Anarchy (Hive Trilogy, #2)(3)

Written By: Jaymin Eve & Leia St

Still, his outfit had a practical use. The rain was falling softly outside—Portland was always raining—and it was icy tonight with winter approaching. I hoped Sam was okay out there.

“How did you all meet?” I asked, turning back to Ryder. My curiosity about this tight-knit group of males was high. Ryder had been following my gaze, so he knew what I meant.

He flicked another glance back over his shoulder, eyes locked on the silent, patrolling enforcer, and the fierceness he wore so effortlessly softened just a little.

“You know the basics of Kyle and me. We were best friends from a young age, as were our mothers. My ash genetics kicked in first, but with everything that happened, I was lost for some time…”

He trailed off and I knew he would be caught in memories then, unpleasant ones of killing his fiancée. “So Kyle actually went through the culling first, and had a place in the Hive by the time it was my turn to fight to the death.”

Obviously they’d both made it through that barbaric practice. Not a huge surprise. Even before I knew the boys so well, I’d have bet money on them surviving. They were both absolutely lethal. If they’d have been in my group, I’d never have made it through alive.

“Oliver came to our Hive about ten years after Kyle and me. The cullings weren’t so organized then. Let’s just say they were more of a total bloodbath, less sponsors and no rules. No one wanted to train a gay guy, no one wanted a gay guy to join the Hive period. This was in the nineties, when people weren’t as accepting of that lifestyle.”

I leaned forward on my elbows as his rich voice wove this tale around me.

Ryder shrugged. “I saw him practicing on his own. He was good, fast as hell, and powerful. I offered to train him and told everyone in the Hive that he was not to be harmed. He survived and is one of my best hand-to-hand combat fighters.”

Could this guy get any more intriguing? And sexy? Because kindness was something I found utterly irresistible in this world filled with bullies and *s.

“And Sam?” Sam was such a puzzle to me. Always silent. Totally deadly.

Something flashed across Ryder’s face but then it was gone.

“Sam’s been through a lot. He joined us about fifteen years ago. Found him when we were out on a call. We were alerted to the fact that a rogue ash was feeding on hikers up in Canada, leaving a trail of rumors and stories behind as he made his way into Oregon. We weren’t sure if it was a true call in or not since there were never any bodies left, just reports of animal-type attacks. Still, I had a feeling, so we checked it out. Sure enough, we found Sam. He was near dead—hypothermia can be deadly to ash—and despite this he managed to half kill me before I could capture him. Took me an entire year to gain his trust. Never regretted my decision though, he’s saved my life over a dozen times, is as loyal as they come, and surprisingly enough, wicked on a snowboard.”

The last part startled me. Sam snowboarding? Who knew?

“Jared?” I asked next. I loved the way that Ryder’s entire face changed when he talked about his best friends. I wanted more of this openness.

Ryder startled me with a bark of laughter. “That’s a crazy story. Let’s just say we met at an annual enforcer conference in Australia. I nearly lost my arm and Jared is no longer allowed in his home country.”

I raised an eyebrow and nodded. Okay, I would need to hear the rest of that story another time.

“And lastly Markus, with his pretty little man bun.” The Scottish enforcer was one of my favorites. He was a massive monster but funny as all hell. And kind. Most importantly he was kind.

Ryder leaned back a little, that damn half-smile on his face. I loved that smile. “Markus made it his life’s mission to bring me down a few—”

He was cut off by the sound of glass shattering behind him.

The enforcers around me acted immediately, tables upturning and weapons drawn. Ryder was already out of his seat and had me yanked to the floor by the time a projectile flew through the smashed window and clanked against the hardwood floors. Chaos broke out, and the enforcers closed quarters around us. No more than a few seconds had passed as I leaned forward to see better. Was that a gas canister?

Just as I had that thought, we were moving. Two of the guys had me under each arm and were practically lifting me off the floor and floating me across the room. Seriously? Okay, I might have a little trouble taking orders, but there was no need to manhandle me. I was not some damsel that needed to be carried out by her brave knights. I had two freaking feet and I could use them just fine.

It was extra annoying that in the crazy chaos I couldn’t even tell who was holding me. At least I could sense Ryder was close by. Smoke began filling the room, and as the vapor hit, my lungs burned and I started coughing and spluttering. What the f*ck? We were in Portland, not exactly a war-torn city. Who was attacking us and where the hell had they gotten this type of weapon? It had to be Sanctum. It was too much of a coincidence that the very restaurant we were in just got randomly attacked.

My eyes were streaming tears as our group zipped through the restaurant and out into the back kitchen. Everyone was screaming and I could hear what sounded like gunshots outside—five or six pops in a row. Shit was getting serious now. As soon as we cleared out of the main room, I realized Ryder was on my right, pressed closely against me.

“Sanctum?” I shouted at him, before dissolving into another coughing fit.

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