Beastly Desires(2)

By: Nikki Winter

Russ’ head tilted. “We understand you have an attachment to the child—”

Her lids lowered. “Attachment?” Kamali whispered in disbelief. “Did you just say attachment? He’s. My. Son.” Her finger played around the trigger as Callum trembled, his small hands digging into her denim-clad thigh. She couldn’t comfort him at the moment; her main concern was his safety. “The only way we’re going back is if I am dead, and rest assured that even then I will find a way to fight.”

The small cry her son let out sent all self-control shattering. “Callum, go get in the truck.” He simply held to her that much tighter. “Callum, if¹, I need you to move like Mommy said, now.”


“Callum!” she barked as the air around her got denser, foreshadowing the shift Russ was about to make. When her son jumped she hated herself but what she was doing, what she was about to do, was for him. She felt his little fingers unfurl from her leg and listened as he did as she demanded.

She’d managed to get miles and miles away from the compound on foot before they’d found her. As much as a selfish bastard as her father had been, he’d always told her to have a way out—a method of escape should she need it. This was the one time in a handful of occurrences that she’d listened. Kamali had sequestered a part of pride land where she kept a truck with supplies and enough cash to tide her over for months. As soon as Nico’s massacre had begun—under the guise of a dinner proposal to join her father’s pride—she’d grabbed Callum and ran for that very place, never looking back.

Nico clearly hadn’t anticipated that and thought his allies would be sufficient enough to catch her. He was wrong.

Russ shook his head this time. “We didn’t want it this way.”

“But we guess this is how it has to be done,” the other male added.

They made the inaccurate assumption that they were faster, stronger. Inaccurate because Kamali had been training with different forms of weaponry from the time she was old enough to properly use a butterfly knife. She could hit a target from two hundred yards, and with her enhanced senses, that particular talent simply multiplied ten-fold. It was necessary when your father was considered shifter royalty and you were marked as a meal ticket to those on the outside. Their supposedly swift movements looked sluggish and disjointed to her eyes and, without much thought, she ducked low and pulled the trigger twice, blowing a hole in Russ’ gut and hitting the other male in the knee. They went down roaring.

Standing, her breath coming out in pants because of the adrenaline rush, Kamali tried to get control of the beast. It was clawing, roaring, demanding blood, demanding that she finish this as it desperately tried to get loose. Its outrage at the attack on her cub grew with every passing second but she controlled it, she bottled the rage and sucked in a deep breath to calm the hammering of her heart.

With icy detachment, she watched Russ choke up blood as the other rolled back and forth, holding his damaged leg. If she let them go, they could make it back to the compound in time to get treated and heal. If she let them go…

“Iya!” Callum’s voice rang out from behind her, followed by the sound of his palms colliding with the glass of the window.

Kamali didn’t turn around as she spoke in the most melodic tone she could muster. “Almost done, if¹. One minute.”

She closed the distance between herself and the wounded lion males, pumping the sawed-off once more. “I should draw this out,” she whispered. “I should make you scream to whatever higher being you worship, skin you, and wear you for my own amusement. But I won’t.”

Neither even twitched, their chests heaving with the effort to breathe. “He is everything to me and you tried to take that; he tried to take that.” Kamali pointed the gun between Russ’ eyes. Hysteria was beginning to steadily overwhelm her rationale. “I’m going to return the favor.”

“Don’t…” Russ gurgled.

Her lip curled. “Tell me why? Give me a valid reason why I shouldn’t leave your festering carcasses here to feed whatever comes along?”

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