Bound in death, p.6
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       Bound In Death, p.6

         Part #5 of Bound series by Lauren DeStefano
 
Page 6

 

  She shook her head.

  The wolf began to shift. It wasn’t some instant process. The fur seemed to melt from him. His bones snapped and reshaped. The paws on the ground became tanned hands. He rose slowly, lifting his head so that his shining eyes met hers.

  Jane realized she’d forgotten to breathe.

  He was naked. The muscles of his chest rippled. And as he continued to advance, her gaze dropped over him. She frowned when she saw the markings on his chest. A tattoo. One with intricate lines that covered the flesh right over his heart. Flesh that should have been sliced open from Heath’s attack. Yet the flesh appeared completely healed.

  Her gaze wanted to drop even more. She wouldn’t let it. Instead, Jane made her eyes rise, and she held that glowing stare as he closed in on her.

  Alerac stopped just in front of her. “You’re welcome. ”

  Her lips parted.

  His head lowered toward hers. “That’s twice that I’ve let you run. Don’t try for a third time. ”

  The words were a rumbled whisper of menace.

  “You won’t like the punishment I give if you flee from me again. ”

  Then he was taking her arm. Her body brushed against his naked flesh. She gasped at the contact and tried to pull away.

  Yeah, that wasn’t happening. The wolf had a strength she’d never seen before.

  Or, if she had, Jane didn’t remember it.

  But then, I don’t remember anything before that swamp. Six months. That was as far back as her memory went.

  Six short months.

  “Don’t run,” he said softly.

  Her gaze flew to the street. To the pile of bodies. She flinched.

  Alerac’s hold tightened on her. “I get that you don’t remember, okay? Let me help you out. That prick vampire? All of his men? They were here to get you, to force you to come back with them. They’re working for a guy named Lorcan. ”

  The name meant nothing to her.

  “He’s a master vampire,” Alerac said in that deep, rumbling voice of his. “He’s also a sadistic bastard who wants to make you suffer. ” He pulled in a deep breath. “I’m not about to let him get his hands on you again. ”

  Again? That “again” part really scared her.

  “You…protected me,” Jane said softly. The bullets had hit Alerac. Her hand rose up, before she could even think about what she was doing, and she touched his chest. Her fingers slid over that heated skin.

  He tensed beneath her. “Be careful. ”

  “Your wounds are gone. ” No more blood. Nothing at all.

  “The shift heals me. ” The words were clipped.

  Her hand stilled on his chest. She stared up into his eyes.

  And realized that his mouth was just inches from hers.

  She also realized that her heart was thundering in fear, yes, but there was also more happening to her.

  I want his mouth.

  Just where in the sweet world had that thought come from?

  His eyelids flickered. “I can give you everything that you want. ”

  “Uh, just not here, mate,” said the wolf with the angry eyes. That wolf also shared Liam’s faint accent. “Local cops will be coming soon. They’re on the way. ”

  “I hear them, Liam,” Alerac said. But he didn’t move.

  Jane frowned. She didn’t hear any sirens. She was getting that their senses were a lot better than hers. Scary since Jane had already thought that her vision was pretty sharp. She could see well in the dark, could catch a scent from half a mile away, and she’d once heard a baby cry from four blocks down the road.

  Just how good are their senses? Jane wasn’t sure she wanted to find out.

  “You don’t know me. ” Alerac said this with certainty.

  She nodded.

  She didn’t know him, and he’d just left a street corner full of blood behind him.

  “I know you,” he told her. There was something in those words, an intimacy, that had her body tensing.

  “You’ve been found, little vampire,” he murmured as his shining gaze held hers. No wonder he’d worn sunglasses in the bar. Those eyes would have scared all of the humans right out of the place. “Now that you’ve been found, you’re going to find yourself in the middle of a war. ”

  “I-I don’t want a war. ” The other wolves were shifting back into the forms of men. Coming to stand around them. Glaring. They all seemed to hate her.

  All but Alerac.

  He looked at her as if—as if he wants to devour me.

  She didn’t want to be a snack for the big, bad wolf.

  Alerac wasn’t looking away from her. “Some will want to kill you. They’ll want to torture you just to hear you beg. ”

  This couldn’t be happening. She wasn’t in to the torture scene, not at all.

  “Some will want to use you. A pawn with no fuckin’ clue. ”

  Her eyes narrowed. “What is it that you want?”

  To use her? To torture her?

  That glowing stare drifted over her face. “You. I’ll keep you alive, but in return, I get you. ”

  Then she could finally hear the sirens, too. Like screams in the night.

  “Live or die, your choice,” the one he’d called Liam said. “Just choose fast. ”

  She didn’t want to die. What waited for someone like her on the other side? Jane was afraid to find out. If she was a vampire, did that mean she was some kind of abomination? “Live,” she said, lifting her chin.

  Alerac smiled. “Good, because you really didn’t have a choice. ”

  Her lashes flickered.

  Liam tossed some clothing and shoes at Alerac. He dressed in an instant, then he was pulling her toward him. “Come on!”

  “But my truck—”

  “You don’t need it. You don’t need anything from your old life. ”

  They were in front of a motorcycle. He climbed on. Motioned for her to jump on behind him.

  She slid onto the bike.

  “Wrap your arms around me. ”

  Tentatively, her fingers settled around his shoulders.

  “Come closer. Hold me tighter. ”

  Her breath whispered out. She slid closer. Her breasts brushed his back. Her arms dropped. Her hands curled around his stomach.

  The motorcycle growled to life, with a growl much like Alerac’s own. Then they were lunging forward. Racing into the night.

  She didn’t look back at the bodies. She turned her face against his shoulder, and Jane tried to figure out how she was going to survive with the werewolf.

  A werewolf who seemed particularly skilled at killing vampires.

  ***

  That sure hadn’t gone according to his damn plan.

  Lorcan Teague stood in the shadows. The swirl of police lights flashed around the street, a sickening blue illumination that had his eyes narrowing. Humans were hurrying around the scene. Snapping pictures of the bodies. Looking for evidence. Roping everything off with their yellow police tape.

  Vampires had attacked someone here.

  They’d attacked the woman known as Jane Smith.

  Only there should have been no such attack. He hadn’t sent out the order for Jane to be taken in. What would have been the point? Jane was supposed to go off with the werewolf alpha.

  In order for her blood to become stronger, she had to go with the beast.

  He’d planned so carefully.

  But it looked as if another player had entered the game. Someone who was screwing with his agenda.

  That wouldn’t be tolerated.

  He turned away from the scene. He inhaled the scents in the night. The werewolves had fled one way.

  Vamps…my own kind…had gone another.

  His fangs stretched and burned in his mouth.

  Someone was about to pay the price for betrayal. It would be a very,
very high price indeed.

  Chapter Three

  He drove until he could see the red streaks of dawn sweeping across the sky. Alerac didn’t want to stop, he wanted to keep right on driving until he had Jane safe with him and back at his home. Where he could be certain no more vampires would attack her.

  But the sun wasn’t her friend. Hadn’t been, since her twenty-fifth birthday. He should know. He’d been there that day. He’d covered her with his coat, trying to shield her from the light that burned her now.

  The motorcycle braked near the rundown motel. They were still in Florida. Still miles to go before he felt secure enough.

  But Liam was already hurrying inside. Securing the rooms for the group. Alerac knew that the humans at the motel thought they looked like a motorcycle gang. He’d heard the whispers when they’d all ridden up on their bikes.

  The human staff members weren’t completely wrong.

  They were a gang, of sorts.

  He turned off the bike. Jane was already sliding off the seat, trying to get away from him.

  He caught her hand, brushed his fingers over her pulse. Enjoyed the way it sped beneath his touch. “We’ll stay here today. ” But he’d make other arrangements soon. As long as Jane was covered, safely away from that sunlight, his pack could keep traveling. It would be easy enough to acquire a van for their use.

  Liam exited the motel’s office and headed back toward him. The werewolf tossed Alerac a room key. He caught it easily, fisting his fingers around it. “You’ll stay with me,” he told Jane. As if there was another option. Hell, no, he didn’t trust any other wolf with her.

  He didn’t trust anyone else with her.

  “Kent and Finn, you take the first watch,” Liam ordered.

  The two werewolves nodded. Their curious gazes kept drifting to Jane.

  Everyone in his pack had heard whispers about her.

  Now they all wanted to get close to the legend.

  As he advanced toward the motel, Alerac kept Jane at his side. He sent a hard, determined, back off glare to the others.

  Jane didn’t speak until they were inside the small room. One bed. King-sized. Plenty of room for them both.

  The last time I was in bed with her…

  Well, that time had ended in plenty of bloodshed.

  And with her disappearance.

  He slammed the door shut behind them. “You can rest here while the sun’s high. ” Vampires were always at their weakest during the day. That part of the old story was true enough.

  She had stopped in the middle of the room. Her eyes were on the bed.

  How he’d like to strip her and take her on that bed.

  The wolf inside was clawing at him, so desperate for the woman he’d been denied for far too long.

  More than a lifetime. Hell, more than two lifetimes. Did she have any idea what he’d done for her?

  He exhaled slowly. Forced his muscles to unclench.

  If she knew, she’d probably be running. Screaming.

  Instead, she turned slowly to face him. Her hair brushed across those glass-sharp cheekbones. “I don’t like being in the dark. ”

  His brows rose. “Most vamps do. ”

  “That’s not what I—” Jane began, frustration flashing across her face, but then she stopped. Seemed to catch herself. Or maybe she just thought better of yelling at him. She cleared her throat and said, “I don’t know about the others. ” She tightened her hands into little fists. “I just know about me. Until tonight…” She gave a broken laugh. “I thought I was the only freak out there. ”

  Anger hummed through him, and Alerac found himself crossing the room in quick strides. “You’re not a freak. ” If anyone dared to call her that with him near…

  Last mistake that person would make. Last.

  Her smile was sad. “Everything I know about the world, I’ve pretty much learned from TV. I don’t remember anything about my life until six months ago. I even had to teach myself to read and I-I’m still not very good at that. ” Shame whispered beneath that confession.

  The instant she is free…I want her to forget. Lorcan’s words drifted through Alerac’s mind. The bastard. Alerac had thought he just meant that she would forget the pain of her imprisonment. All of those desperate years that she’d been trapped.

  But Lorcan had taken every instant of her life away. Every memory.

  “I need a witch. ”

  Jane blinked at him. “Do what now?”

  Not just any witch. He’d need a very powerful one. “You’re under a spell. ”

  She looked at him as if he were crazy. A growl worked in his throat. “I turned into a wolf right before your eyes. You’re a vampire. Did you truly think nothing else out of the ordinary existed?” The shadows were full of monsters. She needed to realize that fact in order to keep surviving.

  “Maybe I didn’t want them to exist. ” A quiet confession.

  What would he have to trade in order to the get the aid of a powerful witch? The price would be high. It always was. “We’ll get your memory back. ”

  Her head tilted as she stared up at him. “Do I want it back?”

  No. There was no way that she could want to remember her imprisonment. Maybe I can keep that part from her. Maybe I can get a witch who will pull up only memories before the day she traded her life for mine.

  “How do you know me? Were we…were we friends?” Before he could answer—and he didn’t want to lie, not to her—Jane shook her head. “Heath told me that you tracked vampires. That you killed them. ”

  True enough. He’d killed countless vampires over the centuries.

  “Are you going to kill me?” Asked so softly as fear slid into her eyes.

  “If I wanted you dead, I could have killed you behind Wylee’s Bar. ” He could have killed the bouncers and her. Instead, he’d let the men live.

  For her.

  Jane swallowed.

  “Your death isn’t what I want. ”
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