Bound in death, p.24
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       Bound In Death, p.24

         Part #5 of Bound series by Lauren DeStefano
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Page 24


  Had Jane fainted because she realized she was bound to a monster? To a man with a heart just as dark as Lorcan’s?

  He took her from Ryan. “Jane?”

  She didn’t stir.

  She had blood on her clothes. On her skin.

  “I’ll take care of her,” he said. He would. Always.

  He cast a hard stare around the area. The witch was dead. Dammit, he’d needed her. He’d had plans for her. Now she was gone. Maybe I can find another witch. But her kind wasn’t exactly thick on the ground, especially the powerful witches. “Take care of her,” he ordered his men as he inclined his head toward the woman’s still body.

  Ryan glanced over at her bloody form. “She had no magic to help us. ”

  “She didn’t deserve to die!” From Zoe. Her cheeks were flushed. “She thought she was just getting to live, then Liam took that all away! She had hope, and he destroyed it. ”

  Liam had taken much away from them.

  No more.

  Alerac turned and began to carry his precious burden up the stairs.

  “What about Lorcan?” Ryan shouted after him.

  Alerac paused. Until he found a way to break the link between Jane and Lorcan, there was nothing that could be done. “He lives. ” That was all he could say. “No one goes after him without my express command. ” Because any attack would hurt Jane, and that he could not allow. “If anyone catches his scent on our land, alert me immediately. ”

  He left the others and carried Jane into the bathroom upstairs. The shower there was huge, easily big enough to accommodate them both.

  “Jane?” Why hadn’t her eyes opened?

  He held her with one arm, positioning her against the glass door of the shower. He stripped her, wanting that blood-stained clothing away from her delicate skin.

  Her lashes began to flutter.

  He stilled at once. “I’m just taking care of you. ” Her fear was the last thing he wanted.

  Jane’s eyes opened fully. “He was crazy. ”

  Alerac shook his head.

  “I-I saw it. In his memories. The more blood he took, the more darkness ate away at him. Liam tried to hold on to his sanity, for so long, but he knew he was losing the battle. ”

  “He never said…” Alerac began.

  “His father went mad, didn’t he?”

  Alerac nodded. Some werewolves could turn feral. The most dangerous of their kind.

  “He saw it happen,” Jane whispered. Her hands rose and curled around Alerac’s shoulders. “He saw it, and so did I. He knew the same fate was happening to him, and he thought that if he could just become immortal, like you, he’d have a different fate. ”

  The drumming of Alerac’s heart seemed to echo in his ears. “He drank vampire blood for me. To help me search for you. To avenge our pack. ” From the vampire attack that had nearly wiped them out so long ago. Lorcan’s attack.

  “No. ” Jane shook her head as her fingers tightened around his shoulders. “He did it for himself. Because he thought the blood would make him strong enough to fight the urges he had, but, after a while, it just made everything worse. ”

  If Liam had been sick, Alerac should have known.

  “He loved you,” Jane whispered. “And he hated you. ”

  His jaw locked. “You only had a few sips of his blood. You can’t know all of this. ” She couldn’t know it. Jane hadn’t even gotten Alerac’s memories until she’d slept.

  A faint line was between her brows. “I think I’m stronger. Your blood made me stronger. Because I could see everything. From the first drop of blood that hit my tongue, I could see. ”

  He wasn’t sure why, but Alerac felt like those words were a warning. “Then maybe you should drink from me again. That way, you can fully see the monster before you. ” What the hell was he saying? He didn’t want her to see him that way.

  Did he?

  Alerac stepped away from her. He’d stripped her down to her bra and underwear. He tried not to notice the delicate temptation of her body. Failed.

  He leaned into the shower and yanked on the water. Then he stripped without looking at her.

  He put his hands on the shower’s glass door. “Why did you faint?” Because of what I am?

  “His memories were too much. I couldn’t shut them out any other way, so I guess I just shut down. ”

  Alerac nodded. But he knew her words weren’t the total truth. “You were afraid of me. ”


  With a twisted smile, he glanced over at her. “You still are. ”

  He climbed into the shower, and the rushing water poured over him.

  The blood washed away. If only it were so easy to wash all the sins from his soul.

  Then Jane was there. Naked, entering the shower with him. The water slickened her skin. Steam floated in the air around them.

  “I am afraid of you,” Jane confessed.

  She was trying to break him.

  “And I’m afraid of myself. Since I’ve met you, I’ve changed. ” Her body brushed against him.

  If the woman was so scared, she needed to be stepping back. Not getting closer. Because in another few seconds, he’d be grabbing her.

  He didn’t plan to let go.

  “I’m not the same woman you found in that bar. I-I still don’t remember Keira, not really. But I’ve seen her, through your eyes. ” Her lips pressed together. “It’s more than that, though. I’m stronger than I realized. You make me strong. ”

  That was bullshit. She’d always been strong. Someone weak didn’t trade her life for another’s.

  “I know that I’m going to keep changing. I’m not going to be fully Jane, not fully Keira, but something in the middle. That scares me. ” Then she made a mistake.

  She touched him.

  Wet, silken flesh.

  His cock was already erect and aching. The too-big shower suddenly seemed too small.

  “And you scare me, too. Because I know that you’re dangerous. ”

  Not to her, dammit, never to her.

  “You make me feel so much. Desire. Need. ” She stood on her tip-toes and pressed her lips to his. “When I’m with you, I feel like you belong to me. ”

  He did. Had, from the moment he first saw her.

  “And I belong to you. ”

  He pushed her against the tiled wall. “You do. ” He didn’t care what twisted magic Lorcan had spun. Jane was his. In life. And beyond death.

  He wouldn’t let her go. He’d find a way to break that spell or curse or whatever the hell it was.

  He’d find a way.

  Jane’s fingers slid down his body. Curled around his aroused flesh as he kissed her beneath the rough spray of the shower. His cock jerked at her touch. He was so ready for her. Always, for her. She stroked him, pumping his flesh, bringing his arousal to a harder, sharper, desperate edge.


  He lifted her up against that tile. Took her breast into his mouth. Licked and sucked and when she moaned, it was the sweetest sound he’d ever heard.

  Her pleasure.

  He kissed a path to her other breast. Her legs curled around his hips, and she positioned his cock right at the entrance to her sex.

  “Now, Alerac, I need you now. ”

  He drove into her. Her silken heat covered him, straining around his length. His hands had flattened on the tile behind her. Their eyes were on level now. He stared at her.

  In her gaze, Alerac saw every dream that he’d ever had.

  Saw her.

  He withdrew and thrust. Again and again. But he didn’t make the rhythm rough and wild. Not this time. This time, he kept a stranglehold on his control. This time, he wanted to prove that he could be more than the savage who went wild for her.

  His cock angled over her clit as he thrust. Her breaths came faster, harder. Her nails pressed into his sho
ulders. And her gaze held his.

  His cock swelled even more. He drove deep.

  Kissed her. Stroked her with his tongue and his lips, and she came around him, shuddering, her sex quivering along his length.

  He held his body still as she came, loving the feel of her pleasure, and then, only when she was sated, he carried her from the shower. Her legs were still wrapped around his hips. His cock was still in the paradise of her body.

  He lowered her onto the bed.


  He smiled at her. “You make me happy. ” As few things in this world ever had.

  Jane blinked at him, and her gaze seemed to soften. Then she smiled. “You make me…happy, too. ”

  He kissed her again.

  Started to thrust. Still not too hard, not too wild. He wanted her to come again. Endlessly. He wanted to show her all that he could give to her. Wanted to prove that their life together could be good.

  If she gave him a chance.

  If she wouldn’t fear him.

  Her heels pushed into his lower back. “Alerac, I want everything. ” And her sex clamped around him, her delicate inner muscles tightening.

  For an instant, he paused.

  “Everything,” she said once more, her voice a sensual demand. Then she arched toward him.

  He put his hand between their bodies. Stroked her, pushed right when he knew her need was centered most.

  He forced his control to hold. Forced it—

  She came.

  He shattered. No, his control shattered. He thrust fast and furiously now, determined to claim her, every single bit of her. When the pleasure hit him, it consumed Alerac, wiping away his past and his future. Wiping away everything.

  But his Jane.

  You make me happy.

  He would fight for that happiness. Battle a hundred vampires. Slay any beast in his path.

  As long as that path led to her.


  He was dying.

  Ryan could feel death coming. Death wasn’t cold. Wasn’t some icy touch. Death burned and twisted and cut, destroying him from the inside out.

  He’d known that his time was coming. The pain had been growing.

  Every moment, it had been his companion.

  Lorcan and his twisted deals. He’d connected Ryan to his sister all right, a connection that had eaten away at him for too long.

  He coughed, choking, and wasn’t surprised to see blood come from his mouth.

  “What’s happening to you?”

  Zoe. Whenever he turned around, she seemed to be there, watching him with her big, dark eyes.

  “Nothing. ” Death. There was no point in telling her. The witch had been clear on what he needed.

  A caged beast—that sure seemed to be Zoe. And it wasn’t the first time that he’d heard that particular line. Lorcan had told him—when he tracked the SOB down fifty years ago—something similar. That his freedom lay with a beast bound by chains that no one could see.

  Knowing Lorcan’s twisted streak, it had figured that the beast in question was a werewolf.

  Zoe was the only werewolf he’d ever encountered who couldn’t fully shift.

  But if he bit her, she’d be destroyed.

  For once, he’d do the right thing. He’d keep his fangs away from her.

  He coughed again. But he caught the blood in his fist so she wouldn’t see it. Then he turned away from her, smearing it on his jeans. “I’m going to check in the woods. Make sure that Lorcan isn’t around. ”

  “The pack is patrolling—” Zoe began.

  “And I’m going to patrol, too,” he said gruffly.

  Lorcan. He’d wanted to help his sister defeat their old clan leader, but he wasn’t going to be any use to her.

  A brother found, then lost, all so suddenly.

  Maybe she’d grieve for him.

  Maybe she wouldn’t.

  He didn’t look back at Zoe. She was too much of a temptation to him.

  He was just passing two twisted pine trees when Zoe grabbed him. She spun him back around to face her. “I can smell your blood. "

  Shifter nose. He inclined his head. “Good for you. Now do us both a favor…stay away from me. ”

  “The pain’s worse. ”

  He didn’t reply. He didn’t feel like lying anymore.

  “Is this really what you want?” She asked him, tilting back her head and letting that heavy curtain of hair fall over her shoulders. “To just crawl off into the woods and die? Is that what you want for your sister? For her to stumble over your body?”

  He wrapped his hands around her. Dammit, mistake. Because touching her flooded him with a dark need. “What I want,” Ryan managed to choke out, “is to sink my teeth into your throat. ”

  “Because I’m your cure?”

  “Because I want to taste you. ”

  She blinked at him.

  Control. Control. Control. “But for once in my life, I’m trying to do the right thing. ” He moved her out of his way. Then he forced his fingers to stop touching her. To just let her go. “I’m not going to destroy you. ”

  “The witch didn’t say that you’d destroy me. Just my beast. ” Her laugh was brittle. “The beast in me hasn’t ever been anything to brag about. ” Her hands lifted. Claws sprouted from her fingertips. “This is about all I’ve got. Claws and some enhanced strength. The others never wanted me here. They didn’t think I belonged in the pack. ”

  He ignored the pain. Just like always. Strange but, when he’d touched her, the pain had seemed to lessen. It was sure back full force now. “Alerac wants you here. ”

  “Alerac is still trying to atone for the sins he committed against your sister. He tries to save everyone now. Finn…” Sadness flickered across her face. “Finn was my friend. The others here only tolerate me because Alerac tells them to do it. I’m not one of them, and they know it. ”

  He backed away from her. His heart seemed to be squeezing, held tight in a fist of fire. “And what is it that you want from me?”
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