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The Viper's Nest (Kit Davenport #4)
Author:Tate James

The Viper's Nest (Kit Davenport #4)

Tate James



Prologue



Sitting around the kitchen table with my guys, I smiled to myself. It had been such a perfect day. No one was fighting, and more importantly, no one had tried to kidnap or kill me. So, win!

“What are you thinking about, Kitty Kat?” Caleb whispered, taking my hand where it lay on the table between us and smoothing his thumbs over my skin. “You look really content right now.”

“I am,” I replied, not feeling the need to elaborate any further. Around the table, each of my guardians met my gaze, returning all my warm feelings through our bonds. I'd never been so happy in my life as I was in that moment.

“Are you glad we did it?” Cole asked me, tilting his head to the side. His granite eyes held mine, but they were no longer shadowed with the worry and anger, fear and violence. He was just... open.

My smile spread wider. “So much so. I feel”—I sucked in a deep breath through my nose, exploring the incredible feeling of my six completed bonds—“whole. Like this is how I was always meant to be. Are you? Glad?”

A moment’s uncertainty rushed through me, but faded quickly when all six dianoch smiled and nodded their affirmations.

“Good,” I sighed. “I was so worried for so long about what would happen when we were all finally bonded, and now...”

“Now you can't believe we didn't do it sooner?” River finished for me with a quirk of his eyebrow. His golden eyes flashed with a light from within, and I craved seeing his true power once more. “I get that, love. Believe me.”

“Here, have another cookie,” Wesley offered, pushing the plate of freshly baked clove-and-coffee cookies across the table to me. They were my favorite, the coffee flavor not at all masked by chocolate like in so many coffee-cookie recipes.

Taking one, I dunked it in my coffee before taking a bite of the soggy, coffee-flavored treat. Delicious.

“So what's next?” Vali pondered aloud, his ankle brushing mine beneath the table and staying there. “World domination?”

Austin snorted a laugh. “Gods help us all if it is. Can you imagine Christina in charge of the world?” His words were softened by the easy smile on his face and the cheeky wink he threw my way.

“Maybe we could take a holiday?” Caleb suggested, still caressing my hand with his fingers while I nibbled on my cookie. “We sort of deserve it after saving humankind.”

All of the guys chuckled, as did I. We really did deserve a break...

“Where would we go?” I asked Caleb, shifting in my seat to face him. His clear, green-eyed gaze met mine, and I fought back the urge to kiss him. To kiss all of them. Emotions were riding high around the kitchen table, and I was swimming in everyone's.

“Well,” Caleb started, tapping his chin. “I always wanted to visit somewhere tropical...” The rest of what he was saying faded into static as I stared harder at him. Were his eyes bleeding?

“Cal, hun, something's wrong,” I interrupted him, starting to panic as blood filled his eyes and began running down his cheeks like some sort of macabre version of tears. “What's happening?”

I grabbed his arm, but he didn't seem to hear me. He continued speaking, but it was like I was underwater or something, unable to make out his words. Frantically, I looked to the guys for help, but found them all still smiling at me with rivers of blood running down their faces.

“What the fuck?” I screamed, shooting out of my seat. It crashed to the ground behind me as I backed away from the table. “What's going on?”

As I watched, their eyes all burst like squished grapes, sending thick fluid splattered over the table and drenching the cookies. Horrified, I scrambled further away, but my back slammed into a solid form, and I spun around in panic.

“Caleb?” I gasped, “How—” I spun back around to find he had indeed disappeared from the table without me seeing him move.

“You didn't seriously think you'd beaten me, did you?” Caleb spoke, but it wasn't his voice that came from his mouth. “You'll never be rid of me, Foxy Girl. Not ever.”

Words fled my brain as Caleb's skin split open down the middle, peeling back and revealing the blood covered form of Mr. Gray leering back at me. On the verge of a panic attack, I whipped my head back to the guys at the table, only to find them all dead. Every one of them. Throats slashed, chests ripped open, and so much blood.

“No,” I whispered, feeling heavy, wet hands wrap around my throat from behind while I stared transfixed at the corpses of my guardians. “This can't be happening. You're dead. I saw you die. This isn't possible.” My words cut off after that as Gray squeezed, and my fingers clawed frantically at his hands.

I was weak. Why was I so weak?

“Kit,” a soothing voice reached my ears, but I couldn't look away from the grisly scene in front of me. “Kit!” The voice sounded sharper and from closer by. “Fucking hell, this is a bad one tonight.”

Wesley stepped into my line of sight, walking straight through the table, the bloody scene evaporating in his wake. Glancing behind me at the blood covered man trying to strangle me, Wesley snapped his fingers sharply, and the pressure disappeared from my throat instantly.

Sucking in huge gasps, I looked around me but found nothing more than an empty room, which also evaporated until it was just Wesley and I standing in nothingness.

“Wes?” I croaked, rubbing at my still sore neck and feeling tears roll down my face. “Was this...?”

“Another nightmare, sweetheart. That was one of the worst I've seen, though.” He wrapped his arms around me in a tight embrace, and I shuddered, collapsing into him.

“It seemed really real,” I whispered into his chest as he stroked my hair.

He sighed. “They always do. But I'm here now, so you can rest. I'll keep you safe, I swear.”

With the clarity that it had just been a dream, the horror and panic slowly faded away, leaving me feeling safe and warm. Knowing Wesley was protecting my dreams, night after night, was helping me to heal. Slowly, sure. But I was healing all the same.





1





Warm hands sliding over my belly were what woke me, gently, from the deep sleep I’d been in. With a soft sigh, I snuggled back into the body behind me.

“What time is it?” I whispered in a voice thick with sleep, not bothering to open my eyes.

“Late,” Caleb murmured back, pressing a kiss to the back of my neck. “Or early, depends how you look at it.”

“How early?” I asked, rolling over in his arms and snaking my own around his waist to cuddle in tight. My cheek pressed to his hard chest, and I breathed in his vanilla and cinnamon scent. He smelled like the most delicious cookie sometimes…

“Kitty Kat,” he chuckled. “Did you just lick me?”

“Uh-huh,” I mumbled, nodding slightly. “Your fault. You smell like baking.”

He huffed a little disgruntled sound. “I guess there’re worse things, and if it means you licking me more often...”

It probably wasn’t intended to be funny, but I snorted a laugh nonetheless, cracking my eyes open a scant millimeter and pushing up to peer at him.

“Why so late tonight?” I whispered, inspecting his face and finding worrying dark circles under his eyes. He’d been spending almost every night with this witch who was teaching him to control his powers, and I was getting concerned he might burn out.

Caleb hesitated a moment. “No reason,” he replied, dodging my eye contact.

My lips pursed, and I thought again about pushing him for more information. It wasn’t worth the fight though, as I’d already learned. We’d been on the run from Omega for just over a week, and in that time Caleb and I had already entered into some pretty heated arguments about this mysterious training.

“We need to move again today,” he told me, changing the subject.