A/N: Send beta love to stitchcat and prereading appreciative humps to HammerHips;-)

Disclaimer: Same as previous chaps because I'm too lazy to think up a new way to say I don't own this shit.

When we last left our vampires:

I ticked off one finger then another and on three, Ali and I braced ourselves as he sent out a shockwave of lethargy that woulda given the Sandman wet dreams for a year. As the humans swayed and collapsed, we raced across the bar. Garrett stumbled and his grip on Bella faltered. I caught her ass before it met the floor, but not before her head connected with the ledge of the bar.

"My hero," she sighed. "You shoulda been faster."

And then she passed the fuck out.

Chapter 9: Lose/Lose

I was shocked. I mean fuck, the whole sleepy enchilada had been my brilliant-ass plan, but it had been a clock's-runnin'-out, Hail Mary kinda joint at best and…and I didn't wanna consider what it had been at worst. She was safe. Passed out, but safe. For now, that was all that mattered. I let out a huge gush of air I hadn't realized I'd been a holdin'. Breathing: it was one of those pesky habits that I'd brought with me from my human days – like masturbating, only lower on my list of priorities.

And what was it exactly that snapped my ass out of the shock and relief I was feelin' with her safely back in my manly, chiseled arms, you ask? Well, I'll tell you. It was the scent of her blood – sweeter than honey and callin' out to me like the fattest chunk of Godiva to a desperate woman on the rag. Ummmm, ummm, finger lickin' fuckin' good! I was tempted to sample the goods right here, right now. I mean, one little taste wouldn't hurt no-one…And what she didn't know couldn't hurt me and my chance at gettin' some ass later on, right? Right.

My zipper groaned as Lil' Pete stood up to take a whiff, but a primal growl ripped from my chest when I finally noticed the other three predators eyeballin' my mate – except this time it wasn't "fuck me" or "let me dress you" written all over their faces. It was "I'm gonna eat your fine-fuckin'-ass" and I was not havin' that. I took a step back and every fucker in the rabid pack I was now facin' growled. This was gettin' ridiculously close to that Weight Watchers meetin' I'd hunted outside of last month, or one of those fuckin' nature channel shows gone wrong…

Watch how the hungry and - in some cases, rather mangy - lions stalk their helpless victim. Hold up! Do you see that? Why, yes! One of the pack – the baddest-lookin' SOB this lens has ever zoomed in on – has taken a protective stance in front of the sleeping gazelle. This is one for the Guinness, Bob. And get a wider shot of that pole protruding from his waist. IS that? Why it can't be! That's the largest fuckin' cock we've ever seen!

My thought may have gotten a little off-track before I mustered up as much fuckin' feely-good, fluffy-wuffy shit I possibly could and sent it hurlin' Jasper's way. He was the real threat here. Alice would come around on her own, but if he got all impatient before she could lend a fuckin' squeal or her tinker-puss to the cause, then things would get real up in here in a vampire second.

The heavy door flung open, sending fresh air our way as they each turned to see who dared to interrupt their hunt. The looks on their faces must've been something fierce because the wobbly mother fucker rubbed his eyes once – I guess in an effort to make the bad go away - looked around at the herd just now stirrin' on what passed for a dance floor in this shit hole, and turned the fuck around to make himself scarce without a word. The distraction had allowed me to put a few sly steps between me and the pack, and seemed to have snapped Jasper and Ali back to the land of the thinkin'.

"About fuckin' time," I hissed. Alice narrowed her eyes, but her mate just shrugged and turned his attention back to Garrett. Again, it was about fuckin' time. I could've taken one of them, but I had no chance against three. I'd hate to be mute for the rest of my days cause my tongue was serving as personal floss to Garrett's nasty ass. None of us 'round these parts were exactly "stable" but he was in a whole 'nother league. We were dabblers in fuckery; he was king of one flew over.

As a chesty blonde, in a toddler-sized flannel shirt and teeny denim shorts up her ass so far I was ninety-nine percent sure she wouldn't shit right for a week, reached for the bottom of the barstool next to me, I growled.

"Damn it, Emosper. We need to make like my marriage and split, or you need to knock them the fuck out again." He leveled a look at me that I'm man enough to admit made my left ball shrivel a mite. That one was always a cowardly fucker… I had a feelin' my brother and I would need to "talk" later. But for now –

"You gonna walk, Garrett, or am I gonna carry you out?" Jasper asked, pleasantly enough. This whole fuckin' dive would be destroyed in the fallout from their collision if it went down like that, and so I prayed and crossed every fuckin' piggy I had that Garrett went peacefully enough. His obsidian eyes were still locked on Bella, who was thankfully unconscious in my arms.

"Oh, I would be glad to catch up with my old friends," Garrett chuckled to himself, and I hoped that the ass of his personal joke wasn't my demise or Bella's. That would suck more than a Denali at the Super Bowl. Alice lead the way out of the bar, which I was partially convinced was some sort of secret hell-mouth opening…but that was probably that Buffy marathon I'd watched last week comin' back to haunt me. Still, this place had to be emittin' some funky ju-ju to attract so many of our kind. I shook my head and came back to the now just in time to see and hear Garrett's shabby ass follow Pix who, along with the fortune-seein' gig, also had a talent for not grindin' the shells littering the floor beneath her size sixes, with Jasper right on his ass. Not even Garrett would make a move – violent or otherwise - with an angry, badass mate breathin' on his dirty neck.

Around the corner from the bar was what looked – and smelled – like a not-so-former outhouse, and we rounded it before we rounded on him. At least we were out of the direct line of sight from any overly-curious or even slightly observant humans. After all, I was carryin' a passed-out chick in my arms. And the fact that she was a hot piece of ass even with the trickle of drool would only add to a by-stander's suspicion. I did plan on takin' advantage of her as soon as fuckin' possible…

The dirty nomad cleared his throat, smirkin' smugly, and I brought my attention back to the situation starin' at me while wonderin' if this was the effect only she had on me or if I'd always been ADD and she was just my most recent shiny object. I'd have to think on that more later.

"A human? I am surprised, Peter," Garrett tsked lightly with a growin' smile on his feral fuckin' face.

"I've only known her for a few days," I said off-handedly. I don't have a fuckin' clue why that was supposed to help this prickly situation we suddenly found ourselves in.

"Then you get first taste. It is only fair," his smile widened and I tried to hold back my growl. Give me a giant, sparkly come enema and plug my ass up if I'm lyin', I tried not to growl at the fucker, but he deserved it. That obvious fact aside, he got the reaction he'd been hopin' for. "She knows an awful lot for such a fragile creature," he purred.

"So you did hear us in the parkin' lot, ya sneaky son-of-a-bitch. Get it through your head, Bella is not for you."

"She's just a human. They are all," the bastard licked his lips slowly and if I'd been human, this is the point I woulda thrown up a little in my mouth, "mine for the taking. She is no different."

"The hell she's not, fucker! She's mine," Three things happened almost simultaneously. I cradled Bella tighter to my chest, Alice gasped and I heard a sickly crunch I was well familiar with. In fact, the venom pooled instinctively in my mouth because that sound was always followed by the warm nectar of my victim's life force flowing down my throat and quenchin' that gods forsaken burn.

"Dammit, Peter! Give her to me this instant!" Alice huffed. I noticed Jasper eyein' Garrett but I could feel the fatigue he was pushin' this way brushin' up against me. Now, at first, I was mighty damn offended that he thought he had to tranq my ass for his mate to come closer. Of course, then the other ninety-nine percent of my brain power kicked in and I realized that I was not the one he was sedating. I almost felt like an ass for jumpin' to conclusions, but I was too busy feelin' like an ass for breakin' my new mate. I mean, fuck, I'd had her for two days! This had to be some kinda record. Especially since I'd had her in many fuckin' ways in those two days, and this is how I damage her.

I looked at Alice sheepishly, checked her eyes and posture for the normal signs of that bloodlust craze and seeing none, I passed Bella into her tiny, grabby paws. I watched as she flitted away, reminding me of an ant carrying a load bigger than itself, then I shook that thought away. Bella had been in the food category far too much tonight. It made me feel…uneasy. That, coupled with my asshole-inspired guilt and massive, bruised and battered ego, did not make me a happy fuckin' camper. Which, once again, brought my attention back to the bastard who started this whole damn thing.

"What do you want?" I demanded. Even crazy fuckers had their price. He knew too damn much to just let him go without strikin' some kinda deal.

"The girl. You will give me the girl," he said lightly with a freaky twinkle in his dark eyes. For a split-second, it sounded like a damn good idea. I mean, she did seem to be an awful lot of fuckin' trouble. And why fight? She's so damn breakable… Eventually, she'd get old too. Her ass and tits would sag and we'd have nothing in common aside from reminiscing about how great her ass and tits had once been…and how much we miss them, of course.

"Peter," Jasper hissed. I shook my head slowly, trying to break free of the fog that had descended as soon as the bastard had opened his mouth. You see, if you knew when he was going to attempt to influence you, it was a helluva lot easier to resist. You can mount a much better defense when you know the offensive line's plans. Garrett had apparently figured out a way around Pussyward's mind-reading ability, according to Ali, but he hadn't been as lucky with Jasper yet. Tink could always see it beforehand, so she'd never felt the influence either. I was hit or miss, so every time he "visited", we played Russian Roulette with our gifts. He usually came out ahead, but I occasionally got a few memorable licks in. Apparently, this was not my night. I was too damn distracted.

I oughta let my brother fuck my ass up. I never woulda survived my newborn year in this condition, damn it. Garrett chuckled lowly, and I narrowed my eyes at him. I was not in the fuckin' mood. This shit had gone on long enough.

"I've named my price. I will give you until tomorrow to say your goodbyes." The arrogant bastard turned to face Jasper to leave and I gripped a handful of his humungo shirt and slammed his back against the shed. Shit splintered and the whole structure groaned, but like I gave a fuck. I secured my hold on his neck, but made the mistake of hesitatin'. It was a habit I'd developed after leavin' Maria. Ya know, thinkin' before killin'. I was seconds from rippin' his head from his shoulders, when he piped up again. "My mate is expecting my call."

Ah, a barely-veiled threat. I looked to Jasper for confirmation, and he nodded slowly. The bastard was tellin' the truth. I'll be damned. Fuck, we all will be, whichever way this goes down apparently.

The bond of a mated pair was nothin' to take lightly. Mates would go through hell to avenge their other half and neither reason nor logic ever entered into the equation at any point along the way. Just revenge, vendetta and usually death for all participants and their significant – and sometimes, not-so-significant others.

But my mate would not be sacrificed. Not for his sadistic pleasure; not for anything. This here's what you call a lose/lose situation.

Fuck my mother-fuckin' life.