Rule breaker, p.23
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       Rule Breaker, p.23

         Part #20 of Breeds series by Lora Leigh

  They tiptoed around their alpha as anyone else would a rabid animal.

  “I can’t believe the three of you are scared of your alpha,” she laughed back at them.

  “Two,” Sharone informed her. “Those two”—she pointed to Ashley and Emma—“are terrified of their alpha because they know damned good and well he would have nightmares for weeks if he knew what they were doing. And he would ensure they did it no more.”

  “Sharone’s the good little Coyote soldier,” Ashley smirked, a hint of her former self in the sudden sparkle of merriment in her gaze. “She never gets into trouble.”

  Sharone merely rolled her eyes, but Gypsy could see the concern in the other woman’s gaze as it drifted around the room.

  She might be a stick in the mud, as Ashley and Emma called her, but she was intuitive, cautious and rumored to be a stone-cold killer whose efficiency, lack of emotion and attention to detail was nearly unparalleled among the female Breeds.

  Despite the hard, fast pace of the music, the driving tempo and the perspiration that poured from her body and dampened the black cami top she wore, Gypsy was still burning inside. She could feel the moisture collecting on her bare skin, running in small rivulets here and there. It was a caress that drove her crazy, that made her ache for Rule’s touch.

  That ache was becoming deeper, hotter. She moved with the music and found herself drifting, remembering his touch. His lips at her throat, her need to feel his teeth raking against her flesh.

  As his lips had caressed her shoulder, she’d waited. Ached. Needed to feel his teeth there.

  His touch was an addiction.

  She was seeing that now.

  What they called Mating Heat was a compulsive, overpowering drug. One taste. One kiss, and she’d become something, someone she wasn’t.

  She wasn’t a lover. She’d known that since the day she’d been told she couldn’t have one and still avenge her brother’s murder.

  Hips swaying, her body moving sensually as languid need burned ever hotter inside her, Gypsy railed at herself for her decision that night.

  She’d given to him, given him everything only to learn that everything was either too much or not enough.

  “We should go.” Ashley’s suggestion had her eyes opening as she lifted the beer to her lips and sipped at it lazily, her gaze raking over the club.

  “Why?” The Coyotes weren’t here yet. She still had information to get.

  If the Unknown didn’t want it, then she knew many, many groups still involved in routing out the hidden labs who would want it.

  Hell, Jonas would want it.

  She could just work for him.

  The thought was almost amusing.

  “Because it’s nearly dawn?” Ashley drawled, her tone amused, her eyes flat and hard.

  Gypsy let her gaze wander over the club again, her skin suddenly prickling with a latent warning of danger. She could feel it stroking against her flesh with an icy stroke.

  “Bye-bye.” She waved back at the three girls as they seemed to share a concerned look. “Catch you at the next party.”

  She wasn’t going anywhere.

  Sleeping with Rule wasn’t nearly the compensation she would have imagined for giving up her entire life. What the hell had made her do something so irrational to begin with?

  Mating Heat should be outlawed anyway. It made a woman’s heart do things that her head knew was inadvisable. Things that hurt worse than facing the loneliness.

  The music shifted, pounding harder, faster. Turning from the three girls, Gypsy opened her eyes once again and found herself confronted with a broad, male chest.

  It wasn’t Rule’s chest.

  Her gaze lifted.


  Wow, now this dude was fucking tall.

  And he was pissed.

  Six feet six if he was an inch, super long black hair pulled back in a low ponytail and Celtic green eyes. Eyes so bright, so lacking in warmth or mercy that they were like a frozen sea.

  “You are becoming a nuisance, Ms. McQuade.” And his voice was like serrated gravel, rough and sharp with a deadly baritone.

  “Oh God, we’re dead.” That was Sharone behind her.

  “Will we get that lucky?” Emma sounded completely terrified.

  “We’re screwed. He’ll tell the alpha . . .” Ashley was actually whispering in the sudden silence of the club.

  “Stop already!” Gypsy turned on the three girls with a furious hiss before turning back to the guy with freaky-as-hell too-green eyes. “Who the hell are you anyway?”

  “Their worst nightmare if you don’t leave this establishment this moment,” he stated firmly, frozen sea green eyes gleaming icily back at her.

  “Go now,” Ashley gripped her arm.

  The pain.

  It struck at her with a suddenness that had her jerking from the female Coyote violently, causing all three of them to jump back as Gypsy swung away in a graceful pivot. She cleared not just the female Coyotes, but also tall, dark, and who-the-hell-ever.

  They stared back at her, shocked, four gazes each going slowly to the military-perfect, well-trained stance she had taken.

  And in that second, Gypsy realized that this man knew things about her that even Rule couldn’t suspect yet.

  The music was pounding again, loud and hard, the beat racing through her bloodstream and thankfully covering from others’ gazes the perfect stealth maneuver that had swung her away from Ashley as well as the male attempting to reach out for her.

  The Breed grinned, displaying strong, white, wickedly sharp canines at the side of his mouth.

  “Breed,” she muttered, eyes narrowing.

  “You have no idea.” Emma was shaking her head as Gypsy read her lips.

  “Go!” Eerie green eyes shifted color and became more frozen as he made the demand.

  She didn’t have to hear the tone to know the order in it.


  He stared back at her with an intensity that was almost frightening. She had to admit, that was one damned freaky look.

  Still, she turned her back on him, flipped back her hair and made her way to the bar. She ignored the looks. She ignored Ashley’s nervous calling of her name behind her.

  Her friends might be scared of Mr. Freaky, but she wasn’t.

  Tonight, she would be damned if she was scared of anyone.

  Not Mr. Freaky, and not some half-assed Breed mate who thought she should be waiting whenever he decided to get around to claiming what he’d thrown away to begin with.

  “Ms. McQuade.” The deep drawl directly behind her had Gypsy turning again as she reached the bar, anger flaring in her at the sight of the tall Breed towering over her.

  “What the hell do you want? And who are you anyway?” she practically yelled at him as the music rose in volume, thundering through the crowd filling the club.

  “If you aren’t willing to leave for your own safety, perhaps you’ll leave for Commander Breaker’s.” His head lowered to allow her to hear him over the music. “He should be pulling into the parking lot at any moment—”

  She didn’t wait around to hear anything more.

  A curse sizzled from her lips, causing the Breed to draw himself stiffly erect as she turned and moved quickly for the entrance.

  Dammit, he shouldn’t have been able to find her so fast. She’d spent the day laying a false trail to other locations before choosing this bar to dance away the pain throbbing inside her soul. She’d been here less than an hour, not even enough time to drive the aching hurt from her chest let alone the restless anger burning inside her. All she’d wanted to do was dance it away for a while until the Coyote unit she’d heard about arrived. Then she could have immersed herself in the game of extracting the information she needed, listening and getting to know the Coyotes.

  As she rushed from the exit, intent now on getting to her motorcycle and finding somewhere else to hide, it took a second to realize that a hard, muscled arm had manacled her wa
ist before she was able to react.

  There was no pain.

  There was no panic.

  That didn’t mean she intended to allow him to take her wherever he was suddenly all but dragging her.

  “Let me go!” Fury erupted inside her as the heat of him, the strength and pleasure from his touch began sinking inside her.

  “The hell I will,” Rule snarled, holding her securely despite her struggles and attempts to escape.

  She could see the Desert Dragoon he was driving, still running, the driver’s-side door thrown open as bright light pierced the darkness at the side of the building. There were Breeds standing around, hard-eyed, without mercy, without compassion and heavily armed as they watched the area closely.

  “I’m going to kick your ass.” The cry was torn from her as the sudden hunger to feel his lips against hers ached with near-debilitating hunger.

  As though his sudden nearness, his touch, just the fact that he was there were enough to remind her of the pleasure he could give her with a strength that had her sex rippling, clenching with the need to be filled again.

  “Fine, kick my ass. Do whatever you have to, sweetheart, because I’ll be damned if I’ll let you go now.”

  She was pushed into the Dragoon before she could brace herself against the frame to hold herself back. She tried to grab on to the steering wheel to give herself leverage, but somehow he managed to brush her hands aside.

  She was in the passenger seat before she really understood exactly how he’d managed to get her into it.

  Reaching for the door handle, Gypsy gave a furious growl that would have easily rivaled any Breed’s as she felt Rule’s broad hand curve around the nape of her neck to grip her securely. The other grasped her chin, turned her to him as he tilted her head back and stole the kiss she lied and swore she would never have given him willingly.

  Chocolate and peppermint.

  Just a hint of the candies he enjoyed teased her senses before the heated sweetness suddenly overwhelmed her. Hunger rose like a ravenous beast, no longer that irritating fire simmering inside her. It was now a full-fledged blaze, burning through her body, tightening her womb and parting her lips to accept his kiss.

  Rather than fighting, she was demanding more with a suddenness she found herself helpless against.

  Her hands were in his hair, clenching, pulling him to her as she felt the fiery lick of his tongue against hers.

  Peppermint and chocolate.

  Once more, it simply teased her senses. Tempted her as his tongue rubbed against hers, his lips moving sensually over hers.

  She couldn’t help herself, couldn’t stop the need for more of him, more of that intriguing taste.

  Her tongue rubbed against his, the unique taste of his kiss becoming more heated as tongues caressed and lips devoured each other in a hunger she was helpless to avoid or fight.

  Why couldn’t she fight him?

  She’d had no defenses against him from the very beginning and it didn’t make sense.

  This need.

  This hunger.

  It speared inside her, ripped away any lies she would have told herself and refused to allow her to hide from the hunger that built daily inside her.

  “No . . .” Her moan was weak, the protest filled with the confusion that had kept her off balance since that first night she’d seen him.

  Laying his forehead against hers, he stared back at her, his blue eyes appearing lighter than before, pinpricks of black appearing to flicker in the pale blue background.

  “You ran from me.” Lips pulling back from his canines, one hand tightened in her hair, the other cupping her jaw to keep her head turned up to him. “You shouldn’t have run, Gypsy.”

  “You shouldn’t have treated me like a whore,” she shot back, the anger that bloomed inside her over the past hours exploding with the same suddenness with which the arousal and hunger had exploded inside her.

  “And you think that’s how I treated you?” He frowned back at her, his gaze gleaming with anger.

  Jerking from his hold, she was furiously aware that it was only because he allowed her to.

  Her hand gripped the door handle and pulled, intent on escaping him with the same desperation he’d used to escape her body earlier.

  Except the door didn’t open.

  Instead, the Dragoon was racing from its parking spot, the speed and power of the vehicle assuring her there would be no escape until he allowed it.

  “The doors are secured until I release them. One of my enforcers will take your cycle to the hotel. You and I are going to talk,” he growled, both hands on the wheel as he glared into the night behind the state-of-the-art windshield.

  Digital holographs lit the glass. Speed, location, outside temperature, GPS tracking and satellite tracking were all subtly lit within the glass, giving him any information he might need on the area surrounding them as he turned onto the main road and headed into the night.

  “And just what do you think we have to talk about?” Gypsy asked him then, her voice a mocking sneer as she crossed her arms over her breasts and turned back to him slowly. “Mr. Freaky who decided to ensure I was running out of the bar right into your arms? Or how about why you couldn’t even stomach ejaculating while you were having sex with me?”

  Or, they could discuss what made him think she was his damned mate.

  Revealing her knowledge of that, though, would give away the fact that she had sources that she shouldn’t have.

  Sources a regular party girl wouldn’t have.

  “We could definitely discuss your perception of my actions.” The roughened sound of the growl rumbling in his chest had a chill racing down her spine. “As for whoever the hell Mr. Freaky is . . .”

  “Six and a half feet tall, frozen green eyes and black hair a woman would kill to have herself?”

  No expression, not so much as a grimace crossed his face.

  “Rhyzan Brannigan,” he finally stated. “What the hell was he doing there?”

  “You’re asking me?” Incredulity filled her voice as she stared back at him in amazement. “Excuse me, Breaker, I think I was the one who asked who the hell he was to begin with. I can’t even mind my own damned business anymore without a Breed insisting on horning in on it.”


  The deceit.

  Unlike other lies, Gypsy’s deceit wasn’t tinged with the scent of blood or rot, but he could smell the lie all the same. And like the rest of her, it simply intrigued him. She was the most complicated, stubborn, confusing woman he had ever known.

  But at that moment, the deceit, the subject of it and her whereabouts after running from him added up to one thing only.

  The Unknown’s contact.

  And there wasn’t a doubt in his mind that Rhyzan Brannigan had finally managed to sniff her out. The new assistant director of the Bureau of Breed Affairs had said he would do so. Rule had just been certain he could keep it from happening.

  “Why are you looking at me like that?” Narrowing her gaze on him, she stared back at him with all the ire of a woman scorned.

  She wasn’t just his merciless little spy, but scorned as well, at least as far as she was concerned.

  “Rhyzan Brannigan is Jonas Wyatt’s preferred choice of assistant director of the Bureau of Breed Affairs,” he told her, giving a tidbit of information that no one else had known. “Jonas is preparing to inform the Breed Ruling Cabinet of his choice once he’s finished here in Window Rock. He’s also one of the Bureau’s best investigators. The only reason he would have been at that bar would have been to identify a spy for an underground group of Navajo Warriors called the Unknown. They call her Whisper.”

  Her expression never changed.

  “And that has exactly what to do with me?” Voiced low, offended, furious, her tone nearly had a smile quirking at his lips.

  She was good.

  Son of a fucking bitch, she was too damned good, and she was too damned guilty.

  “Nothing,” he
assured her. “But that’s likely why he was there. He’ll be Jonas’s second in command if he’s accepted into the position by the Ruling Cabinet. Identifying Whisper was his last assignment before taking that position once approval is formalized.”

  “Whatever,” she breathed out, anger still searing her tone just as deceit seared her scent. “You’ve still managed to sidestep the original issue with all the grace of a crippled bull in a china shop. Why not just tell me how I managed to sicken you to the point that you had to shower, and get it the hell over with.”

  As she turned to face forward, the scent of the deceit began to disappear beneath . . .


  God, he’d hurt her, and he would cut off his own arm before doing so deliberately.

  No—she blamed herself for it? She actually believed she had somehow sickened him? Hell, Lawe should have just kicked his ass when he had the chance for allowing that to happen.

  “You were not at fault for what happened in that bed, Gypsy,” he stated, self-disgust filling him at the lash of humiliation that suddenly surrounded her.

  What had he done?

  His clumsy ignorance had sliced at her soul in ways he’d never have allowed if he hadn’t refused to accept what the beast inside him had evidently known for years.

  “Really? So it wasn’t my body that you jumped from and rushed to the shower as though dirty? Right?” The low, mocking drawl accompanied by the shame, hurt and distrust that whipped in the air around her nearly caused him to flinch.

  Self-control was all that held back that reaction as his hands tightened on the steering wheel. Clenching his teeth against the self-disgust he could feel rising inside him, Rule fought to remind himself that it could be fixed. Their kiss had been infused with the mating hormone; even now it filled the glands at the sides of his tongue, waiting to spill to her once again as their lips met.

  She would have to forgive him. They were mates. Mates didn’t separate, at least not for long, and that had happened only once. Besides, the separation had been between a Coyote and his mate, not a Lion and his mate.

  “The reasons why are complicated,” he forced himself to say despite his discomfort.

  He deserved the discomfort, he told himself. What his mate felt was far worse.

  “I hate that word.” The studied disinterest in her tone had him flicking a look at her expression as his lips tightened.

  This wasn’t the place to discuss what had happened. It wasn’t the place to remember what had happened. Those memories were steeped in such agony, in so many nightmares that sometimes he wondered if he would ever be free of them.

  “I hate that word as well,” he assured her, grimacing at the tight, hoarse sound of his voice. “Nonetheless, it’s the truth. Hopefully, once we reach—”

  A red alert shot on the windshield before he could say anything more. A heartbeat later, two more joined it as he thumbed the link to Control.

  “Control, identify bogies four point six miles behind my mark,” he requested.

  “Unable to establish link to Control,” the computer announced.

  “Computer, activate satellite link,” Rule commanded as he shifted the Dragoon into higher gear and thumbed the accelerator.

  “Satellite link jammed,” the computerized voice reported. “You have three vehicles approaching at a high rate of speed. All identifying transponders are deactivated or unable to respond. Activating covert protocols.”

  The lights went out. Dashboard lights, headlights and running lights went black while the windows darkened further to hide the glow of the faint illumination of the holographs on the windshield.

  “Computer, activate Alpha. Navajo. California. Seven. Six. Niner.”

  The computer repeated the code.

  “Affirmed.” Rule acknowledged the request that he’d given the correct command. “Activate and begin a repeat pulse emergency signal.”


  He shifted the vehicle again, its speed increasing as Gypsy watched the display on the windshield, her expression intent.

  “Do they have a lock on the Dragoon?” she asked as she watched the red pinpoints indicating the unidentified vehicles gaining on them.

  “Computer, process any means of detection locked on our position,” he commanded clearly.

  “No electronic, satellite, cellular or radar locks detected,” the computer reported as Gypsy glanced out the window to verify their position.

  “Computer, display GPS and landmarks,” Rule ordered rather than questioning Gypsy. “Answer all queries from McQuade, Gypsy Rum. Code Alpha. Foxtrot. India.”

  “All queries verified,” the computer answered.

  “McQuade, Gypsy Rum. Alpha. Foxtrot. India,” Gypsy spoke clearly as she continued to wa
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