Chapter 27 – Don't You Dare! – Cage's POV

The moment I saw her standing there, equal measures of joy and anger shot through me. Joy because she was alive and anger because the hunters had her surrounded.

Kieran, Talia and I spread out around them. I growled low, warning them of my presence. Instantly, they formed a tight circle around Raine and she was out of view again, with Hayden facing me. Shit.

I stepped forward from the darkness and commanded, "Let her go!"

They didn't move. Hayden answered quickly, "We are not here to hurt her! I can assure you of that."

I growled loudly in disagreement.

"No! The three that attacked her did not act on my orders! And obviously they are no longer a threat to her," he finished with his lips set in a thin hard line.

I smirked, "They deserved exactly what they got."

Suddenly, Raine pushed her way to the edge of the circle to face me. I was startled by the look of animosity on her face. Her eyes flashed angrily and her hands clenched into fists.

I spoke soothingly, trying to calm her, "Is this about Vlad? I swear to you, I will fix it."

Her eyes widened in surprise and then she scoffed furiously, "No, it's about me!"

My heart sank.

She hadn't run because of Vlad.

She had run to get away from me.

Maybe a better man would have let her go. She obviously wanted to. But, I wasn't that man. I couldn't just walk away. I wasn't sure I could even live without her now.  Fuck.

"I'm not walking away," I told her, leaving no room for argument.

For a moment, her angry façade broke and there was something else in her eyes – hope and then pain.

"You would fight all of us just to get to her," Hayden asked. He was thinking and I didn't like the look in his eyes. I could almost read his thoughts. He was calculating the risks if he took me out now. He said nonchalantly, "I'm surprised you came with so few."

I replied derisively, "I'm surprised you found it necessary to bring a task force of eleven men to collect one young girl."

Suddenly, Raine's features changed. Her expression smoothed out evenly, and her heart slowed. 

Oh, fuck no!

"I know what you are doing and don't you dare!" I told her severely.  This was most definitely not the time for her sacrificial lamb bullshit. Not when there was a good chance they might get lucky and kill me.

Her eyes looked at me with an incredible amount of sadness. She shook her head. Fuck. Without warning, she spun into the air, and twisted her body to face Hayden, before she landed in front of me.

The Hunters gasped at her unexpected behavior and agility. But I knew she was only beginning. Hayden asked slowly, "You would fight for them?" He didn't know she had already fought for me twice.

I wished I could see her face, but her back was to me when she answered void of emotion, "Yes."

I never saw Hayden give the order. But suddenly I heard a wooden dagger, rather than saw it, and instantly leaned my upper body to the right to avoid the impact. I tried to push Raine to the ground to get her out of the line of fire, but she literally growled and threw me off of her.

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