Cursed By Destiny Page 61

Aric let out a long breath. “I don’t want to be without you. But I’d rather keep you alive than risk another turn of events like tonight. If I hadn’t broken out of Anara’s hold . . .”

I paced the room, my entire being on edge. “Aric, I’ve finally accepted that I’m your mate. And it’s wonderful, and amazing, and it’s given me more joy than I ever could have imagined. Please don’t take that away from me.”

“Sweetness, I don’t want to do this to us. I’m just trying to protect you. I don’t know what’s after you. But whatever it is wants you gone. You’re not safe anywhere, baby.”

“Isn’t that more of a reason to stay connected to me? Our bond is getting stronger, Aric. I can feel it. Hell, I can feel you. You know when something’s wrong, don’t you?”

He hesitated. “Yeah, I do.”

“Then keep what we have and don’t let go.”

Aric’s deep voice lowered into a rumble. “What if you’re poisoned again?”

“Misha assured me he’d take care of it.”

Aric growled. “That’s great, seeing how he’s done such a banner job so far.”

I sat on the bed and tried to change the subject. “What happened when you met with the Elders?”

“In breaking free from Anara’s hold I basically demonstrated how much power I’d amassed. Anara feels I’m out of control and in need of discipline.”

I stood, trying to relax my grip before I crushed my phone. “Were you punished?”

“No. Makawee and Martin overruled him. They said I’d done nothing wrong; all I did was save my mate’s life.”

My fingers dug through my hair. “If they know I’m your mate, why the hell would they try to bring me and Tye together? Especially in your presence?”

“Because they trust Destiny and her predictions. Our were race has dwindled. In Destiny saying your children”—he ground his teeth—“with Tye will help protect the earth from evil, it’s given them hope. Hope for our world and for our species. Mates or not, my feelings for you don’t come first in their eyes.”

I leaned against the windowsill and looked out, afraid to ask Aric what I needed to. “And what do you believe?”

Aric started to growl again. “I believe I need to choke the shit out of him. He agrees with the Elders and feels he should . . . get to know you.”

“Aric, I want nothing to do with Tye.” I rubbed my eyes. “And damn, I cringe when I think about how I kissed him—while you watched! My God, I would’ve ripped out someone’s spinal column.”

“Believe me, the thought crossed my mind, but . . . it helped when you called him a stupid lion.”

I laughed and he did, too. “What can I say? I’m in love with a wolf.”

“I love you, too. Always.”

In the background, a wolf howled in mourning. I looked out into the night. He sounded so close. “Is that Liam?”

“Yeah, he’s really upset over Emme. He went wolf and disappeared. Koda and I are going out to look for him. I have a feeling it’s going to be a long night.”

Emme stepped out of the bathroom then, her eyes swollen from crying. “Yeah . . . same here. Good night, Aric.”

“Good night, sweetness.”

Emme collapsed in my arms, sobbing. I helped her to bed and cuddled up next to her. My heart broke for her. I stroked her hair until drifted off into a deep slumber.

• • •

I woke with a start, scanning the darkness of my room. My body shuddered with cold, fear, and pain. But the feelings were not my own. Misha’s fading voice called to me, Celia . . .

I shook Emme hard. “Emme, wake up—something’s wrong.”

Emme rose, yawning. “Wwwhat?”

The cries of battle thundered outside, shaking the plate glass. Something large hit the far wall, crumbling the Sheetrock and shaking the foundation. I grabbed Emme and yanked her to her feet as the wall and part of the ceiling gave in with a detonating blast. Agnes, Edith, Liz, and Maria crashed onto the floor hissing and clawing at the enormous bloodlust vamp they were fighting.

Bloodlust-infected vampires were strong and hideously vicious. Fortunately, so were my Catholic schoolgirls.

“No, Celia!” Liz screeched when I tried to help. “The master’s in trouble!”

That’s all I needed to hear. I leapt through the hole in the wall and raced toward the house. Chaos erupted around me as Misha’s vampires battled a large band of Tribesmen. I shoved my way past them, not bothering to fight. My bare feet had just touched the back lawn when Tim soared from Misha’s bedroom window. Chunks of bone exploded from his chest when the iron light post punctured through his back and out his chest.

Blood spilled from his mouth like a geyser as he choked out his words. “Hurry . . . save the master.”

I bolted and threw myself onto the side of the house, using my front and back claws to scale it. My fingers pierced through the wood as I raced, the pained roars ripping through the air urging me to climb faster. I leapt through the demolished bedroom window ready to kill, only to scream when I saw what remained of Misha.

He’d been ripped in half. His hips and legs lay a few feet away from his torso. A tangled mess of intestines scattered between the separated parts. Blood spilled from the slowly beating heart dangling outside his chest, held in place by only one of the great vessels. His eyes widened as they took me in.

Misha’s hand slipped from his chest and reached out to me. He couldn’t speak, but his stare pleaded with me to save him. Hank twitched next to his master, his severed limbs tossed like logs around him.

The Tribemaster from Nicaragua loomed above them, laughing. “I found you, bitch,” he hissed in Spanish.

I launched myself at him with more hatred than I knew existed. I kicked him in the groin and tore out a chunk of his larynx in one motion. He lifted me by my throat and squeezed. I scissor kicked with my back claws, partially disemboweling him. His howls of agony climaxed when my front claws punctured through his eye sockets. He flung me across the room, demolishing part of the wall with my head and back. I rolled forward, struggling to my feet while the room spun around me.

A kaleidoscope of stars blinded my vision. They barely dissipated enough to see him charge. I scrambled out of his path just in time. He rammed his tusk into what remained of the wall, wedging himself between two support beams. I broke the leg off a bedside table and aimed for the back of his skull. He dislodged his face and whirled with such velocity, I stabbed his chest instead. My strike wasn’t hard enough. I missed his heart and was thrown again. This time I slammed to the floor and didn’t move.

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