Bound In Death Page 3

Music beat around them. Voices rose and fell. Laughter filled the bar.


“I’ve been looking for you.” His voice was deep. Rumbling. Tinged with the faintest of accents.


Her goosebumps got even bigger.


Look at him.


She made her gaze rise. Her eyes locked on his.


No, not on his. On the sunglasses he was wearing. Um, sunglasses, in a bar? At night? What was up with that?


Her attention shifted to his face. To the hard, square line of his jaw. A jaw that was clenched. His lips—sensual, a little cruel—were pressed into a thin line.


Her heart slammed into her chest. Breathing deeply got incredibly difficult. “Uh, if you’ll just get a table…” Before they all filled up, “one of the other waitresses will be with you in a few moments.” Because she was not taking his table. Mr. Sunglasses could just keep on walking right past her.


He took the tray from her. Dropped it onto a nearby table.


“What the hell—” One of the frat boys at that nearby table began.


But the man with the dark hair, midnight black and so very thick, wasn’t paying the frat guy any attention. No, the stranger had stepped forward. He’d wrapped his hands around her arms and pulled her right against him.


“I’ve waited long enough.” Growled. Those words seemed more animal than man.


Her heart wasn’t racing right then—Jane could have sworn that it stopped completely.


Trouble.


Her gaze cast frantically around the bar. Hannah wasn’t looking her way. And where were the bouncers? They should be there to help with situations like this one. No one was supposed to mess with the staff.


Breathe, breathe. She forced herself to take a few deep breaths. Her heart began its mad thumping once more. “I think…” His voice had been a growl. Hers was a squeak. “I think you’ve got me confused with someone else.” And she pitied that poor woman.


His fingers tightened. Then he was moving—cutting his way right through the crowd and hauling her with him.


Finally, finally, Hannah glanced up and saw her being dragged across the bar. Hannah’s mouth dropped open in surprise even as her green eyes widened in alarm.


Yeah, Jane was feeling pretty dang surprised and alarmed, too.


Help me. Jane mouthed. Then she screamed it. But the music was pumping, the crowd was already shouting, and her scream did nothing.


She tried to twist out of the guy’s hold, but there was no give to him at all. He didn’t even seem to notice her struggles.


“Curtis! Sean!” Hannah yelled, calling out for the bouncers.


But her stranger had Jane at the back door. He shoved that door open and dragged her outside. The night air was hot. Thick.


She tried to pull away from him once more. Not happening. The guy’s grip was unbreakable. He was strongest thing that she’d ever seen.


He pushed her against the brick wall of the building. Caged her there. “You should have come to me. As soon as you were free.”


He was insane. “I’m not—”


His lips crashed down on hers. His kiss was wild, rough. Almost desperate.


She shoved her hands against his chest.


He didn’t step back.


Jane sank her nails into him.


He growled and just kissed her harder.


All she could hear was the frantic beating of her heart. Too fast. Shaking her body.


He wasn’t letting her go. His kiss—she felt like he was consuming her.


Fear beat at Jane. So much fear.


Where was Curtis? Sean? She tried to scream again, but his mouth muffled the sound. Fine, maybe she’d just bite the jerk.


Only, before she could, his head lifted. Finally. Lifted and—


He licked her neck. “Missed you. So fuckin’ much.” His accent had deepened. What was that? Irish? It sounded like an accent she’d heard on TV once. “Never gonna let you go again.”


“Yeah, buddy, you will.” Sean’s sharp voice. “You’ll be letting her go right now.”


She sagged against the wall.


“You’ll let her go,” another hard male voice. Yes! That was Curtis talking! She recognized his familiar Alabama twang. “Or, mister, that’ll sure enough be the last mistake you ever make.”


Jane sucked in a deep, desperate breath.


Her stranger—still with his sunglasses on—gave a rough sigh. “You don’t want to get involved in this,” he said to the men. He didn’t even bother glancing over at them.


“Yeah, we do.” Sean was adamant. “Jane there is our friend, and you need to get your damn hands off her.”


The man, who held her in a grip of steel, tensed. His head cocked, and he seemed to study her behind his sunglasses. “Jane.” He tasted the name, frowning. “No.”


She found her voice with a stutter. “Pl-please, let me go.”


His body locked, the muscles tensing even more against her.


“Let her go.” Curtis’s voice was harder than Sean’s, harder and even meaner. “Or I’ll taze your ass.”


The tazer was Curtis’s weapon of choice. He’d told her once that he didn’t like to get bloody unless he had to.


Blood made the ex-linebacker feel nauseous.


“Last chance,” Curtis snapped, his drawl thicker. People usually jumped when Curtis gave an order.


Very, very slowly, the stranger eased his grip on Jane.


She immediately ran from him and straight into Sean’s outstretched arms.


A growl rumbled in the air.


“What the fuck?” Sean muttered. He shoved her behind his broad back. She was so glad that Sean was there. Tall, tattooed, with his gleaming bald head and the bulging muscles that normally made even drunk men give him a clear path—he was a truly beautiful sight to her scared eyes right then.


Only the more she studied him, Jane realized that Sean didn’t look so intimidating right then, not when he was so near the mysterious male—the crazy male—in the sunglasses.


The man who’d held Jane, who’d kissed her so fiercely, turned to slowly face them. Curtis came to stand at Sean’s side, a united front. Curtis was as tall as Sean, but leaner, and his hands were currently curled around a tazer.


The guy never made empty threats.


“You’re not wanted at Wylee’s any longer,” Curtis told him bluntly. “So hit the road, and don’t come back.”


He wasn’t moving.


And the knot in Jane’s stomach was getting worse.


“Jane isn’t your name.” He spoke just to her. Seemed to focus only on her.


Her heart stopped then.


“Why do you lie to them?” He took a step toward her. “Why lie to me?”


Her fingers clutched at Sean’s arm. He glanced back at her. “Do you know him?” Sean asked.


Her gaze swept over the stranger’s face. The lamp posts behind the bar tossed light on him. “I’ve never seen him in my life.”


He took another step toward her. “Lie.”


Curtis lifted his tazer. “Man, I told you—”


The stranger lunged for him.


Curtis fired his tazer.


Only the tazer didn’t actually do anything to the man in black. The shock should have hit him, immobilized him, but he didn’t even slow down. He yanked the electrodes out of his chest, and in the next instant, he was in front of Curtis. One powerful fist drove into the bouncer’s jaw.


Curtis flew back. Hit the ground.


“Get inside, Jane,” Sean demanded. “Get back inside, now.”


Then Sean tried to attack.


He was on the ground less than a second later.


And Jane was running—too late—for that back door.


Hard hands caught her around the waist and spun her around. She was screaming, not even realizing the desperate sound came from her, until his hand flattened over her mouth, stilling her cries.


“Stop fighting me. I won’t hurt you.”


She was supposed to believe him? After he’d just downed those two bouncers with barely any effort?


And why hadn’t the tazer worked on him?


Her breath was rushing out in desperate bursts from her nostrils.


He brought his head close to hers and he-


Inhaled?


She held her body completely still, too terrified to even move.


She’d seen something just this on TV last week. One of those crime shows that she liked to watch. A guy had been obsessed with a stranger. He’d stalked her. Killed her.


Then the detectives had spent forty-five minutes tracking him down. Their tracking hadn’t done the victim any good, though. She’d been dead before the first commercial break.


I don’t want to be dead!


His head lowered over her throat, and, yes, the crazy guy was sniffing her. Sniffing her, then…licking her?


She shivered. A combination of fear and—no, no, it had to just be from fear.


“I would know you, anywhere.”


Her lashes had closed. When had she squeezed her eyes shut? Jane forced them open now. He’d stepped back, but she could actually still feel him. Feel his lips—his tongue—on her throat.


His hands dropped from her. “What game are you playing?”


Sean groaned.


Jane shook her head. “N-no game. You’ve got me confused with someone else.” Her words tumbled out too quickly. Desperation would do that to a girl. Make her talk fast. Make her shake and quake.


“No.” He was adamant. And he didn’t even look back at Sean and Curtis. Why would he? Not like they were a threat any longer. “I know my vampire when I see her.”


For a minute, she actually thought she might pass out. Just fall right at his feet. Her arms wrapped around her stomach as she swayed. “V-vampire?” Then she shook her head. “You’re crazy!”


Wait, that probably hadn’t the smartest thing to say to the guy.


A muscle flexed in his jaw. “You think I don’t know?”


“Vampires aren’t real.” She was edging cautiously toward the bar’s back door. Just a few more steps, and she’d be able to rush inside.


This time, she’d try to not get her ass dragged back outside again.


Like that had worked so well the first time.


He laughed.


The sound stopped her.


His laughter was deep and rumbling and dark. And the man was scary—so terrifying to her. So why in the world did she find the sound of that rough laughter to be sexy?


Maybe I’m the crazy one.


“I know your secrets.” His voice was low, almost taunting. “Every last one.”


He can’t.


“Stay away from me,” she whispered.


His lips parted. Wait, were his teeth sharper? Those teeth, his canines, sure looked sharper to her. They appeared to be getting even more so by the minute.


“Am I having a nightmare?” The question slipped from her. It sounded as absolutely lost as she felt.


His fingers lifted. Smoothed lightly over her cheek. “I can take away all of your nightmares. I can make sure you never know another instant of pain or fear in your life again.”


If only. “Look, mister, you’re the thing scaring me the most right now.”


His hand seemed so hot against her flesh.


“Please,” she was begging, she knew it. “Just let me go.”


The light from the lamp posts and from the back of the building bounced off his sunglasses. She was glad she couldn’t see his eyes. She didn’t want to see them.


In the next instant, his hand had dropped from her cheek and he’d grabbed her right wrist. He lifted up her hand, staring down at her palm. “Your rose. It marks you.” His hold tightened. “I know.”


Now he was obsessing over that weird red birthmark? Okay, sure, if you squinted, it did look like a rose, but so what? “Let me go,” Jane said again. Her desperation was making her voice shake.


“For now.” He released her and stepped back.


For now and forever.


She took a few frantic breaths. Hope stirred.


“I’m not what you think I am.” She had to convince him. Had to get the guy to walk away. “I’m not a vampire. I’m not some kind of monster.” Though you sure may be. “I’m just a normal human, okay? Your average woman. My name is Jane and—”


“It isn’t.” Snarled.


Okay. The guy obviously had quite a few issues.


“You think I don’t know you? You think I don’t know your scent? Your touch? Every fuckin’ thing about you?”


She took another careful step toward the door.


Another groan sounded behind her stranger. Sean. A fast glance showed her that he was trying to rise. Hurry, Sean. Hurry.


“You can’t know me,” she whispered, hoping to keep the stranger’s attention on her long enough for Sean to get more strength back. “We’re strangers.” Her frantic heartbeat seemed to be bruising her chest.


He smiled then. “Liar.”


That smile—it flashed actual fangs.


“G-get away from her!” Sean’s voice. The guy sounded winded, and when the stranger’s face tensed, she knew he was about to attack again.


“Don’t.” She reached for him. Curled her hands around his arms. “Don’t hurt them again.” Because she knew that he could.


Would?


But he nodded.


Voices rose in the wind then. Others were heading that way—maybe to the parking lot that lay a few steps behind him. Hell, maybe they were just walking that way in order to get some action in the dark.


Either way, their audience was increasing.


And her stranger, after one long look down at the hands that held him, tilted his head back. He nodded, as if he’d made a decision. “I’ll see you again.”

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