Duke looked to Gen and said, “Yeah, he’s a
leopard. You knew there were other animals already, now you’ve met
one.” Duke turned his head to Bethany. “You have to be more
careful, Bee. We should’ve warned you, but not everyone in the room
will know everything you know. This isn’t a big deal, as her
binding will keep her quiet, but it could’ve been, and the
repercussions are huge if you slip. If you’d prefer a binding that
keeps your subconscious from slipping, we can do this as a two-way.
It’s a tighter binding, and you run the risk of either Ranger or I
knowing things you may not want to share. You’ve just seen how easy
it is to slip up, though, so I’m giving you the option.”
“If you slip up, in some cases the penalty is
death to you and whoever you tell,” Ranger warned. “I’ll try to
find other options, but depending on who knows, Duke and I may not
be totally in control of the consequences.”
Bethany had been sitting on Mac’s lap with her
back to his chest, and she turned sideways, with her arms around
his neck and her legs to his left, her bare butt on his thighs, the
blanket still around them.
Mac’s arms held her as if he were protecting her
from the room, and he said, “My wolf wants to lash out at the
rules. She’s scared and confused, and we want to protect her.”
Duke took two steps back and said, “I know I
represent the rules to you right now, but I care for Bethany.
Remember? She’s under my protection. She’s my woman’s best friend.
I consider her family.”
“He’s okay, Duke,” said Ranger. “He’ll leave the
room if he’s close. He’s just letting us know where he is. I can
feel him and he’s got it under control.”
Bethany told them she’d do the two-way with
Ranger, figuring she didn’t like being technically legal,
and she also didn’t want to mess up and accidentally give something
Ranger, Duke, and Jonathan discussed strategy
and method for a while, and Bethany zoned them out and relaxed in
Mac’s arms. It was nearly six in the morning now, and it wouldn’t
take much for her to fall back to sleep.
When they finally decided what to do, she
watched Jonathan open a sterile package, take out a large diameter
needle, and lift her left hand.
“Not her finger,” Gen said. “She’s a massage
therapist. Do it somewhere else.”
Mac chuckled and Bethany shook her head, but
agreed with her friend. “Yeah, no open wounds on my hands.”
“Toe, forearm, or breast?” Jonathan asked.
“Those are the next best places to get a good flow without having
to go too deep.”
Bethany untwisted enough to get her left foot
out from under the covers, and Jonathan held the needle to the
inside of her big toe and said, “Take a deep breath and then blow
She did, and he pressed the needle in as she
blew. It was a trick she used when going deep with her massage
clients, but was still surprised it worked with the needle. He put
a good deal of blood in one glass with a few inches of water in it,
and then another.
He finished, put a small bandage on her toe, and
wrapped the needle in a rag before throwing it in the trash.
“This is wine with a few drops of Ranger’s
blood,” Jonathan told her. “It’s a simple oath. You only have to
say, ‘ I will keep your secrets ,’ as you think about the
secrets you’re keeping. You already know this covers leaving hints,
writing it instead of speaking, or even nodding your head when
someone asks the right question.”
“Say the words, drink the wine as you think of
the secrets you’re keeping, and then say the words again,” Duke
told her. “Ranger and I will do the rest.”
“You said Mac can only turn me as a wolf, not as
a human. This is your blood as a human, so it won’t turn me?”
“Right,” Jonathan, Ranger, Duke, and Gen
Mac was being quiet, but his warm, strong arms
around her made her feel safe and protected, as if nothing could