Cursed By Destiny Page 52

“Yes, Aric. I actually eat more now.” I snuggled against him and released an extremely content purr. His laugh rumbled against me. I placed my hand over his heart, to feel it beat and as proof he was lying next to me. It was warm, comforting, relaxing. But it didn’t last.

Aric’s Alpha wolf voice replaced his soothing timbre. “We need to talk.” He lifted me with ease so we could face each other, keeping his hand tight against my hip. “What do you know about what’s after you?”

I shook my head. “Nothing. Just that whatever it is sees me as the one who’ll destroy it and those it leads.”

“Considering what you’ve been into, everything points to the Tribe.”

I watched him carefully. Our relationship had lasted mere months, but they’d been the most intense months of my life, filled with powerful moments that had left me breathless. I knew this wolf enough to know there was more. “You’re not convinced it’s the Tribe.”

“I’m convinced enough to slaughter them every chance I get.”

“But you still have doubts.”

Aric nodded and palmed my backside. “I can see them portraying you as an enemy of evil and influencing other dark forces to annihilate you. And I can see why they’d want you out of their way.” He growled. “But the why of it doesn’t make sense. What’s this damn key you supposedly possess? Could there be a hidden power we still don’t know about?”

“I suppose. Mish— I’ve been working on my ability to change into other animals, but my efforts are pathetic at best. My power to return a vampire’s soul was something I didn’t know I had, so it’s possible there’s some other freak talent I possess.”

Aric stiffened. “How many beings know you’ve been practicing changing into other creatures?”

“Just the vamps.”

Aric snarled. “You can’t trust these ass**les, Celia. If the damn shape-shifters get wind of this, they will try to destroy you. They see themselves as the only beings powerful enough to command any form. To them you’re competition, regardless of your inability to heal.” He swore up and down. “I’m leaving on my last mission tonight. When I come back, I’m going lone and getting you out of here.”

I stared at him, unable to blink. After my shock wore off, I flipped out. “Are you nuts? Aric, you can’t abandon your pack. You once told me you’re nothing without them.”

“Celia, things have changed. You’re the one I’m nothing without. Don’t you see? This is the only way we can be together.”

I touched his stubbled jaw with my fingertips. “Not like this, baby. There has to be another way.”

Aric shook his head. “Celia, tonight you shone like the amazing beauty you are. It should have been me escorting you—not Misha. I should have been the one you turned to when Destiny frightened you. I should be the one asking you to dance, not that goddamn lion. I should be the one who talks to you about starting a family, not anyone else.” He waited, taking in my thunderstruck reaction. “And I should be the one protecting you from whatever seeks to harm you.”

Aric had warred with his inner animal to stay in control, but the man in him still hurt despite his beast’s best efforts to protect him. “Don’t let your jealousy cloud your judgment, Aric. And take back authority over your wolf. He doesn’t need to fear being without me. So long as you want me, I swear never to leave you.”

“How can you doubt that I want you?” Aric cupped my face. “And how can you fail to see what you mean to me? You are my mate. I live and breathe for you, Celia. My heart and soul are soldered to yours for eternity.”

Aric had shown command in his gaze before, but all those times paled to how he looked at me then. My heart thumped like the slow beat from a heavy mallet. I took a moment to allow the depths of his words to sink in. When they did, it felt as if I’d broken through the snow after being buried in an avalanche. Mate, he’d said. I was Aric’s mate. I quivered from the tears that threatened to fall. “Why didn’t you ever tell me? I never knew how you felt.”

Aric’s face split with sadness and guilt. “Because as pureblood I wasn’t supposed to love you, but as man I can’t stop.”

He kissed me. It was so different—new in a way. Our passion exploded so quickly we yanked each other’s clothes off. His left hand stroked my breast to tease my nipple with his thumb. The other hand traced down my stomach until he found my building moisture. My back arched and I grunted while his hands rediscovered me inside and out. The salt from his skin made me hungry to taste other parts of his body. My tongue slid down his chest. Aric was in such need. He thrashed and grunted, completely turning me on. My mouth hadn’t been around him long before he pulled me on top of him and I began to move.

CHAPTER 20

Water slid down my arms. My cheek and br**sts cooled against the slick tile as I panted. Aric kissed his way along my shoulder. “Are you ready?” he asked breathlessly.

I didn’t want him to separate us, but nodded. Dawn was quickly approaching. He needed to return to his pack and leave for the mission. I’d convinced him not to go lone, at least for now.

His groan matched mine upon his release. I opened the glass door and staggered out of the shower, aching in all the right places. “You’d better get my scent off you.” The twinkle in Aric’s face made me laugh. That’s exactly what I’d said before he’d yanked me into the shower to wash the latest aroma of our lovemaking.

Aric lathered his skin, watching me slip into my robe. “Four times in one night. Brings back some sweet memories.”

I shuddered from his deep murmurs and from the rush of images his words flashed across my mind. My brain reasoned my body should be more than satisfied, but my tigress insisted we hadn’t made up for lost time. I sat on the edge of the bathtub and admired his luscious physique. “Do you think your Warriors know you’re here?”

“Koda and Liam don’t. Gemini must. He didn’t blink when I asked to borrow his phone. While he recognizes the importance of continuing our race, he also knows I love you. He told me tonight that, for once, he’s happy not to be of pure blood. He said he didn’t know how I’d been able to stay away from you and that no one would keep him from Taran.”

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