“Lord save me,” he muttered. “Is the moon phase in the wrong f**king place or something? Some kind of weird Feline male PMS?” he asked Taber confrontationally. “Man, mating has not chilled your ass out any.”
He was pushing the other man and Kane knew it. He knew it and refused to back down from it. He was sick of the growling, the snarling and the resentful looks he was given, more often than not, from the other man.
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“Taber!” Roni was nearly screaming as she grabbed her mate’s arm a second before he jumped for Kane.
Kane let a slow, cold smile shape his lips.
“Let him go, Roni. I’ll deliver his pelt later.”
“Damn you, Kane, shut the hell up,” Roni yelled as Callan, Merc, Tanner and several others rushed through the other side of the kitchen, coming to a surprised stop at the scene that awaited them.
“What the hell is going on here?” Callan asked softly, his voice rumbling, his amber gaze less than pleased.
purr-boy with his own. Perhaps you should advise him otherwise.” Kane leaned his hip against the island counter, though he watched the furious panther carefully. “I simply let him know he could kiss my damned ass to hell and back because it’s not going to f**king happen.” He directed his less than polite comments to the growling panther in question.
Roni had placed her body in front of her mate’s, a death grip on his arms now.
“Callan, do something.” She turned to the Pride leader at her mate’s low order to release him immediately.
Kane watched his brother-in-law from the corner of his eye, saw the strain in the other man’s face, the indecision. Tanner shook his head and mumbled something beneath his breath that had Callan glancing at him sharply.
“Kane, let it go,” he finally said meaningfully. “Just walk away, man. For all of us.”
There was weary resignation in Callan’s voice, a sense of sadness that had Kane’s own instincts kicking into overdrive.
“Why?” Kane asked him softly. “I won’t let her go, Callan, any more than you’ll ever let Merinus go…”
“Callan didn’t destroy Merinus,” Taber fumed with primal fury. “I won’t watch you rip her apart again, Kane. Get the hell out of here and off the compound until this eases for her. Now, before they have to carry you out.”
Kane bared his own teeth now. “You better hold him tight, Roni,” he told her softly. “Because I just may have to teach your little kitty some manners.”
Kane couldn’t understand his own sense of rage any more than he understood Taber’s, but it was impossible to miss the murder in the man’s eyes when he set his wife aside and rushed him. Pivoting, Kane moved immediately to meet him when the others jumped between them. Tanner and Merc grabbed Taber, restraining him as Roni’s voice raised in alarm and Callan stepped in front of Kane.
“Enough.” There was no anger in Callan’s voice, no resentment. He watched Kane compassionately instead. “Bloodshed won’t fix this, Kane. Fighting won’t fix it.”
“She’s mine,” Kane snapped.
“And for this reason, I’ve stood aside, just as Tanner and Dawn have stood aside as we’ve watched Sherra suffer since you’ve come here,” he said just quietly. “For Taber, the battle is harder. You see, it was Taber who found her lying in her own blood as she miscarried. It was Taber who heard her tears, what may have been her dying words had he not acted as quickly as he did. It was Taber, Kane, that she begged to allow her to die because she could not face life without you or your child. And it was Taber who swore vengeance for her. You can’t erase eleven years of pain, fury and hatred merely because it was a misunderstanding.”
Kane stared at him in shock before his eyes swung to the piercing, furious gaze Taber had leveled on him. His hands clenched and unclenched, his jaw bunching with his own agony.
“I love her,” he said, his voice tight, his chest aching with this new information given him. “I always loved her, and your threats won’t change that. Neither will your hatred. Just as it won’t change the fact that I’m not leaving and I’m not letting up. Every damned one of you might as well get used to that.”
He stomped from the room, his own anger, his pain, overwhelming. His need to watch Sherra, to just know she did indeed still live driving him, pushing him… Destroying him…
Escape was her only alternative. Sherra knew that staying in the house that evening would mean only one thing—an eventual confrontation with Kane that she had no hope of winning. And losing, at this point, wasn’t an option.
Dressed in the dark, formfitting assault gear worn on patrol, she made her way through the compound to one of the few single houses that had been set up over the months. Tanner and Cabal had taken the small house themselves after Merinus happened to catch them involved in one of their favorite games. In the living room of the main house, nonetheless. On the expensive couch Merinus had chosen herself for the room, the two men had been eagerly convincing one laughing, highly amused Breed female to join them in play.
Since his rescue from a particularly sadistic lab, Cabal had, in his quiet, charming way, drawn several of the compound’s females into his bed, where Tanner often joined them. Tanner, always the wildest of the main Pride, had taken to the ménages like a cat to cream. He and Cabal seemed almost an extension of the other as they charmed the young women into their bed.
For a while, Sherra had actually worried that her adoptive brother and Cabal were far closer than what she considered necessary. Learning the truth hadn’t been any easier to take. They didn’t have a liking for each other so much as they simply enjoyed making everyone crazy. Sharing their women, convincing them to take on two Bengal Breeds rather than one, and immersing themselves in the sexual exploits had become so frequent that Callan had finally ordered them from the main house. To which Tanner had merely laughed and taken the newly built house instead. As she neared the house, she cocked her head, listening carefully for sexual activity. Not hearing anything, she gripped the doorknob, stepped in and stopped in shock.
“Do you have a problem with bedrooms?” she asked, spying the mattress on the floor and the trio still presently joined in the center of it.