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Out of the corner of her vision, she spotted six more weres charging toward them. Damn, that made a whole pack of ’em.
Four surrounded Chase. And two came to join the other two circling her.
She went to kick one back to make it better odds, when another jabbed a knife into her arm.
She felt the pain.
Smelled the blood.
And just got plain ol’ pissed off.
Chase’s growl filled the night air. Fearing he was hurt, she cut her eyes his way.
His eyes glowed bright red, his fangs completely extended, but she got the feeling his reaction came from her injury. Not his own.
That one-second glance cost her. The weres now stood closer. Too close. Hands, feet, knives, they came at her all at once. But she moved with power, blocking, and even landing a few blows, as she moved.
She caught one were by the wrist, swung him around, and let him take the next few blows from his friends. He grunted, groaned as feet connected with his ribs.
When his friends stopped hitting him, she used her captive as a bowling ball. Chan, her champion bowler, would have been proud. He’d have called it a spare, because only one remained standing.
Just as she moved in to take him out, Burnett showed up. He caught the were by one arm and swung him into a tree.
Della turned to help Chase. But instead, she watched him take down his last attacker.
Burnett looked around. “Considering the odds, you did good.” Then his eyes grew brighter as he moved closer to Della and smelled the blood on her shirt.
“It’s okay,” she muttered. Before Burnett could start coddling her, Chase shot over and did it for him. He ripped off her shirtsleeve to see the wound.
“It’s not bad,” she said.
Right then, the sound of fast-approaching footfalls sounded in her ear. All three spun around at the same time.
Della sucked air in her nose and caught the trace of one were. But he wasn’t alone. He was being chased by several vamps—the other FRU agents.
Then the were scent found its way into her memory bank.
“I got this,” she said and bolted forward.
In the silver light of the moon she caught sight of Red hauling ass toward her. He spotted her and turned his long-legged gait, moving fast back into the line of tall pine trees. But not fast enough.
“Girl Toy’s baaaacccck!” Della seethed as she tackled him, pressing him into the layer of pine straw covering the ground.
She put her knee in his back. “Move and I promise I’ll hit you where it hurts and you’ll be talking like a girl for weeks.”
When he didn’t fight back, she rolled him over and looked him dead in the eyes. “Where are they?” Fear filled the were’s eyes and for good reason. Della didn’t plan on asking twice.
*   *   *
Red, along with all of the other weres told the same story. The owner of the cemetery, Ramon Henderson, had taken part in the underground fights. But when news came from Dallas that the FRU was on to them, he packed his bags, took his best men, and flew to Mexico.
They also admitted there had been several fresh turns kept at the cemetery, but all they knew was that they were kept in burial vaults. Mr. Henderson and his top men had been in charge of them, and they just assumed he’d disposed of the evidence.
There were six burial vaults on the property. Keys with numbers on them hung on the office wall.
The first four were empty. As she, Burnett, Chase, and two other agents hurried through the cemetery to the fifth vault, she told herself not to panic. They were minutes from finding Natasha and Liam. We’re coming. We’re coming. She repeated in her head, somehow hoping Natasha and Liam could hear her.
The fifth vault proved difficult to open. Burnett rushed back to the office, found two sledgehammers in a storage room, and between him and Chase they brought the thick concrete door down.
And as soon as it crumbled, so did Della’s heart. The strong smell of death whooshed out as if seeking escape. The two agents shot back.
Burnett, gritting his teeth, looked back at her and Chase with empathy. “You two stay here,” he said as he stepped into the dark vault.
“No,” she cried and tried to follow, but Chase grabbed her. “Let him check.”
She fought Chase for a second, then she read the reasons in his eyes. If it was them, he didn’t want her to see them like this. He didn’t want to see them, either. Della leaned against Chase and fought to grasp tightly to her newfound hope. But the smell of death was so strong it threatened to destroy it.
In only a few seconds Burnett came out. He held his arm over the lower half of his face. His gaze went to Della and Chase. He lowered his arm and swallowed hard.
“Four bodies. Three male, one female. They are in too bad a shape to identify.” His voice came out tight as if the sight sickened him.
“It’s not them,” Della said, her pulse racing so fast she felt it fluttering in her throat. “They were alone.”
Burnett looked down as if seeking strength, and then up. “One female and male were alone in a room.”
Della felt doubt cut through her heart like glass.
“There’s still one tomb left.”
Burnett nodded, apparently not throwing in the towel yet, either. He turned to the others and gave orders for someone to call for a van to take the bodies in.
He picked up the sledgehammer, Chase grabbed the other, and the three of them went in search of the last vault. The last one was half way across the graveyard. They didn’t talk as they moved.