The museum’s security was too advanced. Victoria had done it knowing the brazenness of the act would bring another Hunter after her. The Council worked tirelessly to keep the existence of their kind hidden from humans. Her reckless disregard of their laws had to be stopped before they were revealed.
But why was she acting this way? That was what he didn’t understand. There had to be a reason beyond lacking a warlock. She was too self-possessed, too calculated. Yes, she needed some reining in, but she wasn’t out of control. Before he released her, he was determined to find out what her motivation was.
Exhaling harshly, Max looked around his home, a sprawling loft cloaked in silence and protection spells. The soft gray walls and dark armless sofas had been called cold and barren by some of his subs, but he found the decor soothing, absorbing the energy of the place with the ease of breathing. It would have been simpler to tame her here, where all the tools of his trade were available for his use. But even as he thought this, he realized something different would be required in order to succeed where others had failed.
Collaring Victoria would take a unique approach. Her power was augmented in some way, he’d felt the charge she carried with more than a little surprise. It explained how she had managed to avoid capture all these years. He would have to take her, not just sexually, but in every way. She had to be dominated, as all good Familiars were, but he would have to make her want it. She would have to willingly submit—body and soul—in order for the collar to appear, since her powers prevented the usual collaring without consent.
As Max thought of all the things he would do to her, magic coursed through his blood in a heated wave. He couldn’t deny how the thought of the taming ahead filled him with anticipation. Not of the task, as he was used to in his private hours, but for the woman upon whom he would work. Just the thought of Victoria’s total submission made every muscle in his body harden. All that fire he saw in her eyes, and her careless disregard of how powerful he was—not from ignorance, but for the thrill of the game. For the first time, there was a remote possibility of failure and that whetted his appetite like nothing else ever had.
Max wondered who she’d be assigned to once he finished with her. She would always be stronger than other Familiars, and he refused to break her. A broken Familiar lacked the vitality necessary to be truly helpful.
The hair on his nape prickled with awareness, warning him of the summons before They spoke.
Have you met with the feral? the Council asked. Hundreds of voices speaking in unison.
“She’s not feral,” he corrected. “Not yet.”
She cannot be tamed. Many have tried. Many have failed.
He stilled, wary. “You asked me to capture her. That is what I agreed to. I won’t kill her without trying first. If it’s an assassination you want, you’ll have to find someone else.”
There is no other Hunter with your power, They complained. You know this.
“So allow me to make an attempt to save her. She’s unique. It would be a waste to lose her.” Running a hand through his hair, Max blew out his breath. “I will do what is necessary if it comes to that.”
We accept your suggestion.
He should have felt reassured by that. But he didn’t. “Have you decided where I’m to take her once she’s been tamed?”
His jaw clenched at the vague answer, the flare of possessiveness unwanted, but there nevertheless. The Dom/sub relationship was unique to each pairing and required a depth of trust not easily passed to another individual. This would be the first time he attempted it, and he wasn’t certain he was comfortable with the idea. “Go, then. Leave me to plan.”
As the evanescent presence of the Council faded away, the urge to summon Victoria with his power and begin the taming immediately was strong. But he tempered it. His eagerness was ill-placed and inconvenient. He loved hunting, relished the taming, but was not prone to hurrying matters. A proper domination took time, something the visit from the Council told him he didn’t have. He had several weeks, at most.
Max growled as his c**k hardened in anticipation. Weeks with Victoria.
He was ready to get started.
Restless and edgy, Victoria twirled the sapphire and diamond necklace she’d stolen from the museum around her finger, and wondered if she had finally pushed the High Council too far. A little research into Max Westin had revealed that his usual prey was not their kind, but the Others, those who had crossed over into black magic and could not be saved. He was credited with saving thousands by destroying the few who would wreak havoc with their evil.
The knowledge filled her with concern. Was she now an Other? Considering that Max was rarely sent after anything the Council didn’t want dead, it would seem she was. He was a legend, a hero, and on the verge of promotion to the Council. She would have known this had she been an active member of their community instead of an outcast. Which left her with a question she’d spent years trying to answer—was her end goal to die? Did she in truth have a death wish now that Darius was gone? She was strong enough to fight off the collar, but she wasn’t strong enough to fight off a warlock of Max’s considerable power. And yet she had deliberately goaded his pursuit.
Troubled by the direction of her thoughts, she did what she always did—turned her focus to action, rather than reaction. Since she could not go toe-to-toe with Max and win, she would have to get to him another way.
She would have to seduce him, make him care for her. It was fitting that doing so would be a cruel blow to the Council. It would, in fact, be the ultimate revenge. The Council so rarely promoted anyone. In fact, the last to be so honored had been Darius, and he had refused Them because it would have meant losing her. Rejecting the safety of distant command, he had remained a foot soldier and They had punished him with the most brutal assignments. Leading to his death. The Council would regret that, she would ensure it.
She couldn’t wait to get started.
Damn Max Westin for being so stubborn! If he’d come to dinner like she wanted, she could be rubbing against that beautiful male body now. She could be licking his skin, nipping his flesh, f**king his brains out.
Avenging her beloved Darius the only way she knew how.
Max was the perfect Hunter with which to goad the Council. Victoria could picture him easily, tied to her bed and prone for her pleasure. All that rippling muscle and voluptuous power. The Council’s golden warlock snared by his own trap.
She blew out her breath, the sudden pang of guilt too disturbing to contemplate. Standing, Victoria loosened the buttons of her sleeveless satin pajama top. She prepared to alter to her feline form when the sound of the doorbell stopped her. Padding leisurely across the golden hardwood floor, she sniffed the air.