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Page 15


Danni's parents couldn't be bothered with simple things like meals, baths, bedtimes, or to even know where their small child was. With Danni's tendency to wander off for adventures they should have made it a point to know where she was or at the very least, slap a GPS unit on her ass. He didn't even want to think about what could have happened those hundred or so times she'd wandered off into the woods or away from her school.

Just thinking about the time she left her school group in New York City when she was ten years old and on a field trip had the power to make him break out in a cold sweat. Six hours the police searched for her before someone from the compound found out that she'd gone missing.

Every Sentinel available, except for Aaron and Susan of course, because they weren't in the country at the time, headed for New York City. Some by vehicle while others like him grabbed a ride in one of the half dozen helicopters the compound had. An hour later, he was at the museum searching for the scent that was too damn enticing among the thousands of scents that saturated the human filled museum.

It took him a few minutes, but once he latched onto her scent he followed it, moving as fast as his Pyte abilities allowed. He made his way out of the museum, down streets, through alleyways, barely noting the humans he'd pushed out of his way. Twenty minutes later relief like nothing he'd ever known before surged through him when he found her dirty, grubby and grinning like a little fool as she played with a box of abandoned kittens down by the water.

She'd been excited to see him, because she wanted to show her best friend, him at the time and for many years, her new friends. Knowing she was only a child and that the adults entrusted with her care should have taken better care of her, he bit back his temper and allowed her to introduce him to the kittens. The only problem he had with her was when it was time to go home.

He asked one of the Sentinels to bring the cats to a shelter, but refused to let her keep one. The adults may have been responsible, but she knew better than to wander off. When she put up a fight to get to the cats he'd been left with very little choice but to carry her back to the helicopter by her ankles.

As much as he'd love to say that she never scared him again after that, he couldn't. Until the day he decided it was time to step away from her, she'd had a tendency of scaring the hell out of him. The only thing that saved his sanity over the years was the fact that he didn't see her as a child, his child. Most adults probably would have felt fatherly to the girl, but he hadn't. He'd always had a special bond with her, but it had been one of friendship.

That is until it was time to cut her out of his life. It had been a necessity to keep her safe, alive, but he now realized that he'd f**ked that up. Just cutting her out of his life hadn't been enough when her mouthwatering scent haunted him day and night. When he'd realized how close he was to giving into his desire to have her blood he should have done them all a favor and left. If he had they wouldn't be in this bullshit situation right now.

Greg probably would still have tried to kill her, but he would have failed simply because the man was weak. Now he had a Master and a nest of vampires ready to do his bidding in the hopes that Caine either changed her or created a Pyte child with her. Since neither was going to happen, Danni was going to have to suck up whatever they dished out and hope she survived. If she didn't.......

Well, he'd mourn the loss of the child who used to make him smile, but that was all. Although, he wouldn't do anything like try to escape or attack one of the men to rush her fate, he also wouldn't lose any sleep over her loss. She was just another human.

As the scent of more vampires and water teased his nose he felt himself drift off, knowing that she'd either deal with whatever Greg threw her way today or he'd be escaping soon, very soon.

********

"Looks like you're all on your own," Greg said smugly as she struggled against the two vampires holding her.

She didn't know what he had planned for her, but she refused to go into this meekly. No matter what they did to her, she fully planned on fighting back. Her only hope was that she did enough damage to hurt the bastard and make his men think twice about approaching her.

"Since it's obvious that I can't take you to the special room the Master has set up for occasions such as this, I've decided to accommodate your circumstances," he drawled out as he looked pointedly between the wire attached to her leg and the small remote in his hand.

"No need. Take the anklet off and I'd be glad to go with you," she said tightly as she elbowed one of the men in the gut. He released her with a gasp. As she turned her attention on the other man holding her, new hands grabbed her.

"Bind her hands," Greg said in a bored tone as he gestured towards her.

Several pairs of hands clamped down on her biceps as an arm wound around her neck and yanked her back into a large cool body. Every time she tried to fight against their hold the arm around her neck tightened considerably until she was left with no choice but to stay still or pass out. Since there was no way that she was going to pass out and leave herself at the mercy of the ass**le in front of her, she stopped struggling.

As her hands were bound by rope she locked eyes on Greg, refusing to look away or allow him to intimidate her. No matter what he did to her, she would not react in any way. She sure as hell wouldn't scream for help from the bastard that made it more than obvious that he couldn't care less what happened to her.

Out of the corner of her eye, she watched as several vampires rolled a large clear rectangular box filled more than halfway with water and chunks of ice towards them. Knowing that he was watching her, she refused to react when it was rolled in front of her. It didn't take a genius to figure out what he had in mind.

"Now, I know what you're thinking," Greg said, holding up the small remote.

"That you're overcompensating?" she said innocently.

Instead of zapping her like she'd expected he simply chuckled.

"Ah, Danni, always a bitch," he sighed heavily. "I just wanted to let you know that you don't have to worry. Your cuff is completely water proof so the water won't short it out and I can zap you all I want without worrying about accidentally electrocuting you. Isn't that great?" he asked brightly.

"Super," she said with forced cheerfulness and a huge taunting smile just to piss him off.

It worked.

His smug little grin was immediately replaced with a scowl in her direction as he gestured to the men holding her to place her in the tub. As she was raised into a lying position and held over the tub she tried to struggle, but it was no use. Taking several deep calming breaths she did her best to prepare herself for what lay ahead. Just when her breathing was even and she got some control over herself the bastard went and zapped her, distracting her so that when she was lowered into the ice cold water she wasn't prepared for it.

Her scream of agony was quickly cut off by ice cold water. She swallowed a mouthful of water before she could stop herself. It caused her to gag and inadvertently swallow more water. Just as her lungs began to burn, she was pulled out of the water.

She wasted no time in turning her head and coughing up the water she'd swallowed. Barely a second after she coughed up the last mouthful of water he zapped her again, but this time she somehow managed to bite back the scream of agony that threatened to be her downfall.

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