Power pulsed along my skin and the musky scent clinging to Devlin became stronger. My inner wolf reacted to him and let me know her displeasure by sending pain bursting through me. I wasn't really part of the pack and the animal inside me knew it. This could be very bad.
Devlin spoke. I tried to focus on him, to bring myself under control, but other things held my attention and his voice seemed so distant.
"What's going on? Her eyes—I thought she couldn't change."
"She can't. Not physically. However, the wolf in her blood has not accepted that." Reese knelt beside me. Her hand was warm against the side of my face. "Kiara, look at me. You need to calm down or your wolf will tear you up trying to find a way out."
Calm wasn't on the agenda, though I knew Reese was right. "Isleen knew the one that attacked her—trusted him. There is no other way he would have been able to come past the wards. She would've had to grant him access into her home. But this smell is a little different from the other houses. Someone else is missing. I don't—"
Reese didn't have a chance to ask any more questions. The symbols of both goddess and wolf marking my body scorched my skin. I screamed out in pain. The wolf wanted out. No—needed out, to hunt for the one who'd wronged us. But I couldn't offer the release the beast sought. I simply didn't know how.
"Oh, Goddess, help me!" I shrieked.
Reese stiffened before me. Her voice held the edge of panic. "I can't help her. It's never been like this before."
She stood and moved away from me. There was fear in her eyes. Not fear of me, but for me. Devlin and Marcus joined Reese and Keenan for an impromptu meeting. Cian began to move forward toward me.
"Are you in pain?"
"What the fuck do you think, genius?" I snarled at him.
"Back away from her, Cian." Devlin said as he moved closer to where I huddled on the floor. His tone left no room for doubt as to his seriousness.
From the corner of my eye I watched Reese and Keenan walk a circle around us. The low murmur of their voices made the words difficult to make out, though I knew when they closed the circle, because the suffocating power that came with it was unmistakable. Now I was trapped in the circle with Reese and Devlin. Keenan stayed outside of the circle merely to ensure that if something went wrong, we had a link outside.
Devlin stood just behind me. "Kiara, listen to me."
The wolf paced inside me and the feeling of claws raked across my insides, tearing a scream from me. My arms flung out. I tried to grab onto something—anything—for support, but there was nothing but air. Devlin moved to kneel in front of me and caught my face in his hands, forcing me to look at him. His eyes were glowing, an ethereal blue, with the light blue shade mixing and swirling with a darker shade of sapphire I hadn't noticed before. His very presence demanded I take notice. That I allowed him control. No! I scraped my nails across the bare skin of his arms.
My wolf did not want to be tamed, she wanted retribution. Anger built, driving the need to destroy something. I reached behind me and drew my mother's dagger from the sheath at my back. Odd that I'd failed to remove it and that neither of my guards called attention to it. Devlin caught my arm as it arced around to his right, but not before the blade sliced him across the chest, cutting through his shirt and where I knew the crescent moon on the lower right side of his ribcage sat. I glared at him. A rich coppery scent filled the air and I reveled in the knowledge that I'd drawn first blood.
"Back off." I snarled.
Without turning his attention from me, he called out to Reese. "Something is feeding the wolf's need for release."
"She is blessed by God and Goddess and a direct descendant of Morrigan. Who decides to come to her aid when she works magic depends on their will. Kiara's control has never been strong enough for it to be any other way. Normally, when the wolf comes it is the result of the deities of war and hunt, though I'm not really sure how that will help you."
Reese's voice reverberated off the magic holding us captive within its circle.
"Morrigan is counted among the deities of war and hunt as well so it makes sense that Kiara, being of the same lineage, would draw their aid. This could backfire—" Devlin sucked in a breath— "but here's hoping she doesn't kill me."
"What are you going to do?" The note of concern in Reese's voice was unmistakable.
"Try to calm her wolf."
He crawled on all fours, slowly, wrapping me in his scent. Crouched on the floor, I tracked his movement. The dagger sat firmly in my grip and I was fully prepared to attack. The low growl under his breath reverberated through me. I leaped and hit a solid wall of muscle. I wanted to rip his throat out, and based on his sinister smile, he knew it. The pressure of his grasp on my wrist increased steadily until I was forced to drop the dagger.
A growl escaped him, which left little room for questioning his intentions. I froze. He continued until he was behind me once more, releasing his grasp on my arm since I no longer held a weapon. With nearly blinding speed, he reached out and tangled his hand in my hair and jerked my head back, hard. Excitement and fear tightened things low in my body. He leaned in and muttered against my ear. "Trust me."
I didn't want to, but there were few options left to me, so I tried to relax and give myself over to him. He held me against his body, his free hand slid around my waist, and locked me in place. The marks embedded in my skin continued to burn. Claws raked along my insides once more, the wolf not willing to give up her fight so easily. Devlin ignored my reaction, his position firm as he continued pinning me in place. My head flew back as my body convulsed which gave Devlin better access to my neck. I could feel his body behind me, strong and steady, and completely in control of the situation. The things he was doing should have bothered me or made me a little uneasy, but at this point I would try almost anything if it would ease the shredding sensation inside me, even allow his attempt to establish dominance over my wolf. If this man could give me any hope of taming this part of myself, it would be idiotic of me to stop him. Devlin leaned in close and nuzzled against my neck. A small part of me screamed, Pull away! And even as I tried, his grip did not waver.
"Kiara," he breathed against my neck. "Relax, and focus."
I willed myself to concentrate on the rhythm of his breathing, the smell of him—the press of his hands against my bare skin. It seemed too intimate, but that's not what scared me. It was that I actually enjoyed him being so close. The feeling that I belonged there in his arms sent a trickle of fear through me.
So many emotions ran together, irritating the beast inside even more. My desire to submit did not sway the wolf struggling to break free. A low growl rumbled past my lips. Devlin's breath played across my neck. His musky scent, layered with the best aromatic nature had to offer filtered through my nostrils. Inexplicably, the wolf calmed, rolled in Devlin's aroma, and quieted. Odd. It seemed so simple. Smell a man, subdue a wolf.