To celebrate last week’s new release from MLR Press.
The metallic tang of silver filled my nose.
Silver bullets would kill me.
My heart pounded and a scream rose in my throat. I trembled, and my bladder nearly let go. A normal gun was no threat to me, but this gun was filled with silver. I’d been shot with a silver bullet once.
My throat closed, choking off the scream, and I wasn’t sure I could even speak.
Andrew didn’t pull the trigger. His hands shook. He wasn’t a violent man, and he didn’t want to hurt me. But the command planted in his brain overrode his usual thoughts and conscience.
“Andrew, put it down.” The words came from me in a voice I barely recognized. A voice which barely shook. I would have been proud of myself if I’d been able to spare the brain power. “You don’t want to do this.”
I put compulsion into the words, and ran into the same block I had with the wolf. Someone else had planted compulsion, or perhaps even a full geas, in Andrew’s mind.
“Put it down,” I said again, increasing the compulsion.
Kyle stood beside me, appearing to have no reaction at all to the presence of a silver-loaded gun pointed at his mate. But appearances could be deceiving. He trembled too, and his body was tensed and ready. He was waiting to see if I persuaded Andrew to lose the gun. If not, Kyle would act.
That would endanger him. Silver bullets would do just as much, if not more, damage to my lover than to me. But if I tried to physically disarm Andrew, I would definitely be shot. At point-blank range.
“Andrew, listen to me.” I lowered my voice to the calm, soothing tone which in the past had persuaded humans and werewolves alike to follow my commands. “You do not want to shoot me. You do not want to hurt me.”
His hands shook more and his gaze darted around the room. “Shut up.”
“Put down the gun,” I said.
His shaking stopped and he leveled the gun directly at my heart.
Andrew landed on the floor with a loud crack as his head hit the side of the desk. Kyle was on top of him, snarling.
I stood, and for a frantic moment I couldn’t find my voice.
Andrew raised the gun and pressed it to the side of Kyle’s head. Kyle slammed Andrew’s arm to the floor and knelt on it. Andrew screamed.
“Stop!” I shouted, and somehow made it to the floor beside Kyle, who had Andrew’s head in his hands. Squeezing. The man’s screams grew louder.
“Kyle, no!” I poured all the compulsion I could manage into the words.
But compulsion didn’t work on Kyle. Another crack filled the room as Kyle broke Andrew’s neck.
Kyle rocked back against the desk, breathing heavily, staring with wild eyes at the body on which he still knelt. He touched his tongue to his lips and howled.
No matter what else happened, I couldn’t let Kyle shift in my office. The best that would happen would be madness. Wolves couldn’t stand to be confined, and while the office was fairly large, it was still an enclosed room with no way out other than through the closed window behind the desk.
I grabbed Kyle’s shoulders roughly and stared into his eyes, forcing him to meet my gaze. “Kyle, you cannot shift here.”
My heart was about to pound a hole through my chest. I was clammy with sweat and shook so badly I could barely hold onto my lover. And yet my voice came out equally as calm and soothing as when I’d tried to compel Andrew.
Even though compulsion didn’t affect Kyle, my tone of voice did. This was how I spoke to him every time I helped him through a shift. Every time he needed comfort or reassurance. I could only hope it would work now.
“Kyle, stay with me,” I said in the same tone. “Deep breaths. You’re inside. I’ll take you out to run later, but right now I need you to stay with me.”
“Yeah.” The word was practically a growl. He closed his eyes and inhaled and exhaled a few times. I loosened my grip on him as his body relaxed.
When he opened his eyes again, they were Kyle’s normal eyes. Except for the tears.