Bound in death, p.8
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       Bound In Death, p.8

         Part #5 of Bound series by Lauren DeStefano
 
Page 8

  “Are ten times better than a human’s. ” Grim. He licked her palm again. Nipped lightly with his teeth.

  The heat surging through her body had her heart pounding in a double-time beat.

  “So I know exactly when you get wet for me,” Alerac whispered. “You’ll never be able to hide your desire from me. ”

  He knew. Horror widened her eyes as they flew back to his.

  “My pack is waiting outside. ”

  The faint snarl of the motorcycle engines finally penetrated her awareness.

  Oh, crap, if he could scent her desire…could they all?

  Yes. The answer was right there on his face.

  Her own face burned. Talk about humiliating.

  But Alerac shook his head. “They know you’re mine,” he said simply. “None would dare speak ill to you. ”

  His. “I’m not…yours, Alerac. ” They needed to be clear on that.

  His hold tightened on her hand. “Wasn’t that the deal?” He murmured. “Your safety, but in return, I have you. ”

  A desperate deal. She hadn’t even realized just what she’d been giving away.

  Had she?

  “You fear me. ”

  “I’d be a fool not to. ” A werewolf with glowing eyes and razor sharp claws. Um, yes, a smart girl would fear him.

  So would a dumb girl for that matter. So would any freaking one.

  The sound of the snarling engines outside seemed to grow even louder.

  “Fear can be a good thing. It will help keep you alive. ”

  He wanted her afraid of him?

  Alerac climbed from the bed. Looked even bigger. She swore the guy had grown while she slept.

  Then she realized that the pillow beside her bore the impression of—of a head. The covers near her were rumpled. She jumped up from that bed. “You slept with me!” He’d stormed out. Done his angry wolf routine, then he’d come back and crawled in bed with her.

  While she hadn’t even realized he’d been there.

  “I protected you. ” He’d already turned away.

  “Protected me from what? The motel maid?” She rushed after him, but had to do a fast halt when he hurried out of the room. What the hell, Alerac? You don’t leave in the middle of an argument. She yanked on her shoes, adjusted her sleep-wrinkled clothes, and followed fast. “You crawled into bed with me because—“

  At least six werewolves were on their motorcycles. All of them were staring at her.

  Jane clamped her mouth closed. Jerk wolf.

  Alerac glanced back at her, and a faint smile lifted his lips. “You were saying, a rúnsearc?”

  What she’d been saying would be finished—in private. But her eyes narrowed to slits. “What did you just call me?”

  That faint smile faded. “It’s an Irish expression. It means vampire. ”

  Liam coughed. Or choked. Hard to tell for sure.

  Alerac eased onto on his motorcycle. Darkness had fallen again, but the moon wasn’t blocked by clouds tonight. It shone, high and heavy, though not quite full, in the sky above them.

  All of the men were staring at her. Waiting.

  “Has she fed?” Finally, that suspicious question came from Liam.

  Her gaze cut to him. “She can tell you herself. ” Her fangs weren’t even aching. She didn’t need blood every day. “And the answer is, no. I haven’t fed tonight. But don’t worry, I’m not about to start biting anyone. ”

  A murmur—an angry one—seemed to go through the pack.

  “Wolves aren’t on the vampire menu,” Liam told her, but only after a quick glance at Alerac. “Or rather, for you, only one is. ”

  And that one had lifted his hand toward her. He held that hand, palm open, toward her. “Come, Jane. ”

  Like she had a choice. But she wasn’t a dog to be called. So she held her ground a moment longer. Get the point, wolf. I don’t jump at your command. “Where are we going?”

  “My home. ” A pause. “Your home. ”

  She didn’t have a home.

  Her chest began to ache. Unwanted. Forgotten.

  “And maybe we’ll find a damn witch along the way,” Alerac added, voice darkening.

  Jane wasn’t so sure she wanted to find a witch. Was her past worth remembering?

  Maybe it was time to find out. Alerac knew her, he held her secrets—so why didn’t the guy just spill them? “Why are my own kind hunting me?”

  His hand lowered. He kicked up the stand on the motorcycle. Then he came to her, easily controlling the bike as he circled around and advanced on her.

  She had to hold back her smile. She’d wanted that. For him to be the one to make the move. I’m not jumping for you.

  But when that big, snarling bike and the equally big wolf came to a stop right in front of her, Jane stiffened. Yes, I’m afraid of him.

  Afraid, yet she could admit—she was also drawn to the wolf. She should be running away from him. But she wasn’t moving.

  “The vamps think you committed a crime against them. ”

  She’d turned on the other vampires? It just gets worse for me.

  “And some of them won’t stop coming, not until—well, not until I make sure they’re dead. ”

  Wonderful. “I-I thought vampires already were dead. The undead, right?” That was what she’d seen on TV. She’d made sure to watch every vampire movie that she could find, hoping that maybe she’d find some kind of secret message or insight into her own biology.

  The movies hadn’t been helpful. She didn’t sparkle. She didn’t serve the devil. She didn’t attack children. She didn’t do any of the things that those vamps had done.

  Well, except she did drink blood. But only when she absolutely had to do so.

  “Some folks do have to die, for a little while, in order to come back as vamps. ” Alerac gave a slow shake of his head. “That’s not what happened to you. You never died. You were born as you are. ”

  Born as a vampire? That hadn’t been in the movies.

  “That’s why you have power to them. Why you’re a threat and why they won’t stop coming. ”

  She still didn’t understand.

  “Your birthmark. The circle of gold that surrounds your pupils. Those are both signs that you are a pureblood. Not made from a bite, but born to be a vampire. ”

  The little mark on her left palm seemed to burn.

  “I’m telling you the truth. And you have to trust me. ”

  Like trust was easy. Trusting a human was hard enough. Trusting a werewolf?

  “Get on the bike,” Alerac ordered with a curt nod. “With darkness, they’ll be coming soon. ”

  She looked beyond him. At the thin row of pine trees. At the darkness. Were the vampires already stalking her? “They all want me dead?” All of her kind? Surely there was at least one who wanted her alive. She had a family somewhere, didn’t she?

  He didn’t answer.

  Her gaze jumped back to him. “Alerac?”

  “You saw them,” he said, voice devoid of emotion. “They fired wooden bullets at you. ”

  Bullets that he’d taken into his own body as he shielded her.

  “If those bullets had hit your heart, you’d be dead. ”

  He’d kept her alive before. Her own kind wanted her cold in the ground. But he…

  She climbed on to the bike. Wrapped her arms around him. Held him tight.

  After an instant, his body seemed to relax against hers.

  “There’s a helmet behind you,” he murmured, the words drifting to her over the roar of the bike. “Vamps can die if they lose their heads, so, this time, be sure you wear it. ”

  Oh, right. She hadn’t even realized…

  Her hands pulled away from him. Fumbled. She got the helmet on. Then she started to worry. “What about you?” Jane asked.

  He glanced back at her. Those eyes…her shiver seemed to start on the
inside and then push its way out.

  “I’m not planning to lose my head. ”

  Yeah, but—

  The motorcycle lunged forward. Wind beat against her, and she held on to Alerac as tightly as she could.

  The rest of the pack closed around them as they left the motel. The scream of the engines was soon all that she could hear. The miles passed, and the pavement vanished beneath them as the bikes moved faster and faster.

  The vibration of the bike shook her whole body, beginning first in her legs, then slowly moving up. She pressed closer to Alerac as the vibration continued.

  She didn’t know what to make of the werewolf.

  A werewolf. The knowledge wasn’t so shocking now. How could it be? He was right. She was a vampire. Not like she could judge.

  If Heath were right, and all Alerac wanted was to kill her—he could have done so plenty of times by this point.

  But he hadn’t. In fact, he hadn’t hurt her at all.

  He’d protected her. Taken bullets for her. Killed, for her.

  Told me to wear a helmet so that I’d keep my head.

  They’d been lovers once. This knowledge was there. It was obvious from the looks that he gave her. Jane knew there was no denying what she’d seen in his eyes—or the way he’d touched her.

  When he’d whispered Keira to her, she’d realized just how intimately they must have been involved. His voice had burned with desire and a heavy possessiveness.

  Whatever Alerac truly wanted from her, Jane didn’t think it was about her death.

  He might not want to kill her, but the vamps sure seemed to want her out of this world.

  She wanted to know what crimes she’d committed against her own kind. Why they hunted her so fiercely.

  During the six months when she’d felt abandoned because no one had come forward to claim her—well, maybe she should have been relieved. Because if the vamps had gotten to her before Alerac did, would she already be dead?

  The bikes slid into another curve.

  Jane frowned, trying to locate a road sign. She didn’t know if they were in Alabama, Georgia, or even still in Florida.

  Her arms were wrapped around his stomach. The guy’s abs were as hard as a rock. His attention seemed totally on the road. Hell, the guy acted as if he didn’t even realize she was clinging so desperately to him.

  Jane started to ease her hold.

  His right hand lifted and immediately curled around her thigh.

  His fingers pressed into her.

  The touch heated her. No, he heated her. The awareness that she had for him wasn’t natural. She recognized that. Fear shouldn’t be so tangled with desire, but it was.

  She looked at him, and she feared.

  She looked at him, and she wanted.

  The vibration of that bike continued, making her body too hyperaware and sensitive. Her thighs were aching. And she could all too easily imagine those strong fingers of his sliding between her legs.

  Her eyes squeezed shut. Her breath was coming too hard and heavy and her—her fangs were growing.

  That wasn’t supposed to happen.

  She rarely fed.

  Her fangs shouldn’t be coming out. She’d worked hard to control them. She’d wanted to blend with the humans. Not freak them out.

  But her fangs kept burning as they stretched in her mouth.

  “St-stop,” she managed to push the words out.

  Because something was wrong.

  He didn’t slow.

  “Stop!” She yelled to him. “You have to stop!” Because a hunger was building within her, one that was making her body shake.

  A hunger for his blood.

  She wanted to bite. To sink her fangs into him and taste the werewolf. And that was wrong. As wrong as the desire that kept stirring within her.

  A desire to be taken by him—rough and wild and hard.

  To be claimed by the man that she didn’t even know.

  And if he didn’t let her off that motorcycle—right freaking then—she was going to give in to dark impulses and bite him.

  So much for being all confident with Liam and saying that she wasn’t looking for blood. All she could think about right then was getting a drink from Alerac. Sinking her teeth into him. Tasting him.

  Heath told me never to take directly from a living human. He said I’d lose control. That I’d kill.

  But Alerac wasn’t human.

  The motorcycle slowed. Finally. Yes! Before it had even come to a full stop, she jumped from the bike and tried to put some much needed distance between her and her companion.

  “Jane!”

  She stood on the side of a highway. Underneath the twisting branches of a heavy oak tree. Her right hand was over her mouth. She’d slapped it over her fangs, horrified, because they were fully extended.

  He shoved down the kickstand and stalked toward her. “We can’t stop. They’re tracking us. ”

  Yes, true. But she couldn’t get on that bike with him. There was no way Jane could be that close to him without biting. “I need—”

  A shot rang out. Even as it thundered, Jane saw Alerac lunge toward her. His body hit hers—but he hit her an instant too late. Pain spread through her upper chest.

  She and Alerac slammed into the ground.

  Her shirt was wet. She hurt.

  Alerac’s hands were on her. “Not your heart,” he growled. Begged? “Not your heart…”

  No, no, her heart was still racing frantically. The shooter had missed her heart, thanks to Alerac and his fast reflexes.

  The bullet hadn’t driven into her heart, but it had still penetrated deeply in her chest. And she was bleeding. So much blood pumped from her.

  “Find them!” Alerac shouted as his head jerked up. “Kill them! Every last one. ”

  Chapter Four

  Her blood was on his hands. Again.

  Her breath rasped out, and her eyes—so afraid—stared up at him.
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