When there's nowhere left to run--pray you find Zero Tolerance to keep you safe.
While searching for his missing brother, Linc O'Hare stumbles across his mate and willingly gets kidnapped to save a man whose name he doesn't even know. Having his mate live in slavery is not on Linc's to-do list, and he plans to rectify the situation.
Gideon Church was resigned to the hell he's been living. Escaping with Linc is the best day of his life--until he realises his whole existence has been a lie. With the help of Linc and the inhabitants of Zero Tolerance will Gideon be able to separate the lies from the truth and figure out just who he really is?
Never before had such great agony crashed through him. It felt like a sledgehammer impacting his head, over and over again. He had reached the point of nausea after the battering his body had taken over the past few days. In the last couple of years, Linc had lived through some horrific shit--pain he wouldn't wish upon his worst enemy, but it was nothing compared to what he was experiencing now. The only reason he hadn't escaped from captivity was currently kneeling beside him, wiping off his face with a small piece of the rag he'd had hidden in his pocket, and offering what little comfort he could to Linc.
"You need to get away from here," Gideon whispered.
Linc focused his unswollen eye on Gideon. "Not until you promise to come with me."
"Then I can't leave either." Linc closed his eye and blocked out the dingy room they were being kept in.
Gideon sighed. "If I leave they'll hunt me down and kill me. Bevan isn't a very forgiving kind of guy, especially when it comes to me."
"Your brother is an arsehole."
"Yes he is, but he's all I have."
Linc bit back a snarl. "No, he isn't. Leave with me and I'll keep you safe. I won't let your brother and his pack of morons anywhere near you."
"What if you can't?"
"What if I can?" A sliver of hope filled Linc. Maybe, just maybe, he was starting to sway Gideon to his way of thinking. Linc knew he'd soon have to reveal the secrets he'd been holding onto for what seemed like a lifetime.
"Why are you being so nice to me? Especially, when it's my brother keeping you captive."
The time was upon him--it was now or never. Taking a chance on sharing some of the truth, he answered, "You know what I am. What you and Bevan both are. Even if he tries hard to deny our heritage."
With a small reassuring smile at his mate, he went on, "I know they made you have sex with me for their own private porn show. When we had sex there was blood transferral from the wounds we received while trying to stop them from forcing us together. We're blood bound, Gideon. You're my mate and I won't leave here without you. Why do you think Bevan is so pissed at us? Through his stupid need to dominate and make us submit to his will, he did the one thing he never wanted. He lost you by giving you a mate."
A shudder ran through Gideon's body. "Okay, I'll leave here with you. I promise."
Linc exhaled slowly. Relief settled over him as Gideon bent down and gently pressed a soft kiss to his split and bruised lips. The taste of blood filling his mouth only bound them tighter together.
"When are we going to leave?" Gideon asked as the kiss ended.
"Give me a day or two to recover a bit, then I'll get us out of here. My gift is to be able to blur a person's perception so they can't see me. I'm still there. It's more like their vision bends around me."
A frown marred Gideon's face. "But won't they still see me?"
"Not if I'm touching you. I can project my shield to cover us both."
"So am I, but I know for a fact I can get us out of here."
Again Gideon sighed. "Even if we escape, Bevan isn't going to stop what he's doing. He's going to continue kidnapping people for his own perverse pleasure."
"Once we get free of here, I'll leave Raven a message. Raven Alexander was once my only true friend among the Malu. I may not have any faith in the fey governing system, but I would trust Raven with both of our lives." When he saw worry still overwhelming Gideon, he added, "Raven and I came up with a way of communicating between ourselves. We're only to use it if we ever are unlucky enough to find ourselves in genuine trouble. If my belongings are still where I stashed them, I'll give Bevan's location to Raven and he'll go in and investigate. He'll shut your brother and his band of morons down. Raven will rescue whoever needs it."
At the sound of approaching footsteps, Gideon scampered to the other side of the room, stuffed the rag into his pocket, and clicked the manacle around his ankle, just as the door opened. Linc was glad Bevan had never worked out what his brother's gift was. If he ever found out the ease in which his brother escaped his restraints, Linc was scared to even contemplate what Gideon's punishment would entail.
"Hey, Pauli." Gideon sounded weary. Linc wasn't sure if the other man could also sense Gideon's fear.
Linc kept his eyes mostly closed and hoped Pauli--aka Pauli Colsin--wouldn't realise he was awake and listening. In truth, Pauli was actually the nicest of Bevan's followers. Linc respected the way the man snuck food and water in to Gideon. The pitiful amount Bevan gave his brother was ridiculous.
"How you doing, sweet pea?" Pauli asked as he squatted beside Gideon. "We'll have to get you out of here soon. You know your brother will kill you if you stay. He's slipping farther into madness."
Gideon shuddered and whispered, "He'll kill me if I leave."
"I've asked a friend of mine to take you in and take care of you. He'll keep you hidden from Bevan and the rest of the world if need be." Linc wanted to growl as Pauli reached out and brushed Gideon's hair out of his eyes. "You don't belong here, sweet pea."
Gideon sounded choked up when he answered, "Bevan will find out if you help me, and then he'll be gunning for you, too."
"Don't worry about me, sweet pea. I can look after myself. Besides, I'll get you out of here before your brother even catches wind of what we've done. Just say the word and I'll make the call."
"I'll think about it, I promise."
The need to comfort his blood-mate was strong right then, but Linc wasn't stupid enough to reveal to Pauli just what Gideon meant to him. If that were to happen, they would be separated for sure.
Reality slapped Linc right in the face.
There wasn't going to be time for him to heal. He needed to get Gideon out of here tonight before Pauli put his own plan into action. Linc remained silent and hardly breathed until Pauli finally left. Moments later, Gideon was back at his side.
"We're leaving tonight." Agony stabbed at Linc as he rolled over and pushed himself up off the floor. "Fuck! Just help me get up."
"You're still too hurt." Panic filled Gideon's voice.
Linc groaned. "I'm healthy enough for this." He stood and draped his arm around Gideon's shoulders. "Just promise me you won't make a sound, because if they hear us our goose is cooked."
With Bevan's cocky attitude, he never locked the door to their prison. Bevan's men believed Gideon's restraints and Linc's beatings would keep them exactly where they were until Bevan wanted to use either of them as his own personal entertainment. Gideon might never admit it out loud, but Linc believed that Bevan Church had both physically and sexually assaulted his brother. The sad part was he'd probably done it more than once. If ever the opportunity arose, Linc was going to take great pleasure in killing Bevan as slowly and as painfully as possible--the man didn't deserve a quick and easy death.
"Come on. No matter what happens, don't lose contact with me. My shield will keep us safe from detection."
"Where will we go when we get out of here?"
"We'll hole up for a couple of days where I've stashed my gear, while we get in contact with Raven. Once that happens, Raven will give us somewhere safe to head to."
The communal room where Bevan and his men usually gathered each night was almost empty. For a moment, Linc worried until he remembered today was Friday and Bevan would be out at the nightclubs trolling for new distractions. The young men that they brought back were classed as nothing more than toys--playthings. Having less people standing guard would make it much easier for them both to leave without being seen.
With a bit of creative manoeuvring, Linc got them outside. The walk from Bevan's so-called compound was slow progress. Linc's entire body ached with each step they took, but there was no way he was willing to stop until they were a good distance away and safely off the street.