Bound in death, p.10
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       Bound In Death, p.10

         Part #5 of Bound series by Lauren DeStefano
 
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Page 10

 

  Jane grabbed for the top he offered. “Then I’ll go into the woods and change. I won’t do some kind of peep show for your pack. ”

  “They can’t see you. ” Not with his body blocking hers. “And we need to move. ” They’d lost too much time already. Granted, that was his fault. He’d been too taken with her. Apparently, he hadn’t learned a damn thing from the mistakes of his past.

  She stood on her toes. Glanced over his shoulder. “Make them all turn away. ”

  Fine. “Turn the fuck away,” he ordered.

  He knew they would.

  She clenched the cloth in her hands. “Now you turn away, too. ”

  He lifted a brow.

  “Turn. Away. ”

  He turned. Crossed his arms over his chest. “I’ve seen you naked before. ”

  Her clothing rustled. “You aren’t seeing me naked now. ”

  A challenge? His lips curved. “I will be. ”

  Her breath caught. He heard the slight sound. His smile stretched.

  “I-I’m done. ”

  He glanced back at her. His shirt swallowed her, but at least the blood was gone.

  “I tried to clean off my skin with my old top. A little blood is left, not much though. ”

  He jumped onto the bike. “Finn,” he called out. A wolf with dark red hair drove his motorcycle closer. “Take this to the east. Give ‘em a trail to follow, then meet back up with us at base. ”

  Finn took the material from him. Rode off without a word.

  Alerac reeved the motorcycle. Jane took up a position behind him. She wrapped her arms around him.

  “Closer. ” A growl.

  She slid closer.

  Much better.

  “Be prepared for another attack!” Alerac called out. Those hunting them weren’t going to stop.

  Not until Alerac saw them all cold in the ground.

  ***

  The two vampires had been ripped apart.

  Breath heaving, rage nearly blinding him, Lorcan stared down at their remains.

  They’d died too quickly. They should have suffered.

  “Jane’s still alive. ” The human’s voice came from behind him.

  Lorcan whirled toward him.

  Heath frowned at him. “You okay?”

  No, he wasn’t. Some plans could come back and twist and—bite you in the ass.

  “I don’t want Jane dead. ” The words were clipped. “Alerac had better keep her alive. ”

  Heath edged back a step. The glimpse into the human’s mind had been very interesting. Traitors had been revealed. Secrets uncovered.

  Lorcan wasn’t the only one with enemies stalking him in the night. Alerac had his share, too.

  Foolish wolf. When would he learn? Trust no one in this world.

  Even your own blood would turn on you.

  “Wh-what do you want me to do?” Heath asked him as he squared his shoulders. “I told you, I want to help Jane. ”

  “Such a lie. ” Lorcan was tired of the lies. What did they matter? “You want immortality. Jane won’t give it to you. ” He titled his head to the right as he studied the man. “I will. ”

  Heath’s eyes widened.

  “You can be useful to me, doctor. You can help me get what I need. If you do, then I’ll give you exactly what you have coming to you. ”

  Heath nodded quickly.

  The werewolves would attack instantly if they were confronted by a vampire. But if a human came calling…

  Lorcan smiled. This human would definitely prove to be useful. And, when that usefulness was at an end, he would die.

  ***

  Dawn was coming. Jane saw the faint streaks of gold and red across the sky. She tensed, her hands tightening around Alerac. “We need to stop!”

  He didn’t respond.

  He’d heard her, hadn’t he? With his shifter hearing, he must have.

  But she still tried again, “We need to stop!”

  The first time she’d gone out in the sunlight, Jane had been hit with a lethargy so strong that she’d almost keeled over. When day came, she just got weak. No other way to describe it. Her body wanted to shut down and curl in on itself. There was no way she could stay upright on that bike during the day.

  The bike began to slow. They were nearing a rest area. A deserted looking place. He eased into the parking lot, and the other pack members fell in behind him.

  “Vampires don’t burn in the sunlight. ”

  “I know that,” she muttered. She’d discovered that TV myth just fine on her own.

  He shut off the bike.

  “It makes me…weak. ” A stark confession. She was sure that lethargy would hit her any moment. She needed a place to crash.

  “You have my blood. You’ll be stronger now. ” He seemed so certain. She wasn’t.

  Jane hopped off the bike. Took off her helmet. She started to walk toward the shelter of the rest area.

  Alerac caught her hand in his. “I know more about vampires than you do. ”

  He knew more about everything than she did, and that fact pissed her off. She was walking blindly, and she hated it.

  “We’re close to my home. Just a few more hours to go. ”

  The sun was stretching higher into the sky with each moment that passed. The weakness hadn’t started.

  Yet.

  “A few more hours in sunlight,” she muttered as she tried to tug her hand from his. “I don’t want that, okay? I don’t want to fall off the bike. Don’t want to slam into the pavement and have you drag the poor, beaten vampire away. ”

  “That’s not going to happen. ” A pause, then he said, “Trust me. ”

  She stopped tugging her hand and stared up at him.

  “It’s okay to be afraid. ”

  Good. Because she was shaking in her shoes.

  “But my blood is in you now. Werewolf blood is very strong. It’s going to protect you. ” He kept staring into her eyes. “Trust me. ” Then he pulled her straight into the faint sunlight.

  She expected the lethargy, the weakness to hit her.

  It didn’t.

  “I told you, my blood protects you. ”

  Her breath caught. The sunlight was warm on her skin, and she didn’t feel the usual weakness. Not even a little.

  His gaze seemed to see right into her soul. “You have nothing to fear from me. ”

  In that instant, standing in the sunlight, strength still coursing through her, she almost believed him. But deep inside, a soft voice whispered…

  He lies.

  ***

  “Tell me about the man who took Jane. ”

  Hannah Wylee frowned across the bar. The place should have been closed. It was long past dawn, and she should be at home, sleeping.

  But just as she’d been ready to leave, he’d come in.

  Tall. Muscled. With icy eyes that seemed to see right through her.

  She didn’t even remember when everyone else had left. Didn’t remember how she’d wound up alone with him in that empty place.

  “Jane,” he repeated the name softly. “Where is she?”

  Hannah shook her head. “I-I don’t know. ” Jane had run off, left without a word. Damn inconvenience. Now she’d have to get another waitress. She’d tried to call Heath and ram into him about Jane. Talk about ungrateful. After all she’d done for the woman. But Heath had been dodging her.

  Probably because he knew how pissed she was.

  “Someone else was here, someone was after Jane. ” His voice seemed to pour into Hannah.

  Her brow furrowed. She felt like they’d been talking about Jane for a long time, but she couldn’t be sure.

  “I don’t want to hurt you, Hannah,” he murmured. There was no accent in his voice. Just darkness. “But I will, if you don’t tell me what I need to know. ”

  His words should have
terrified her, yet she found there was no room for terror. She felt frozen. No, she was frozen. Hannah couldn’t make herself move.

  And he was coming ever closer to her.

  He lifted his hand. His fingers curled around her neck. “The last night that Jane was here, what happened?”

  “A-a man came in. ” She remembered that. That guy had filled the doorway, catching her eyes. Big and rough—scary. “I think Jane ran from him. ”

  Those fingers tightened on her throat. “What did his eyes look like?”

  She frowned, searching her memory. “He…he had on glasses. ” Sunglasses, inside the bar. More memories pushed through her mind. “I sent my bouncers after him. ” No one messed with her staff.

  “What happened to them?”

  “The guy took ‘em down. ” She’d had to fire them. What good were bouncers who couldn’t control one guy?

  His hold was heavy on her throat. “And did he hurt Jane?”

  She shook her head, or tried to. “She left. Ran out the front. Alone. ” Hannah thought that was the truth. “I haven’t seen her since. ”

  He stared down at her.

  She couldn’t look away from him.

  He sighed. “Hannah, I need to know the truth. Don’t worry, it will only hurt for a moment. ”

  He was beautiful. Gorgeous. The best-looking man she’d ever seen. And something was wrong with her. He’d done something to her, she knew he had. Because she wouldn’t have told him so much about Jane. Wouldn’t have shut herself in there alone with him.

  What did he do?

  She forced herself to speak. “Wh-what will hurt?”

  “This. ”

  She expected him to strangle her. But his head ducked toward her throat. Something sharp sliced across her jugular.

  Hannah didn’t even have the chance to scream.

  ***

  It was cold. The air had grown increasingly chilled as they drove—drove up higher and higher into the mountains.

  Alerac had given her a jacket that he’d taken from his saddle-bag. Leather. One that smelled of him. One that made her feel strangely comforted.

  Just as he did.

  She hadn’t burned in the sunlight.

  She hadn’t even felt weak.

  His blood? Yes, it had to be.

  I drank from him. The knowledge should have horrified her. It didn’t.

  Up, up, they went, until it seemed that they were in the very clouds. Dark clouds that threatened a coming storm.

  They’d stopped only to refuel. Kept driving and driving. It had been more than just a few hours.

  And now…

  Heavy gates swung shut behind them. Iron. Clanging closed.

  Alerac turned off his motorcycle. “You’re home. ”

  Home.

  She stared up at the heavy structure. This wasn’t what she’d expected. Made of thick, white stones, the massive house seemed to spring right from the mountain. Glass windows looked out into the coming night. Bright lights shone from within.

  Her werewolf lived…here?

  The cold air chilled her lungs as she moved away from the bike. There were a few other houses, much smaller, nestled along the mountain. Homes for his pack members?

  “You’ll be safe here,” he promised her.

  She truly wanted to believe him.

  But when she looked into his eyes, they were hot and hard. Hungry. For her.

  They were on his turf, and he’d already told her exactly what he wanted. The price she had to pay for the safety he provided.

  Could she pay that price?

  He took her hand. Since she couldn’t very well just stand there in the growing cold, she followed him. The other werewolves dispersed, heading toward the other houses. Then she and Alerac were inside.

  The first thing that Jane noticed was the fire. It blazed in a massive fireplace. Her gaze slowly slid away from the flames, and Jane saw a winding staircase that led up to the higher levels of the house. It looked like there were at least two more floors up there.

  “Your bedroom is at the top of the stairs. ”

  She glanced at him. “My room?” Just to be clear.

  “Our room,” he corrected as he raised one brow.

  So he was still holding to that.

  The door swung open behind them. Jane turned so see Liam heading inside. “Doesn’t look like we were followed, yet. ”

  Alerac inclined his head. “They’ll come calling soon enough. We’ll be ready for them. ”

  The fire wasn’t chasing away the chill in her bones. “Why is it that they want me dead?” Betrayal, check. But it was time for her to get some specifics. If she was going to be hunted every minute, Jane figured that she deserved to know why.

  “Rest. ” Alerac glanced toward the stairs. “Then you can—”

  Screw resting. “Why don’t I have any memories?”

  He glanced back at Liam. “Call in the debts we have. See if you can find me a witch. ”

  Again with the witch talk. That talk made her nervous, but she pushed on, “Why can’t I remember anything? We’re here, we’re supposedly safe. Just tell me. ”

  Liam hurried into another room. She thought he muttered something like “Good luck with that,” on his way out.

  Alerac waited until Liam was gone, then he put his hand to Jane’s back and guided her a little closer to the fire. “You can’t remember because you were made to forget. ” His eyes were on her. Blazing now—brighter than the flames in that fireplace, and his eyes fully showed a stark, desperate need. “The vampire clan leader, Lorcan Teague, wanted you to forget me, so he made a witch put you under a spell. ”

  Her heart was pounding faster. Shaking her chest. Her fingers had a nervous tremble. “You said…I know we were lovers. ”

  That need got even sharper. Jane caught her breath.

  “We were. ” His eyes held her trapped. “But werewolves and vampires aren’t supposed to mate. We’re supposed to fight. To hate. To kill one another. ” His fingers skimmed over her cheek. “Not to fuck. ”
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