Midnight Moonrising by K.S. Haigwood & Anne Conley
EXCERPT Ace Stopping outside the door of Phoenix's chamber, he tried to calm down, but the longer he thought about what had almost happened, the more he wanted to kill that fucking wolf. Deciding that bonding with his Alpha and taking her away from him for good would be a worse punishment than killing the poor bastard, Ace met the master vampire's eyes when he walked out into the corridor. "Lead the way. I'll be gone before nightfall." "I apologize—" Phoenix started, but Ace held up his hand to stop him. "Where is she?" Phoenix nodded once, and then led the way down the long hallway. Ace's pride fell into step behind him, and the others in Mena's pack and the other vampire followed after them. Phoenix stopped before a door then turned to look at Ace before opening it. "How are you going to do this?" Ace shrugged. "I've never bonded with anyone. The Alpha in me will know what to do once I get near her." "Can we watch?" Heath said. Ace shrugged again, and then reached out for the door handle. "Do what you want, just don't try to stop anything from happening once I get in there with her. It may get rough. I'll have to mind-rape her in order for my soul to connect with hers. I'm guessing she won't consent to this on her own. If Mena has any control over her at all, maybe she can hold her back until I get in." Ace pushed his way into the holding room, and instantly felt the power wash over him from the other Alpha. He immediately felt drawn to her, nothing he had ever experienced before with any other Alphas. He walked slowly toward the cell holding her, his amber eyes locking on a pair of silver wolf eyes. She bared her teeth and let out a low growl. He could still refuse to do this; nobody was forcing him to save her. He could kill her instead. Of course, he wouldn't be able to take over her pack. The remaining survivors would have to fight over the position of Alpha, since two vampires and three of her pack would take their last breath the same time she did. That was something he'd found out all on his own before coming here, but after that stunt Peanut had just tried to pull, he was almost determined to make sure they all died. He contemplated his options as he ripped off his sneakers and pulled the t-shirt over his head. Taking in a deep breath and letting it out in a rush, he unbuttoned and unzipped his jeans then pushed them to his ankles. Stepping out of the denim, he turned and gave a nod toward the cage door. "Let's do this." Phoenix pushed the silver key in the lock and turned it. He met the wolf's eyes, and whispered, "Come back to me, Mena." He pulled the door open, and the wolf lunged for the opening, but Ace was quick to shift, and his lion form knocked her back inside, rolling over the cement flooring with her until they reached the other side and the door was secure again. Her claws and teeth sank into his flesh, but the adrenaline pumping through his system blocked any pain he may have felt otherwise. He knocked her off him and they began to circle each other. As if his soul knew the reason he was here, a heavy pressure settled in the center of his chest, and then began to burn unnaturally. "Let me in, bitch! This shit's starting to hurt." She jumped on him, knocking him off balance, but his paws clung to her back and he rolled them across the floor again, stopping with her on the bottom. His jowls parted and his teeth clamped down on her throat, causing her to howl in pain. Ace vaguely heard screams from the others, but he knew he had to keep his full attention on her; getting distracted could cost him his life, and that wasn't something he was willing to give up for anything or anyone. She squirmed under him, still trying to fight him off, but he could tell she was growing weaker. His jaw clamped down tighter, and he finally forced his way into her mind. The bonding had started. His soul had found hers. He was in. Images of Mena's past flashed through his mind so fast that he couldn't tell when one ended and another started, but he saw them all, every memory, all the heartache and happiness the human had endured in her short life, and he knew that she was experiencing the same from him. The feeling was surreal and unexplainable, but it felt right; he felt her power and his collide and weld together, infusing and tangling until it was one solid unbreakable force. As if two worlds collided, wolf and lion, their auras joined, co-mingled, until they blended together to form one entity. Ace patiently waited for the wolf's thoughts and memories to come to him, and after they did, he smiled to himself when he discovered her name. He wasn't prepared for what happened next, though. Nothing could have ever prepared him for it, not even if someone had told him it was going to happen. Feelings and emotions that he had never known or felt before swept through him. A foreignness coursed through his veins, but it was welcome, exotic almost. The femininity of the emotions leant a softness to their edges, even in their rawness. He hated them and clung to their power over him at the same time. Nothing had ever been worse or better. It was like night and day, fire and ice, wind and water. It was Ace and Andromeda. Two parts to a whole, something he had no idea he needed, until now. Why had he never realized he needed this? For the first time in his existence, he finally found someone he was willing to give up his life for. She was his… his Andromeda. When he felt the claws in his back retract, he began to shift back to his human form. As he opened his eyes, beautiful pale-green ones stared back at him. "Andromeda," he whispered. "I am yours." She smiled weakly. His heart melted. She threw her head back and screamed at the top of her lungs, "Andromeda! My wolf's name is Andromeda!" "Mena!" the asshole who'd tried to assassinate him earlier shouted, and a growl vibrated out of Ace's throat as his head shot around to glare at the guy. If Peanut thought he still had any chance with Andra, Ace was definitely up for the challenge now. "Get Rhodes out of here!" Phoenix said. "No—" Alex started, but Roel got in his face and backed him against a wall as he whispered something so low even Ace couldn't make it out, but he guessed it was good advice, because Peanut stopped resisting, and then stormed out of the room without another word. "Mena?" Phoenix said in a quiet voice. "I can't talk to anybody right now, Ace," Andra said through his thoughts. "Please, just get me out of here. Tell them I will talk to them after I have rested. I am so tired." Ace got to his feet, then picked her up in his arms and walked to the cage door. Phoenix unlocked the door and opened it for him. He met the vampire's gaze as Andra turned her face into his chest, hiding her eyes from their company. "She said she will talk to everyone after she has rested. We will be in my room." With that, he walked out of the cage and carried her upstairs.