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Page 46

Ben’s blue eyes clouded with worry. “You really need to go. Pretend you never walked in.”

“I’m not good at playing pretend, me.” Sean caressed the hilt while he scanned the faces of the other Shifters. “Why don’t I join you, and we’ll have a nice little chat?”

“No one’s talking about anything,” another Shifter said. He was a Feline Sean recognized, but he wasn’t from Sean’s clan, and he wasn’t from Austin. “Especially not with you,” the Feline finished.

“She can stay,” another of the human men said. He grinned at Andrea, showing unnaturally straight teeth.

The Feline growled. “She’s Fae.”

“Half Fae,” Andrea shot back.

The Shifter’s brows lowered. “Abomination.”

“I’ve heard that before.” Andrea looked right at the furball, not dropping her gaze like a good submissive should. It pissed off the Feline and made Sean want to laugh.

“Callum Fitzgerald, isn’t it?” Sean asked him. Callum was an alpha, a pride leader. Sean knew this from the database he maintained of information on all Shifters but nothing much about him.

“The great Sean Morrissey knows my name,” Callum said. “I’m honored.”

He couldn’t meet Sean’s eyes, though. “The honor’s all mine,” Sean said. “Or it will be if you tell me what the hell is going on.”

“So you can run back to your brother and tell on me?”

Sean reached into his pocket. The humans tensed, but Sean only pulled out his cell phone. “If you’d like me to have Liam and my father join us, I’m happy to call them.”

A ripple of discomfort circled through the Shifters. Dealing with Sean was bad enough; dealing with Dylan was nothing any Shifter wanted to do on a good day. Callum didn’t look worried at all, which was a bad sign.

“You’d summon the might of your clan to interrupt Shifters having a private drink on a Sunday morning?” Callum asked. “I’d heard you Morrisseys liked to abuse your power.”

“Having a beer, is it?” Sean picked up a half-empty bottle on the table, looked at the label, shook his head, and put the bottle back down. “I don’t call this much of a beer. And just yesterday my friends heard you saying you thought Shifters should have nothing to do with humans, but here they are. So, which is it, Callum?”

“Your friends are mistaken.”

Sean glanced at Andrea, who gave him the barest nod. These were the ass**les she and Glory had overheard, all right.

“I trust them.” Sean looked up and down the table again. “Tell me, Callum, which one of these is the man who shot Ely Barry?”

The wave of fear that came off the humans made Sean’s nose curl. “Hey, we didn’t aim to hit anyone,” the one sitting right next to Sean said. He had long hair pulled into a ponytail and a scar across his jaw. “He jumped in the way.”

“So you think it’s not your fault that my cousin lay dying?” Sean asked him. “Thinking he’d not live to see his grandchildren born? But that’s all right, because you weren’t aiming for him?”

Sean watched fear dive deep inside the man and erupt as wild fury. His face went red, his scar white. “Fucking Shifters.” The man jumped to his feet, drew his pistol, and jammed it, cold and hard, against Sean’s jaw. “What are you afraid of?” he snarled at the other humans. “They can’t hurt us. Those Collars will hurt them worse.”

Sean heard Andrea’s growl, a sound that built into a wall of vibrating rage.

“Shit,” Ben whispered.

Shit was right.

Sean let go of the sword. It stayed upright, in the table. When the human with the pistol glanced at it in surprise, Sean whipped around and crushed the pistol from the man’s grasp. The breaking metal bit into Sean’s skin, bloodying it, but he didn’t feel a thing.

Sean also didn’t feel the sparks that burst from his Collar as he wrapped his hand around the human’s throat and lifted him high. The human made choking noise and clawed at Sean’s fingers. Sean casually threw him across the room.

The other two humans sprang to their feet. Shifters weren’t supposed to be able to hurt humans; the Collars were in place to prevent that. Sean’s Collar was sparking, but he ignored it as another human yanked out his gun and opened fire.

The bullets went wide as Ben plowed into the man. Callum shifted, his clothes ripping, and he launched himself at Sean. Sean met him, his hands changing to claws as Callum’s wildcat landed on him. Callum’s Collar went off, but he went for Sean’s face with his fangs

The shouts of the other Shifters were drowned by the fearsome snarl of the huge wolf that hurtled at Callum. The wildcat was knocked aside by a hundred and fifty pounds of wolf, her fangs bared, aiming right for Callum’s throat. Andrea’s Collar went off, blue arcs of electricity whipping around her neck, but it didn’t slow her a nanosecond.

Andrea went down with Callum, Callum fighting and clawing. Still Andrea didn’t stop. She was within a heartbeat of ripping out Callum’s throat when Sean wrapped both arms around her and dragged her back.

“No. Don’t kill him. Don’t, love. You’ve got to stop.”

Andrea snarled and fought. Her Collar snapped and sparked and sizzled, but it might have been an inert piece of metal for all her reaction.

“Andrea!” Sean put every ounce of force he had into the word. “Stop! Now!”

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