Cursed in Love: Zodiac Shifters(3)

By: Bethany Shaw & Zodiac Shifters

Trent took a few more steps closer, stopping right in front of her. “Well?” he prodded.

Ethney scrunched up her face and spat at him, “They’ll look even better when I’ve finished with them.”

Trent threw his head back and laughed out loud. “I don’t think so, Mermaid. You see, I think we’ve grown outside of your control. Maybe we can’t kill you, but that doesn’t mean we can’t contain you to keep you from interfering with our plans.”

“Yeah? And what are those?” Ethney asked.

“I think it’s better to wait and let you see, don’t you?”

Well damn. She hoped the arrogant bastard would’ve told her something.

“But I will tell you this,” Trent held up one finger, a smug smile spreading over his face, “there’s a reason you were given false Intel on how many men I have here. I did it on purpose, specifically to capture you. But fret not; you are not the only guardian being betrayed. By now we should have at least two of you in captivity.”

Ethney grimaced as questions tumbled through her mind. What does he mean? Did the lycanthrope really capture two guardians? Was he insinuating there was a mole? That ‘s impossible; Astraea, the Goddess of the Zodiac, and the twelve guardians were the only ones in the operation. They were all working for the same thing.

“I see those wheels spinning in your head, little Mermaid,” Trent continued, “and, yes, someone has betrayed you. The question is who? Which one of your comrades was it?”

Ethney drew in a deep breath and then whimpered when her lungs burned from the simple action. Did someone in the circle betray them? She met all the guardians; she worked better with some more than others, but she didn’t think anyone could do this.

A loud crackle boomed in the air causing everyone to freeze. It took her a moment to realize what the sound was—gunfire. Bullets zinged through the air. She winced and closed her eyes, bracing for the pain, but nothing happened. Maybe she was numb from her enduring pain?

The booming echoed in rapid succession. It took her a minute to realize no side arm could fire that rapidly. Something else was cutting through the night sky. Yelps filled the air as she was shoved forward. Her feet didn’t want to cooperate though and she ended up face first on the ground again.

“Take cover!” Trent yelled.

He went to grab her, but a bullet zinged through his shoulder sending a spray of blood onto Ethney’s face. His eyes widened in horror and he swore before taking off. Ethney lifted her head to glance around, but she made no effort to stand; it was probably safer on the ground, at least until the bullets stopped.

The lycanthropes were running, shrieking into the woods. A man stood at the end of the gravel drive with a semiautomatic weapon in his hands. Once the lycanthrope scattered, he started toward her.

Ethney stared at him, fighting the darkness threatening to pull her under as she pushed herself to her feet. She wobbled and took a few steps forward. As appreciative as she was to her savior, she couldn’t stick around to chat. Humans weren’t allowed to know about the guardians or lycanthrope. As soon as she healed, she would return to clean up the bodies.

She took a few steps toward the water and pitched forward again. She tried to catch herself with her hands, but they didn’t seem to be working properly. Her cheek crunched against the ground. The breath whooshed out of her lungs and the darkness clawed at her vision making it blurry.

The man kneeled down next to her and picked her up to cradle her broken body in his arms. He was tall and muscular with sky blue eyes. His cocoa brown hair was cut short, like he was in the military. Maybe he was. That would explain the gun. But what was he they doing here?

She drew in a ragged breath, catching his scent—lycanthrope. What the hell?

Ethney struggled to free herself, but it was too late. The abyss reached up and pulled her under.

Chapter Two

Noah’s feet clapped against the floorboards as he made his way up the wraparound porch. His young niece, Claire, opened the door for him so he could carry the wounded guardian inside.

Ethney was a slight little thing, barely five feet tall, but she was remarkably beautiful. He saw a picture of her at the lycanthrope camp, but it hadn’t done her justice. The mermaid tattoo on her inner arm was so realistic and breathtaking, unlike anything he ever saw. He wondered if it resembled her when she changed. The image of the mermaid had pink, purple, and yellow fins and a green top made of coral covered her breasts, the same ones pressing against his arm and chest as he carried her inside. Her mahogany-colored hair and amber eyes complemented her honeyed skin. At least he thought her eyes were amber. She had only been conscious for a few seconds before blacking out. Long enough though to figure out he was a lycanthrope.