Home > The Savior (Black Dagger Brotherhood #17)(12)

The Savior (Black Dagger Brotherhood #17)(12)
Author: J.R. Ward

“I got these letters.” Murhder put the folder of photographs on the floor and took the correspondence out of his pocket even though the King couldn’t see the envelopes. “The first one came about six months ago. Then a second. Finally, last week, the third. They’re from the pregnant female. She must have lived, somehow, and then gotten away from them. This is my chance not to fail her, Wrath. Finally, I can do right by her.”

The King’s head lifted. “How do you know it’s her?”

“In the final letter, she describes exactly what happened when I broke into the lab. I haven’t told anyone those details.”

“And you want us to find her for you?”

“I don’t have those kinds of intel resources. I wouldn’t even know where to start.” Murhder wanted to fall to his knees, clasp his hands and go into straight-up implore mode. “I just need to know where she is so I can help her.”

“What does she want you to do for her?”

Murhder opened his mouth. Then closed it. The female wanted him to go after her son, who was apparently still with the humans, and nearing his transition. If there wasn’t another vampire of the opposite sex available to him, he was going to die during the change. Assuming the humans hadn’t killed him already.

Revealing that mission, given Murhder’s track record for destroying things and causing headaches for the race in laboratory settings? Not smart.

He focused on his intent rather than the details because undoubtedly Wrath’s keen nose would pick up on it if he lied or tried to hide anything.

“I just want to be whatever she needs. It’s all that matters in my life.”

Which bathroom did John go into?”

As Xhex put the demand out there, her number two pointed to the back of the club. “Boss man’s, I think. He took the stairs up.”

“Thanks—and handle shit for me, will ya? I’m taking twenty minutes.”

“Yeah, sure. I got you.”

Xhex headed across the dance floor. It was an even-Steven on whether it was faster to cut around the edges where there were fewer people, but more distance to cover, or plow through the packed, stacked, and jacked clientele who were grinding on each other like God was going to outlaw intercourse first thing in the morning.

She’d never had any problem playing bowling ball to their tenpins, however, and as she shoved the bodies out of her way, she was rougher than usual.

God … what a scene out in that alley. It had to be more of those shadows. She’d heard the Brotherhood talking at the dining room table about what happened to this new kind of victim, the wakeup call from some unholy place reanimating that which should, however tragic the deaths were, stay cold and stiff. Apparently, the only way to keep the corpses down was to shoot them in the head with hollow-tipped bullets filled with water from the Sanctuary’s fountain.

Fucking Omega. New games, new tactics. Then again, the war was coming to an end, the Brotherhood finally getting a leg up on the slayer population, so of course the enemy was going to get desperate and therefore inventive.

And on top of all that? There was another reason she wanted to see her mate, other than a garden variety are-you-okay, God-that-was-awful, man-this-war-sucks kind of thing.

As the congestion of the dance floor cleared, Xhex nearly broke out into a run when she had a clean shot to the stairwell. And as she ascended and went for the door to Trez’s second-floor command center, her heart was pounding so hard, she forced herself to stop, regroup, and take some deep breaths before she entered.

Closing her eyes, the image she got on the backs of her lids was not one she was happy about.

But shit, Murhder was exactly the same as she remembered. Even facedown in the snow, it was obvious his body hadn’t changed. He was still built as the Brother he had been, all long legs thick with muscle and broad shoulders and heavy arms. And damn, his hair … all that black and red stuff had been fanned out in the snow, the streaks that ran through the midnight parts still not ginger colored, like Blay’s, but barn red. Blood red.

She’d assumed he colored it when she first met him. Nope.

No clue what genetic mutation was responsible for that combo, and she certainly hadn’t seen it on anyone else.

Speaking of which, she had never expected to see him again. After she’d learned he was at that B&B down south, she had sent him the address of her hunting cabin, but he had never sought her out. She didn’t blame him. There wasn’t much to say between them, was there.

Not after she’d lied to him. Not after what her bloodline had done to him. Not after what he had done after that.

Rehvenge, now king of the symphaths, had been the one who arranged for Murhder’s release from the colony. She’d still been in captivity at BioMed at that point, but she escaped not long after he’d been freed. Sometime later, she’d heard about him going to another BioMed facility and doing brutal things. At first, she’d wondered how he’d found them. And why he’d gone after them at all.

But then she remembered. When she’d returned to burn down where she’d been tortured, she had sensed she was being watched.

It had been Murhder. Somehow, he’d found her, yet he hadn’t interfered.

The idea he had kept going after that company, even after she had stopped, seemed a noble, although ultimately fruitless, pursuit—but then he had been permanently changed by her kin. He was not the same male, and when it came to the Brotherhood, all they knew was that he had lost his mind. He’d apparently never told them that he’d been held against his will and tortured in the symphath colony.

She’d never understood why he hadn’t revealed the truth to them, even if it had meant exposing her half-breed status—something that back then hadn’t been common knowledge. But maybe the Brothers would have understood. No one could get under a person’s skin like a symphath. No wonder Murhder had ended up insane.

And it was all her fault.

“Enough,” she muttered to herself. “Stop it.”

Coming back to the present, she opened the door to Trez’s office, and got hit with a whole lot of no-one-home. The desk was empty, the computers shut down, the black leather couches without occupants. No lights on, either. The only illumination came from sporadic bursts of filtered purple lasers, the dance floor’s beams blunted by the tint of Trez’s wall of glass.

No, there was another source of light.

Turning away from the observatory, she tracked the glow over to the corner. “John?”

The bathroom door was shut, and as she came up to it, she hesitated—and didn’t like the reticence. She never knocked to announce herself to him.


No running water. No toilet flushing.

She knocked. “John?”

He opened the door while pulling a long-sleeved shirt into place on his shoulders. Sorry, I need a quick shower. Do you think Trez will care if I borrow this button-down?

“No, of course not,” she said. “So how did it go outside. Did you take care of the civilian? I sent his cousin to Havers after the male fainted on me.”

As his hands moved through sign language positions that she knew well, she didn’t track the words he was making.

The button-down wasn’t buttoned down yet, and the muscle shirt below it was so tight that the real estate of his torso was on display even though his upper body was covered: In the light that flooded down from the ceiling fixtures, his pecs and his abdominals looked like they had been deep-carved by a master hand, and the prominent wings of his hip bones rose up out of the waistband of his leathers.

Smooth skin. Powerful strength. And she knew every inch of him by touch and taste.

John seemed new to her tonight, however, and that was another thing—like the way she’d hesitated in front of the closed door—that made her uneasy. She could not ignore the fact that she was assessing the torso of her mate as if seeing it for the first time.

Something about Murhder had reset her.

What’s wrong? John signed.

That got through to her. Or maybe it was the worry in his face, his eyes narrowing.

She wanted to tell him nothing. That it was nothing, nope, she was fine, all good, hunky-fucking-dory. But she didn’t think he’d be fooled by that cascade of denial.

Instead, Xhex stepped into him. Placed her palms inside the two of halves of that shirt. Stroked her way around his torso to the small of his back.

Instantly, his bonding scent flared, and she was aware of a pang in the center of her chest. If she’d asked him what was wrong? His “nothing” would have been honest, and the dark spices surging into the bathroom proved it.

Her lips found the column of his throat. And as she brushed the skin over his jugular, he clapped his hands on her hips and squeezed. Hard. Like he wanted her badly—and she loved that about him. Her mate was always ready-to-go-now, and in this, they were compatible.

One of many ways they worked, she reminded herself.

Her tongue licked across his collarbone and then she dragged one fang over the swell of his pec beneath the muscle shirt. In response, his body shuddered, and she knew what that felt like, the prickling of sexual tension, the hypersensitivity to touch, the heat that kindled just under the skin. The anticipation. They had shared all of it so many times, and yet as she got down on her knees in front of him, she recorded his arousal on fresh mental pages and tracked the flush on his face and the thickening behind his fly with new eyes.

Oh, God, he mouthed as he threw out a pair of brace-myself hands, the tight confines of the bathroom giving him good anchors with the wall behind the sink and the door to the toilet’s cubicle.

Xhex ran her tongue on a meander across his lower belly, about an inch above his waistband. He was so leaned out from his workouts and what he did for a living in the field that there was just thin skin stretched over taut sinew and vein, everything so tight, it was like licking marble that happened to move.

Her fingertips skipped up his bulging thighs, the heat he was throwing off making the leather warm to the touch. The contours of his muscles were a road map of his heavy running while carrying weight, the ropes of strength offering ridges and valleys to explore.

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