Bound in death, p.4
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       Bound In Death, p.4

         Part #5 of Bound series by Lauren DeStefano
 
Page 4

 

  Not if I see you first.

  He backed away and actually seemed to just…vanish into the night.

  That was good. The whole vanishing bit was really good. Because in the next instant, Jane’s knees gave way and she hit the ground. Hard.

  Vampire.

  Oh, shit. Her secret was out.

  ***

  He’d scared her.

  Dammit, that hadn’t been his plan. He was there to protect her, to make certain that her blue eyes—still the most beautiful eyes he’d ever seen—never showed a hint of fear again.

  Only those eyes had been terrified.

  Because of me.

  She’d taken one look at him, and the woman calling herself Jane had paled. She’d trembled.

  She’d tried to run.

  The beast inside of Alerac had responded instinctively. After such a long hunt, there had been no other way for him to respond.

  Chase. Claim. Trap.

  Cage.

  He’d wanted to grab onto her and hold her as tightly as he could.

  But she’d stared up at him and acted as if he were a stranger.

  Worse, a monster.

  Well, what was fuckin’ new there?

  “Did you find her?”

  He turned at the words, not surprised to discover Liam waiting for him in the darkness.

  They were both well used to the dark. “Yes. ” The word snapped out from Alerac.

  Liam waited on the edge of the small parking lot, his body reclining against the motorcycle behind him. “I don’t see her. ”

  Wasn’t he the observant one?

  “We come all this way,” Liam murmured, “we look for so long, but we don’t take her?” He shook his head. “That doesn’t make sense to me. ”

  “She was terrified. ”

  Liam laughed at that. “When has fear ever stopped you?”

  It hadn’t. Only…it’s her. This was different. This was the most important mission of his life.

  The only thing that mattered to him.

  Liam sighed and ran a hand through his dark hair. “We came here to see if she was the one. ”

  The one who haunted him. Obsessed him.

  “If she was the one, then we were supposed to take her. That was the plan, right?”

  Like he needed to be reminded of this shit. It was his plan.

  Alerac marched toward his own motorcycle. Climbed on the bike. “There were too many eyes here. ” He shouldn’t have approached her in that bar. He’d planned…hell, he’d just planned to walk inside. To get a look at her. To catch her scent. To see if she was the nightmare who chased him every time he slept.

  Am I having a nightmare? Her voice, so different from what he’d expected, whispered through his mind. No accent lightened her words. Fear had made them breathless and husky.

  Yes, he’d intended just to watch her that night. But once he’d actually crossed the threshold of Wylee’s Bar, when her head had snapped up and his eyes had locked on her…

  Beautiful.

  She was just as beautiful as he remembered.

  Those high cheekbones. That heart-shaped face. The plump lips. The hair that was the color of the sun—a sun she’d once loved.

  Barely five feet four, she’d always been small. Deceptively delicate, but curved in all of the right places. Places he’d touched and kissed.

  One look and all he’d been able to think about was touching her again.

  “But she fuckin’ feared me,” he muttered.

  Liam whistled. “Is that why the lass is running now?”

  And she was. He’d just caught her scent—woman, sex, temptation—drifting on the wind. He turned his head and saw her jump into a beat-up old truck. She gunned the engine and raced from the lot as if the devil himself were after her.

  He was.

  When you run, the beast likes to hunt.

  “Are you certain it’s her? We’re not about to terrify some mortal, are we?” Liam pressed. “Though that certainly wouldn’t be a first. They are fun when they’re afraid. I like the way they smell then. ”

  Alerac gunned his motorcycle. “She’s mine. ” Absolute certainty.

  He just had to make her remember that truth.

  Remember him.

  Damn vampires and witches and their curses. He’d been kept away from her for far too long.

  “Then hurry and claim her,” Liam advised him, voice roughening. “Because if you found her, the others won’t be far behind. ”

  No, they wouldn’t. He’d gotten lucky. For once. A tip from a human who knew the score and who wanted to make an ally with the wolf pack.

  He’d found “Jane” first. Finders fuckin’ keepers.

  The motorcycle shot away from the sheltering darkness.

  He’d backed off earlier because others had been close by. She’d begged him to spare the humans, and he had. For her.

  But he’d told her the truth. He wasn’t letting her go. He couldn’t.

  He followed her red taillights and hoped that he’d be able to keep his beast in check a little longer. But he’d already waited two hundred years for her.

  His control wasn’t going to last forever. It might not even last until dawn.

  It was just past midnight, when the darkness was at its thickest, and his motorcycle cut easily down the road. The woman who’d called herself Jane had ducked off the main streets and gone straight for the back alleys.

  He wondered just where she was running to.

  Is she running to someone?

  Jealousy was there, spiking in blood that was already overheated. But he couldn’t stop the feelings. With her, he couldn’t stop anything.

  She braked her truck. Jumped out and ran inside a building—a boarded up, ramshackle building that looked pitch black.

  He parked his own bike. Jane hadn’t even glanced back before she’d dashed inside. She should have been smarter than that. Should have known that she was being stalked.

  A vampire’s instincts were normally much sharper.

  Slowly, Alerac climbed from the motorcycle. He stared up at that building. It looked like it had been another bar, once upon a time. Now it was empty. Broken.

  He inhaled. Caught her scent and—

  A man’s scent.

  Human.

  In that damn building.

  With her.

  His back teeth clenched as he headed for the door.

  Another scent reached him in that moment. One that drove both the beast inside of him and the man that he was trying so desperately to be…wild.

  Blood.

  He didn’t attempt to open the door.

  He just kicked it down and raced inside.

  Chapter Two

  When the door shattered and chunks of wood flew inside that old building, Alerac heard a man’s sharp shout of surprise and pain.

  He smiled. He’d be hearing that sound again.

  He took a step forward, but then—then he was tackled. Something—someone—slammed right into him. Normally, he wouldn’t have gone down, but the bastard had hit him with a silver-coated bat, one that burned like a bitch on impact, and then the guy had tackled him.

  The man yelled, “Run, Jane!”

  No, Jane wasn’t running.

  He grabbed that bat before the man could take another swing. Yanked it from the guy’s hands and tossed it against the wall. Sure, his fingers blistered. Smoke rose from his palm. But he was long used to pain.

  “Oh, damn,” the man muttered, then he scrambled back.

  Back to Jane? No, you don’t.

  Alerac was on his feet again. He rolled his shoulders back and lifted his head. His sunglasses had fallen. He didn’t bother picking them back up.

  He didn’t have to hide here. They could see him for exactly what he was.

  “What the hell is up with hi
s eyes?” That was the man’s shaking voice. The man—some blond fool who stood between Alerac and Jane.

  “They glow,” Alerac muttered because he knew the guy was talking about the shine that turned his eyes even brighter, “so that it will be the fuckin’ better for me to see you. ” And kill you.

  The guy leapt back, pulling Jane with him. Poor little Jane. So lost. She had a wall behind her. The fool in front of her.

  And me, just waiting.

  Then he realized that the blond fool wasn’t bleeding. The blood wasn’t his. Instead, the scent was coming from the discarded bag on the floor. A blood bag?

  For Jane?

  He’d thought the man was feeding Jane straight from his veins. Instead, he’d given her some kind of vampire take-out.

  Alerac had heard talk that some vamps no longer took their sustenance directly from a live source. He just hadn’t expected that to be the case with Jane. Her clan had always been particularly blood-thirsty. And they loved the rush of taking straight from prey.

  “I thought you weren’t a vampire,” Alerac said as he advanced, crushing chunks of broken wood beneath his feet. His eyes were on Jane. In the darkness, he could see her perfectly.

  Thanks to the eyes of the beast. The only eyes that he had.

  Still staring straight at Jane, he asked, “So want to tell me why you need that blood?”

  The male lunged for him.

  Sighing, Alerac tossed the guy back against the nearest wall.

  Humans. So weak. So easy to break.

  He’d better not be her lover.

  Because, if he was, the male might not get to live much longer.

  He expected Jane to cower against that wall. Instead, her chin lifted. Her eyes—they seemed to grow brighter. Ah, so she was letting her vamp side out.

  He could even see the faint edge of her white fangs, peeking out behind her plump, red lips.

  “I don’t know how you found out about me,” she said, lifting her spine and squaring her shoulders. Like that made her look more intimidating. “But you won’t hurt my friend, and you won’t hurt me. ”

  Her words had him pausing. “I’m not here to hurt you. ” Truth. Her friend? Debatable. Alerac thought he might enjoy hurting the male.

  Her brows rose even as her gaze slowly slid over him. “Who are you?”

  He didn’t let his expression alter. “Alerac,” he gritted out. “Alerac O’Neill. ”

  The name seemed to mean nothing to her. A frown still pulling her brows low, she demanded, “What are you?”

  His head tilted as he heard the roar of an engine. Several engines. Big vehicles. SUVs. Coming fast toward their location. His gaze shifted to the human on the floor. Then back to Jane. “I’m the man who is going to keep you alive. ”

  Her laughter was sharp and disbelieving. “You’re the only threat I see here!”

  “I hear them coming for you. ” There wasn’t a lot of time to waste. But he’d try to get her to leave willingly with him. If that didn’t work…

  She will still leave with me.

  “The enemies coming didn’t follow me. I didn’t lead them to you. ” He wanted her to understand that. “And no one else followed you when you left that bar. I made sure of that. ”

  She licked her lower lip. A nervous gesture.

  One that made him ache. It has been too long since I’ve been with her.

  A growl rose in his throat. “So if they didn’t follow me…or you…someone else must have told them where you were. ” The someone who was now trying to crawl his way toward the door.

  He wasn’t escaping.

  Alerac leapt over and grabbed the human. Alerac lifted him up and shoved the man against the wall. “She called you, didn’t she?” Ah, yes, now he recognized the fellow. Dr. Heath Myers. Alerac had seen a grainy photo of the doctor before. Alerac’s human informant had briefed Alerac about the man.

  The man who’d found a lost woman walking on the edge of a swamp. A woman with no memory. No past. A woman who had a thirst for blood and who weakened in sunlight.

  Not a lost woman, but a lost vampire.

  “Jane told you I was at the bar, that I knew what she was,” Alerac said.

  The doctor didn’t speak. He didn’t need to. Alerac realized exactly what had happened.

  Rage building, Alerac charged, “You realized you had to act fast, or you were about to lose your payday. ”

  “Stop it!” Jane grabbed Alerac’s arm and tried to yank him away from the doctor. Not happening. Even on his weakest day, he was far stronger than she could imagine. “You don’t know what you’re talking about! Heath is here to help me!”

  No, he wasn’t.

  “Two minutes,” Alerac told her. He kept his hold on the squirming doctor. “That’s how long you have before the others get here. ”

  She stared up at him with those big, blue, fuck-me eyes. “O-others?”

  So many enemies. All eager to use her. “Come with me,” he told her, “and I’ll make sure you live. ”

  She shook her head.

  If that was the way she wanted to play it.

  “I don’t even know you, Alerac O’Neill!” She yanked harder on his arm. “But I know Heath. I trust him. ”

  She shouldn’t.

  “He saved my life! Helped me to—to live in a world I don’t know. ”

  Then Alerac felt it. The hard, fast slice of a blade in his chest. A silver blade. There was no mistaking that familiar burn.

  His gaze shot to the doctor. The man wasn’t squirming any longer. He was smiling. “I know how to kill your kind,” Heath whispered.

  Silver. Right to the heart.

  Normally, that was an effective method for killing a werewolf.

  He backed away from the doctor.

  Jane got a look at his chest and the knife protruding from it. She screamed.

  Normally. Alerac’s knees gave way. He sank to the floor. His fingers curled around the knife’s handle.

  Heath grabbed Jane’s hand. “Let’s go!”
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