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Troy and Cassie were alone and Troy knew it was time to put everything on the line with her.

Chapter Eight

“We should get dressed before they come back,” Troy suggested, wishing they didn’t have to, but not at all fond of the idea of Cassie naked with yet another man in the room.

“Yes,” she said quickly and snatched up her torn panties and bra, looking like she didn’t know what to do with them.

“Kick them under the mattress,” Troy said, and tugged on his pants, before removing a black t-shirt shirt from his bag and putting it on.

She shrugged and did just that before stepping into her skirt and zipping it up.

Troy sat down on the bed and pulled on socks and a spare pair of boots since the other pair were ruined. Cassie grabbed her torn blouse and flung it under the bed, tying his shirt at the waist.

Troy stood up and removed a computer bag out from under the bed and opened it to retrieve his laptop from inside. His gaze raked the disarray of the bed sheets stained with blood and he froze with the memories of holding Cassie, of being inside her, of finally touching her, flooding his mind, heating his body. His eyes lifted to hers and held, the look on her face telling him she was thinking of the same thing. “Cass I--”

“Cassie,” she corrected, crossing her arms in front of her.

“Cass,” he said softly, and then referenced what she’d said to him in the bathroom. “And I don’t, nor have I ever, hated you. Just the opposite, in fact, which is why I stayed away from you so long.” His chest tightened as he dared to put himself out there. “There are things I want to say to you, things I want to explain, but I can’t right now. Not when Marcus and his ‘expert’ could get back bef

ore I show you what I have to show you.”

He motioned to the foot of the mattress, deciding the bed was a bad choice of seats for all kinds of reasons. He sat down on the floor, leaning against the cushion.

Troy stretched his long legs in front of him, crossing his ankles and patting the floor beside him. He opened the computer and hit power. “Come sit with me. I won’t bite. I promise. At least, not now, but I can’t promise not ever.” For the time being, he was in control, more so than he had been in a long time, which was saying a lot considering seeing her in his shirt stirred the primal beast of man, vampire, and wolf, in him. It was control he could contribute to only one thing. Her blood.

She scraped her teeth over her bottom lip and considered him a moment, no doubt smelling the desire in him, the hunger, before saying. “I’m fine here.”

“It involves Nico, Cass.”

Her brows dipped, and he could feel the tension curl inside her. “What involves Nico?” she asked.

“Please,” he urged. “Just come sit with me so I can show you.”

She hesitated and then moved to sit next to him, clearly careful not to touch him, and curling her legs to the side in what appeared to be an effort to keep her skirt down. “I’m listening.”

Troy hesitated a moment, steeling himself for Cassie’s reaction, before loading a reel of pictures to the screen. The first one was of Nico sitting at a table in a bar across from another man, or rather a wolf. One Troy hated, and had hunted, for the best part of the year. The next photo was Nico talking with Andres in an alley. Several more photos of the two wolves followed.

Troy waited for a reaction from Cassie, some spike of discomfort that would tell him she was involved in something he didn’t want her to be involved with. Equally as worried about her reaction to him accusing her brother of the same. “Do you know this man?” he prompted.

“Not personally,” she said, her attention shifting from the picture. “But I know who he is. His name is Andres. He’s a new leader in the Rebel movement though no one knows exactly where he came from. He’s an unknown in the society.”

He was relieved that she acknowledged knowing Andres, that he smelled no lie. His wolf nose was an asset he’d never had with Sarah, but he didn’t understand why others didn’t smell her deceit if they weren’t in on it with her. “Why was Nico meeting with Andres? Why, Cass?”

Her gaze riveted to his. “I get where this is going. You think Nico is conspiring with the Rebels?” She laughed, without humor. “He’s not. My brother is as dedicated to the Society as they come. If he was with Andres he was trying to negotiate peace.”

“And he didn’t tell you?”

“Nico is an Alpha Wolf, Troy. You should know from working with The Society that an Alpha doesn’t go around asking permission and reporting back details on everything they do. He had a reason and a good one. And for the record, of course, he kept me from testing. Of course, protected me. That’s what the males of the Society do and why females are rarely in The Guard. They protect their women. Nico did everything in his power to keep me out of The Guard.”

And Nico was fiercely protective of Cassie which was why he’d feared she would be involved in anything he was. But instead of clinging to that fear, he felt his gut twist with guilt. Nico had protected Cassie but he had not. He wanted the doubt gone, he wanted it gone tonight.

“Andres is not just a Rebel,” he said, watching her closely. “He’s a Red wolf.”

“That’s impossible,” she dismissed. “Red wolves are like rabid dogs. They don’t think. They just kill.”

“Andres isn’t just any Red wolf,” he said. “He’s smart and cunning and he can partially shift at will. I’ve seen him throw a clawed hand in battle and in a flash it’s back to a human form again.”

“That’s impossible,” she said, her eyes going wide.