He stared at the man wearing the ring, then turned toward Bridget. “Are you hurt?”
“I’m fine.” Her eyes were tight enough that he knew she wasn’t completely honest, and when his eyes went toward her hand he noticed bruises and cuts. Bridget shook her head. “I’m sorry, Khait. I tried to —”
Lothar started laughing. “Wow.” He smirked at Khait. “She actually thinks you care.” He rolled his eyes. “Guess burying you in the desert didn’t rob you of your charm.”
“I told you, Lothar…” Khait smiled. “It’s just not going to work out.” He narrowed his eyes. “You’re not my type.” He glanced at Abigail and gave her what he hoped was a comforting smile. “This is why you shouldn’t date werewolves.” She returned the smile, but it didn’t reach her eyes. “They get clingy, start humping your leg, and —”
“You weren’t kidding.” The man wearing the ring rubbed his face. “He really doesn’t know how to shut up.” He shook his head. “You’ll not speak again without permission.”
Khait glared at him, but the ring’s power forced him to silence. “Leave him alone.” Abigail turned to glare at the man. Dammit. He needed some way to get her and Bridget out of here.
“We’ll just go.” Bridget clutched Abigail’s hand. She sent Khait another apologetic look, and saw him nod. “Abigail, come on.”
Joseph stepped into their path and gave a slight head shake. Pascal nodded. “I’m sorry, my dear, I really am.” He exhaled. “As I said, the job offer still stan—”
“Fuck your job offer.” Bridget glared at him. “You just tortured my friend.” She saw Khait give her a startled look.
“Well.” Pascal smirked again. “That simplifies matters.” He looked up at Joseph. “Dispose of them.”
“Right.” Joseph shifted into wolf form. Bridget grabbed Abigail and felt her friend clutching her back tightly as the werewolf started toward them. She closed her eyes.
Only to reopen them when she heard a loud crashing sound. Khait stood over the werewolf, his eyes glowing. The dark feathered wings spread out from his back. Blood was dripping from his hand as the werewolf slowly began turning back into human form. There was barely enough left of the head for Joseph to be recognizable. Khait started to turn, and she heard Pascal’s voice. “Don’t move. That’s an order.”
Khait’s eyes narrowed, but he stayed where he was. Bridget swallowed. Abigail, however, started for Pascal. “Abigail.” Bridget reached for her friend’s hand.
“Stop her. Now.”
Abigail made a frustrated sound as Khait stepped into her path.
She stared up at Khait, and saw him staring back at her. As long as Pascal had that ring, Khait was a prisoner. Forced to obey, and not like it was with Bridget. She felt tears welling up in her eyes. “Khait.”
“I am terribly sorry about this.” Pascal’s tone of voice suggested the opposite was true. He caressed the ring with his thumb, making Khait shiver. “Kill the girls.”
Khait took a step forward, his eyes glowing red. She started shaking her head as she stepped back. “Khait. Please.”
Another step, and then he stopped. His head tilted just a little, and he closed his eyes. “Khait.” Pascal raised his voice. “I said kill the girls.”
His eyes snapped open again, and instead of red, they glowed a soft golden color. Those glowing eyes met hers, and Khait smiled. “No.”
He whirled on Pascal, and saw the man’s eyes go wide with terror. The pain from disobeying the ring was clawed at him, tearing and shredding at the very fiber of his being as he started for his ‘master’. Pascal slammed the ring into the side of the steel desk, making Khait stagger and scream in agony. It felt like he’d just been slammed by a truck. “I need reinforcements in here, now!” Pascal was yelling.
Armed men started pouring in from another door. Good. They were easier targets, and he needed all the power he could get right now. He grabbed the first one before he could bring the gun up to bear, then brought his mouth down on the other man’s.
She had no idea how Khait was resisting, but this wasn’t like those other men. The man in Khait’s arms convulsed once before his entire body seemed to shrivel and decay. Bridget stared in horror as Khait dropped the lifeless husk to the ground before moving toward the next. “Stop!” Pascal shouted. Khait flinched at the sound, crying out in pain, but kept fighting.
“Oh, you just need to shut the fuck up.” Abigail glared at Pascal.
“Yeah.” Bridget balled up her fist just like her father had taught her and drove it right into Pascal’s throat. “And we mean now.”
When Pascal staggered back from Bridget’s punch, Abigail kicked the side of the man’s knee as hard as she could. It moved in a way nature had never intended, making him stagger and fall. He started to shout again, and then Bridget was on top of him, her knee on one arm and her hand over his mouth as she started punching him in the head. “Get the ring.”
Abigail grabbed Pascal’s other flailing hand. He closed his hand into a fist, and she growled. Hitting his hand to make it open could hurt the ring, and that could hurt Khait. So she yanked his hand up and bit into his wrist as hard as she could. Blood filled her mouth and she heard Pascal try to scream. His hand opened, and she caught the ring and yanked. “It won’t come off.” She shook her head, blood trickling out of her mouth.
Pascal was trying to get Bridget off him, so Abigail whirled, half stood, and then dropped her knee onto his groin with her full weight behind it. The man gave a choking scream, and Bridget switched from punching him to strangling him. “So cut his fucking finger off.” Bridget all but growled the words. “Don’t distract Khait.”
She glanced over her shoulder at where her very terrifying boyfriend was full on eating the souls of the bad guys. “Yeah.” She jumped up, grabbed a pair of scissors off the nearby desk, and grabbed Pascal’s hand again. “Probably a good idea.”
He felt the moment Abigail tore the ring off the remains of the man’s finger. The pain that was tearing him apart vanished, but he could barely stand upright. And more men were coming. He unfurled his wings to maintain his balance. He wasn’t going to be able to… No. There was the curse to draw on. “Bridget, wish us out of here.”
Bridget immediately grabbed the ring, slid it onto her finger, and shouted. “I wish we were all at Abigail’s house.”
Khait focused the last of his power to get them to safety.
They were back in Abigail’s living room. “Oh my god.” Bridget exhaled. “Oh my god. That was…” She shook her head. “Abigail, are you alright?”
“Yeah, I’m…” Abigail was nodding. “Khait, what about you?” She turned toward him. “Are you…”
Khait’s wings and the glow around his eyes vanished as he collapsed on the ground. “Oh god.” Bridget put her hands over her mouth.
“Khait!” Abigail rushed to him.