Howie Ferris has lived with evil all his life. Abuse and pain are an every day occurrence. He thinks his life is hopeless, but he doesn't realize he's full of hope. He yearns for something better. Will he have the courage to grab it with a shifter named, Slater.
In Slater’s opinion, if you find the light that pierces your pitch-black soul, you’re a fool if you don’t grab it and hold on tight. He found that gift in Howie. It didn’t matter that Howie was human. It didn’t matter that Howie’s brother was the pack’s sworn enemy and Slater had vowed wipe out his despicable existence. For Slater, what mattered most was when Howie smiled at him, and that smile chased the constant sadness out of the man’s gorgeous blue eyes.
Now they only had to figure out why Howie had started to sparkle.
Stop, stop, stop!
Howie Ferris kept up the litany in his mind to try and out scream the poor bastard receiving his brother’s depraved attention. He wanted the man to quit screaming in agony and moaning from deep in his guts.
There were so many things he wanted to stop.
At first, he had wanted his brother to quit raping the men he'd captured. Then he'd wanted him to stop whipping them until the skin on their backs resembled ribbons of bloody muck. Now, he wanted his brother to quit cutting deep slices into their arms and legs until the knife’s blade reached bone.
One of the men had gone quiet a little while ago. Another had succumbed to his brother's demands and vicious torture. He had shifted into his lynx form and was dead in moments. At least this time, Doug hadn’t skinned him while he was still alive. The man’s pelt would bring his brother big bucks.
Two men were left. Hoarse yells from one echoed throughout the basement. The other one hadn’t made a sound the whole time he was here. Not even a whimper. That brave or stupid act had egged Doug on to make his torment worse.
“Boddie will be here tomorrow.”
Howie unburied his face from his arms and saw that his brother was holding the silent man by his long hair and speaking next to his ear. Howie shivered at the venom in his brother’s tone. Things never went well when Doug was denied his pleasure while torturing others.
“I can do anything I want to you as long as I keep you alive.” Doug let go of the man’s hair and grabbed his wrist. He held it against the floor with the man’s limp fingers splayed out. He rested the blade on the first joint of his little finger. “Beg me to stop.”
The man’s dark eyes shifted to focus on Doug. “Fuck you.”
Oh shit. Howie’s stomach rolled and he swallowed hard to stop the gorge rising into his throat. When Doug’s phone began ringing, he could breathe again. Doug’s attention would be diverted, even if briefly.
And then Doug laughed, ignored his phone, and sliced the sharp knife through the man’s finger. Blood spurted as Doug turned away and answered his phone. The man grunted, but made no other sound.
Howie knew not to try and help any of his brother’s victims. He had tried once already and had paid the price. In the end, Doug would only hurt them worse and the pain Howie would have to endure would be horrific. He would wait for Doug’s orders and hope he could remain sane through the nightmares that would follow.
Sometimes, he wondered if he had lost his mind somewhere along the line and this was all some horrible nightmare he couldn't wake from. He'd never been that close to Doug even when they were kids, but he'd stupidly idolized his older brother until he realized Doug's aggressive tendencies hid a monster.
Doug covered his phone as he left the caged-in area of the basement and ordered. “I have to leave. Make sure the long-haired one stays alive, or I’ll let Boddie have you.”
Howie shuddered with true fear. He'd thought his brother was insane until he met Alpha Boddie. He was the devil in the flesh. Boddie's black soul made Doug look like a saint. He not only lived to inflict pain on people, but actively sought it out.
He waited for his brother to leave before he heaved his battered body to his feet and picked up the box of first aid supplies. If he didn’t stop the bleeding, the man was going to die and Howie would wish for death.
After making his way into the large metal cage, Howie stepped over the prone body of one men and set down the first aid box next to the long-haired one. He lowered himself onto his knees and reached into the box for a tourniquet.
His heart almost stopped when his wrist was grabbed in a surprisingly firm grip. Howie looked down into dark eyes, bright with pain and determination. Howie saw his death in those eyes.
“Get me out of here, now.”
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