Dark Illusions: The Final Chapter – Chapter One

ONE

“What the hell do you mean Julian’s coming for you? Explain that. You did that disappearing act again. You were here . . . but not.” Sean’s gaze roamed her face. Kat tried to move away, but he wrapped both of his hands around her face and made her focus on him. “What. Happened?”

“I had another vision.” Kat closed her eyes, then took a deep breath. Having Jake feed from her moments before didn’t weaken her. When she opened them, she suppressed the anger that enveloped her. Suppressing her anger caused her gums to ache from holding her fangs back.

Breathing came much easier to her, despite being Awakened. She wondered if that was because of the new strain of Awakened she became. Shaking her head, she cleared her thoughts. She couldn’t think about those changes. Being a Kiusaaja—thanks to Jake, she adored that name—allowed her to see future events.

She wasn’t crazy about having seen Julian hunting her. No. What she saw in the woods wasn’t Julian.

That beast was The Reaper. The Reaper was who she saw hunting her. The solid black, massive wolf form glistened like liquid coal under the light of the moon. The beast reeked of death.

Death would soon come for her.

The weirdest part of the vision was that it didn’t seem imminent. This time it seemed . . . farther off. When she experienced her previous vision a while back, the one she experienced right before she went to the meeting of the clans, she remembered the way it felt. That the vision and events would happen soon. This time wasn’t the same. Her abilities had advanced to the point where she could see further into the future.

The hunger for Julian’s blood coursed through her system. Sean snapped his fingers in front of her face. “Kat, focus on me. Stop thinking about that vampire and look at me, dammit.”

Kat blinked. “Sorry.”

“What was the vision?”

“Julian. He was pursuing me from in the woods, just outside the hotel. In his wolf form. Death in his eyes.” Kat glanced around at Declan, Hunter, Jake, and Max. She no longer felt as hungry for playtime with them as she had been a few minutes prior. She turned back to Sean. “I don’t understand. I’ve never seen him like that. I’ve never seen him in his wolf form.”

Sean nodded. “We seldom take them. We’re still just as strong.”

Kat swallowed the lump in her throat. She said what Sean wasn’t. “Except when you’re hunting. Your tracking is better, the scents are easier to distinguish.”

Her first encounter before she had been Awakened was with a pack of wolves. Vincent had sent them after her. Sean gave her a nod, aware of where her thoughts headed.

“Yes. We can find our prey much easier in wolf form.”

The pack of wolves she encountered when everything began had included a few of the men who were in the room with her. “Like me. When you hunted me for Vincent.”

Kat glanced around the room, then straight at Jake and Max. Sean brought in Declan and Hunter not long before he killed the last Raaka leader, Cameron, and her prior mate. Vincent was the Raaka Leader before that who had wanted to hunt her down and who started this entire mess. Because of Vincent, her entire life had changed. Declan and Hunter weren’t a part of that original pack. At least she was almost certain they weren’t.

Kat never forgot that Sean had acted as the ringleader of the hunting party, but she did forgive him. Even though her life had changed so much, she didn’t hate everything about the experience any more. She didn’t know what she would have done without the group of men in the room.

She was grateful for them.

Jake cleared his throat and Max grinned. Kat noticed the amusement in Sean’s gaze. He never apologized. That wasn’t in his nature. “Yes. Like when we hunted you for Vincent. If Kober hadn’t interfered that first night, we would’ve found you, and caught you. I almost did have you.”

“You sound sure of yourself.” Kat smirked.

“Do you deny that? Think me swayed that easy from what I want?” Sean asked, trailing his finger down her cheek.

Leaning into his touch, Kat grinned. “I wouldn’t allow you to be my mate now, or when I’m Queen, if that were the case.”

“You already are Queen, Your Highness.”

“I know I said that to Julian, but we both know not everyone has accepted that fact. Until I make them accept it, I am far from the Queen.”

Sean’s fingers curled around her chin, then pulled her closer. “No. You are Queen. It’s not about accepting that fact. You are Queen. Don’t let one vision weaken you into a little bitch, Kat. It doesn’t become you. You are stronger than that.” He tightened his grip until Kat winced.

“Okay,” Kat mumbled beneath his grip. “The things I let you get away with.”

A low rumble echoed through Sean. He wrapped his arm around her waist, and dragged her further up against his body. With that move, he reignited the previous hunger with ease. “Don’t forget, my precious toy. I am still stronger. You are not as skilled as me, yet. I will take you over my knee.”

The hunger that burned in the depths of his eyes made her shiver, but not from fear. Hunger spread through her system, exploding within. Kat wrapped her arms around his neck and he tightened his grip at her waist. She gasped. A huge smile broke out along her lips. “We both know I will take you up on that threat . . . just to get you to do it.” She laughed.

“Trouble, pure trouble,” Hunter grated.

Sean laughed and shifted his attention over her shoulder to Hunter. “Trouble I enjoy.” He dropped her to her feet and stepped away. Kat grumbled her protest. Sean tapped her on the nose. He moved across the room to perch on the edge of the couch, leaving her to stand in the center of the floor. Kat raised her hands.

“What the hell? You grind my body against yours, then leave me hanging? I’m stuck in a room with testosterone that sends my nerves into overdrive and you put me on display. Now who’s trouble?”

Sean laughed at her mounting agitation. “You’re adorable as shit when you’re angry. Keep it up.” He lounged back and studied her with interest. She was on stage.

For him.

“Oh, nice. I haven’t done something like that to you. So not fun.” She crossed her arms and pouted.

Max laughed. “You reek of lust for him. I admit, he did the right thing. Sitting across from you in this state is—”

“Delicious,” Hunter said, his voice thick with craving for her.

Kat pursed her lips. “I am not turned on for your benefit boys.”

“Stop pouting, babe. You know you love it.” Babe. Why did a pleasurable tingle caress her spine whenever Sean said that? “Besides, we all know the pout is put-on. It just adds to the cuteness.”

“I think I take back my mention of enjoyment over being your mate.” Kat stuck out her tongue.

Sean laughed. “Keep it up. I’ll send them out of the room.”

“As if that scares me? You confuse me with someone who cares if they were to watch. But then maybe I’d rather be alone with you.”

Sean leaned forward and his eyes darkened. “No, you don’t. You want Jake to grind against you again. Only you want me to rip that dress from your body before it happens. That way those clothes won’t be in your way.”

Kat flushed and her body burned at the thought. “You forgot to mention the part about how Jake needs his clothes removed. Otherwise, I’m naked and he’s not? Incredibly unfair if you ask me. I’m not a plaything.”

“I could always use another taste of that blood. Shit, her blood tasted great,” Jake said.

Kat’s attention twisted to Jake. Remembering the way he felt rubbing against her core caused her body to tighten with a need for release. Her eyes darkened in desire. Sean blew out a breath.

“Fuck. Now that’s what I’m talking about. You could take down an entire city with that hunger. We need to bottle you and sell the scent. I sure hope you don’t lose any of that essence when you begin to Awaken more like you.”

Kat’s attention bore through Jake until she turned to face Sean. The wood frame cracked under the pressure of his fingers clamping down as he held back from taking her.

“You would grow tired of me, would you?” she asked with a delicate tilt of her head.

A dark grin caressed those full delicious lips of his. Sean shook his head. “That body? Highly unlikely. I love that gorgeous athletic non-stick figure. Fuck, no. I never could.”

“You just want me for my body.” Kat smirked.

“I want you for everything. That blood singing through your veins, the power in you. That ability you possess to manipulate others. The ability to forge a new breed. Your brain. Your heart.”

Kat slid her tongue out along her lips. “Careful there big guy. You’re beginning to sound like you love me.”

A cute grin enveloped Sean’s mouth. “Who wouldn’t?”

“Tsk, tsk, tsk. Let’s not play at those ridiculous games. I don’t want your love Sean. I wanted your loyalty, your respect. That means far more. I’d have to be convinced you’re capable of the emotion. Which, I’m not.”

Sean laughed and relaxed. He shrugged. “I tried. I do know the feeling of adoration. I think it’s safe to say we all adore you. When you’re not being a pain in the ass. Then, not so much.”

“You’re too much. Really.” Kat rolled her eyes.

Jake cleared his throat. “Sean, you’re taking off her edge. How about stirring it back up?”

Sean glared at Jake, which made him snap his mouth shut. Jake raised his hands in mock submission. Sean kept his attention on Jake for a moment more, waited until he made sure his point was made. He turned back to Kat and studied her dress.

“You wanted a repeat performance of the day in your condo, Kat?” Sean asked, lifting his gaze.

Kat bobbed her head up and down; maybe a bit too fast. “Yes.”

“Remove your dress,” he ordered. The others in the room sat up and their attention burned through her.

Kat’s attention drifted around the room. Her body trembled under their scrutiny. Moving back over to where Sean remained on his mock throne, her gaze didn’t waver. Nor did her obedience to him.

She slid her arm up her back, then unzipped her dress, taking all the time in the world. With every second that passed, the hunger from the men within the room tripled. Her fingers shook with the longing. Her grip fumbled with the zipper before she was able to slide it down.

Kat brought her hands up and slid one strap from one shoulder, then the other. Once she pulled the straps down, she allowed both to slip from her shoulders. The silky fabric drifted down her arms.

With a little adjustment from her, the entire dress puddled at her feet, leaving her bare in front of the men, save for her shoes. Without need of direction from Sean, she kicked one off, then the other.

The room filled with the heat of the men and their craving. Kat’s body responded in kind. She tightened her hands into fists to keep some semblance of control.

Sean did nothing more than recline there, leaving her to wonder what he planned next.

The men’s ogling of her body felt like hands, massaging her cravings until her body quivered worse than before.

Despite the intense need burning through her body, Kat enjoyed the control Sean held over the men. Those men wanted nothing more than to rush over to her and have their way. She caught the look in their eyes. Not one of them dared defy Sean and act on that urge. Those thoughts were on her mind when her attention drifted over to him.

The possessive stare he kept upon her made her need for his touch grow.

I love the control you hold over them.

Sean’s attention drifted from her, around the room, back to her, picking up on her thoughts. His eyes gleamed with authority.

Snapping his gaze over to Hunter, Sean said, “Hunter, you’re up. Find a place to feed and drink. Now that Julian knows her plan, we can’t take our time. You all need to feed from her, increase your strength.”

Hunter stood up, paused, and glanced at Sean. He wondered if his leader was being serious. Sean gave him a nod. “I feed from her every night. I drink enough that she should show some weakness. She shows none. Jake fed from her and look at her. The wound is healed. You can feel the hunger and strength that remains.”

A soft, “oh” from Kat drew Sean’s attention back to her. She grinned. “I’m catching on. I hoped for more fun to be attached to that, but I see what’s going on.”

Sean laughed. “There will be that too, babe. If you’re a good girl and do as I say.”

Hunter walked over to Kat and lowered his massive body to his knees in front of her. A man from nightmares. Someone people didn’t want to pass at night on the same side of the street. They crossed to avoid being near him. Wasn’t from his look as much as his presence. Her body clenched.

A dark smile crept across his face right before he wrapped his hands around her hips, and pulled her forward. His fangs descended and he leaned his head to the side, then sunk his teeth into her upper thigh.

Kat gasped and tangled her hands in his hair. Gripping tighter and tighter, she made Hunter deepen his bite. A growl rumbled through his body, causing her body to tremble against him.

Kat gave over to the heat burning through her core, and her head dropped back. She moaned with pleasure. Hunter’s hands slid down the back of her legs and back up to her lower back. He pressed her further into him. The blood surged through her body and her teeth elongated with the craving for more. A deep growl burned through her and the pleasure built wave upon wave as he drank his fill, until Sean’s order slashed through.

“Enough.” The fierce authority in his voice left no room for disobedience.

Hunter’s teeth withdrew from her skin and Kat snapped her head up, then looked down at him. Every nerve in her body craved to disobey Sean’s order, to press Hunters mouth back upon her thigh. She cast a quick glance to her mate and the hand reaching for Hunter drifted back down.

Sean stood from the couch and Hunter leapt up. Shimmering over, Kat came to a standstill between the men right before they collided. Sean stopped short. Kat’s eyes darkened and she faced him head-on, but kept her hands to herself. Her hands itched with the need to slam into his chest and rip out his heart. She suppressed the urge. The weight of Sean’s anger on her body forced her to maintain control.

His gaze told her if she dared attack him she would suffer his wrath. That look kept her in line. She knew better than to piss off her mate. Things were going good between them. She wouldn’t mess that up.

Ignoring her, Sean glanced over her shoulder at Hunter. “Sit.” Then he glanced at Declan. “You’re up next. You drink your fill and then you quit. If I am forced to intervene again, there will be consequences.”

His attention drifted back to Kat and his aura slid over her. She reached up to caress his face, and skimmed her finger tips down his lips. Power surged through her system, showing no signs of weakening from a feeding anytime soon.

“I feel amazing,” she purred. Standing on her toes, she placed a soft kiss on Sean’s lips. He wrapped his arm around her waist and deepened the kiss. He pulled away, then moved back to his seat on the edge of the couch.

“Your body seems to respond to being Queen. As any good mom, it wants to take care of those below it.”

“That’s rather off-putting. You wanted to turn me off?” Kat snorted and watched Declan who circled her. “You plan to do something or circle me like a predator forever?”

Declan grinned and glanced at her, then over at Sean. “Does this mean we can feed anywhere we choose? Or do you plan to place limits on us? You do have to understand it’s difficult to feed from someone like her and not react?”

Sean turned from Kat’s gaze and eyed Declan. “Anywhere. I don’t care if you get her off, Declan. I care if you take it too far. Remember who she belongs to. I share, but only so far. She’s mine.”

Declan glared at Sean. “So we can get her off, but not fuck her. We can fuck her, but yet . . . not.”

Sean leaned back with all the smug arrogance of the Raaka leader and folded his arms behind his head with a sly smile. “Sounds about right.”

Kat’s laugh brought them out of their battle of wills. “He’s incredibly easy to understand, isn’t he? How about, since it’s my body, you worry about what I will do to you. I’m more than happy to allow you to do whatever you want to me. Easy?”

“Kat,” Sean growled and sat back up. He leaned forward over his knees, and propped his elbows on his legs, ready to leap off the couch and put her in her place.

Kat shrugged and glanced around the room. “He’s no fun, is he?” Turning back to Declan, she smiled. “Seriously. Feed from wherever you want to feed. I won’t let him hurt you.” She turned to Sean. “I’m serious about it. Fine, there is a limit, but something happens when they push that boundary. My body responded and changed when Hunter fed off me. It makes me wonder what happens if you all push that line and feed from me one after the other, taking as much as you can. That’s why I didn’t stop him. Other than the whole enjoyment of it and the delicious orgasm about to rip through my body.”

Sean shook his head. “This isn’t about you getting off, Kat. It’s about acclimating your body to more. I want to see how far we can push your body before you weaken. Where is the line? I need your body to stay in control. We don’t know if having an orgasm will weaken it. Same thing as athletes who lose their edge if they have sex immediately before a performance. I need the edge to stay so I can study. Understand?”

Kat pursed her lips. Yes, she understood the point. If she kept control, there was a chance she wouldn’t weaken anytime soon, and she could handle far more than normal. Otherwise, her body would want nothing more than to relax and drift off into rest.

Grumbling to herself, she relinquished after a moment. “Point made. Annoying as all hell, but point has been made. I’ll focus. If I feel it happen, I’ll stop it myself.” Didn’t mean she had to like it.

“Better.” Sean nodded, yet his eyes twinkled. He appreciated when she focused.

She stuck out her tongue. Declan still waited behind her. “Yes, that still means feed from me where you like, Declan. I can control that; trust me.”

Declan wrapped his arms around her body, and pulled her back against him. “I’ll make it easy on you,” he said.

Kat dragged her body forward, out of his grip with a snarl. She spun around and glared at him. Her finger almost poked him in the face.

“Don’t,” she ground out. “Don’t you dare, in any way, make it easy on me. None of you are weak and sweet. You’re not meant to be. Ever. Having a nice moment is one thing, but don’t any of you dare go easy on me.” Spinning around, she looked every single one of them in the eye. “Are we clear? You go weak on me and I will never increase my strength. I hate being babied.”

Moving back over to Declan, she gazed up at him. “I know where you like to feed. You love to feed from the side of a woman’s breast. I know where all of you like to feed. Don’t fucking think I’m one of your complacent stupid little bitches you love to play with.” She spat out. “I know you all better than you think I do. I studied all of you while you studied me for Vincent. Why do you think I keep you close? I know how vicious you are and I like your savagery.”

She reached up and stroked Declan’s cheek, then her hand slid down to his pants. Grasping his waistband, she pulled him up against her body and turned both of their bodies around so she faced the room again. The dangerous gleam in Declan’s gaze caused Kat’s body to burn with craving. She shoved him to the ground.

“Feed,” she ordered. Declan nodded.

Sean’s voice came from the side with unhinged aggravation. “Let’s try not to piss her off, Declan. Don’t insult her. I won’t save your ass.”

Declan chuckled. “Mental note: don’t bother being nice to Kat. She’ll have my head.”

Kat smiled. “I’m your Queen. Not your friend.”

Declan nodded. “Gentle isn’t in the cards with us, Your Highness.” He sunk his teeth into the side of her breast, then clamped down until a yelp escaped Kat. She tangled her hands in his hair and caressed him, then dropped her head back.

“Love to hear a woman scream,” Sean sneered.

Being lost beneath the pleasure of Declan’s hands and mouth for a moment, Kat didn’t register the comment. When she did, her head snapped up and her attention struck Sean. His eyes burned with mischief, knowing his comment would piss her off. She took a route he wouldn’t expect.

She murmured under the pleasure overtaking her. “When was the last time any of you went out and had fun without me?”

Sean glanced around at the others and back to her. Giving a nonchalant shrug, he said, “Hadn’t thought about it.”

Kat chastised them. “I need you all in top shape. From now on, one of you will go out and play at least once a week.”

Declan’s fingers dug into Kat’s body and electricity sizzled along her spine, the hairs on the back of her neck stood up. His teeth slid deeper into her body until they struck a nerve. A small cry escaped her.

Soon after, a growl ripped through her. Grasping him by the hair, she dragged his mouth from her body. With it came a bit of her skin from his teeth still remaining deep within her. Blood spewed from his mouth and all over her breast before her breast healed. The chunk of skin that came with his bite slipped from his lips and plopped to the floor below.

“What?” Sean was at her side in an instant, ready to rip Declan apart.

Declan stood up, and licked his lips with a big smirk of satisfaction. Sean snatched him by the throat with a snarl. Kat’s hand drifted onto Sean’s wrist. She gave him a soft expression. “He found a secret spot. My body responded. No harm.” Sean’s grip released. Kat shot Declan a dirty look and snarled, “Done.” She snapped her fingers and pointed to the couch.

Declan shrugged when he parked on the couch with the biggest grin he could muster. He stretched his arms out along the back and lounged, quite happy with himself. “Making my own point. Few can handle that rough treatment. That’s why we stick around, Kat. Our last little romp took care of that urge for a while.”

The dark look Kat gave him quieted Declan. Kat ground out, “Next.”

“Do I have to follow that?” Max appeared hesitant.

Kat softened. “There’s nothing more that I want, my precious Max, than your soft touch on my skin.”

“That worked.” Max hopped up.

Kat grinned. Max strode his bulky figure over to her and Sean glared at him before he moved back to his seat. Kat put a finger in Max’s face to still him. When he stopped, she turned to Sean. “You wanted this, Sean. Why on such edge?”

Sean lowered down to the couch. The muscle in his jaw pulsed. His body was stiff. “Sharing isn’t as easy as one thinks. Watching them fuck you is easier and even that is saying something. You invoke the possessive side with ease.”

A laugh burst out of Kat and earned her an icy stare from him. “Aw, you don’t like the lack of control you have. Cute.”

“Not cute,” Sean barked.

“Precious even.” Kat grinned. She slid her tongue along her lips and faced Max to avoid the threatening stare she received.

Dropping the finger held up in his face, she nodded. “Your turn, Mister Max. Shall we continue?”

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