Mine to Have Page 18

The bullet hadn’t driven into her heart, but it had still penetrated deeply in her chest. And she was bleeding. So much blood pumped from her.

“Find them!” Alerac shouted as his head jerked up. “Kill them! Every last one.”

Chapter Four

Her blood was on his hands. Again.

Her breath rasped out, and her eyes—so afraid—stared up at him.

Alerac had taken her into the woods. Gotten her protection while his men hunted.

“The bullet is still in you.” It had to come out. She would keep bleeding—she wouldn’t be able to heal—until he got it out of her.

“Then…get me to a doctor. A doctor can get it out!” Her words rushed out in a whisper.

Jaw clenching, he shook his head.

He could see every inch of her so perfectly in that darkness. His eyes were a gift and a curse. He could see the terror streaking across her face and the blood that soaked her shirt.

There was so much that she just didn’t seem to understand about her kind. Softly, Alerac told her, “Vampires can die from blood loss.”

He wouldn’t let her die before him.

She shook her head. Her back was against an old oak tree. “Get me to a doctor, Alerac.” Her voice hardened. “He’ll stop the blood.”

Yes, but that would give them another problem. “Human doctors can’t find out what you are.”

“H-Heath…he knows. He kept my secret…” Pain threaded through her voice.

Heath. Alerac planned to deal with that human. “He didn’t keep any secret for you. He sold you out.” His claws pushed from his fingertips, and, carefully, he sliced open the top of her shirt. “And other humans would do the same. They aren’t going to protect a vamp.”

Her hands came up and pushed against him. “Stop!”

He couldn’t. “It has to come out.”

Her eyes widened. There was so much fear in her gaze. “N-not here. You can’t!”

Howls echoed around them as his pack tracked their prey. There were no more gunshots. Just those howls. The fools who’d tried to hurt Jane would be running.

Or they’d be dying.

“I’ll get the bullet out, and then your body will heal.” He tried to keep his voice calm. Hard, when he wanted to bellow his fury.

“Heal?” Jane whispered. “I need to be sewn up! Once I’m sewn up, I’ll heal!”

That wasn’t the way it worked for her. Alerac suspected that Heath had deliberately kept Jane in the dark about the extent of her vampire powers.

“Don’t scream,” he told her. The way she was bleeding…it was too much. He couldn’t afford to waste any additional time.

He took a deep breath, inhaled the scent of her blood, and then his fingers slipped inside of her wound.

She gasped as her body tensed.

He had to use his claws. Fuck, he had to use his claws on her in order to get to that bullet.

I’m sorry, a rúnsearc.

He glanced up at her face. Saw a tear leak down her cheek.

But she wasn’t making any sounds. Wasn’t moving at all. She’d frozen against that tree, as he cut into her.

They will pay. They will beg for death.

He had the bullet. It was still intact. He pulled it from her, slowly, carefully.

Smoke curled around his fingertips.

As soon as his hand left her body, Jane’s breath choked out.

He stared at the bullet for an instant, ignoring the slight burn in his fingers. Not wood.

Silver.

The shot hadn’t been meant for Jane. You didn’t shoot a vampire with silver.

He’d rushed to knock her out of the way because he’d thought that she was the intended target.

It was me.

Instead of saving her, he’d gotten her shot.

“W-when do I start to heal?” Her voice was weaker than it had been before.

He threw the bullet away. “It will start almost instantly now.”

Footsteps thundered toward them.

He spun, surging up to his feet.

Liam stood there, a pair of jeans hanging low on his hips. “They’re dead.”

Good.

“There were two,” Liam said, his gaze darting to the ground behind Alerac. To Jane. “Both vamps. I took them out.”

Even after two centuries, they were still trying to take her away from him.

“We don’t stop again,” Alerac said, his hands clenching into fists. Her blood is on me. “Until we’re home.”

Liam nodded.

“Al-Alerac?”

Instantly, he turned back toward her.

“Wh-when do I start healing?” Jane asked again. Her voice was so faint, so lost.

And…and the bleeding hadn’t stopped. If anything, it seemed to have gotten worse.

He fell to his knees beside her.

“That shouldn’t be happening.” Liam stood over him. “Uh, should it?”

No, no. “You drank blood last night.” He’d seen the blood bag. She’d taken it—

Jane shook her head. “I told you I…hadn’t fed…didn’t get the chance…before you showed up.”

Dammit. “How long has it been since you took blood?”

She swallowed. Licked her lips. “A few weeks. I don’t—I don’t drink much. I don’t like—” She stopped.

“Doesn’t matter what you like, princess,” Liam muttered and even he sounded worried now. “It’s about what will keep you alive.”

Her gaze was on Alerac. “I feel so weak.”

Because she was. She was bleeding out right in front of him. Dying, while he watched.

Hell, no.

Alerac put his wrist to her mouth. “Drink from me.”

She tried to pull away. There was no place for her to go.

“Drink from me. You need fresh blood. It will heal—”

“You said I would heal when the bullet was gone.” Her lashes swept down, hiding her gaze from him. “I can’t…drink. Not straight from…anyone. H-Heath said…”

“Screw what Heath said!”

Her gaze flew back to him.

“You’re a vampire. Drinking straight from a source is what you do.” Okay, maybe that wasn’t totally true, but he wasn’t about to go into the finer points of vampire lifestyle while she bled out in front of him. She needed blood. She was going to get it.

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