Pannar."

"I didn't know there was talk about me." I wasn't sure I liked that idea.

"You helped treat my little brother. He fell out of a tree and broke his arm."

"Oh, that's right." I had forgotten about treating a small owl. Come to think of it, he had the same eyes Wheril did, without the rings. "Wasn't his name Lestr?"

Whirl nodded with a quick grin. "That's right!"

A smile spread across my face. The owl seemed like a very happy man, even in these circumstances. "He was pretty brave for a young boy." Owls, most birds in fact, had lighter bones than normal and they were easily broken. Fortunately, as Carthera, they also healed fast.

"You gave him a lollipop; he was convinced you were an angel of mercy."

I laughed. "Sugar tends to have that effect on little boys."

He laughed with me. "It does."

We continued to chat for a bit; he invited me to visit their nest, which was what they called their home he explained, but it was an apartment, not an actual nest. I grew to like the quietly cheerful young man, but soon our words trailed off. Everyone was on edge as they planned for the attack. I kept glancing at the windows as I watched Dav and waited.

***

"Why the hell haven't they shown up yet?" Sorca complained as he paced the room. Some of the alphas were nervous like him and others sat stolidly, just waiting. I think I was somewhere in between. I'd moved over to sit with Isiah and Ahsran; I wanted to spend some time soaking up my twin's presence.

Unable to stand the crowd, Elalera had gone to lie down.

I looked at Dav.

He had been speaking with Velaku and Natham quietly on one side of the room. Bob had been included in the conversation.

"They are probably trying to draw us out," the crocodile Carthera said. He'd been one of the quiet ones, sitting on the floor motionless. I'd found it a little eerie and too reminiscent of the nature shows I'd seen. It was just how alligators in Florida waited under the water with just their eyes and nostrils out until the perfect prey happened by. Sometimes it was hard to ignore the more animalistic features of the Carthera I was around.

With so many strong alphas in the room the dangerous feeling many of the predator animal types couldn't help emit was stronger than I'd ever felt before. It made the skin on the back of my neck crawl a little, their auras were that strong. Add in the tension as we waited for Mishtar's attack, and it was a wonder a fight hadn't broken out yet.

Velaku turned to the group. "He may be doing exactly that, but we have a plan."

Dav produced a phone. Frisz bristled.

"How come you have a phone and yet you destroyed my mine?"

"Because this is a prepaid phone that I keep stashed here. It's never been used. There is no way for Mishtar to track it." His obvious disdain made the polar bear growl, but Dav ignored him.

Velaku took the phone, putting it on speaker phone before he dialed a number.

It rang only two times. Everyone in the room was silent as Mishtar answered.

"Who is this?" he snapped. His voice was tinny over the speaker.

Natham snarled explosively. "You son of a bitch. We're going to kill you, you traitor."

Mishtar laughed derisively into the phone. "Well if it isn't the little beast. Something got you all riled up, lynx?"

Velaku put a hand on Natham's arm to keep him from replying. The male didn't look happy, but he refrained from speaking. His whole body practically vibrated with the snarls he couldn't hold back. "Remember the plan," Velaku whispered.

"I would ask why you are doing this, Mishtar, but I think it is perfectly clear. You never were happy with leading the Falcons were you?"

"Why should I lead an army of males that never DO anything? No matter what insults the humans heap on us, your father was happy to take it and ask for more. He was reducing our kind to the status of trained pets for the humans. The only good thing your family did was unite the clans. Once you're dead too, I'm going to use that unity to wipe the humans out."

His laugh was nearly manic. "Once that happens, other Carthera will see how things should be and join in. Pretty soon we'll be in control, and we'll hunt down the humans until every single one is dead. We don't need them; we've evolved past their kind."

Velaku looked sick. Mishtar's smooth and calm tone I'd always heard him use was gone. He sounded insane; his volatile rant delivered in a wild voice that was brittle and sharp.

"We will stop you Mishtar. The humans know all about you and your little traitor friends," Velaku said. "They always have. You're going to die, and it will be by my hand. You never had a chance!"

Mishtar shrieked. "Lies! They know nothing; they're too stupid to ever find out my plans! I snatched the Snake mate's little friend. He told me that idiot was too scared to tell his mate what he knew. I knew Dav's watchers might see me take the little human, but it's too late to save him and find out what he knew. This is too big for you to stop. You're just trying to trick me into thinking you have human allies, but I won't fall for it!"

I smothered my gasp when Mishtar mentioned my missing friend and buried my face in Isiah's shoulder. He wrapped his arms around me as I sobbed soundlessly. Mishtar had hurt Matthew, and probably killed him. I shook, misery filling me at being the cause of my friend's death. "No, this is truth. We're going to get you Mishtar."

The sudden quiet over the phone was disturbing. The sound of a gun action was loud through the speaker. "How exactly do you plan to do that locked into one of that freak's safe houses? My Carthera are going to wipe you out."

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