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    It was time to go home. But damned if he knew where he was going to find another beanbag on such short notice. Maybe he could improvise, he thought. Surely there was something similar.

    Epilogue

    They had locked her into a room by herself. A steel enclosed room. No doors. No windows. There was no view out, but the large two-way mirror provided a view in. What Hawke saw bit at his soul. The woman was slender, compact, staring silently from the fold-down cot she lay on. Her big blue eyes glittered with moisture but no tears had fallen in the hours she had been confined there. Resignation and acceptance lay over her like a cloak of pain.

    He had come to the small, dark room to watch her as soon as he returned to the compound. He needed to see her to reaffirm to himself that the decision he was faced with could be carried out. The Army hadn’t been notified of her betrayal. That was Faith’s job and after one long searching look when he had asked her to delay the message, she had nodded her agreement. Now he stood here, merely watching, unable to step past the door at the end of the long room and give her the go ahead to do so.

    Was it a difference in how he was trained, he wondered? He hadn’t experienced the unjust cruelties that many of the other Breeds had faced. He had been created, observed, tested and trained by professionals. By men and women who understood that the true answers came from caring treatment. It hadn’t been enough for him. The assignments he had been sent on were bloody, vicious, and he had been expected to perform with a lack of mercy.

    He had done as he was ordered but always with an eye on the best opportunity to escape. When the time came he had gladly taken it. But he didn’t hold the bitter, painful memories of abuse such as Wolfe, Jacob and the other Breeds held. He understood it. He accepted it. He knew their lives hung in the balance of world opinion at the moment, and that tide could change any day. He was willing to give his life for those who had adopted him. He was willing to fight for their greater freedom. But he wasn’t willing to kill his mate.

    Fuck! Whenhad he accepted her as his mate, he wondered. When had he finally given in to the subtle demand his body was making on his mind?

    She brushed at her cheek, wiping away a tear that had finally fallen. Her people didn’t know they had locked her away. When he called in the order he had been precise. Confine her secretly. Let no one know she had been taken or where she was being held.

    He watched the door to her room open. She stood to attention slowly, warily, blinking as Wolfe and his mate, Hope, walked into the room. They were a powerful pair. Hope’s tall, striking good looks with their slightly Asian cast made her appear cool, untouchable as she preceded Wolfe into the room. Wolfe was over six inches taller, heavily muscled, a powerful dangerous force to be reckoned with. His dark skin and long black hair appeared Native American. His blue eyes and cruel slash of a mouth made him look primordially dangerous.

    “Jessica.” Wolfe nodded to her as he and Hope walked to the table that sat several feet from the cot and sat down. “Sit down, please.”

    Wolfe pushed the extra chair from beneath the table with his foot as he watched her. Hawke saw the

    fear that flashed in her eyes. She paled for a moment, her lower lip trembling as she walked over and took her seat.

    She stared forward, not defiantly, but rather somberly. She had accepted her fate.

    “Jessica, would you like to tell us why you betrayed us?” Hope’s voice was gentle, soft. Hawke watched Jessica flinch from the caring tone. She glanced at Wolfe then. He was watching her intently, his expression cold, forbidding.

    “I have no excuse.” Her voice was husky, rough from unshed tears. It caused pain to lash through his gut, taking his breath with the need to rush into the room to protect her, if nothing else, from her fears. Hawke was aware of Jacob walking up and standing beside him then.Moving silently to the glass, watching the proceedings broodingly.

    “You sent a message that Charity had died.That you yourself had seen the body. You pulled Hope and Faith into the communications building with you using a very weak excuse.” Wolfe’s tone had her flinching with his anger. “I do not believe you wanted to see our women harmed, Jessica. Yet still, you gave your father the coordinates to our personal homes and allowed that attack. Why?” He bared his teeth, the sharp canines at the side of his mouth drawing her gaze. Hawke watched her pale further as she swallowed with a sick tightness. Her creamy skin was snow white now, her dark blue eyes nearly black with fear. Her gaze flickered to Hope.

    “I did all I could,” she whispered faintly.“To minimize damage.”

    Wolfe leaned forward slowly, dangerously. A smooth ripple of motion that had her jerking, a whimper of fear breaking from her throat.

    “You signed the Code,” he said harshly as she trembled before him. “You knew the consequences.”

    Hawke’s hands tightened to fists as the need to protect her surged through his body.

    “I knew the consequences.” For all its faintness, her voice was strong. “I accept them.”

    “Death,” Wolfe bit out ferociously. “Death, Jessica.An execution. Were you prepared for that?”

    Her eyes closed briefly before she turned her head, staring at the leader of the Packs, regret and unbearable pain shining in her eyes.

    “I was prepared for that, Pack Leader,” she whispered. “I knew the consequences are death.”

    In that moment, Hawke felt his soul shatter.

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