Taming kiera therian age.., p.1
Taming Kiera (Therian Agents Book 3), p.1Chantel Seabrook
A Therian Agents Romance
Table of Contents
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Copyright (C) 2016 Chantel Seabrook
Cover design by Aria Tan - www.ResplendentMedia.com
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the author's permission.
Yellow eyes glittered in the darkness, sharp fangs dripped with blood.
“You’re ours,” the silver wolf sneered. “There’s nowhere to run.”
Howling laughter resonated from the growing shadows.
The wolf lunged.
Fangs tore through flesh.
Jacob stood in the shadows, watching the young woman who lay on the hospital gurney. Leather cuffs bound her slender wrists, securing her to the bed in case she woke and the lion inside her stirred.
The monitors beeped regularly, indicating her vital signs remained stable. It was only a matter of time before she regained consciousness, before he saw the color of her eyes for the first time. They were blue–he knew that from her charts, but both the man and his animal hungered to see the exact shade.
He clenched his teeth at the foolish longing. He wasn't a man moved by emotion or irrational cravings, but since his agents rescued her from her father's labs and brought her to the Therian Headquarters, he'd had little control over his desires, and it scared the shit out of him.
The best thing he could do was leave her in the care of another agent, but he couldn't bring himself to walk away.
Jacob moved to the side of the bed and studied her for a long moment. Her bone structure was delicate, with high cheekbones and soft, full lips. She was slender, almost fragile, but he sensed in her a fighting spirit, a feminine strength that had his lion standing at full attention.
She would need that strength to deal with the new reality she would be waking up to.
Kiera Boyd was no longer human.
His fingers itched to stroke the dark hair away from her cheek, but there were agents on the other side of the one-way mirror watching. There were always people watching.
Her survival was imperative.
The first and only victim of the recent spontaneous morphings to return to human form. If the Therian Council could replicate the serum that flowed through her veins, then there was hope for the hundreds of other victims who remained caged in the underground facility.
Jacob's chest tightened. There was still so much they could learn from her, but he wasn't prepared to let his team of scientists poke and prod her again. Shit, they'd almost lost her several times, and each time the monitor had flatlined, he'd nearly lost his fucking mind.
He ran a hand over the scruff on his jaw. It had been days since he'd been home, but he couldn't bring himself to leave her side. He was far more invested in the woman than he cared to admit. More than he wanted the agency to know.
Kiera whimpered, and the muscles in her face twitched. Her long dark lashes fluttered, but her eyes remained shut. He grabbed her hand when she pulled against the restraints. Her body tensed, and the monitors beeped as her blood pressure and heart rate accelerated.
“Kiera,” he said gently, this time ignoring the fear of who was watching. He reached out to stroke her cheek. “You're safe. I need you to wake up now.”
He could feel the confusion radiating off her as she tried with difficulty to open her eyes. His lion stirred within him, pacing the confines of its human shell, wanting to protect her, to ease her anxiety. But there was nothing he could do until she woke up. Until they knew what they were dealing with.
Would the animal inside her try to claim control? He wasn't sure, but he was prepared if it did.
A soft moan escaped her lips. Jacob sucked in a breath when her eyes finally opened and she looked at him. God–those eyes. They were a brilliant shade of blue, startling against her ivory skin and dark hair. More beautiful than he’d even imagined.
Stunned by the impact of her gaze, he forgot himself, and a small growl rumbled through his chest. It was audible enough that she must have heard it and cringed. She flinched again when he moved closer, panic firing in her eyes.
“I won't hurt you, Kiera,” he said softly.
“Why…am I…tied up?” Her voice was hoarse, a raspy whisper. She tugged at the bindings.
“I'm going to remove them.” Unbuckling the first cuff, he kept his gaze trained on her face. “But I need you to be honest with me. If you start to feel like you're losing control or that something is building inside your chest, you need to tell me. I can give you something to calm you down.”
Defiance mixed with fear, behind her wild, blue eyes. She nodded, her lips pressed together tightly, and watched him warily as he moved around the room.
He removed the second cuff and lifted the head of the bed so that she could sit up.
“Where am I?” Her voice cracked. She licked her chapped lips.
“What's the last thing you remember?”
Kiera’s brows furrowed in concentration. “I don't know. I was at home with Riley–” Her eyes went wide as if remembering something. “Where is she? Where's my sister?”
“She's here.” He pulled his phone from his pocket and dialed Chase Payne, his second in command. “I'll have one of my men bring her down now.”
Kiera relaxed, but her eyes darted around the room, to the door, then back to him.
Jacob spoke quickly with Chase, then hung up. “She'll be here soon.”
Kiera took a wavering breath, and a low rumble vibrated from her chest, followed by a small cry of alarm.
Jacob sensed the lion in her starting to stir. The creature was unstable, wanting control, and the woman had no idea how to tame the beast.
Soft skin pulsated when he gripped her hand. There was so much energy surging through her body that he worried she would shift before he had the chance to help her. He fingered the vial in his pocket, not wanting to use the sedative unless necessary.
“Kiera, listen to me.” He lowered his voice, but the tone held command. “Close your eyes and try to relax.”
With a shaky breath, she obeyed. Her fingers tightened around his, gripping him like a lifeline. Something stirred in his chest at the easy acceptance.
“Focus on my voice. You can control this. Inhale slowly. Good. Now exhale.”
Gradually, Kiera's shoulders sank, and her breathing became e
The click of a door handle diverted his attention and he looked up. Chase stood, holding the door, and nodded for someone to enter. After a few moments, Riley Boyd walked in, fidgeting with the end of her dark, red braid. She hesitated in the doorway, her lips pressed firmly together, face creased with worry. There were dark shadows under her green eyes. She looked as exhausted and wrung out as he felt.
“Someone's here to see you,” Jacob said.
Riley sat on the edge of the bed and spoke in hushed tones to her sister.
“Something's wrong with me.” Kiera's mouth quivered and her eyes darted to Jacob as if for reassurance.
“No,” Riley gripped her hands. “You were sick, but you're going to be all right now. There’ve been a lot of strange things that have happened and I'll explain them all. You're safe. No one is going to hurt you. I promise.”
“There's something inside of me clawing to get out.” She gripped at her blue hospital gown, nails digging into her chest.
“Take a deep breath,” Jacob said softly, catching Kiera’s panicked gaze.
She gave a small nod and inhaled deeply.
“Do you remember anything that happened?” Riley asked, leaning forward and placing a hand on Kiera’s knee.
Jacob moved closer, wanting to warn Riley not to press too hard. If Kiera had memories of the time she’d been stuck in animal form, remembering would only cause an increase in anxiety. Then again, the truth would be easier for her to accept coming from her sister.
He held back and waited.
“I had strange dreams, but–” Kiera shook her head in small rapid movements. “What happened? Where am I?”
“Did Marcus ever hurt you?” Riley pushed. “Do you remember him injecting you with something?”
Kiera's eyes widened. Her fingers flew to her neck. “Marcus? No. Of course not. He’d never hurt me.”
There was something in her tone that warned Jacob she wasn't telling the full truth. He didn't know much about her relationship with the man, but from her reaction, it seemed like there had been more than friendship between them.
A knot of jealousy formed in his throat.
“I don’t understand what’s happening.”
“He gave you something that altered your DNA,” Riley said, sitting straighter.
“What are you talking about?”
“It's true. There are people in this world who have–” She chewed on her lower lip and glanced at Jacob.
He bowed his head for her to continue.
“They have the ability to turn into…animals.” Riley tried to take her sister’s hand, but Kiera pulled away, frowning. “Our grandfather was one of them, and because of that, you carry the gene.”
A hysterical, high-pitched laugh erupted from Kiera. “You mean like a shapeshifter?”
“Yes.” Riley nodded, her expression somber. “Jacob is one of them.”
“You can turn into an animal?” There was sarcasm in her tone, but her eyes were wide and her lip trembled a little.
“A lion.” He kept his voice calm, controlled. “Like you.”
“Like me?” She flinched, but there was a flash of acceptance in the brilliant blue depths.
She remembered more than she was letting on.
“The combination of the initial injection and the treatment used to save your life appears to have resulted in a permanent change to your DNA,” he said, watching her reaction.
“What are you talking about?” Riley’s mouth hung open and her green eyes flashed with alarm. “I thought the treatment worked. That she was…human again.”
Jacob rubbed the back of his neck and winced.
“Genetically speaking, Kiera is a metamorph now.” He addressed Riley, but kept Kiera in his line of sight. “With help, she'll learn to control the animal.”
“And without help?” Riley asked.
He let out a harsh breath. “We could lose her again to the animal.”
“No–” Riley stood, shaking her head fiercely. Jacob placed a hand on her shoulder to calm her, but her voice continued to rise. “There has to be another way, another cure.”
He sensed Kiera’s growing agitation.
Riley needed to calm down.
A snarl echoed through the room.
“Get her out of here,” Jacob warned, shoving Riley behind him.
Kiera’s body warped and distorted. Her face twisted, and the bones in her arms and limbs snapped and cracked. She cried out in pain, in fear.
Someone ushered Riley from the room, shutting the door firmly behind them, and Jacob rushed to Kiera's side.
“I can't stop it.” Kiera's voice was a cry of confusion, half-human, and half-animal.
“You can.” Jacob sat down on the bed and pulled her against him, rubbing her back and speaking soft, soothing words of encouragement in her ear.
She went limp in his arms, dropping her head against his shoulder and let out a shuddering breath. Whether she understood it or not, she had gained control over her animal. It was an impressive feat.
“What was that?” Kiera swallowed hard and blinked back tears.
“Your animal wanted to shift. To take control.” He tucked his hand under her chin and forced her to look at him. “But you didn't let it.”
“It hurt.” She looked down at her hands and linked her fingers together. Her knuckles were white from gripping so fiercely. “It felt like my limbs were being pulled apart.”
“Once you learn to find harmony with the animal it won't hurt so much.”
“I don't understand any of this.”
His chest tightened. He wanted nothing more than to wrap her in his arms and make everything better, to take away her confusion and pain.
“I'm going to give you a sedative to help you sleep.”
“Okay,” Kiera whispered, gazing up at him, blue eyes large, full of fear and uncertainty, but also courage.
She would survive this. He would make certain of it.
He took a syringe from his pocket and inserted it into her IV. As the medication entered her bloodstream, her eyes grew heavy. She laid back in the bed and Jacob tucked the blanket around her shoulders.
With a heavy sigh, he pulled a chair beside the bed and sat down. Kiera was asleep within minutes, her vitals blinking steadily on the monitor.
Chase came back into the room and leaned against the wall, arms crossed over his broad chest. “You need to go home. Get some rest. You haven't left this place in days.”
"Someone needs to stay with her.”
Chase exhaled audibly and nodded at the one-way mirror. “There are half a dozen capable agents behind that wall.”
Yeah, but none he trusted enough with the woman's life.
Jacob shrugged and changed the subject. “How's Riley?”
“Shaken up. Turner's taking her home. I told them I'd call if anything changes." Chase nodded at Kiera, his lips twisting into a frown. "How much did you tell her?”
“Enough for now.” Jacob sat back and closed his eyes.
Exhaustion nipped at his flesh like an irritated dog, but as much as he craved sleep, he couldn't bring himself to leave. He’d sleep in the chair beside her bed like he’d done every night for the past week.
“You need a break.”
“I'm fine," Jacob bit out, more abrasively than he’d intended. Rubbing the back of his neck, he blew out a long, steadying breath. "Go home to Lora. I'll sleep in the barracks if I have to.”
Chase shook his head and turned to leave. He stopped in the doorway. “You don’t have to take care of everyone. She's not your responsibility.”
His lion growled in disagreement.
When he was alone, Jacob rubbed his temples and glanced at Kiera, his thoughts chaotic.
His animal paced and snarled as if a storm approached. He could sense the danger coming. Death loomed
He’d made peace with it years ago. Accepted his lot in life, but something had changed. He didn’t want to think too deeply about what it was.
A soft rumble rattled in his chest. Protect Kiera.
Jacob scrubbed his hands down his face. He couldn’t do anything to alter his fate, but he could fight to ensure Kiera’s future.
Kiera stirred from her drug-induced sleep. Groggy and disoriented, she kept her breathing steady and eyes closed when she realized what woke her.
Jacob’s deep voice rumbled from across the room.
“No more.” Despite the man’s cool demeanor, his voice held a smooth, dark quality that had a shiver running up her spine. “It’s been over a week since she regained consciousness.”
“She still needs to be kept under observation,” a woman’s voice argued.
Kiera peered through slit eyes. A short, dark-haired woman wearing a white lab coat and emo-style glasses crossed the room and wrote something on the chart hanging on the wall. Jacob towered over the stranger, all alpha-male and domineering. Kiera rolled her eyes, then shut them tight when he glanced in her direction.
A harsh, masculine sigh vibrated across the room. Kiera chanced another peek and found Jacob had turned, giving her a view of his perfectly sculpted backside.
“You have what you need.” Jacob’s tone didn’t allow argument.
“For now.” The woman pursed her lips and squinted up at him. “But we need to do more tests, take more samples.”
“I’ll bring her in when you need her.” Jacob’s muscular shoulders strained against the white button-down. “You can’t keep her contained down here.”
“She isn’t ready to be exposed to the outside world. What if she–”
“I’ll take responsibility if anything happens.” He reached for the chart on the wall and handed it to the woman. His amber eyes flashed with annoyance. “Sign the papers. I want her released.”
They were going to let her go home?
Mixed emotions made Kiera’s stomach flip. Over two months had passed since she’d been injected with the drug that had transformed her into a lion, yet only five days since she’d been changed back into human form–but she wasn’t human, not anymore.
Taming Kiera (Therian Agents Book 3) by Chantel Seabrook / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes