Anarchy (Hive Trilogy, #2)(4)

Written By: Jaymin Eve & Leia St

We finally reached clear air near the open back door, but the longer we stood there the more the damn smoke followed us. Sucking in as much of the fresh Portland air as I could, my cough started to subside, but I could already feel the roar of pain in my throat. Ryder hadn’t answered me yet, and before I could ask again he let me go and withdrew the gun he always carried.

“Stay here,” he said, his tone firm. He turned, and with Kyle on the other side of him, the pair slid out the back door—probably checking to see if it was safe for us to leave.

I glanced back to find the smoke still billowing out of the main restaurant and surrounding our group. Had Ryder seriously warned me to stay put? I was so totally ignoring the bossy enforcer, because really, who the hell did he think he was ordering me to do anything? He could be in danger out there. It was that thought more than any other that propelled me forward.

Oliver, who had been standing beside me, made no real objections when I followed the rest of the enforcers into the alley. I noticed Ryder, Kyle, Markus, and Jared near the main street. The lights were filtering across their faces. Oliver and I strode closer.

As I neared the group I heard Jared call out. “It’s the damn Bible thumpers again!”

Markus, who towered over the other men, was looking uncharacteristically serious as he turned to face Ryder. “They’re gone. Sam went postal on them, shot up their vans.”

“Bible thumpers?” I asked as I stepped into their inner circle. Ryder didn’t seem overly surprised to see me, but still gave me a bit of a deadpan glance. He’d totally known I would not stay put, but still had to issue the demand. Men.

Before they could answer, my eyes were drawn to a nearby wall, which was plastered with government issued “Are you an ash?” posters, the ones which listed the symptoms and had the hotline number at the bottom. All of them were defaced with red spray paint, so fresh it still dripped from the posters. It took me a second in the dim light, but then I finally realized what had been tagged on them. One word: Evil. I shivered. Okay, now I was more than creeped out—standing here in the dark streets after having just been smoke-bombed out of my dinner date.

Some of the tension left Ryder as he holstered his weapon and gestured to the poster. “They’re a pain in my ass. Call themselves ‘Deliverance.’ It’s a religious group that think we’re all evil and want to wipe us from the Earth, and since they have insane amounts of money, they have plenty of resources at their disposal. Their end game is to cure the world of vampirism.”

A moment later Ryder and I froze as if a damn light bulb had gone off above both of our heads.

Holy shit.

Did they know about the pit? No! They couldn’t, right? How could they know? Ryder would not have left any loose ends for them to find, that was for sure, but I guess there was still my blood work out there. The Hive had taken more than one sample from me, and who knew where those results ended up. Not to mention we were all pretty sure there was a mole in the Hive, maybe feeding information out into the human world. That was why we trusted no one outside of this core group. And Jayden.

With their hate-on for our kind, I didn’t believe Deliverance was in bed with Sanctum, but the timing of the two attacks was hard to ignore. Was there a connection between the groups? Someone in our Hive? Or had we just been unlucky enough to be the only ash out on Deliverance’s nightly “clean up the streets” vendetta? Either way, I knew my time was running out. Secrets always came out.

I must have made a noise, some sort of distressed whimper. Ryder’s head shot up and we shared an intense look. From the corner of my eye I noticed the bewildered stares of the rest of the boys. Kyle was the one exception. He already had all the facts.

There was so much hidden emotion on Ryder’s stony face. He seemed worried, like, for the first time he had no answers.

A Humvee peeled around the corner, distracting us all. Sam was at the wheel, his face alive and murderous. Shooting up the Deliverance was clearly his idea of a good time. He screeched to a halt, opening the door and tossing Ryder the keys.

“Four men packing deadly weapons. They intended to kill, or possibly capture,” he said, in typical Sam style, using as few words as he could.

Ryder’s hardened expression did not ease, although he let out a small huff, resigned.

“Boys, we need to talk.” He motioned to the Hummer and in silence we all piled in.

I knew what was coming. We couldn’t keep my secret forever, and if Ryder trusted the sexy six with my life, then I did too. We had to tell them so they knew just what we were up against.

No one spoke as we left the restaurant; the tension inside the vehicle was palpable. It was a tight squeeze in a single car. Guess they’d go back for the other Hummer later. After about ten minutes of silent driving, I realized Ryder was going in the opposite direction of the Hive. I was about to say something when I saw a familiar landmark. He was taking us to the lake, the place where he grew up. No doubt he was worried that the Humvee was bugged, and after the Sanctum attacks we weren’t taking any chances. We needed to ferret out that mole in our Hive ASAP.

The other enforcers remained mute, staring out the window, following Ryder’s lead. As we halted in a small section which was blocked off from the main road by a mass of trees, Ryder threw the car in park and we exited.

I snuggled tighter into my black jacket, pulling my hood over my head against the cold. Ryder maneuvered his way around to me, reached out and took my hand. Even in the darkness I could see the silver of his eyes as our gazes met.

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