Trust him. How could Destinee trust him? How could she trust anything? Especially what she had just witnessed and what she was witnessing now. Her mind was freaking, her heart was pounding, she couldn’t catch her breath, and there was no way in hell she was even capable of sane thoughts at the moment. Distracted and lost, she just stared at him until from the corner of her eye, she saw the thing on the floor try and push upright. The instant it moved she shot out the door with a speed she didn’t think she had. She was sure Gabriel could have stopped her but instead he turned towards the creature swinging his sword in a violent downward swing.
As soon as her foot hit outside the door, Destinee slid across the mud soaked ground and went down in a splash of water. In an instant she pushed back up on her feet winded from the effort and with a half sob, half curse dove into the knee deep water at the bottom of the incline where the shower house stood. Struggling against the water swirling around her legs, the rain beating down on her head, and the wind that was whipping furiously against her she ran. She ran away from the creature intent on killing her and away from Gabriel, whatever he might be. The thought of running away from him hurt, though, and she slowed until she was standing in the middle of a world that had blown up and gone crazy around her.
If she could feel the tears running down her face she knew she would have brushed them away in fury. But she couldn’t. She was too soaked and freezing. Wrapping her arms around her burning throbbing middle she just stood there until she heard the sloshing behind her. Something in her snapped and she refused to go down without a fight.
Spinning around she faced whatever new threat was coming to attack with hands balled in fists at her side. Instead of another grotesque creature, before her was Gabriel, standing only a few feet away from. His sword was no longer in sight but the golden glow in his eyes and the knowledge of the fangs in his mouth brought her up short. He looked dejected and at the same time worried for her but he didn’t approach her any closer. He just stood there in the pouring rain and the whipping wind as the trees twisted and shifted dangerously around them. Conflicted, Destinee wasn’t sure if she wanted to fight him or throw herself into his arms.
As earlier, he reached out with his hand and pleaded with her, “Please Destinee, we need to go. They’re coming and I need to get you to safety. I swear, I won’t hurt you.”
Destinee so wanted to reach out to him. Everything in her called to wipe out the lonely expression that consumed him and even made the golden glow dim in his eyes. But still she needed to know the truth. Breathlessly she asked, “What are you Gabriel? Are you vam…”
“No!” He vehemently denied, his expression falling into the depths of despair even further. “Don’t say that word. I hate it. What I am is a punishment for a past I am still paying for but I am not something humans have created in their minds. I’m not like the Scythian demons. I have control!”
She wasn’t sure how much control he really had but she believed him and strangely she didn’t fear him. Even with the glow in his eyes that was fading further as he stood there appearing to try and get control of himself. She could tell the inner battle he waged by the clench of his jaw and the balling of his hands into fists. Even his strong shoulders shook with the effort but in only a few seconds the gold was gone and his sky blue eyes were looking back at her with barely concealed despair. He thought she had already judged him and perhaps for a moment she had judged him but thinking on his kindness and the fact he had saved her multiple times now he couldn’t be evil. Could he?
Closer than before Destinee heard the screams of the evil dead things answered by the creature in the shower building. She shivered in revulsion just being able to see the almost beheaded evil dragging itself to the open door. Wrapping her arms around herself Destinee felt the urge to cut and run again but stopped when Gabriel reached out to her.
“We don’t have any more time, Destinee. Please let me get you out of here. I can protect and keep you a live. I swear it.” He stood there waiting for her decision, never forcing her, with a desperation now creeping into his blue eyes.
Destinee just didn’t have it in her to deny him any longer. Deep down she knew he wouldn’t harm her especially since he had risked himself and saved her already. Not once, but three times now. She was an idiot if she didn’t go with him. The trust she had in him came back with a vengeance and meeting his eyes she demanded, “Fine. I believe you but you’ve got to tell me what the hell is going on. Whatever the truth is.”
Gabriel nodded to her and said thickly, “I will, I promise. Just let me get you out of here.”
Feeling a large portion of the fear lift from her shoulders, Destinee stepped forward to grasp his hand. As soon as she stepped forward the pull of the water at her legs, the exhaustion, and the light headedness from what she suspected was loss of blood got to her. Her vision blurred and she started to go down, but just like that Gabriel scooped her up with no effort at all. Spinning on his heal with ease, he cut through the water moving back over to his Harley in only a second. The movement was so quick Destinee’s head spun which didn’t help her light headedness.
When he stopped by his Harley she felt him stiffen for a moment and then draw in a deep breath. “Destinee are you injured?” She didn’t say anything for a moment not wanting him to have to baby her again. “Destinee answer me,” he demanded.
Holding his breath he watched her angelic face in the glow from the yellowish light of the glow stick. Her cute pixie nose wrinkled and she licked her lips as if she was thirsty and Tristan was sure she had to be. Anticipation built up in him as Jaimie’s eyelids began to open, her long blond eyelashes fluttering briefly, before her breathtaking light blue eyes opened and looked right up at him. The breath he had been holding released as he was transfixed by the love that bloomed in her eyes and the smile that touched her full lips.
He knew it wouldn’t last long but he held onto that beautiful vision stamping it into his memory for the future and the cold nights he knew he would have to exist in without Jaimie. Too soon her sleep softened expression cleared and her smile faltered. Confusion and a cross between elation and fear warred within the blue of her eyes.
“Tristan?” Was all she said before she gasped and bolted upright off his lap. Shaking her head as if she was denying what she was seeing Jaimie scooted away from him on her butt and hands until she was on the far side of the circle of yellow light.
For several moments she just sat there looking at him as if her mind just couldn’t comprehend what she was seeing. Tristan could hear her labored breathing and the rapid pounding of her heart. Her eyes looked at him and then her surroundings in trepidation as he was sure she was remembering what had occurred so recently and the violence that had been done to her. She shivered and crossed her arms over her chest. He wanted to reach out and take her into his arms to comfort her, but even if he could have he didn’t dare.
When she finally looked back at him he could see the initial elation and fear that still warred back and forth in her expression. She looked like she was going to say something but closed her mouth instead. She bit at her lip for a few seconds and he could literally see the wheels turning in her head. Again he held his breath and waited for the condemnation and rejection that he was sure was coming. He couldn’t blame her because his own actions had destroyed any future that they could have had together.
After a few more seconds, she appeared to come to some type of decision, and completely surprising him, she cried, “Tristan!”
Hope and pure love bloomed in her eyes, and before Tristan could warn her off, Jaimie literally threw herself at him. She jumped back in his lap and engulfed him in a hug he would have never thought she had the strength for. With a groan, he wrapped his arms around her, and leaned his face against her soft hair and tried to ignore the enticing strawberry scent of her. His battered body protested, but he didn’t care. Jaimie was in his arms, alive, and healed by his blood. He never wanted to let her go again but he knew he had to. For now, though, he was going to let her love ease the pain in the depths of his soul.
Although her eyes glowed even brighter than before in shimmering gold and her fangs had elongated further, his beautiful woman wouldn’t move one inch. He could help her but she was afraid and wouldn’t give in although he begged her. He refused to grab and force her to his throat, or wherever she wanted to feed from, so he couldn’t go that route, but he could tempt her. Oh yes, he could tempt her with the scent of his blood. He could only pray she would give in finally to what they had both wanted for so long. To be together on so many levels.
Moving so he was certain he was between her and the closed bedroom door in case she tried to bolt for it, Alex threw off what was left of the leather jacket he wore. He followed by peeling off his ripped shirt and let that fall to the floor as well. Malina’s eyes followed every move he made and he couldn’t help but focus in on her mouth when her tongue swept across her lower lip. Fighting back a groan of need for her he loosened his belt and pulled it free from his jeans. Right before he let the belt fall to the floor he pulled a small gold and silver dagger from the sheath attached to it.
Looking Malina right in the eyes he softly said, “I can’t let you suffer anymore, princess. It’s going to be you and me or nothing at all.”
Without pause he took the sharp dagger and drew it across his chest right over his heart. The cut he made wasn’t deep but it was enough to make him bleed. The sting was nothing as compared to the pain he felt watching Malina suffer. He barely noticed the sensation of the warm blood running down his chest because he was so focused on the woman he loved. A woman who was trying everything to stay away from him as she slammed back into the bedside dresser again.
Malina wrapped her arms across her chest and closed her eyes, but Alex knew she was hyperaware of exactly where he was. Her breathing was labored and he saw her inhale deeply as he was sure she was capturing the scent of his strawberry-laced blood. Her jaw was clenched but he still heard the delicate whimper that escaped her lips. Her body began to shake and it took all of his willpower not to run to her and take her in his arms. He fought the urge, though, for her. He knew she needed to be the one to finally give in because he was more than fucking willing.
Slowly she opened her eyes and he could see the inner battle she waged. He saw the fear, the hunger, the desire, and, oh yes, the love. The love that she had held back for so long which was beginning to tip the scales in his favor. He knew then that they had a chance and he just had to push her over the edge she was looking over. The edge that was beckoning to her, but she just didn’t know how to step over the precipice to fall into the love and joy she had been denied for so long.
Making sure she was completely focused on him and the blood running down his chest Alex reached down with a finger. Touching the warm sticky fluid he captured a single drop on his fingertip and brought it to his lips. He sucked his finger into his mouth and tasted the saltiness of his blood, nothing unusual, but he knew that Malina would taste so much more. The idea truly made his blood heat and his body warm. He could tell the affect was magnified in her because she gasped, her fangs peaking at him. She subtly shivered while her skin flushed chasing away the paleness that had lingered for so many minutes. He had her and he knew it. Just one little push and she would be there with him.
Drawing his finger from his mouth he licked his lips showing her his pleasure of the blood. Her eyes zeroed in on his action and she moaned again. While he had her total attention he whispered, “Don’t fight it, Malina. We need each other. I can feel your need and I need you just as much. Let me love you, let me be yours, and you can be mine. Please, Malina.”