"It's okay, baby," he said, having absolutely no idea what to say to the woman as she continued to cry.

He could count on one hand the number of times she'd cried as a child. Even as a little toddler she'd been a tough kid and usually only cried because someone else was hurt or sad. She didn't cry if another kid was mean to her, if she got in trouble, or when she threw one of her adorable fits that used to make him laugh when she didn't get her way.

She never once cried for herself and that had amazed him back then considering her less than normal childhood. He remembered the few times that she did cry. When another child lost his father during a raid on a rather nasty nest, she'd cried quietly in his arms for an hour. The moment she was able to pull back her tears she wiped her face, grabbed her favorite teddy bear and gave it to the little boy, promising him that the teddy bear would watch over him and love him now.

The time he decked her father and broke his jaw had been a memorable affair. Then again, he probably wouldn't have done it if the bastard hadn't promised Danni that they'd be home for Christmas that year and didn't show up or send her a present. Danni hadn't cared about the presents. The only thing she did care about was that her parents were never there on Christmas Eve to help her lay out stockings and were never there on Christmas morning. It broke Caine's heart when Danni came running out of her room, grinning hugely as she looked past the Christmas tree he put up for her and the presents from the toy store that he'd bought. She always searched for her parents who were never there.

She always made sure to force a smile as she opened her presents, barely aware of what he'd bought her as she threw hopeful glances at the door, but they never came. The only thing that seemed to give her any joy on Christmas morning was his reaction to the gift she'd given him. It didn't matter if it was a glob of glue, glitter and a bunch of other shit she'd put together for him, he smiled each and every time and made damn sure to act like it was the best gift he'd ever gotten all while wishing that he could get his hands on her parents and smack some sense into them.

The year she turned twelve she told him that she didn't want to celebrate Christmas and asked if they could just hit the movie theatre and the Chinese buffet instead. For a while he'd considered making her an orphan. When her father called a few weeks before Christmas and out of the blue promised that they would be home that year he damn near sighed with relief.

Any relief he felt was short lived when they didn't show up on Christmas Eve and when Christmas morning rolled around and Danni walked out of her room with a hopeful smile he'd had enough. He didn't let her know how pissed he was. Instead he focused on her. He brought her to the movies, sat with her at the buffet and even let her win their yearly snowball challenge. She put up a tough front and pretended that it didn't bother her that they hadn't showed up or even called for that matter and he pretended that he hadn't noticed.

When her parents finally showed up, six months later, Caine walked right up to the bastard and punched him, sending him flying twenty feet through the air and crashing into a wall. Unfortunately for him, Danni chose that moment to come into the room. A second later so did half the compound with their weapons drawn.

It seemed the rule about him not harming a Sentinel included beating the shit out of one that had it coming. They sentenced him on the spot to a month in a cell, like that would really bother him. He'd get to relax, have all the blood he wanted and all the books he could read. The only thing that bothered him about the sentence was not being there to take care of Danni, but they'd make due. She'd come visit him and before they knew it the month would just fly by.

That's what he thought at least.

Instead they threw him in the lower levels of the compound, let him have all the blood he wanted, he got peace and quiet and as many books as he wanted but they took away Danni. She was forbidden to visit him. When they announced that, Danni walked up to the Sentinel that sentenced him and punched him as hard as she could.

When the man glared down at her, she demanded a cell right next to his and all the ice cream that she could eat, because according to her, if she didn't get an unlimited supply of ice cream she got cranky. The Sentinel didn't have a sense of humor and sentenced her to one month confinement in her room, alone, which set him off.

She had no one. Caine knew that her parents weren't going to stick around so that meant they were sentencing a twelve year old child to stay by herself for a month. They'd look after her, send her meals from the cafeteria and check up on her, but she would basically be in solitary confinement, something she didn't deserve.

They literally had to tear her off of him and he was forced to stand there and allow it. He didn't want to take the chance of them punishing her more to get back at him. So while she cried and screamed for him, he ground his jaw shut. He allowed them to lead him down to the lower levels and thankfully the Sentinels were sympathetic to the situation since nobody in the compound was happy with the way Danni was treated and they promised to spend time with her and sneak their kids in to see her.

The month he spent in the cell had been hell for him, but it had been worse for Danni. Her parents stayed for a week while her father's jaw healed. Thanks to the Sentinel blood it had taken six days to heal and they ignored Danni the entire time, simply forgot her because she was in her room. That was worse than anything on Danni, having them so close and being ignored. That experience hardened her heart and helped make her the woman she was today, brave, loyal, tough as hell, but still too damn vulnerable on the inside.

"It's going to be fine, baby," he said in what he hoped was a soothing tone as he reached for her only to have her step away from him as she dropped her hands to her sides.

"How the hell is this fine, Caine?" she demanded with dry violet eyes and it was then that he realized that she wasn't crying.

No, she was simply pissed.

"I can't control this damn monster inside of me!" she snapped.

He shook his head. "It's not a monster, Danni, it's-"

"Bullshit! I saw what happens when I lose control. If that doesn't make me a monster then I don't know what does. I refuse to let this damn thing control me, Caine, but that's a joke too because the damn thing is in control," she said, sounding angrier with each passing second.

"You're not a monster," he bit out, forcing away old memories that threatened to surface and knock him on his ass.

"Yes, I am!"

"No, you're not!" he yelled, getting into her face.

"No?" she asked in a mocking tone. "If I'm not a monster then why the hell do I need to drop my f**king fangs so that I can suck on a bag of plasma?" she demanded, getting right in his face.

Tags: R.L. Mathewson Pyte/Sentinel Fantasy
Source: www.StudyNovels.com
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