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Rapture Untamed


Rapture Untamed: Page 49


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The male was never touched, and neither of the female's injuries is bad. I can handle them."


"Olivia was feeding them," Jag told them. "I asked her to."


"We didn't want them to die." Now it seemed that the energy she'd given them had made them too strong for mind erasing. She swallowed. "I've killed them, haven't I?"


Her stomach tightened with misery, but she had no illusions. Humans could not be allowed to spread word of the immortal races.


Lyon sighed. "There's been too much death here already. Knock them out and heal them, then we'll take them back to Feral House and lock them up until the energy Olivia fed them wears off. Hopefully by then we can figure out a way to clear their minds and bring them back here."


Olivia tipped her forehead against Jag's cheek, relieved, then looked up to meet his tender gaze. He stared into her eyes, his own, fathomless pools of emotion.


"We need to talk, Liv."


Pamela Palmer Rapture Untamed


"They're not dead!" Delaney's cry rang out over the battlefield. Olivia straightened as Delaney ran toward them, her eyes at once haunted and jubilant. "Tighe connected with me."


"Where are they?" Lyon demanded.


"He doesn't know. It's another void, like the warding in the Mage stronghold. He can't move, can't see, can't hear. He's in pain. Terrible pain. But he's alive, Lyon. He's alive."


"What about Hawke?"


"He doesn't know. He can't communicate with him."


Jag's hold on her tightened. "We have to dig them out."


"No." Olivia knew her voice barely carried above the howling wind and rain, but all heard. Their gazes swung to her, frowns creasing every brow. But she had to explain.


They had to know. "It won't work. They're not here. The vortex was a kind of wormhole, a way to the place where they're being kept, but digging through earth won't get you there."


Pamela Palmer Rapture Untamed


"How do you know?" Delaney asked, her expression turning hard.


Olivia felt horrible for dashing her hopes. "Mystery - the sorceress - told me what she was doing as she prepared me. She called the vortex a spirit trap. Its purpose is to separate the Ferals from their animals."


"The seventeen," Kougar said. "They were felled by just such a trap."


Jag growled. "So not only are Tighe and Hawke lost to us, but we're permanently down to seven?"


Kougar stroked his wet goatee. "It takes eleven days for the trap to separate man from animal. Eleven days until they die." His gaze swung to Lyon. "I'll be back in ten." Then he turned and took off, running.


Delaney lifted tormented eyes to Lyon. "Does he have a plan?"


Lyon shook his head, his expression grim. "If Kougar has a way to save them, he will."


"Dudes!" The call came from one of the humans. "We could use a little help, here."


"Let me up, Jag," Olivia said softly.


His gaze held her tight. "Do I have to?"


A smile tugged at her mouth. "Please?"


He loosened his hold and helped her up. When she was on her feet, she took his hand and pulled him up, returning the favor.


A rumble shook the ground, strong enough to have all of them adjusting their stances to stay on their feet.


"What was that?" Jag asked.


"Look!" Delaney froze, then took off at a run. Where the middle of the vortex used to be, a pile of bodies now lay.


The others followed, but while the men searched, Olivia, Kara, and Skye stood together to one side. Olivia prayed they wouldn't find their friends.


"Are they humans?" Kara asked.


"A couple are," Olivia told her. "Or were. Most of the ones who went into that vortex were Mage."


Delaney strode around the pile of bodies, her hands clasped on top of her head as if she struggled to hold herself together.


"Dudes!" one of the humans called. "Are you going to untie us, or what?"


Wulfe growled, circling close to where the women stood. "If he calls us 'dudes' one more time, I'm ripping his throat out."


"They're not here," Lyon said finally. "Thank the goddess."


Jag returned to Olivia, his expression grave. "Liv..." He raked his wet hair back from his face in an agitated, almost uncertain move, then hooked his arm through hers and led her away from the others. At the edge of the woods, he led her beneath a thick oak that sheltered them from most of the rain.


He turned her to face him. In his expression, in his eyes, she saw pain, and determination. And tender, blazing love.


Her heart skipped a beat, swelling until she thought it would no longer fit inside her chest.


A flash of devilment gleamed in his eyes, but never had that gleam stroked her with such gentleness. "I just want you to know, Red, I'm giving you fair warning. If it takes a thousand years, I'm going to prove to you that I've changed. That I've dealt with my past and let go of it, and am now focused only on the future. Our future."


His fingers slid into her hair, his thumb caressing her cheek. "I'm going to be a man you could love, Olivia. Because I love you more than life."


Olivia felt the tears begin to roll down her cheeks.


"I'll never force you, Liv. At least not where it counts. You're my mate. I know it. My animal knows it. And I pray to the goddess that someday you'll know it."


In his eyes, she saw the truth of his words. And if she had any doubt, his actions today had proved that truth over and over as he'd fought desperately to save her.


That light that had flared to life in her mind, the mating light, burned brightly, filling her with an endless glow of warmth and love.


She cocked her head. "They say a leopard can't change his spots."


Pamela Palmer Rapture Untamed


"Liv..." The word ached.


She pressed her hand to his cheek and smiled at him with all the love in her heart.


"It's a good thing you're not a leopard."


He watched her, his gaze blazingly intent. "Does that mean you believe me?"


"Yes, I believe you. More than that, I love you, Jag."


The tension flowed out of his features, joy rushing in. "You are my forever, Liv. There will never be anyone but you. And I'll make you happy. I swear it."


Olivia pressed her palms to his cheeks and drew his face down, kissing him, and he pulled her fully into his arms and held her tight. Her heart sang. She had no illusions that Jag would ever be a gentleman or ever be entirely tame. But that was fine with her.


She pulled back and slid his hair back with her fingers. "I need to be able to trust you and to know that you always have my back." Her fingers trailed down his cheeks, and she leaned in and licked his nipple.


A purr rumbled in his chest, his body rising to her tease.


She pulled back and looked up at him with a devilish smile of her own. "But the last thing I want is a tame house cat."


Jag began to laugh. And then he had her pressed back against the tree, his arms pinning her as he kissed her with a fierce tenderness that brought tears to her eyes.


When he pulled back, he framed her face with his hands, both hands now, his arms all but healed. "You were meant for me, Liv. I've waited my whole life for you."


She looked into his eyes and saw no trace of the old guilt, anger, or hatred. She saw only love and devotion, and a hint of devilment that she hoped would never die.


In his eyes blazed a promise as deep as the ocean. "I'm going to spend the rest of my life proving that I was meant for you, too, Red."


Olivia wrapped her arms around his neck as she stared into the eyes of the man she loved, the man who'd been destined to be her mate.


You were meant to live.Her father's words whispered in her head from long ago. And deep in her heart she knew her entire existence had been leading her to this moment.


To Jag.


Epilogue


Firelight flickered over the dark-paneled walls and ceiling of the ritual room deep below Feral House two days later, the remnants of magic still charging the air.
Still buzzing from an experience deeper, more intense, than anything he'd ever known, Jag lifted his precious mate down from the altar, where they'd opened themselves bodies, minds, and souls, binding themselves to one another for eternity.


Olivia's glowing, loving eyes caressed his face as he set her on the ground, her own face flushed and radiant. With her bright red hair brushing the sheer blood red of the ritual gown, she was, without a doubt, the most beautiful woman who'd ever lived.


And she was his now. His.


His mate. His love. His life.


Around them, the other four Ferals, their chests bare, their armbands gleaming in the firelight, lifted their fists into the air, shouting their approval in a tradition as old as time. Watching from the other side of the room, their color high, their eyes bright, were the three Feral wives, Kara, Delaney, and Skye.


If not for the shitload of mess the Ferals found themselves in, with Foxx dead and Tighe and Hawke trapped where no one could reach them, this moment might just be perfect.


For the first time in centuries, Jag felt like he could breathe freely, without the terrible weight on his chest, a weight he'd never even realized he'd been carrying.

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