Loading...

Read 100 Best Sellers books

A Hunger Like No Other


Chapter 14

Loading...


Bowe turned away, but not before he felt his face leached of color. In a voice barely discernible, he said, "I...buried her." He had, and he knew she was gone. But he also knew the Lore couldn't be predicted and the rules were often fluid. He now spent his life looking for the key to bring her back. What else did he have? Analytical Lachlain was putting him under scrutiny. "You canna get her back." Bowe faced him again. "No one escapes the vampires. Lykae canna have a mate who's part vampire. There's no such thing as a vampire/Valkyrie creature. Who are you to tell me what's possible?" Lachlain said nothing, no doubt viewing this as a delusion, a weakness. Bowe wondered if Lachlain would just let him have it. "You're right," he finally agreed, surprising Bowe. "Things happen that we doona understand. If you had told me two weeks ago that my mate was a vampire, I would have called you sick." "Aye, so doona concern yourself with me. You've enough on your plate. Harmann told me you were ambushed by three vampires the night before last." He nodded. "Recently the vampires have stalked Valkyrie all over the world. But they might have been after Emma." "Could be. She's the first vampire female I've heard of in centuries." "Then I have even more incentive to destroy the Horde. I will no' let her be taken by them." "What do you plan to do?" "I can find the catacombs once more, and we will wait until the guards return. Force them to tell us where Helvita is." "We've tortured vampires before and were never able to extract that information from them." A deadly expression hardened Lachlain's face and his eyes turned sharply. "They've taught me much about torture." Lachlain might be healing on the outside, but inside he was still being tormented. He was right - if he hadn't found his mate when he did...So what would happen to Lachlain if he left her to seek this revenge? "Are you up for a war?" Bowe gave him a bored expression. "When have I no' been? Curious, though, what the hurry is. Are you so anxious to leave your new mate just now?" "I've told you I've little time to think of the past, but after I claim her and convince her to stay with me, then I will have to seek out this revenge." "I understand." "I doona know that you do. I canna ignore the vows for revenge that I made to myself every day in hell." The glass of scotch shattered. Lachlain stared down at the glinting shards and rasped, "That was all I had." "Lachlain, you ken I'll fight by your side. Garreth and others will gladly. But I doona believe we can win. As long as they can trace, it does no' matter if we are stronger or have more numbers. We will always lose." "Do we have more numbers?" "Oh, aye. Hundreds of thousands now." At Lachlain's disbelieving expression, Bowe said, "A continent away from the vampires is very comfortable for the clan. They've gone back to the old ways, having seven, eight, even ten bairns in a family. The only problem with America is that that's where two Valkyrie covens reside." He smirked. "You know how territorial your in-laws can be." Lachlain scowled. "Doona remind me." "By the way, if I, with my limited social engagements, heard rumors of activity up at the castle, I'm sure others did as well. You doona have a lot of time. Can you no' charm her?" His expression stark, he admitted, "Just two nights ago, I...I almost strangled her to death while I slept." Bowe winced, as much from the deed as from Lachlain's palpable shame. "The same night she saw me turn against the vampires." "Christ, Lachlain. And how'd she react to the change?" "Found it terrifying, of course. She's even more wary of me now." He ran a hand over the back of his neck. "Why do you no' tell her what happened to you - " "Never. I have to believe she'll come to care for me. And if she does, that knowledge would pain her. I feel she'll come around, but I need more time. If I could just speed up the process." Bowe drained his glass, then contemplated the bottom of it. "Get her drunk. Human males do it all the time. One night of lowering her inhibitions..." Lachlain almost grinned, then saw Bowe was serious. "You think if I was, then she would become so?" "Why no'?" Lachlain shook his head. "No. No' while I've still got a chance." When Bowe saw Lachlain repeatedly glance to the window, no doubt noting that sunset neared, he said, "Go. Be there when she wakes." Lachlain nodded and rose. "I actually want to be there before she rises. My lass prefers to bed on the floor, but I've fought her on it. I will no longer - " "You bloody bitch!" a woman screamed from the gallery downstairs. 21 Lachlain sprinted for the railing to spy out the gallery below. "Cassandra's arrived," Bowe murmured from behind him, stating the obvious, because Cassandra now had Emma pinned under her trying to strangle her. Lachlain shoved his hand to the railing to jump, but Bowe hauled him back. "Doona fucking do this, Bowe. Cass hurts her and I'll have to kill her." When he didn't let go, Lachlain swung a fist at Bowe - out of habit, his weaker left fist. Expecting it, Bowe caught it and wrenched his arm back. "Still feel guilty for that one punch when we were boys? Again - I eventually woke. Now, look and give your mate more credit." Lachlain did, but at the same time he raised his other elbow to jab it back in Bowe's face. Emma slammed her forehead against Cass's nose. Lachlain hesitated. "Your Emmaline is no' even the least bit out of breath. And if she does no' do this now, she'll be constantly challenged. You forget, we're a vicious breed that worships strength," Bowe added the last in a sneer as if he was quoting someone. "Damn it, it does no' matter, she's small. She's coming off injuries - " "She's wily and someone's trained her," Bowe observed coolly, releasing Lachlain when Emma gained room beneath Cass, then kicked out with both feet so fast it was a blur. She connected solidly with Cass's chest, sending her across the room. Lachlain shook his head, disbelieving his eyes. Bowe in the meantime had gotten a scotch and pulled up chairs. Cass threw her hair out of her face. "You'll pay for that one, leech." Emma gave her a bored look as she gracefully stood, but her eyes had fired silver. "Bring it on." Bowe was right - she wasn't out of breath whatsoever. Cass rose to the challenge. She leapt at Emma, tackling her with her larger size, then gave a sharp jab at Emma's mouth. Lachlain roared with fury, vaulting over the rail. Before he could reach them, Emma slashed out her claws at Cass, wriggled out from under her, then leapt to her feet to fully swing the back of her hand. Lachlain knew that hit. Cass landed against the opposite wall, a tapestry collapsing over her. She didn't get up. Bowen dropped down behind him, exhaled, and added, "The only thing that could've made that wrestling any better was Jell-O." When Lachlain reached Emma, he took her by the shoulders, but she jerked in reaction and punched out at him, connecting with his right eye. He clenched his jaw, shook it off, and ran his gaze over her, examining her for injuries. He winced to see the cut marring her bottom lip and yanked out his shirttail to brush against it, but she hissed in a breath. "That hurts you?" Bowe helped Cass up and dragged her over. "What the fuck is going on here?" Lachlain bellowed at Cass, then immediately turned to Emma and said, "I apologize." She frowned at him. "So put a quarter in the cuss jar. Whatever." She pressed the back of her hand against her still bleeding lip. "Lachlain, you're alive!" Cass cried, running for him. The look he gave her made her slow, expression confused, then stop completely. "What happened to you?" she asked. "And who is this vampire that has free run of Kinevane?" Emma looked from Cass up to Lachlain as if she couldn't wait to hear this one. "She's to be treated as an honored guest." While Cass gaped, Bowe turned to Emma and said, "I am Bowen, an old friend of Lachlain's. I've spent the afternoon hearing all about you. Pleased to meet you." While Emma tilted her head at him, wary, Cassandra finally managed, "And when did leeches become guests?" Lachlain grabbed her elbow. "Doona ever call her that again." At the insult, Emma's eyes turned silver once more. As she turned on her heel for the door, Lachlain heard her mumble in an odd voice, "Screw you guys...I'm going home." With a last glare at Cass, he followed, in time to see Emma catch her own reflection in a mirror. She jumped back, startled. Her hair was wild and the silver in her eyes glittered and moved like mercury. Blood streamed down her chin, and her fangs, though small, looked wickedly sharp. One tear drop had streaked down her temple, leaving a line behind. He saw her pat her face as if she couldn't believe her reflection. Then she gave a short, bitter laugh. Their eyes met. He knew what she was thinking. And it saddened him, even as he knew it helped his cause. She was thinking she was just as much a monster as he was. "This is no' finished, vampire," Cass said. Emma shot around with an expression so menacing it gave him chills. "Not in any way," she hissed, and stalked off. It took Lachlain a moment to form words. "Bowe, take care of this," he said without taking his eyes from Emma. "Aye, but you need to tell her," he called after. "Now." Emma looked creepy. As she stared into the mirror in her bathroom, washing her hands and face, she noted that though her fangs had receded, her eyes wouldn't return to their usual color and her lips were redder than usual. Creepy. Just like the thing that had faced her in the mirror downstairs, the thing that was straight from a creature feature. When she'd patted her face, she'd found blood on her nails from where she'd swiped the Lykae across the belly. Red of tooth and claw? I'm your girl... She recalled Lachlain in his changed form, and didn't shudder at the image as she usually did. Because wasn't it all relative? A knock on the door. She'd known he would come after her, but she'd hoped he would at least take time to explain things to the other two. Apparently, he'd dissed them to come right after her. Still..."Go away!" "I ken you want your privacy, but - " "Go - away! I don't want you to see me like this - " And just like that, the door burst open. She quickly closed her eyes. "What did I just say?" "Wanting your privacy is one thing, but hiding your face from me will no' do, Emma." He turned her to him. She was mortified even more because he knew she was. Her aunts' eyes turned this way, but it looked so normal in them, expected even with sharp emotion. "Open your eyes." When she wouldn't, he said, "This is no' the first time I've seen them like this." That got her to open them. Wide. "What do you mean?" She could tell by the way he stared that they were still that freaky color. "Look at you staring! This is what I wanted to avoid. When have you ever seen them like this?" "They turn when you drink from me. I'm staring now because if your eyes even flicker silver, I want you." "I don't believe - " He placed her hand on his rigid erection. The memory from the night in the hotel bloomed in her mind, and her fingers curled around it, about to stroke... The memory - the confusing memory from his point of view. She wrested her hand away. "But my eyes are weird," she insisted, unable to face him. "And I can't control it." "I find them beautiful." Damn it! Why did he have to be so damn accepting? "Well, I didn't find your change as appealing then." "I know. I can live with that if you can." "Great. Not only do you seem to have gotten past your prejudice with me, now you're accepting that I don't accept you. Are you trying to make me feel like an ass?" "Never. I just want you to know that I am sorry for what happened." "I am, too." Yes, she might have just spanked that Lykae, but it didn't mean she liked that she had to. And she didn't necessarily blame Cassandra for attacking. If Emma had seen a vampire strolling about the manor, admiring paintings, she'd have attacked, too. That did not negate the fact that this Cassandra was still a bitch. Emma was shaken by the incident. All the training her aunts had forced on her seemed to have rushed to the forefront, finally clicking into place, and she'd felt like a different person. She'd actually won! Against a freaking Lykae! Yet even as she felt like Frau Badass, she didn't forget the first staggering thought that had entered her mind when she'd suddenly hit the stone floor and found the Lykae standing over her. Emma had wanted Lachlain. And knew he would always come to her rescue. He tucked a curl behind her ear. "Ach, you've cut your wee ear." He leaned down and kissed it, making her shiver. "And your lip." He kissed that as well, then stroked her cheekbone, and she couldn't quite feel the urgency she'd had that he shouldn't be touching her. "I canna forgive her for marking you." "Fine by me," she said in a surly tone. "You had no fear down there," he said, sounding impressed, and Emma had to admit that the next best thing to having Lachlain nuzzle her and kiss her wounds was him acting as if she'd just fought off Armageddon. "What has changed you? Is it my blood?" Record-needle scratch back to reality. The nerve! "Don't flatter yourself! I've just realized a lot about myself. You know, having survived continuous Lykae attacks" - he flinched at that - "a sunbath, and a dissection via vampire, I've had to ask, 'Is that it? Really. Is that all life has to throw at me?' Because if that's the worst and I keep bouncing back..." "Aye, I see. Your trials are making you stronger." They were. Damn it, why did he have to look so proud of that fact? When had he begun acting so differently toward her? She knew why she'd changed, but why had he? If he kept looking at her like this, she'd start wondering if she was strong enough to handle him. "You woke well before sunset? I was just coming for you when we heard Cass." Emma had been up with plenty of time to shower - and to rant about the weird pang she'd felt to find that, for the first time, Lachlain wasn't there when she woke. "I don't sleep well - in that bed." "Is that why I found you in the stairwell?" Emma blushed. Dark and cloistered and cavelike, the stairwell had seemed like a good idea at the time. Since she'd been insane. "Who's the woman?" she asked to change the subject, though she knew, had known at first sight. "Cassandra. She's a friend from the clan." "Only a friend?" "O' course. And that is tenuous, after she hurt you." "You'd take my side over hers? When you've known me for so short a time?" He caught her gaze. "I will always take your side. Over anyone's." "Why?" "Because I know you will be in the right." "And the bleak one? Bowen? What's his damage?" At Lachlain's frown, she added, "Why does he look so bad?" With his jet-black hair and intense golden eyes, the guy would be a hottie - if he weren't heroin-addict gaunt and evil-looking. "He lost someone verra close to him." "I'm sorry," she said softly. "When did it happen?" "Early eighteen hundreds." "And he still hasn't recovered?" "He's gotten worse." Lachlain rested his forehead against hers. "It's our nature, Emma." She knew he was waiting for something from her. Something more. He'd seen her in her worst state, and he still wanted her. Seeing her like that hadn't stopped him from following her directly to kiss her ear and commiserate. This gorgeous, walking fantasy of a male wanted something more. From her. Was she ready to give it? She felt bold and high from her first victory, but was she ready to brave taking Lachlain into her body and to risk seeing the beast rise inside him again? Right at this moment, she thought she might be. "Lachlain, if someone like you were to...to make love to someone like me, could he be easy with her? Take things slowly?" His body shot tight with tension. "Aye, he could vow it." "He wouldn't...he wouldn't turn?" "No, Emma. No' tonight," he said, his voice so low and rumbling it made her shiver, made her nipples go tight. She needed him - desired him - knowing fully what he was. When she raised her fingers and gently brushed the backs over his face, he gave her a disbelieving look before his lids closed briefly with pleasure. "Lachlain," she murmured, "I struck you." His expression was unreadable. "So you did."
</div>
Read 100 Best Sellers books
Loading...






Loading...

TOP SERIES

TOP AUTHORS
TOP BOOKS


RULES
DMCA Notice
Terms of Services
Privacy Policy
DMCA.com Protection Status
Loading...