Bound in death, p.27
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       Bound In Death, p.27

         Part #5 of Bound series by Lauren DeStefano
 
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Page 27

  Zoe nodded and she hurried away.

  Ryan stood over Lorcan’s body, staring down at the vampire who’d ruined so many lives.

  But now, now that vampire would burn in hell.

  “My sister’s free of you,” Ryan told him, voice thick. “You can’t ever hurt her again. ”

  He lifted the torch. He’d wait just a few more minutes so that Zoe could get to Alerac. Just a few minutes more.

  ***

  “Alerac, stop!”

  He didn’t stop. He kept walking, numb, holding Jane tight. Had he ever told her how beautiful she was? When she smiled, it was the most perfect sight he’d ever witnessed.

  He wished that she had smiled more.

  He’d wanted to spend an eternity at her side.

  He’d been given just days.

  Zoe grabbed his arm. “Let her go. ”

  He couldn’t, not yet.

  “Ryan is burning Lorcan. You know it has to be done. He was so strong—”

  His body tensed. “That will burn her. ”

  “Y-yes…”

  He spun in an instant and rushed back through the woods. Ryan should know better. Ryan was her brother. He should want to keep her alive. Not give her to the flames. As he ran, Alerac kept Jane locked tightly in his arms. Was her body growing colder? No, no, it couldn’t.

  The smell of smoke teased his nose. “Stop!” Alerac bellowed.

  Flames began to crackle.

  “Stop!”

  He burst into the clearing.

  Ryan shook his head and lowered the torch. The fire caught the edge of Lorcan’s shirt. Grazed over the vamp’s skin. Then Lorcan ignited.

  The flames spread instantly.

  And Jane’s body began to feel warmer.

  “No,” Alerac whispered. This couldn’t happen. Things were supposed to end differently for them. He was going to protect her. Going to spend all of his life with her.

  “Put her down before you burn!” Zoe cried.

  But he just held Jane tighter.

  “Things were going to be different,” he whispered.

  Lorcan was completely engulfed in flames.

  Jane’s body was even warmer now.

  “So different. ” He closed his eyes and bent his head. His lips brushed over her forehead.

  Then he heard…it.

  A soft thud.

  A heart, beating again.

  Breath whispered from lips that had been still moments before.

  Alerac was afraid to look at Jane. What if his vision proved the other senses to be a lie? Better to stay this way, to just hope…

  Has my sanity left already?

  Without her, yes, he knew it had.

  “Things will be different. ” That was her voice. Soft and husky and hers.

  Helpless now, his lashes lifted.

  Jane’s pale lips tried to curve into a smile. “I could…sure use a little…more of the super blood y-you…have…”

  He’d give her anything.

  “Feel like…death warmed…over…” Jane told him.

  She was trying to joke? When he’d just nearly lost his life? Because if he’d lost her, his life would not have been worth living. I couldn’t survive without her again.

  He lifted her higher. Her arms curled around his neck. Her fangs sank into his throat.

  Alive. Alive. Alive!

  “Jane?” Ryan sounded shocked. “Holy hell, Jane!”

  Her mouth pulled away from Alerac’s throat. She looked up at him. Stared deeply into Alerac’s eyes. “I’m only bound…to you now. ”

  He’d always be bound to her.

  “You p-pulled me back. ” Her voice was gaining strength. Faint color filled her cheeks. “You gave me…some of the beast inside. Inside me. ”

  Not just vampire. Not just werewolf.

  “His tie only lasted until death. ” Jane smiled. The most beautiful sight. “Yours lasted longer, and so did I. ”

  Good. Because if she hadn’t come back to him, Alerac would have followed her. He would have fuckin’ fought death. Done anything—for her.

  “I love you,” he told her. He needed her to hear the words. Alerac needed to say them, even though love felt like far too tame of a description for the way he felt.

  “I know, a rúnsearc,”Jane told him, eyes bright with emotion. “I know. ”

  A rúnsearc. Secret love. The love that had been in his heart from the moment he first saw her.

  The love that would continue on in this world and beyond death.

  He eased Jane to her feet. Her brother instantly grabbed her and held her tight.

  Zoe wiped away tears. Alerac reached for the she-wolf, pulling her close.

  “I-I’m not pack anymore,” Zoe mumbled, “I should-”

  “You’re pack,” he told her flatly. “You’re family. ” And that was all that anyone needed to know. He owed Zoe a debt he could never repay.

  A debt that Ryan could never repay, but he’d sure enjoy watching the vampire try.

  Then Jane was coming back to him. Smiling. Breaking his heart with her beauty. Filling him with a hope that he hadn’t dared to feel in far too long.

  “I saw Lorcan’s memories,” Jane told him. “I knew death was the way to break the tie. ”

  “You actually died?” Zoe’s voice rose. “Then how did you come back?”

  “Love,” Jane said softly. “Love, and a bit of werewolf blood. It’s damn powerful stuff. ”

  Was she talking about werewolf blood being powerful? Or love?

  “It can break any curse or spell. ” Jane rose onto her toes and brushed her lips over Alerac’s. “It can survive anything. ”

  She put her hand over his heart. The heart that beat for her, now and always.

  Over her shoulder, Alerac saw Ryan cast a quick glance toward Zoe. There was so much emotion in the vamp’s eyes. Emotion that was familiar to Alerac.

  No, Zoe wasn’t leaving the pack or the family that was being created.

  A family with ties that had been forged in blood and death.

  A family that now had a future.

  “Take me home, wolf,” Jane ordered him as her fingers stroked over his chest. “I’m ready to have that ‘something different’ you promised me. ”

  He glanced toward the fire, but it was out now. Just smoke, drifting away.

  Lorcan was gone. No more monsters to slay.

  Well, at least not at that moment. Alerac was sure there would be more paranormal ass to kick eventually.

  There always was.

  But for now, he’d take his mate, the love that he could see in her eyes, and he’d enjoy the happiness that they had coming.

  No more punishment.

  No more death.

  For them, it was time to be free. Time to live.

  A werewolf and his vampire. Together.

  Forever.

 
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