“Please don’t do this,” she pleaded, close to tears.
“It will be fine,” Chris said firmly, giving her another nudge.
Tears streamed down her face as she stopped moving, too afraid to keep going and seeing what they had planned for her. “Please,” she said, putting everything into that one word.
Chris was silent and for a moment she thought that maybe she’d gotten through to him, but the second his hand landed on the small of her back she knew she’d failed. “This is for your own good, Munchkin. You’ll understand soon enough,” he said, pushing her forward.
“Chris,-” Ephraim started, sounding unsure, making her wonder if she could change his mind and convince him to let her go.
“This is my decision,” he said firmly. “It’s the only way.”
“Fine,” Ephraim said, sighing heavily. “Just make sure she comes home in one piece or Madison will kick both of our asses.”
“Not a problem,” Chris said, grabbing her shoulders and moving her forward when she tried to stop.
She dug her heels in hard, fighting him as he easily moved her forward. “Don’t do this!” she said, trying to twist around and shove his hands away from her, but she couldn’t move him or stop him from moving her through thick brush that seemed to swallow them whole before she found herself shoved into a fire lit clearing filled with men in various states of undress.
All the men stopped what they were doing to look their way, looking startled at first and then furious.
“Fucking Sentinels,” one of the men growled out, looking really pissed.
Sentinels? That was the third time she’d heard that word in the last twentyfour hours. When she’d been attacked this morning she’d admittedly been focused on other things to really give that word much thought and when Chris had said it earlier she’d been annoyed and pissed to be receiving the cult speech. Now they had her full attention.
She quickly processed everything she found out today, which wasn’t a hell of a lot, and came to a painfully obvious conclusion. This was just another little ploy to scare the hell out of her so that she’d give up her work.
All of their vague bullshit now made sense. They acted like they were chasing after these men, but Isabella hadn’t seen them consult a map or anything, because they’d already known where they were going to meet up with these guys. When they’d been walking through the woods they never paused or acted unsure about where they were going.
They also did a damn fine job of scaring the living hell out of her. First this morning with “vampires,” which was the only thing she could describe men with fangs who bit her and supposedly burst into flame. Granted the jerk that bit her neck did a damn convincing job by sucking her blood, she thought with a shudder.
She’d bet that whole bursting into flames thing was an optical illusion, not that she’d fallen for it a hundred percent since she’d been pretty sure she’d been drugged, and still was, but that made more sense than hallucinating for this long. There was no they’d been unable to drug her again since she’d refused to drink or eat anything they’d given her and she’d checked her candy bar really well before she’d eaten it, plus two of them had taken huge bites out of it and she really didn’t think they’d drug themselves.
This morning had been pretty bad and they’d scared the hell out of her, but now she was prepared for whatever bullshit story they’d throw her way. She wondered what they’d try this time. Demons? Witches?
Goblins? Frankenstein, Caper the Friendly Ghost, she thought with an amused snort that earned a curious frown from Chris. If they really wanted to scare her they should have had her parents show up. Nothing on earth would have scared her more into talking just so she could get the hell away from them.
“Whatever you do, don’t move away from my side,”
Chris stressed softly.
“Yeah, sure whatever,” she said with a lazy wave of her hand for him to get the show on the road.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” Chris demanded softly as he kept his eyes on the men around them, whom she noted were now all naked. Some of them were inching back towards the woods while others were moving forward with an odd gleam of anticipation in their eyes.
“Nothing,” she said around a loud yawn.
They weren’t going to kill her, she’d realized. They were going through too much trouble to scare her with elaborate hoaxes to simply kill her. If they were going to kill her they’d at least threaten her by now, but they hadn’t, at least not yet. They were still playing games and she was no longer as frightened as she was an hour ago. Instead she was back to feeling exhausted, hungry, and pissed. They’d save themselves so much time and probably money if they’d just asked for the damn program so she could tell them to go to hell.
“What the hell is he?” one of the men demanded as Ephraim suddenly appeared on the opposite side of the clearing, causing the men who’d been inching away to move closer to the fire.
Almost as one, all of the na**d men tilted their heads back and sniffed like they were dogs, making her roll her eyes. “Give me a break” she m uttered, wondering when the theatrics would end.
“He’s not human!” one of the men yelled just as Ephraim’s eyes turned a bright red, making her sigh heavily and wonder just how far they were willing to take this.
“We haven’t done anything wrong, Sentinel,” a man with shoulder length dark hair said, stepping in front of the rest of the men, but turned slightly so he could keep a wary eye on Ephraim who looked ready to kill someone. “We know the rules, Sentinel. You can’t touch us as long as we follow your Council’s rules.”
“You’re not following my rules, cupcake,” Chris said, looking relaxed, but once again that little muscle was ticking beneath his eye. No doubt the man hated having to do this. Something told her the man didn’t enjoy drama of any sort.
“We don’t have to listen to you,” another man yelled, only to be silenced when the man in front of her held up his hand.
“The moment you crossed into my territory your asses belonged to me,” Chris said coldly, sending a delicious shiver through her. The man might hate his job, but he was damn good at it. She idly wondered if he’d given any thought to acting professionally. With his bad boy good looks and “take no shit” attitude he’d probably be a hit, she thought.