Bound in death, p.9
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       Bound In Death, p.9

         Part #5 of Bound series by Lauren DeStefano
 
Page 9

 

  Alerac had taken her into the woods. Gotten her protection while his men hunted.

  “The bullet is still in you. ” It had to come out. She would keep bleeding—she wouldn’t be able to heal—until he got it out of her.

  “Then…get me to a doctor. A doctor can get it out!” Her words rushed out in a whisper.

  Jaw clenching, he shook his head.

  He could see every inch of her so perfectly in that darkness. His eyes were a gift and a curse. He could see the terror streaking across her face and the blood that soaked her shirt.

  There was so much that she just didn’t seem to understand about her kind. Softly, Alerac told her, “Vampires can die from blood loss. ”

  He wouldn’t let her die before him.

  She shook her head. Her back was against an old oak tree. “Get me to a doctor, Alerac. ” Her voice hardened. “He’ll stop the blood. ”

  Yes, but that would give them another problem. “Human doctors can’t find out what you are. ”

  “H-Heath…he knows. He kept my secret…” Pain threaded through her voice.

  Heath. Alerac planned to deal with that human. “He didn’t keep any secret for you. He sold you out. ” His claws pushed from his fingertips, and, carefully, he sliced open the top of her shirt. “And other humans would do the same. They aren’t going to protect a vamp. ”

  Her hands came up and pushed against him. “Stop!”

  He couldn’t. “It has to come out. ”

  Her eyes widened. There was so much fear in her gaze. “N-not here. You can’t!”

  Howls echoed around them as his pack tracked their prey. There were no more gunshots. Just those howls. The fools who’d tried to hurt Jane would be running.

  Or they’d be dying.

  “I’ll get the bullet out, and then your body will heal. ” He tried to keep his voice calm. Hard, when he wanted to bellow his fury.

  “Heal?” Jane whispered. “I need to be sewn up! Once I’m sewn up, I’ll heal!”

  That wasn’t the way it worked for her. Alerac suspected that Heath had deliberately kept Jane in the dark about the extent of her vampire powers.

  “Don’t scream,” he told her. The way she was bleeding…it was too much. He couldn’t afford to waste any additional time.

  He took a deep breath, inhaled the scent of her blood, and then his fingers slipped inside of her wound.

  She gasped as her body tensed.

  He had to use his claws. Fuck, he had to use his claws on her in order to get to that bullet.

  I’m sorry, a rúnsearc.

  He glanced up at her face. Saw a tear leak down her cheek.

  But she wasn’t making any sounds. Wasn’t moving at all. She’d frozen against that tree, as he cut into her.

  They will pay. They will beg for death.

  He had the bullet. It was still intact. He pulled it from her, slowly, carefully.

  Smoke curled around his fingertips.

  As soon as his hand left her body, Jane’s breath choked out.

  He stared at the bullet for an instant, ignoring the slight burn in his fingers. Not wood.

  Silver.

  The shot hadn’t been meant for Jane. You didn’t shoot a vampire with silver.

  He’d rushed to knock her out of the way because he’d thought that she was the intended target.

  It was me.

  Instead of saving her, he’d gotten her shot.

  “W-when do I start to heal?” Her voice was weaker than it had been before.

  He threw the bullet away. “It will start almost instantly now. ”

  Footsteps thundered toward them.

  He spun, surging up to his feet.

  Liam stood there, a pair of jeans hanging low on his hips. “They’re dead. ”

  Good.

  “There were two,” Liam said, his gaze darting to the ground behind Alerac. To Jane. “Both vamps. I took them out. ”

  Even after two centuries, they were still trying to take her away from him.

  “We don’t stop again,” Alerac said, his hands clenching into fists. Her blood is on me. “Until we’re home. ”

  Liam nodded.

  “Al-Alerac?”

  Instantly, he turned back toward her.

  “Wh-when do I start healing?” Jane asked again. Her voice was so faint, so lost.

  And…and the bleeding hadn’t stopped. If anything, it seemed to have gotten worse.

  He fell to his knees beside her.

  “That shouldn’t be happening. ” Liam stood over him. “Uh, should it?”

  No, no. “You drank blood last night. ” He’d seen the blood bag. She’d taken it—

  Jane shook her head. “I told you I…hadn’t fed…didn’t get the chance…before you showed up. ”

  Dammit. “How long has it been since you took blood?”

  She swallowed. Licked her lips. “A few weeks. I don’t—I don’t drink much. I don’t like—” She stopped.

  “Doesn’t matter what you like, princess,” Liam muttered and even he sounded worried now. “It’s about what will keep you alive. ”

  Her gaze was on Alerac. “I feel so weak. ”

  Because she was. She was bleeding out right in front of him. Dying, while he watched.

  Hell, no.

  Alerac put his wrist to her mouth. “Drink from me. ”

  She tried to pull away. There was no place for her to go.

  “Drink from me. You need fresh blood. It will heal—”

  “You said I would heal when the bullet was gone. ” Her lashes swept down, hiding her gaze from him. “I can’t…drink. Not straight from…anyone. H-Heath said…”

  “Screw what Heath said!”

  Her gaze flew back to him.

  “You’re a vampire. Drinking straight from a source is what you do. ” Okay, maybe that wasn’t totally true, but he wasn’t about to go into the finer points of vampire lifestyle while she bled out in front of him. She needed blood. She was going to get it.

  “I-I can’t…” Jane said, her words even weaker.

  “If you don’t drink,” Liam cut in, his voice cold and hard, “then you’ll die. The bleeding is too heavy. Vamps tend to bleed too much anyway. If it can’t stop, then you’ll die under that tree. ”

  No, she wouldn’t. If he had to force Jane to take his blood, then Alerac would do it. There was no way that he’d lose her.

  Her laughter was bitter, broken. Too weak. “I can’t…because I don’t know…h-how!”

  His heart slammed into his ribs.

  “My f-fangs…they aren’t out. They were…b-before. That was why I…stopped…” Her words were so low that, if it hadn’t been for his enhanced hearing, Alerac might have missed them. “I-I can’t—”

  He had his own fangs. Fangs and claws. Alerac used the claws on his right hand to slice across his left wrist. Then, before she could argue with him, he put his wrist to her mouth. “Drink. ”

  She didn’t.

  “Drink or die,” Liam told her, edging ever closer.

  Her lips trembled against his wrist, the movement soft like a butterfly’s wings. Her mouth opened. She—

  Tasted him.

  It had been so long since she’d drank from him. Too fuckin’ long.

  Her tongue licked over his skin.

  His cock stretched, ached. Too long.

  How many nights had he dreamed of her? How many times had he woken, reaching for her? Always searching, but never finding her.

  He had her now.

  Her fangs pierced his skin.

  He shuddered. A growl rumbled in his throat. Her fangs might not have been out moments before, but they were sure there now. She was drinking from him, taking him into her body.

  It was more than just blood.

  Life.

  He wanted her. Wanted to thrust deep into he
r even as she drank from him.

  Some mistakenly believed that a vampire’s bite was about pain and degradation.

  He’d believed that.

  Until her.

  Until he’d learned of the pleasure that a bite could bring. A release damn close to the one he had from sex. Pleasure that shook his body, that consumed.

  “Enough. ” Liam’s voice. Worried. Angry.

  Because she had taken so much from him.

  He wanted to give her more.

  No, he wanted Liam gone, he wanted Jane naked, and he wanted to be the one biting.

  She doesn’t know what I’ve become. Soon enough, she would.

  “Stop her, Alerac,” Liam ordered fiercely. “Stop her. ”

  He didn’t. Alerac turned his head. Met Liam’s gaze. “Wait for us by the motorcycles. ”

  Liam didn’t move.

  Alerac held his gaze. “Wait for us. ”

  The werewolf gave a jerky nod, then turned and stalked away.

  When he was gone. Alerac looked stared back at Jane. Her lashes swept over her cheeks. Her hands had risen so that her fingers curled around his arm.

  She was taking his blood, drinking it so eagerly when she’d been hesitant before.

  He fuckin’ wanted her.

  Her lashes slowly lifted. There was a faint shine in her eyes, one that hadn’t been there before. The power that was inside her, trying to come out.

  Hell, yes.

  Her gaze held his. Her tongue slid over his skin and—

  Horror widened her eyes. She pushed his hand away from her mouth even as she leapt to her feet.

  A very fast move. Her strength was back.

  And her wound had closed.

  He rose slowly, aware that his jeans were far too damn tight around his cock.

  “I’m sorry!” She’d put her hands over her mouth—over those delicate fangs—and the words came out as a mumble.

  He shook his head. “You shouldn’t be sorry for what you are. ”

  He’d once cursed what she was, and he was glad that she didn’t have that memory.

  Memory.

  Alerac stiffened.

  In the heat of the moment, he’d forgotten one of the most important parts of a vampire’s power.

  When a vampire drank blood, it wasn’t just about getting a rush of strength. When a vampire drank blood straight from a victim, he or she also tapped into that person’s memories.

  Will she see my memories?

  Jane didn’t have memories of her own, and he wasn’t sure that he wanted her to see what he’d done with his life. She already feared him enough.

  Her hands slowly fell back to her sides. “I didn’t mean to hurt you. I-I took too much. ”

  “It takes more than that to weaken me. ” Did she hear the rough edge of desire in his words?

  Her gaze drifted over him. Down, down, then her stare jumped right back up to hold his.

  His smile was grim. “The bite just made me want you more. ”

  She backed up a step. Rammed into that oak tree.

  “Don’t worry, a rúnsearc, I won’t take you here. ”

  Another quick step back. “You aren’t taking me anywhere!” Jane fired at him.

  Yes, he was. But there was a time and a place for everything. “Our enemies are growing closer. I want you at my home, where I know we have the advantage. ”

  His wrist seemed to throb where she’d taken his blood. He could almost still feel her mouth on him.

  It made him remember the first time that his vampiress’ s fangs had pierced his flesh. She’d been scared then. Scared but aroused.

  “You looked the same way then,” the words came from him, unplanned.

  Jane stilled.

  “You didn’t mean to drink from me then, either, but your fangs came out. ” They’d been kissing. He’d had her naked in his arms. For vampires, physical lust and bloodlust were so tangled together. Her fangs had come out. He’d wanted her bite.

  And, after she’d bitten him, then he’d wanted everything from her.

  “What happened after I bit you?” Her voice was soft. Husky. Temptation in the dark.

  He turned away from her. “We fucked. ”

  A twig snapped behind him.

  “Stop backing away,” he muttered without looking over his shoulder. The woman was always pulling away from him. “We need to get on the bikes and get out of here. ”

  Her footsteps didn’t follow his. He squared his shoulders. Waited. “Jane…”

  Then he heard the whisper of her footstep. One. Then another. She crept toward him.

  “Thank you. ” Incredibly soft.

  Now he did look back. Curiosity had always been a weakness of his.

  “You saved my life. ” Her lips lifted in a small curve. “Twice now. ”

  He’d also cost this woman her life. “Save your thanks. That’s not what I want. ” But he found himself reaching for her hand. Pulling her with him. Keeping her by his side.

  They broke from the trees. The others turned to look at them. They’d all know what he’d done.

  Werewolves weren’t supposed to offer themselves up as prey to vampires.

  Jane wasn’t any vampire.

  Mine.

  His stare swept the men. No one spoke. No one questioned him.

  They knew better.

  Alerac stalked toward his bike. The scent of Jane—her blood—followed him.

  Jaw locking, he reached into his saddle-bag and pulled out an extra shirt for her.

  Then, making sure he shielded her with his body, he ordered, “Take off your top. ”

  Her jaw dropped.

  He smiled. She was just so damn cute.

  “The shirt and the bra. ”

  She edged closer to him. “What?”

  “The vamps will follow the scent of your blood. So we need to leave as much of that scent behind as we can. ” Or, even better, maybe they could use that scent to lead the vamps on a false trail.
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