Bound in sin, p.10
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       Bound in Sin, p.10

         Part #3 of Bound series by Lauren DeStefano
 
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Page 10

 

  Drake watched her as she left him. The snow drifted over her dark hair. Her steps were slow but certain.

  Not running…just leaving him.

  Right after she’d said she loved him? The woman was about to break him.

  He inhaled deeply, drawing in her scent. He’d never lose her again.

  Never.

  “Get rid of the bodies. ” Easy enough in the wild. “Head back to the compound. ” Because the battle wasn’t over. Not for him.

  His gaze swept around the assembled wolves. “Then if there is any one of you who wants to challenge me, take your best shot. ” He was ready for a fight with claws and teeth and blood and fury. “Because my mate is going to be with me, in my pack, by my side, for the rest of my life. ” Even if his life was shorter than hers.

  He’d take what he could get.

  Mate. That was what Paige was. She’d been his mate since she was nineteen.

  She’d be his until he took his last breath.

  Vampire, werewolf–it didn’t matter. She was his.

  He’d fight for her, just as she’d fought for him.

  When the fight was over, he’d find her.

  I’ll come after you, Paige.

  Always.

  ***

  Silence.

  Drake stared at the group of shifters who’d assembled in the compound’s courtyard. No one spoke. No one moved.

  They all stood before him. Waiting.

  He wore a pair of jeans, hanging low on his hips, and his claws were out.

  His gaze swept over them all. “Who’s first?” The wolf inside was already howling.

  He’d fight to give Paige a place at his side because he damn well wasn’t living without her.

  No one stepped forward.

  “Who’s first?”

  They weren’t meeting his stare. The shifters backed up, showing submission.

  All of them backed up…except for Heath. His first-in-command stepped forward.

  First.

  But Heath lifted his hands and no claws burst from his fingertips. “I have no quarrel with you or your mate. ”

  Drake grabbed him. Lifted him into the air. “That’s not what you said before. ”

  “Before…” Heath swallowed and shook his head. “Before I didn’t know what she’d risk for you. ”

  Everything.

  “We saw the blood. The bodies. We know what she did. ”

  Fought. Saved him. Saved the pack.

  Drake dropped the other shifter. Heath scrambled to his feet. “We’ll protect her, swear allegiance to her, just as we do to you. ”

  There was a murmur or agreement from the shifters. Not silence, not anymore.

  The murmur turned into a growing roar of approval. Determination.

  “So go get your mate,” Heath told him, voice fierce now. “Bring her into the pack. Bring her back where she belongs. ”

  Drake’s bare feet sank into the snow as he rushed through the crowd. Paige’s sweet scent still filled his nose. He wasn’t losing her this time.

  Not this time.

  Drake ran after his mate, and as he ran, he knew exactly where he’d find her.

  ***

  The frozen lake stared back up at her. So still and cold. Paige was shivering and she was hungry and she just ached.

  But she was still alive. Sort of, anyway, and pain was just part of life.

  She turned away from the lake.

  And found Drake watching her.

  She was so surprised to see him that she flinched. “D-Drake?”

  He stood next to an old, twisted tree, one bent beneath the weight of the snow. “I was supposed to meet you here,” he said, voice rumbling. Intense. Dark.

  She shook her head. “Th-that was a long time ago. ”

  He pulled a necklace from the back pocket of his jeans. Her necklace. The one he’d taken away that first night.

  Her chin lifted.

  “Do you know why I gave this to you?”

  She did. She’d known him so well back then. “Because you loved me. ” The words were said with certainty. Once upon a time, a boy had loved a girl.

  Once upon a time…

  He stalked toward her. Didn’t even seem to feel the cold. But then, he wouldn’t. Not like she did.

  He came toward her and lifted the necklace. “I still do love you, sweet. ”

  She raised her hand and stopped him before he could slide that necklace over her head. “You…you took this from me. ”

  Because of what she was.

  Not a girl. Not just a boy.

  A vampire. A werewolf.

  “I was going out of my mind that night. I’d missed you for so long…” His breath heaved out in a rush. “I hurt, and I wanted to hurt you. ”

  A dark admission.

  His head bowed. “I want to make it up to you. I want to make everything up to you. ”

  And there, in the snow, with the lake behind her and too many memories around them, Drake dropped to his knees.

  Her breath rushed out. An alpha should never submit to another like this. It wasn’t the way of the pack. It wasn’t–

  His hand clenched around the necklace. “I thought you didn’t want me. ”

  She’d always wanted him.

  “I never loved anyone else. All those years…the only one to ever touch my heart…was you. ” He looked up at her. She saw the beast and the man in his eyes. “Stay with me. ” A plea, from a man who’d never pleaded for anything before.

  Paige couldn’t speak.

  “I can make things right for you. I’ll make you happy, I swear. Just give me a chance. ”

  She licked her lips and tasted the sorrow from the past. “I’m not the same…”

  “You’re stronger. More beautiful. And I fucking love you even more than I did before. ”

  Her hands touched his shoulders. Hesitant. Hopeful. “You…do?”

  “Yes. ” Said with a growl. Said as he stared into her eyes. In his gaze, she saw–

  The future.

  “I want you to be with me, for as long as I walk this earth. ” Now his words came faster. “I won’t live as long as you, I know that. Just give me those years, just give me–”

  She sank to her knees before him. Kissed him. Kissed him so hard that they tumbled back onto the soft snow.

  And he tasted so good. Like forever. Because that was what she could give to him. Her head lifted slowly. “I can give you more. ”

  If he’d let her.

  His brows pulled low. His arms were around her, holding her so close. “You’ll stay with me?”

  “The pack–”

  “They want you to stay. They want you to come home. ”

  Home.

  “Fifty years,” he told her, “sixty. Give me that, give me–”

  She shook her head and saw the stark pain flash across his face.

  “I love you,” he told her but he sounded…lost.

  She knew because she’d been lost for years. “I can give you more,” Paige promised him. Because she’d learned so much from the vampires who’d helped her in Florida.

  Down there, another werewolf had paired with a vampire female. They’d discovered that if a vampire’s blood was shared, the wolf would become stronger.

  Aging stopped for the wolf. Death was put on hold.

  Jeremiah had thought that he was cheating death by drinking from a vamp, but that blood had been poison.

  She’d never poison Drake. She’d give him her blood, and she’d give him… “Forever,” Paige whispered and kissed Drake again.

  As she kissed him, she heard the howl of wolves in the distance.

  She wasn’t afraid of that sound. She wasn’t afraid of anything. Not anymore.

  Because she wasn’t lost now. She was home and safe…in the arms of her wolf.

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