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“They grabbed her first. Then threatened her.” Tiffany shivered. “She’s going to be okay, right? I mean, she is a Pteron.”

“Casey is going to be fine,” Hailey assured her friend, but the fear in her voice was apparent. Pteron or not, she was in danger. We still didn’t know for sure what Murphy wanted with her, but it couldn’t be good.

“Where is she?” Jared came barreling over. “Where’s Casey?”

“Tiffany says she saw a couple of large bears take her.” Cade pointed at the frightened girl. “Do you think we should take her word for it?”

“Why wouldn’t you?” Tiffany blinked back tears.

“He’s just being an idiot.” Jared kneeled down in front of Tiffany. “Tell me exactly what happened.”

“It was all so crazy. We were back behind the hotel because we were looking for Toby. Out of nowhere, these guys jumped out and grabbed her. And there was a bear.”

Looking for me? A shudder ran through me. She was distracted by looking for me. If only I’d found her first.

“Did anything about the men jump out at you? Any distinguishing characteristics?” He spoke to her gently. Jared really was like night and day depending on who he was talking to.

She shook her head. “They already asked me that. I didn’t see anything.”

Jared moved to standing. “I’m going to have the entire island swept. If she’s still here, we’ll find her.”

Waiting around wasn’t an option. “We need to send someone in. You said you know where they’re keeping Vera.”

“I have it narrowed down. It’s close enough we can go in, but we have to be strategic.”

“Strategic? No. We have to save Casey.” No one was going to make me wait.

Cade gave me a hard look. “Let’s handle this reasonably. Jared will have his men sweep the island. We’ll move on from there.”

“We’ll find her.” Jared put a hand on my arm. The action was foreign and completely unlike Jared, but maybe he did care about Casey.

“Do we call Levi?” Cade asked.

“No.” Jared said immediately.

I didn’t argue. I wanted as much help as possible, but waiting for Levi would set us back. We didn’t have a moment to lose.

Chapter Thirty-Three


“Get your hands off me!” I struggled to get out of Murphy’s grasp. I was much stronger than I used to be, but with my legs tied and my arms tucked into the jacket, I was at a distinct disadvantage. After an endless flight and at least an hour drive, we turned off onto a dirt road. They’d finally pulled the tape off my mouth a few hours into the flight, and I’d kept my mouth shut in fear they’d replace it again. Discomfort is taken to a whole new level with your mouth covered. At least it was easier to breathe now. What wasn’t easier was having Murphy sitting so close to me.

He laughed. It wasn’t the sinister laugh you’d expect a villain to have, but it still made my skin crawl. He was enjoying himself. He enjoyed watching me squirm.

“What do you want from me?” My voice sounded frightened, exactly the opposite of how I wished I sounded. I still didn’t understand why they’d go through so much effort to kidnap me. They knew they’d lose men in the fight, but they did it anyway. I just wished I knew why.

He laughed again. “You waited all those hours to ask me?”

“I asked you in Hawaii and you gave me nothing. I figured I’d give you time to change your mind.”

He ran a hand through my hair. “So much like Vera’s. You two look so alike.”

“Is she here? Will I see her?” The only thing keeping my spirit up was that she might be there. I had to believe she was the same Vera. Maybe she left me behind, but she’d never let someone hurt me. She’d always been so protective of me, so caring. Maybe Murphy never showed her his real self. Or maybe they weren’t together anymore. Maybe she was now with the bears against her will. I really wanted to believe the latter possibility.

The car stopped short, and Murphy caught me before I could fly head first into the front seat. With my hands and legs tied, I couldn’t do anything. “We wouldn’t want to mess up that pretty face, would we?”

I cringed. He needed to stop talking about me that way. The sexual overtones made everything worse even though I didn’t think he planned to touch me like that. He was using it to intimidate me, and it was working.

Murphy pushed open the door and yanked me out behind him.

After a moment of regaining my balance, I got my first look at the forest we’d parked in. There was nothing particularly special about the place except for a large rock. I realized we were heading right for the entrance to a cave. “I hope the bear side of you comes out,” Murphy sniggered as he pushed me headfirst into a narrow cave.

My face should have smashed into the cave floor, but a pair of strong arms caught me.

“Fin?” I choked out. I shouldn’t have been surprised to see Murphy’s brother staring back at me, but I was. I’d been over Fin’s dark brown eyes and dimple for years, but seeing him again was like a splash of cold water. It reminded me of how much his rejection stung.

“Hi, Casey.” He looked anything but happy to see me. I felt exactly the same way. Just seeing him was like having a knife turn in my gut. He’d disappeared when Vera and Murphy did, but that was only after he dumped me for one of my best friends.

“You two can fuck and make up later. We need to get her ready to meet the boss.”

“The boss?” I ignored his comment but he irked me. Did he know I’d slept with Fin? Of course he did. Vera had found out and told me I’d made a mistake to give it up to a guy who didn’t love me. She said she’d made the same mistake. I was positive she wasn’t talking about Murphy. She’d had plenty of boyfriends by then.

“Yes. The boss.” Murphy pulled me from Fin and marched me further into the cave.

I’d only taken a few steps when everything went dark, and I struggled to breathe. Someone had put what felt like a burlap sack or something over my head. The fabric irritated my face and left me completely disoriented. I gripped onto Fin tighter. As much as I hated him, I needed something to hold onto. I was far more afraid than I’d been moments earlier.

The cave was nearly silent. The only sound was that of shuffling feet on the hard ground. My wings still begged to be freed, but even without the jacket, they’d have little room to spread out in the cramped cave. Despite being unable to see, I knew the passage was getting narrower. My whole body rebelled against it. Birds were meant to fly, not crawl around caves.