logan's choice (dark hollow wolf pack #3) Page 16
He squinted at the dark, but there was nothing to see. A lot of human scents surrounded them, but nothing close or fresh. A chill ran down his spine with the thought of the scent neutralizer, but he shook it off. There would be no reason for them to use it at their home base. Nerves. That's all it was.
They made it to a large, steel doorway and jimmied the lock without attracting any notice. Marco and Casey were stationed near the guard shack, watching for any movement of guards toward Ian and Logan's position. They had set up a signal on hisand Marco’s cell phones, set to vibrate if they saw or heard anything out of the ordinary.
Moving quietly, using hand motions, Logan signaled Ian to follow him into the interior of the building. An anxious feeling in Ian's chest reminded him of his own training and night hunts with the pack, fluttery and tight at the same time. He tried to measure out his breathing, take it slowly. He’d compromised his own principles in an effort to placate Logan. Nothing could happen to foul this up.
Logan was busy setting the first charge. Six sticks of dynamite, taped together and attached to a detonator. Simple, but effective. He followed Logan to four separate locations where Logan quickly set the remaining charges. At the last location, he attached the radioactivated device to set off the charges.
They made their way back to the door and stepped outside. Moonlight sparkled on the wires of the fence, and a curious layering of shadows hung all over the compound yard. The darkness was absolute. As Ian took a step toward the fence, a low pop and then a sizzle cut through the dead silence. The night exploded with light. Flares went off all around them turning the night into instant daylight. Ian shoved Logan behind him, but before he could move to shift or run, Hunters dropped from the roof on top of him. At least six men drove him to the ground. They hit him over and over in the head and back of the neck with clubs, but he fought for consciousness. He had to somehow get to Logan. He tried again to shift, but darkness crowded his brain. He cried out for Logan as another blow came down on his temple, and he knew nothing more until he awoke in darkness of a different kind.
His head, neck, and shoulders ached like hell and blood, warm and wet, seeped from his scalp and moved like sludge. He hadn’t been out long. He tried to sit up and a bright slash of pain knifed through him. Taking a deep breath, he tried again and managed to sit up in the darkness. He was on a cold, damp concrete floor. Windowless and damn near airless, and the only bit of light in the room was a small strip coming under the door. He still wore his shirt, though it was ripped into shreds around him. He tore a long strip from it to bind his head and stop the bleeding. He couldn’t imagine how things had gone so desperately wrong. He also wasn’t sure how or why he was still alive, but feared he knew the answer. More than once a wolf body mutilated by experimentation and torture had been found, usually those rogues who had refused to join a pack and lacked the protection of one.
His mind went to Logan and another, deeper pain slashed through his body. If they’d hurt Logan he didn’t think he could survive. He didn’t believe they would have killed him— at least not until they had a chance to question him. Surely they wouldn’t have harmed him out of hand. He was Elias Winters’ only son, after all, even if Elias had literally thrown his son to the wolves.
As his eyes adjusted a bit to the light, he got unsteadily to his feet and, with a hand on the wall for support, managed to move slowly around the small room. By pacing it off, he found it was approximately fifteen feet square. As he thought, there were no windows and only one steel door locked from outside. A bucket stood in one corner and a large pan of water by the door. He smiled grimly. A pan of water for a dog. Perhaps the Huntersweren’t quite as humorless as he’d always thought. They did, at least, provide a bucket to piss in.
He dipped his hand in the pan and tasted the water, finding it fairly fresh. By scent and taste it seemed harmless. He drank from his cupped hand, worried over what happened to Marco and Casey and hoped they hadn’t been taken. He figured the Hunters would come soon to interrogate him or finish him off. Either way, he was impatient for something to happen.
He thought of Logan again and wondered what they’d done with him . He wondered how Logan would handle his father. Had Logan seen his father? Did his father know yet he’d been turned to Werekin and mated to a man? How would he take that? How would Logan take his father knowing he was in what they termed an unnatural homosexual relationship? Would Logan try to use his influence with the man to have himself released or returned to duty? Fuck, how would Logan live without a wolf to feed him? Too many questions and Ian had no answers.
He had no illusions about his release, either, no matter what Logan might say to his father. Hunters would never release a wolf prisoner alive. Torture them to death for information and kill them when they thought they had all they’d get or use them for sadistic and brutal experiments, but never release them.
He thought back to the time of their capture. No signal of any kind had come from Marco and Casey to warn of their approach. The Hunters had been waiting for them, doused in their scent neutralizer. That would mean they had known they were coming, but who could have tipped them off? No one had known about the mission except the members of the council—and Logan. His mind shied violently away from the idea of Logan having anything to do with a trap. Logan couldn’t—wouldn’t—have betrayed him. Would he? Had all their time together been a fucking lie?
Ian shook his head, trying to dispel his suspicions. Even if Logan had wanted to warn the Hunters of the attack, how could he have done it?He’d been under close supervision the entire time he’d been with the wolf pack. There weren’t any landline phones in the compound. Only a few of the pack even had cell phones. Leaders like Marco—and himself! The thought of Logan sneaking around to use his phone came into his head unbidden, and he forced it out. Logan wouldn’t betray him, even if he hadn’t kept his phone locked up, even if Logan had been in a room alone with it. He might not be desperately in love with Ian, but he cared for him, Ian knew he did.
With the throb in his head at an unbearable level, he stretched out, his head on his arm on the cold, concrete floor. He tried to relax and get some rest. He didn’t know what lay ahead of him, but he knew it was bound to be unpleasant.
Ian awoke to the sound of the door opening. He sat up quickly, tense and ready for whatever was coming. His head still throbbed, and he felt empty and drained. A light snapped on, blinding Ian for the few seconds needed for his eyes to adjust to the glaring brightness. Two men stood in the doorway with guns trained on him.
One of them spoke. “Get on your feet, wolf. You’re coming with us.”
Ian did as he was told, anxious to be out of the small squalid space. He was ready for whatever was going to be his fate to go ahead and happen. He hated the waiting. As he passed the guards, one of them shoved him out into the corridor. A low growl escaped his lips, but he controlled his wolf. If much more stress was put on him, he might not be able to control it much longer.
They directed him down the corridor to a room at the end. As he stepped inside, he saw a doctor’s examination table, covered with a white sheet. The guards pushed him toward it. “Get up on the table. We’re going to strap you down. Don’t give us any trouble or we’ll shoot.”
Ian turned and gave them a narrow look. No one was going to strap him down. He tensed, as his wolf come close to the surface. From behind the guards, a new voice spoke up, one that was very familiar.
“Cooperate with them. They will shoot. No one is going to hurt you. I promise.” Logan stepped from behind the guards, looking calm and collected. He wore clean clothes of his own, army camo again, and his hair was neatly combed. He nodded at Ian, and spoke to the guards. “Lower your weapons. He’s not going to hurt anyone. Are you, Ian?”
He said the name with what sounded to Ian like a stabbing twist, and was that a slight sneering lift of his lip? Ian said nothing, staring at Logan, so happy to see him looking well, yet devastated this might mean he had been in on this thing all along.
“That depends, Logan,” he said, his voice sounding harsh even to his own ears. “What are you planning to do?”
“See to your wounds, for one thing, and then the doctor wants to take a sample of your blood. My father’s idea. He wants to lessen my dependence on you by coming up with a synthetic substitute for wolf’s blood. I probably need to feed again.It’s been several days now,if you’ll allow it. Even if you won’t. The doctor can take the blood from you, but it would be easier if you cooperated.”
His voice was so cool, so indifferent and calm. Logan looked at Ian as if there had never been anything between them. As if he barely knew him. A sudden weakness swept over Ian, and he found he really didn’t care much what happened anymore. He’d been betrayed and made a fool of by this man, this human—his Hunter, his lover. Ian had never been anything more to Logan than a monster. Everything he’d ever said had been a lie. All the questions he’d asked weren’t with the innocent curiosity Ian had taken them for. Even the mating bond hadn’t been strong enough to wipe out his hate.
Ian turned without a word and stretched on the table. The guards stepped up beside him and strapped him down. Logan stood watching with an unreadable look on his face. Was he happy to see him tied and helpless as he had been when they captured him? Would he make him suffer for what had passed between them?
A man in a lab coat came into the room and over to the table. He examined the wounds on Ian’s head and neck, murmured about infection and began to clean them. The pain was bad, but Ian remained stoic and showed nothing.
“I’ll have to put stitches in this one.” He looked up at Logan with a questioning look on his face.“I’m not sure why I’m wasting my time doing this.”
“Because I told you to.”
He shrugged slightly, turned back to his cabinets, and took out a hypodermic needle. After swabbing an area with alcohol, he quickly shot something into the wound on Ian’s head, causing him to clamp his jaw and clench his hands. When the doctor rolled his head for a better angle, Ian saw Logan staring at him, looking directly into his eyes. He still couldn’t read any expression, but he figured Logan was happy to see him in pain. He closed his eyes, refusing to look at him.