Bound in death, p.2
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       Bound In Death, p.2

         Part #5 of Bound series by Lauren DeStefano
 
Page 2

 

  My mate?

  No, no, that couldn’t be right. A werewolf would never mate with a vampire.

  Fuck her, yes.

  Use her, yes.

  Mate?

  Keira turned back toward Alerac. “I hope you…live a good life. ”

  She’d traded two hundred years for his survival.

  The beast howled inside of him.

  “Ryan…” Lorcan ignored the blood that poured from his chest. “Your sister confessed to conspiring with the wolves. She has even agreed to be punished in the wolf leader’s place. ”

  Ryan rushed toward her. “Keira, you can’t—”

  “Imprisonment. Starvation. ” Lorcan licked his lips. “Two hundred years. ”

  Ryan blanched. “Sh-she won’t survive! You know she won’t!”

  “Then maybe she shouldn’t have spread her legs for the wolf, and then shoved a fuckin’ knife in my heart!” Jealousy and fury tore through Lorcan’s words.

  Alerac knew Lorcan had planned to wed Keira. He’d locked her away because he’d wanted her. Wanted the power that she represented.

  Ryan grabbed for Keira. Pulled her against him. “Kill the werewolf!” Ryan ordered, voice thundering. “Just do it—now!”

  But Lorcan shook his head. “I gave a blood vow. It’s done. He lives, and so does she. ”

  Ryan twisted Keira around in his arms.

  Alerac’s blood dropped onto the floor. The vamps would feed on him. He knew they wouldn’t be able to resist the scent of all that blood much longer.

  He wanted them to feed on him. His blood was laced with a special tonic—a poison just for them. He’d known that he would be captured that night. He just hadn’t counted on Lorcan finding him just as Alerac drove into Keira’s delectable body.

  That whole capture bit should have come after Keira had been told to flee from that place. But Alerac’s lust for her had been his downfall. He’d given in to his need once more.

  And his perfect plan had gone to hell.

  If Alerac had kept his hands off Keira hours before, then she would have escaped to safety.

  Instead, she had just sacrificed herself for him.

  Alerac’s breath came out in low, hard pants. Keira would be fine. The punishment would never be carried out. He’d given orders to his men already—Keira wasn’t to be hurt. Just in case he hadn’t been able to convince her to flee, he’d made sure that his men knew their attack couldn’t hurt her.

  “Keira, you can’t do this! You can’t!” Ryan shook her. Her head snapped back.

  Then she jerked away from him. “They aren’t monsters. ” Her voice was low. Sad. “We are. ”

  Ryan’s eyes widened as he shook his head. “No. ” He rushed toward the vampire clan’s leader. “Lorcan, please, don’t do this! I’ll do—”

  “Anything?” Lorcan murmured.

  Ryan nodded quickly.

  Lorcan laughed. “There’s nothing I want from you. Nothing I can’t take. ”

  Another woman pushed through the crowd then. A pale woman with long, red hair and a twisting scar that wrapped around her neck. Jewels glittered on her fingers and power seemed to swirl in the air around her.

  A witch.

  Lorcan’s witch.

  The same witch who’d been at his side when Lorcan slaughtered nine members of Alerac’s pack.

  “But I can be merciful,” Lorcan continued as the witch approached him. He reached for his witch’s hand. “Shonna, my dear…”

  She only flinched a little bit when he touched her.

  According to the whispers, she’d tried to flee from Lorcan once. He’d retaliated by nearly taking her head.

  She hadn’t attempted to leave him again.

  “Work up a spell,” he ordered her softly as his gaze stayed on Keira. “Freeze her body so that she does not need air to breathe. Keep her aware, of every single moment. Let her know that time is passing, let the hunger for blood consume her as she remains motionless in her prison. ”

  Shonna nodded. “It will be done. ”

  No, it fuckin’ wouldn’t be.

  Lorcan tapped his chin. “As I said, I am not without mercy. ”

  Lying bastard.

  “My vampiress must suffer during her imprisonment,” Lorcan said. “For what is punishment without pain? But the instant she is free, then I want her to forget. ”

  Lorcan’s gaze slid to Alerac. To the vampires who were fighting so desperately to hold him down.

  Keira.

  “I want her to forget everything,” Lorcan said as his shoulders squared. “Everything. ” Then he glanced at Ryan once more. “You see, she’ll be able to recover. She’ll be able to come back to us. ”

  Hope flashed across Ryan’s face.

  “I won’t come back,” Keira vowed. “I won’t be like you. ”

  Lorcan laughed. “You already are. ”

  A tremble shook the witch’s body. Shonna’s lashes swept down, concealing her gaze.

  Lorcan stalked back toward Alerac. He knelt down, getting too close.

  Your mistake.

  “Keira will come back to us, and, by then, you’ll be long dead. ”

  But I am not dead yet.

  Alerac’s claws flew up. He scraped across Lorcan’s cheek, digging deep into the vamp’s flesh.

  Lorcan screamed and jerked away. He glared down at Alerac, chest heaving.

  “You’ll be the one who is dead,” Alerac promised him.

  “No, I’ll be the one mated to Keira while you are no more than a pile of bones. ” Lorcan swiped away blood. “Take her. ”

  “No!” Ryan shouted.

  The shout did no good. All of the vampires in that hall were loyal to Lorcan. Their allegiance did not belong to Ryan, to a man who’d been blood born, but was only now beginning his transformation into a full vampire.

  Keira didn’t fight the hands that grabbed her. Her eyes—still unafraid, still too trusting—met Alerac’s, and that trusting gaze broke something in him.

  Ryan rushed after her. After her…and the witch. Because Shonna had followed the group that took Keira away from Alerac.

  The heavy, wooden doors closed behind them.

  Alerac was left with about ten vamps who were all salivating for his blood.

  Drink up. Fuckin’ drink up. The faster they drank, the faster they’d die. He’d been sure not to let Keira sample his blood that night. But as for the others…

  Drink your fill.

  “I said you would get to live. ” Lorcan picked up the silver knife. Flashed his fangs. “But I never vowed that you would not suffer. ”

  A vampire yanked back Alerac’s head, forcing him to stare up at Lorcan’s face.

  The leader smiled. “I think I’ll start with your eyes. After all, what good is a wolf that cannot see?”

  Dawn would come soon. Hours? Minutes?

  He could survive anything until dawn. He knew Lorcan would not kill him right away. All in the realm knew of Lorcan’s love for torture. He never let any of his enemies die easily.

  He made my family suffer for hours. Days.

  Alerac had been gone, taken away by another battle. When he’d returned, there had been only decaying bodies waiting for him.

  “I’m going to carve out your eyes, wolf. Then I’m going to carve you up. Slice by slice. When you’re bleeding from a hundred wounds, we’ll feast on you. ” The blade came toward him, but in Alerac’s mind, he didn’t see it. He only saw Keira.

  Then he saw nothing.

  But he felt plenty, especially when the vampires began to feed on him.

  ***

  “What did they do to him?” The voice—low, rumbling, angry—came to him in the darkness.

  Why was it still dark? Dawn should have come by now.

  “Alerac? Blast Lorcan to hell. Look at his eyes. ”

  Then, ro
ugh hands yanked him to his feet.

  “Alerac, Alerac, it’s Liam. We got in, just like you said. We found the vampires. Half of ‘em were passed out. ”

  Because they’d feasted on his blood—just as Lorcan had promised. Drained him nearly dry.

  They’d taken the poison right from his veins.

  “A few got away, but we’ll catch their scents. We’ll hunt them,” Liam swore.

  Liam…the werewolf who was like a brother to him. The one who always had his back.

  Alerac tried to force himself to speak. “K-Keira…”

  “You need to shift. Do you hear me? Shift now. ” The snap of command was in Liam’s voice. So was the whisper of fear.

  Only a shift would heal Alerac’s injuries. Not just one shift, not after all they’d done to him.

  A few hours…

  There was much, much that could be done in that time.

  Alerac shook his head and nearly fell back down to the stone floor.

  “Get the silver off him!” Liam demanded.

  He didn’t feel that silver anymore.

  But something hit the stone floor with a clunk. The chains?

  “The silver’s gone,” Liam said as he pulled Alerac forward, forcing him to walk. “Shift. ”

  He couldn’t. He could barely sense the beast inside of him. There was something else that was more important. Something he needed.

  The only person he could see in the darkness that surrounded him.

  “K-Keira…” Her name was a broken rasp. They’d cut his throat, torn it with their fangs, and that weak rasp was all he could manage then.

  Liam swore. “The vampire bitch? Look, we didn’t hurt her. We didn’t even see her. ”

  She was all that Alerac could see. Her eyes had been so blue. So trusting.

  There had been love in her eyes.

  Love for a beast who’d betrayed her.

  “Keira…” Saying her name made him feel stronger. Made the beast inside stronger.

  “The lass is not here! She wasn’t here when we arrived. Look, forget her—shift! Your eyes—they—they—”

  He knew what they’d done to his eyes.

  Just as he knew about all of the flesh they’d cut from him. Inch by inch. Slice by slice.

  A growl built in his throat. They’d taken Keira. Sent her to be imprisoned? He had to find her. Had to find—

  His bones began to snap. The wolf shoved and clawed his way to freedom as he pushed to get to the one thing he needed so desperately.

  His knees gave way. He broke from Liam’s grip and hit the floor. His claws scraped over the stones. He opened his mouth. Tried to call Keira’s name once more.

  But it was the wolf’s cry that escaped from him. A long, mournful cry for a mate who wasn’t there. A mate he hadn’t recognized.

  Not until it was too late.

  Two hundred years…

  Present Day

  Chapter One

  Someone was watching her.

  It wasn’t the casual, even flirtatious, stares that she sometimes attracted when she worked at Wylee’s Bar. Sure, her skirt was short enough and her top tight enough to get plenty of second glances.

  But this wasn’t about her clothes. Or her figure. Or about some kind of fast hook-up between strangers.

  I feel hunted.

  Very carefully, Jane Smith put the empty beer pitcher on the bar. Then her gaze rose and locked on the long, stretching mirror that covered most of the wall behind that bar. In the mirror’s gleaming surface, she could see the crowd that filled Wylee’s.

  And the man who watched her.

  Goosebumps rose on her skin. The man was big, muscled, with huge shoulders that filled the doorway—and he was still standing just inside the doorway. He’d angled his body toward the shadows so that she couldn’t clearly see his face, but she knew he was watching her. The realization was instinctive. Bone deep.

  “Jane? Table four is waiting for you. ” More beer was pushed toward her.

  She didn’t move. She didn’t want to head over and check on table four. She wanted to run, fast and far, from that little bar.

  Because she was afraid.

  In the last six months, she’d been afraid plenty. Countless times, she’d woken up at night, screaming, not even knowing why. She never dreamed when she slept. Just saw darkness. Total and complete.

  But she feared.

  The man in the doorway—I’m afraid of him.

  “Jane?” The bartender and the owner of the place, Hannah Wylee, frowned at her. “Girl, you look like you’re about to faint. ”

  She felt that way, too.

  But Jane forced herself to reach for the tray. To curl her hands around it and turn away from the bar and that broad mirror. She turned—

  He was still in the doorway. So tall. The stranger had to be about six foot four. And those shoulders—they were truly brushing the sides of the old, wooden entrance to Wylee’s Bar.

  She wanted to see his eyes.

  She was terrified to see them.

  Jane lifted her chin, lifted that tray, and scurried through the crowd. It was a Friday night, and Friday nights were always busy. It was Miami—a city known for non-stop parties. Tourists, locals—everyone piled in on Friday nights.

  It was only slightly past ten PM; the night was young. She wouldn’t be escaping from this place until close to six that morning.

  Bodies brushed against her. Hands that were a little too friendly tried to slow her down. Offers, invitations were thrown out to her. She ignored them, hurrying toward table four.

  Only she didn’t make it to the table.

  She walked right into him.

  He shouldn’t have been able to get across the bar that fast. But he had.

  Her tray bounced against him. Beer sloshed, and she had to do a frantic grab to make sure that the whole try didn’t go crashing to the floor.

 
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