Black Hills Desperado (Black Hills Wolves, #3)(5)

She’d no doubt he would try. A wolf would protect its mate to the death.


Ten months later

As they left the back of the courthouse with an armed escort, Xio looked both ways.

“Relax. We have agents everywhere.”

“You want me to drop my guard when I just put Diego away for life in an American prison? Do you have any idea how pissed he is right now? He’s going to kill me. Just because he’s locked up doesn’t mean he can’t reach me. We’re talking about the Mexican cartel.”

“That’s why I’m going with you.”

Xio stopped in her tracks. When he’d said he’d be watching her every move, she’d assumed it would be from a distance, with all the agency’s high-tech gadgets and technology, or with spies. Not in person. “Excuse me?” She turned toward him. Did he know? It didn’t usually happen like that. In most cases, you discovered your mate after you’d had sex. It wasn’t that way with Marcus. Even as he was arresting her, she’d felt it, the pull. She could deny it as much as she liked; that didn’t change anything. He was her mate and if he went with her, they’d eventually give in to the attraction. “You can’t. The FBI needs you here.”

“I handed my resignation to my division chief today. I go wherever you go.”


A Hummer pulled up in front of them, apparently to take them to some safe house so they could switch vehicles and start out for her new home. “I didn’t ask you to come along.”

Liar, her wolf whined, like a small child stomping its foot.

Shut up.

Who asked for your opinion?

Someone needs to say something.

Not you.

Yes, me. Xio blinked when she realized what she was doing. Arguing with myself? Gah!

You know, they have medication for that.

“Shut up!” She reached up and scrubbed her face, as though the act would remove the insanity that had started to settle in. The man was already making her crazy. Having him as a constant companion would ensure she’d need a room with rubber walls.

Oh, kinky.

Stop. Just stop. I’m not going there.

Marcus was staring at her. “Shut up?”

“I wasn’t talking to you.” She sighed, realizing how nuts she sounded. “Look, I don’t want you to come with me.”

“You don’t have a choice.” He stared back, daring her to try to stop him. Seconds later, he nodded toward the Hummer. “Let’s go.”

“What about your pack? What does your Alpha have to say?”

“My brother. He’s abreast of the situation and understands.”

“I’ll bet.” Could Marcus sense the same thing she had? Was that why he’d decided to follow her home? “Why?”

“That’s my business. Get in.” He reached around her for the door.

What is that smell? Xio grabbed Marcus’s arm and stopped him from touching the vehicle. She sniffed, inhaling deeply. How could she forget? It was the same smell that had come off the fertilizer bomb when Diego had made a run on his competitors, blowing up their processing centers. The FBI wasn’t the only one with men everywhere. And it was things like this that made her want to get as far from Agent Cazador as she could.

“Bomb!” she yelled. The driver threw the door open and jumped out, bolting for cover. Everyone in the vicinity scattered. She spun and sprinted as fast as she could, with Marcus on her heels, hoping they could get far enough away before the triggerman detonated it.

They weren’t fast enough.


Her shoulder hit first, taking some of the impact, but not all. Her head kissed the pavement next and thudded against the concrete. Bright bursts of light filled her vision. A loud ringing echoed in her ears, and the world began to spin. Xio rolled to her back and groaned, reaching up to wipe a trickle of blood from her nose. Lovely. Just lovely. The only way she could heal would be to shift, and that wasn’t happening in a densely populated area.

“Xio.” Marcus crawled over to her and grasped both sides of her face to stare down at her. Soot covered his jaw and concern creased his forehead. “Don’t close your eyes. Stay awake.”

She’d only caught half of what he’d said. His mouth moved, but it was as though nothing came out. And damn if the man doesn’t have sexy lips.

For once, we agree.


He held her, forcing her to focus on his face, continuing to talk, but little of what he said made sense.

“Baby, stay awake.”

“Okay.” Her lids dropped shut and he leaned in, until she could feel his breath wash across her face. “Stay awake,” he growled.

Her eyes snapped open; the grogginess faded with his close proximity. Wonder what he’d look like naked? Reality hit, snapping her out of her goo-goo trance. “I told you he’d try to kill me. At least one of us was paying attention or we’d both be dead.” She blinked to settle the spinning.

“I assure you, I’ll never be caught off guard again. I was distracted, and I almost got you killed.”

Distracted by what? Does he know? “A smart man would get as far away from me as he could.” She gave him a soft smile, but he didn’t return it.

“I…you. I’m…n—going….”

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