Bound in sin, p.6
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       Bound in Sin, p.6

         Part #3 of Bound series by Lauren DeStefano
 
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Page 6

 

  And that promise had cost Paige far more than she’d ever expected–her life.

  Chapter Six

  She damn well wasn’t getting away from him.

  Paige had fled the compound and raced away into the night. Sure, he could have gotten his men to track her, but this hunt was personal, and Drake didn’t want the others chasing her.

  If someone hunted Paige, it would be him.

  “You can’t do this!” Heath grabbed him just as Drake was about to pass through the compound’ heavy gates. His eyes blazed with fury. “This could be a vamp trap! She’s luring you outside. ”

  Paige hadn’t gone through the gates. She’d just leapt over the wall. So fast and graceful. His blood had sure pumped up her power.

  As for her bite…it had given him so much pleasure. I’ll have more. If she needed blood, he’d be happy to be her personal donor from now on.

  Her first, her only.

  “She’s hurting,” Drake said and pain, yeah, that was just what he’d seen in Paige’s eyes. She’d always shown so much with her green gaze. He’d once been able to look right into her eyes and see her soul.

  Heath actually shook him. “She’s in pain? Fine. Then let her go off and lick her damn wounds. ” Heath’s words held a sharp bite. “But don’t put yourself at risk for her. She’s a vampire. ”

  The necklace he’d given to her so long ago, the one he’d stupidly taken from her neck just the previous night, was a heavy weight in Drake’s pocket. Give it back to her. “She’s mine. ” There wasn’t anything else to say.

  She was his. And she hurt.

  Protect her. An instinct from the wolf and the man.

  He looked beyond the wall. So much darkness and icy cold waited for him. But that frigid darkness had been his whole life, ever since Paige had left him.

  He wanted more now. He wanted warmth. Light. Paige had always been that to him.

  “I’m bringing her back. ” Drake shoved the other wolf aside.

  Heath grabbed his arm. “You can’t bring a vampire into the pack. ” Low words. Gritted. Burning with intensity. “You know you can’t do that. ”

  Very, very slowly, Drake turned his head and stared down at his first in command. He’d been friends with Heath since they were both just boys, but that friendship wouldn’t stop him from kicking the shit out of the guy. “I’m the fucking alpha. ” He let the power ring in his voice. He’d fought for the title. Earned it. And since he was alpha, the one they all submitted to… “I can do anything I want. ”

  “Jeremiah–”

  Had that bastard really gone after Paige? Set this whole nightmare in motion? His jaw ached as Drake growled, “He’s dead. ” A very lucky thing for the old wolf right then. Because if he’d still been living, Drake would have ripped him apart. “It’s my pack now. ” If Heath wanted to challenge him…

  Come the hell on.

  He was more than in the mood for some ass-kicking.

  After he brought Paige back. He had his priorities, and she came first. “Spread the word,” Drake ordered. “Any who want to challenge me…tell them to get the fuck in line. ” When he came back, he’d take them all on.

  Because no one was going to keep him from Paige. Not now.

  Not ever.

  He turned away from Heath and ran into the night. Vampires were fast, but wolves were faster. Especially when they hunted.

  He shed the form of man with a crack and snap of his bones. The pain of the shift burned over him, familiar, white-hot, and soon he was running on all fours, with paws instead of hands, and he tossed back his head and howled for the one thing he wanted most in the world.

  His mate.

  He had her scent, and he wouldn’t lose it. He flew over the terrain, ignoring the frigid cold temperature–an artic chill that he knew would be cutting into Paige. The cold wouldn’t kill a vamp, but it would make her body tremble and shake. She’d suffer out there.

  She’d already been in pain when she left him.

  And the only damn thing he wanted to do was take that pain away.

  He bounded through the forest and sent snow flying in his wake. The world was a blur of white, but he could just see the imprints of her footsteps.

  He knew where she was going.

  Inside the body of the beast, the man cursed.

  The wolf ran faster, faster…

  She’d never seen him in this form. Before, he’d been ashamed for her to see him transform. He knew what he was…

  “Guess I am a monster…” Her words were burned into his mind.

  But he’d been the monster. Always. The beast who’d taken what he should never have touched.

  He leapt into the air, easily jumping over a fallen tree. Her scent was stronger now. Strawberries. Sex. Woman. He’d never been able to forget that lush scent.

  The small lake was frozen, its surface dark and glistening. Even though it was day, the sky overhead was as dark as the lake. No sunlight.

  Not now.

  Just cold. Just darkness.

  Paige spun at his approach and put her back to the lake. Her eyes widened when she saw him. Swallowing, she backed up a step.

  He froze.

  Then he changed, for her.

  The transformation was brutal to watch. He knew it had to be. His bones shifted and broke, reshaped into a man’s body instead of the form that belonged to the beast. The fur seemed to melt from his body. Soon paws and claws became hands and fingers–fingers that had dug deeply into the snow.

  “Drake?”

  Her hushed voice pushed through the last of the shift, and, naked, he glanced up at her.

  Paige rushed toward him. “You shouldn’t be here!”

  “Neither…should you. ” He rose before her. Wind whipped against his body, but werewolves always stayed warm no matter what the outside temperature was. The beast burned within.

  Paige shivered.

  He took a step toward her, but she stiffened, and her gaze darted around the small clearing. “It’s dangerous. I didn’t think–we need to go back. ”

  Drake lifted his hand and offered it to her. “Then come with me. ” He knew why she’d run from the compound. Desperation and pain had driven her to flee blindly.

  I wasn’t at the lake.

  But she had been. He knew a lie when he heard it.

  “I’m sorry. ” The words were torn from him. Jeremiah had come to him, told him that he had a message from Paige. “Your little human said to meet you in two hours. ” Jeremiah had smiled and flashed his fangs. “That gives us time for a hunt. ”

  And he’d just…gone off with the bastard.

  Paige wasn’t taking his hand.

  Her gaze was on him, sweeping over his body. She hadn’t been disgusted by his shift, and she sure didn’t appear disgusted by what she was seeing right then.

  Lust. He knew that expression well. But he hated the mix of lust and pain in her eyes. He hated to see any pain in her gaze.

  He’d rather just have the lust.

  “Come with me,” he said again, and he still waited for her to take his hand. There would be no forcing on this. She had to choose to come with him.

  To be with him.

  Her gaze swept around the lake. The woods. She inched toward him. The snow crunched beneath her boots. “I-I didn’t…you shouldn’t have followed me. ” Her words rushed out. “I just needed a little time…”

  “There’s a vamp hunting you,” he told her. Hell, it was probably a whole gang of vamps now. “You really think I’d just leave you on your own?”

  No. Her hand lifted and slowly, so slowly, her gaze met his. Her fingers touched his hand. Tentative. Soft. “I lied,” she whispered.

  His fingers closed around hers. “What?” But he already knew and if she wanted to confess to him, he’d damn well listen.

  He should have met her here, at
Lost Lake. He should have told Jeremiah to screw off, that he was still heading out to meet Paige and that he’d just wait for her to show.

  If he’d gone then, they would have been married by now. Had children. Had a fucking perfect life.

  It was all his fault.

  But then he heard the growl of an engine. No, not just one engine. Two. Three.

  Coming close.

  Too fast.

  Far too fast.

  Her eyes still held his. “I lied,” she said again, then she jerked her hand free from his grip and shoved against his chest. “Run!”

  The vampires were coming.

  “Shift! Turn back into a wolf!” Paige yelled at him. “You can outrun them, you can get away!”

  “Not without you. ” His claws tore through his flesh. He’d be damned if he left her behind.

  She shook her head and shoved harder against him. “It’s not about me. They don’t want me. ”

  But–but she’d told him–the vampire she’d called Gabe–

  “They want you,” she said, voice stark and sad. Her eyes had never looked bigger. Or sadder. “And Gabe always planned to use me…in order to get you. ”

  He could see the light from the snowmobiles cutting through the darkness. The vamps were closing in on them.

  The vamps wouldn’t get them, though. Dumbasses. Drake knew this land so well.

  Better than any vampire ever could. His beast ran free often. Knew every fallen tree. Every secret bend. Every dark cave.

  Every hiding spot.

  “Run with me,” he told her. Because right then, it wasn’t about fighting, even though the beast within was roaring for blood. That moment was about protecting Paige. Getting her to safety.

  Then coming back to cut down all the vampires after him.

  She nodded, and they took off, racing not around the lake, but right across it. It was icy and slick beneath their feet, frozen solid, and by going straight across that cold surface, they saved valuable time.

  The ice wouldn’t break. Not for months.

  They cleared the lake. Entered the edge of the forest, where the heavy weight of the snow had bent the trees. Because they’d gone right across the lake then leapt into the woods, they didn’t leave any footprints behind.

  Well, no footprints that would be seen immediately. The vamps would have to search first, scanning every edge of the woods, then if they got lucky, they might see the tracks just past the trees but–

  But it was starting to snow again.

  Hell, yes. The snow came down, brushing against his skin as they ran. The fresh snow would cover any tracks they left behind.

  A wolf would have been able to track them through the snow. Vamps were no match for wolves when it came to stalking prey.

  No match.

  Paige stumbled and would have fallen, but he just grabbed her and hoisted her into his arms. Her weight didn’t slow him. He pushed faster. Held her tighter.

  He leapt easily over the dead trees, the rough rocks. Faster…

  Drake turned abruptly, heading toward the cabin that he knew would be waiting. Small, non-descript, the snow almost hid it completely from view. But he knew the cabin was there, waiting.

  The vamps wouldn’t be so lucky. Unless they knew the specific location of this safe house, they’d never find it in the darkness.

  He punched in the security code, then shouldered open the door. Still holding her tightly, Drake carried Paige inside. The interior was pitch black, and their ragged breathing seemed to echo in the tight space.

  “We can’t stay here,” Paige said, voice desperate. Her nails sank into his shoulder. “We need to get back to the compound. They’ll find you here! You can’t face all of them on your own!”

  He put her down beside him. The cabin was sparsely furnished in this area–containing just a bed and an old table. But looks could be deceiving. Drake bent down and yanked back an old rug, a rug that had covered a trapdoor on the floor. When he’d had the cabin built, Drake had made sure that the trapdoor blended seamlessly with the floor. He pressed against the wood, in just the right spot. With a creak, the trapdoor opened, revealing the gaping entrance that led below.

  He’d created this safe house for any wolf shifters who got caught outside the compound during the winter storms. The place was supposed to be a safe harbor for them.

  One with all the benefits and security that a wolf needed.

  Paige crept down the stairs. He shut the door behind her. Bolted it. Then punched in a series of codes on the alarm pad.

  There was a faint hum, then a steel door slid closed above him, covering the wood. Lights flickered on, one after the other, revealing an area twice as big as the cabin above them.

  One wall was composed of monitors. A security station that showed all the area around the cabin, just in case any unwanted guests came calling.

  There was a bed. A desk. A cabinet full of food.

  All the comforts of home and all the security of a mini-fortress.

  Just what he’d wanted.

  Drake headed toward the nearby desk. He lifted up the radio–one that was wired to the compound. “Alpha One. ”

  Paige made no sound behind him.

  Static crackled. “Reading you sir, over. ”

  Drake glanced back at Paige. So still. So beautiful. “Send hunters to Lost Lake. The vamps are out there. ”

  He’d be taking care of this theat. Eliminating the vampires permanently, right after…

  After he settled a few things between him and Paige.

  “Yes, sir. ” It was Michael’s voice. Drake caught the eagerness in the guy’s quick reply. Who didn’t enjoy a good hunt?

  No wolf he knew.

  Drake pushed away from the desk. Stalked toward Paige. She was still shivering but she stood straight and tall. She stared at him like she thought he would attack her.

  He did want to pounce.

  He lifted his hand and let it skim down her cold cheek. “Tell me about your lies, sweet. ”
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