Anarchy (Hive Trilogy Book 2)(3)

By: Jaymin Eve & Leia Stone

“I’ll be honest. I’ve never seen a girl eat that much.”

I shrugged. “Just wait until dessert.”

One good thing about being an ash—increased metabolism and inability to get fat—I hoped anyway. I’d never seen a fat ash or vampire, so that had to mean something.

Ryder’s grin widened, turning into a laugh. Goddamn, he had the best laugh. He was always so serious. And the way his eyes remained locked on me, like there was no one else in the room…

Which wasn’t technically true, since there was a scattering of ash and vampires about, though I had no idea why the vamps were here, seeing they didn’t really eat food. It did convey a sense of security, having the sexy six around us. The boys were keeping an eye on me and Ryder, and somehow managing to eat even more than I did. Except for Sam of course. The most serious of the sexy six was patrolling outside. Over-achiever, that one.

As Ryder’s laughter died off, I fluttered my lashes, giving him a subtle wink. “Nice to see you can laugh. For a while there, right after I first met you, I was sure you had a Botox addiction and couldn’t actually smile.”

He chuckled again and let his eyes roam over me, landing on my lips. “I won’t tell you what I thought when I first met you. Wouldn’t be gentleman-like.”

Well, hot damn.

I sat up straighter, and just as I was about to make another attempt at flirting, movement outside the wall of glass just beyond Ryder distracted me. The window looked out over downtown Portland, and until now the streets had been pretty quiet, which wasn’t a huge surprise at this late hour. A shadow flashed again and I relaxed when I recognized Sam, decked out in a black trench coat. He was doing his best to fulfill every stereotype of our sire’s kind—the old tall, dark, and deadly vampire.

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 assholes.

“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.”

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