Excerpt from Eternal Beast
The private hospital located deep in the Maine woods scented of antiseptic and bodily decay, despite the lack of patients residing in it.
Gray Donohue moved down the brightly lit hallway, his gaze ripping right and left as he took in each empty room, each perfectly made-up bed. Gray despised hospitals. And shit, after spending most of his life in them, nearly comatose and habitually restrained “for his own protection,” it was little wonder. But this was no long-term stay he was walking into. This was just a visit—a quick trip down memory lane that would end in a very satisfying prize.
Gray spotted a maintenance worker leaving one of the rooms up ahead. Battling with an ancient mop bucket and wringer, the balding, middle-aged male came to a screeching halt when he saw Gray, his pale, watery eyes going wide, his mind kicking up a curse and a query.
Oh, shit. What’s this guy doing in here?
Without another glance, Gray moved on, down the hall and toward his true goal.
But the foolish human decided to run after him.
“I’m sorry, sir,” the man said, his heavy breathing suggesting his unease. “You can’t go any farther. The hallway up ahead is being cleaned.”
Gray didn’t slow.
In the back of his mind, Gray heard the male’s rapid-fire plans to call security. With a quick turn, he snatched him up the maintenance worker and squeezed just enough breath from his wriggling body to knock him out. Then after depositing him in one of the many empty rooms, Gray continued on. There was nothing, no one who would stop him from getting what he needed.
After rounding one corner, then another, he headed straight for the door at the end of the hall. Room 482. He hoped his spies were right about this one. After three false starts at three other care facilities over the past five months, his patience had grown thin.
As expected, a guard stood before the door. The male was tall, dark, and massive. In fact, he looked a hell of a lot like the Impure warrior Vincent, one of Gray’s partners in the Resistance—the rogue band of four who were hell-bent on bringing equality to the Eternal Breed—but Gray was willing to bet this male carried no in-mouth bloodsucking hardware and was all human.
As Gray approached, the guard narrowed his black eyes and put up a meaty hand. What do you think you’re doing, asshole? his mind growled. But aloud, he spoke in a calm voice. “Don’t know how you got in here, but do yourself a favor and turn back around and walk out again.”
Gray had no doubt that in a few minutes there would be more robo cops just like this one to contend with. He’d better be quick. Get in, take what he needed, and get out. Loss of life was always possible on these missions, but he didn’t like it, didn’t have a taste for it like the second male warrior in the Resistance, Rio. That ex-military Impure loved nothing better than to extinguish a heartbeat.
Gray was nearly to the door when the security guard pulled his gun. “Okay, buddy, I warned you. Take another step and you’ll be on your—”
Before the man finished his threat, Gray reached out, snatched the gun, flipped it, and slammed the butt into the guard’s head. Then, without missing a breath, he moved past him and opened the door.
No, he didn’t have a taste for violence, but anyone guarding his prize was part of the Order’s campaign to blood castrate Impures—and that was something Gray would kill for.
The room was large, achingly white and cold—as though the male lying on the hospital bed against the wall needed to be kept fresh. To Gray, the big bad senator from Maine looked anything but big and bad. His eyes were closed, his wrinkles deep-set, and his skin was frog-belly white. He was stretched out on the bed, his limbs locked in place by straps Gray remembered all too well. His muscles twitched beneath his skin as he moved to the side of the bed.
Get in, get out, Impure, Gray reminded himself as he stood over the male and whispered a terse, “Open your eyes, Senator.”
The man didn’t move, didn’t even flinch—but his mind came alive in a fit of alarm.
Just lie still. Don’t move. He’ll go away.
A touch of a grin hit Gray’s mouth. When Alexander Roman had unclogged his muddled brain so many months ago and left him with not only the knowledge that he was half vampire but with the gift of hearing the thoughts of others, he hadn’t been all that thrilled. In fact, the onslaught of voices had nearly driven him mad. But in moments like this, he felt a deep surge of pleasure for his mental abilities.
He leaned down and whispered, “I’m not going anywhere, Senator. Not yet.”
The male’s lids flickered.
“All the way open now,” Gray instructed with deadly calm. “Or I cut the lids off with this very dull knife at my back. I suppose I should’ve sharpened it before coming. But what fun would that be, right?”
A gasp shot from the senator’s throat, and his eyes opened and bulged like a fish. He stared up into Gray’s face with undisguised terror.
“You’ve been very difficult to find, Senator,” Gray said. “Even your wife has no idea where you are.”
The male’s lip quivered.
They swore no one would find me.
Gray narrowed his eyes. “Who?”
The man’s eyes widened further.
“Who swore no one would find you?” Gray repeated, moving another inch closer to the male’s face.
Gray could sense the man’s heart jumping, beating rapidly in his chest as his mind screamed the impossible truth. He heard me. Heard my thoughts.
“Was it the Order?” Gray continued, undaunted.
The Order. The vampires.
A growl of pleasure, of potential gain escaped Gray’s throat. The lawmakers, the overlords, the elitist rulers of the Eternal Breed had indeed cloistered and used this human. “I want to know how you’ve been communicating with them. How do you call them? How do you receive their messages?”
The senator shook his head against the onslaught of questions.
Gray growled low in his throat. “You think they are something to fear? Then you don’t understand what sits before you, human.”
The senator’s weak bladder released then, and Gray cursed. He needed to get this information and get out of here. It was hard enough standing over this man—this piece of shit who had been responsible for Dillon’s beating. He wanted to slice him in half and leave him to bleed out as he screamed for help that would come too late. But he wasn’t after revenge tonight. Tonight he wanted inside the male’s blood, wanted to find his access into the Order’s communication mainframe, their mental link with Purebloods, Impures, humans, and one another. He wanted inside the brain of the entire telepathic system, and if what the Impure male inmate at the vampire prison Mondrar had told Gray was true, this nearly dead fish lying before him was their conduit.
In the many months since the Resistance’s inception, Gray had found his calling, his purpose. After nearly being blood castrated, he’d joined with three other Impures to form a mental powerhouse. Now they were close to being able to hack into the Order’s telepathic mainframe. If they could hijack that mainframe, they were pretty certain they could remain, intercept the messages to the Impures and send out their own, gather secret information to use as currency—perhaps even shut down the entire operation, if all else failed and the Order refused their call for freedom.
Below Gray, the senator shifted almost desperately, his eyes filling with tears.
Please don’t hurt me. Please.
Gray’s lip curled. What a coward. He would see this man suffer, but not yet, not tonight. The Impure Resistance would need him longer.
He leaned in close. “I’ll give you five seconds to tell me how you communicate with the Order and then I’m going in.”
The male tried to scream, tried to open his mouth, but he couldn’t. The Order had made it impossible for him to speak lies, truth, or anything in between, Gray realized. They had fused his lips together.
Gray flashed his fangs, bent his head, and struck. He heard the senator’s cry of pain and terror but shoved it away. This was his third blood memory grab in two weeks, and it was painful and fucked with his brain. But each one had gleaned him some important intel, not to mention made him a stronger mental force. Each member of the Impure Resistance were mentally at the top of their game and needed to stay that way to defeat the Order and take their first step toward self-rule.
Gray moved swiftly through the senator’s mind, shuffling, sifting through memories to find the ones he needed. Any and all that connected him with the Order. Experience had made him shrewd, and it took him only a minute or two to find, gather, and file away what he needed. He was about to pull out when one memory, one dark and ugly scene, grabbed his mind and had him skidding to a halt.
Night, an abandoned lot, a few cars dotting the asphalt landscape, and a female—a veana, her expression pissed off, her face knocked around and bloody. The senator had thrown the first punch, but the cowardly piece of shit had stood back for the rest, watching with amusement and vindictive pleasure as several massive human males finished what he’d started.
Gray’s pulse slammed against the skin of this wrists and neck as he watched the veana try to fight off her attackers. She was like a wildcat, filled with fury, hunger, and terror, but she was only one being. She was strong and a Pureblood vampire, but she was no match for that many males. She went down hard, and as the bastard males surrounding pummeled her with fists and with feet, Gray saw her change. One moment she was female; the next she was something else altogether. Something strange, cat and female mixed.
Gray thought later that maybe if he’d have pulled out of the senator right then and there, the male would’ve gone on breathing another day. But he didn’t. And what he heard next, saw next, sent him so far and so deeply into rage that he no longer cared about the Resistance or his future with them.
“Forget the face and tend to the body,” said the senator from the safety of the sidelines. “Make that thing bleed. Make it incapable of breeding. Make it never want to fuck another thing for as long as it lives—make it always remember what happens when you say ‘no’ to me.”
Gray got as far as the first steel-tipped boot into Dillon’s cheek when he snapped, pulled out of the man’s temple in a rush and used his fangs like twin daggers across the senator’s neck.