Two days passed before Colton awoke from his drug-induced sleep. Quincy never left his side except to eat or use the bathroom.

Paris approached me the night that Colton woke up. "Is he really okay to have inside the fortress?"

"I truly believe he is." I replied. "He calmed down after I sacrificed a Hunter to him and fed him that meat I took."

"Then we're good."

"Yeah, we're good." I said as I took a drink of the wine I'd pilfered from the fridge. "Ambrosia?" I asked.

"Yeah, it is. Why, are you susceptible to its effects?"

I laughed. "No, it's a natural drug to my kind."

He gave me a confused look. "Did you say that you sacrificed a Hunter to him?"

"Yes- it was necessary to provide a sacrifice to him to prove my intent was pure."

"Oh." Paris raised one brow. "Well, I guess- since he's awake- you guys would be finding a place now?"

"I guess so. Father is not really liking the fact that we're living off your generosity. We really do appreciate the way that you helped us get our brother back. Quincy's attitude has even reverted back to his happy-go-lucky self- a plus for us."

Strider laughed softly as he entered the room. "I still can't get the sight of you covered in blood and stark naked out of my head. It was like you were a born battle maiden."

"That's because I am." I replied lightly. I took another swig of the ambrosia-laced wine. "Ask any of my brothers. Ask-"

I inhaled deeply. "Well, well, well. Glad to see you up and about, Colton."

"If it wasn't for you and the others getting me out of there and into the forest as fast as you did... I just don't think you would have been able to save me if you'd waited any longer." He plopped down onto the plush leather couch next to me. "Pass that, would you?"

I handed him the bottle of wine. "It's the good stuff."

"He-he; don't tell dad."

"Not a worry there, bro."

Strider grinned. "So, your sister tells us that she's a battle maiden."

"She is. The last of the female Ahourn in our clan, actually." Colton guzzled the bottle. "Damn, this is the good stuff."

I smirked. "They're rare, female Ahourn, and there are not many of us in the entire world. We have to be trained with the males to show that no one gets special treatment. We hunt, fight, and survive just the same as the males of our kind."

Lucien, Reyes, and Gideon walked in with Torin on their heels.

"Looks like he came out of it all right." Lucien said tactfully. "We have to know what- if anything- that the Hunters said to you while you were in their custody, Colton. Would you mind if we asked a few questions?"

"Sounds fair." My brother said calmly. "What do you want to know?"

Torin raised his dark brows to his pale hairline. "Well, if you actually don't mind..."

"Did they tell you anything?"

"Could you be a little more specific?" Trust Colt to get the truth from anyone.

Gideon sat down and looked at me pointedly. "Don't translate." He said quickly. "They did not tell you about us."

Colton smirked. "No translation needed. Yes, they told me about you. Very detailed, too."

"Specify." Reyes said sharpy. He cast a look in my direction before adding "Please".

Colton gave an all-too-familiar laugh. "Since you asked so nicely, allow me to elaborate on the things that they said. I do ask that your questions wait until I'm done, please."

Lucien nodded once. His dark curls bounced with the action. Colt smirked.

"The head one, a guy with white wings, came to me when they captured me. He told me that his name didn't matter and that your demise was his goal. I later learned that he was called Galen. What he didn't know was that he didn't smell like an angel as he claimed." Colt paused to take a drink. "When I called him a demon, he had me locked in that five-by-seven cell my sister busted me out of. Before that though, the men in the house were talking about the demons on the hill and how they were going to use some box to trap your demons inside and purge the earth of your evil. Any questions so far?"

"One: where's Galen?" Paris said darkly. A new woman walked in and sat herself on Reyes' laps.

"Be damned if I knew. The bastard left soon after I was caged. Although, one of the men said something about the States." Colton eyed the woman appraisingly. "She's a beauty. Your woman?"

"Yes." Reyes replied stoically. "Don't touch her."

"No worries about that. Our father raised us to respect women. Especially those that belong to other men." Colton said with a wink. "Any-hoo, where was I? Oh, yeah! The men, once I was locked away, started saying things like how, when you and the rest of the possessed were destroyed, they would celebrate the liberation of the world. Then they mentioned how they would kill off other species one by one starting with the werewolves. I totally freaked when they mentioned that. The only thoughts then were kill them, save my family. I guess that was why I tamed so easily for my kid sister. After I went into hyper-crazed mode and shifted into Crinos form I forgot to listen to anything that would help me escape."

Lucien sighed. "They locked you up. How?"

"They think that silver bullets hurt us. They're wrong. The only reason that they were able to keep me the way that they did was because when they attacked us, I pushed Quincy out of the way and ended up falling into a river that we thought was frozen over but wasn't. The cold put my body into a chronic stasis so I was weakened considerably when they caught me."

Chronic stasis. That explained why they were able to capture him completely. I stared Lucien down. "He's right. Stasis puts our bodies in a sleep-like mode that can only be broken by warming us up as quickly as possible. The longer you take to warm us the longer we take to wake from the sleep."

The new addition to the females looked at me questioningly. "You must be Akita. I had a dream about you standing over a battle field with a little girl beside you."

"My niece, Valeria." I said softly. "You're the one that painted the portraits in the halls, right?"

"Yeah, I am." She said evenly. "My name is Danika."

"Danika," the name was familiar to me.

"That's a pretty name." Colton said, smirking slightly. "I had a friend named Danika. She was wedded to a vampire three years ago. Heh, love at first bite."

Paris laughed. "You loved her, didn't you?"

My brother nodded slightly. "But she was not for me."

"We have our mates picked out by Fate. One of my brothers is actually mated to a male. An odd twist of Fate- I think they were messing around when they chose his mate for him." I said, hoping to lighten the mood.

Gideon's eyes went wide. "Seriously?"

Hmm- he can't tell the truth, but he can ask honest, direct questions with one word? Interesting.

"Yeah, seriously." Colton said. There was a threatening edge to his voice. "She's got a big fucking mouth, my sister does."

Paris visibly gagged. "You're gay?"


"Nope- I rather the sweetness of the ladies, if you catch my drift."

Colton fixed me with a dark look. "I think I feel like a battle, little sister."

"Um, now? Can't it wait until later?"

"No, it can't. You. Me. Outside, now." I gave a nervous giggle. "Pay back for opening your mouth just now."

"You should not be ashamed to be what you are." I said, pouting. "What if I let you tell them something about me to even this out?"


"Absolutely- then the slate would be clean." And I can get River in hot water with you instead.

"She revels in the hunt and would not hesitate to kill anything that got in her way." He finally noted. "Her weakness-"


Colton smirked evilly. "You said anything." Okay, he had me there. I sat back into the sofa cushions and crossed my arms, pouting. "Her weakness is chocolate and whiskey."

Laughter sounded all around me. I groaned darkly.

"That's fine," I let out a sharp breath. "But Riv called you a bastard."

Colton jumped up. "He WHAT?"

"You heard me right. Ask Gideon." The warrior grinned at me while shaking his head, blue locks swaying with the action.

Colton barked a laugh. "I'm gonna kill him."

"Aw, c'mon now, no need for drastics." Jasper called from the kitchen. How long he'd been listening, I didn't know. "Quincy already put him out in a fight over that."

"Good ol' Quin- he's always looking out for me." Colton said, sighing dramatically.

"My mate died when the Hunters attacked." I whipped my head around to stare at my older brother. "Huh?"

"You said not to be ashamed. You're Jazz's second so that means your word is our law when the Alpha and Beta are not around." I laughed softly. He was coming around. It was somewhat slow progress for him, but he was beginning to accept his fate.

I smiled at him, at his level-headed way of thinking. My brother was not your typical gay. Nope, he was far from the norm on many things including what humans thought of our kind.