Not because she had any built up animosity towards the man, well, maybe just a little, but because she'd always dreamed of sparring with him for real. When she was a teenager they sparred, but he held back big time and it had been more about her learning than anything. Now she wanted to see if she could give the man a run for his money.

He would totally kick her ass, she knew that. She wasn't an idiot after all. The man was a Pyte. He was stronger and faster and would probably wipe the floor with her in a few minutes, but curiosity was a bitch and it had her giving his hand another yank. When she finally got him to his feet she couldn't help but smile.

"You can't be serious," he said, sounding bored which was a tad insulting, but she didn't care. She was too excited. Finally, after all these years, she was going to see if she had what it took to hold her own against a Pyte.

"Damn straight," she said, backing up and gesturing for him to come at her. "Let's go."

He arched an eyebrow as he studied her. "I won't hold back this time, Danni."

"I didn't ask you to," she pointed out as she forced her body to relax the way he taught her all those years ago.

"You're no longer a child, Danni, so I won't hold back. Are you sure about this?" he asked, cocking his head to the side to study her.

"I don't need you to hold back anymore," she gritted out, feeling her body starting to tense. She forced herself to relax once again as they tried to stare the other down.

It didn't take long for her to figure out that he was stalling and why. He didn't want to do this. Whether it was because he didn't want to take a chance hurting her or because he didn't think she was up to the challenge she didn't know and didn't care. Not only was she curious to see how much she could take, but she also wanted to keep her skills up. If they were going to escape then they needed to do it soon and she needed to be ready. The only way to do that was to practice with him and the only way to make him do that was to provoke him. She tried not to smile as she did just that.

"Did I mention that I like your tattoo? It's very cute and let's not forget the piercing. Did you do that for someone special or were you just bored?" she asked innocently, knowing she was on the right track when he clenched his jaw tightly and glared at her, so of course she kept going.

"I especially like the way the tattoo looped around the base before it-"

She was forced to stop talking. It was either that or get her ass kicked, which was probably going to happen anyway, but not this soon. When he swung and she easily ducked the move, she knew he was still holding back. The next weak punch confirmed it. With a bored sigh she ducked out of the way again, dropped to her knees and grabbed him by the goods. It was a very large handful, but she managed to fit the important bits in her hand. She gave him a squeeze of warning that caused him to instantly go still. Sure, he was a Pyte and would heal, but no man wanted his junk damaged.

"Oh, good," she said brightly. "I have your attention."

Of course she ignored his growl of warning. "Next time you hold back I won't," she said, giving him another squeeze that had him sucking in a breath. "Understood?"

She released him after he gave her a firm nod. Once her hand was off his boys she moved the hell out of the way, but not fast enough. He had her by the throat and pinned against the wall before she could take her next breath. He leaned in close until his warm breath fanned her neck and ear.

"Is this what you want?" he demanded, tightening his hold on her neck.

"Yes," she gasped even as her elbow shot up to dislodge his hand. When his hand didn't move she tried it again and again until she was left with no choice but to shove him away. When he moved back and dropped his hand away, it was clear that it was only because he allowed it.

"It doesn't matter how many hours you train or how hard you push your body, Danni, you're still human,” he said coldly. "You don't belong here and you sure as hell don't have the skill to stay in the game, Danni."

"Bullshit!" she snapped, getting in his face. "I've survived this long," she pointed out. She knew he was faster and stronger than her and against him she wouldn't stand a chance, but she'd held her own against vampires, demons and shifters over the years and knew she that had what it took to do this job. It didn't matter that she was a human. She was more than-

"Because you've always been surrounded by Sentinels, other demons, vampires, and shifters. You never would have survived this job if you were on your own, Danni."

"Really?" she asked mockingly. "That's kind of funny since I've been patrolling on my own every night for the past eight years," she announced, pleased by the stunned expression on his face.

"What the hell are you talking about?" he asked weakly, looking slightly surprised at her announcement and for good reason. All humans working for the Sentinels were prohibited from patrolling alone, but she didn't care. The worst they could do was fire her and kick her out of the compound and if they did that she'd just go and do this somewhere else.

"I patrol every single night on my own. I hit the bars, clubs, alleyways and every place I know the Sentinels don't have time to hit. I may not be able to hold my own against a Pyte, but I sure as hell can hold my own against the others," she spat out, moving to walk away from him only to find herself once again shoved up against the wall.

"You little fool," he snapped, his hands tightening on her shoulders as he gave her a little shake. "Why the hell would you do something so stupid?"

"Because it's my job!" she yelled back.

A vicious growl tore through his throat as he shoved her further against the wall and walked away from her. He began to pace in front of her in clipped movements. She forced herself to stand there as his fangs dropped and it became more than obvious that he was having a hell of a time staying in control. As much as she wanted to get in his face and tell him off once and for all, she couldn't. He was on the verge of bloodlust and she knew all too well what could happen if he lost control.

She'd been fourteen the one and only time she'd seen him go into bloodlust. That memory was more than enough to keep her ass against the wall and her mouth shut. If he could calm down, he would have a chance to reign it back in and if he couldn't she'd better pray, because there was nowhere to run and hide this time.

The other time he lost it had been all her fault. He'd told her that she was too young to go patrolling and she hadn't listened. She thought she was ready, more than ready because he had trained her. It never occurred to her that he'd been holding back. So when he went off with a group of Sentinels to patrol she snuck out of the compound, ran to the subway and went to the area she overheard one of the Sentinels say there was a nest of vampires.

Her plan had been simple, stupid, but simple. While everyone else was fighting, she was hunting down the nest's Master and planning to take him down in front of everyone so they could see just how good she really was. Once she brought down the Master, she knew they'd allow her to quit school, more like insist that she quit, so that she could train fulltime with them and patrol.

When she managed to sneak past the Sentinel stationed at the front of the abandoned building where the nest was, she knew that her skills were more than good enough. By the time she found Caine and the others fighting the large group of vampires and a few minions, she'd been mentally patting herself on the back for a job well done. Copyright 2016 - 2024