Home > Dark Legacy (Dark #27)(10)

Dark Legacy (Dark #27)(10)
Author: Christine Feehan

“Don’t follow,” she pleaded, rushing up her steps. She knew Dragomir would. He was one step behind Vadim. She knew coming after Dragomir was Vadim’s army of horrible creatures. Vadim had already weakened her, taking her blood. Her neck burned, a fierce, intolerable pain that spread through her like wildfire.

Vadim waved his hand and her door stuck as she tried to jerk it open. She turned to face him, despair moving through her. Despair. Sorrow. Fear – although she was almost beyond fear. Back to the door, she slid down until her bottom hit the porch, knees up. She already knew exactly how the scenario would play out. Dragomir was on the stairs, and Vadim swung around to face him.

Emeline forced herself to look at the ancient warrior. He was the opposite of everything Vadim was. Roped muscles, scars, waist-length salt-and-pepper hair. He looked rugged. Tough. Scary. He had tattoos drifting up his neck so he looked a little like a modern-day outlaw biker. Vadim, despite his head being blown off repeatedly, always managed to restore his flawless, model looks. At first glance, one would be terrified of Dragomir, not Vadim, and that would be a very big mistake.

Her breath caught in her throat as Dragomir continued right up the stairs toward Vadim. She wanted to close her eyes, but she couldn’t. She’d witnessed his death over and over in her nightmare. She always woke up when he went down and she never saw the outcome, only that he sacrificed his life for hers. She felt the least she could do was watch. More – this time, she planned to aid him.

Her hand dropped to the pocket of the long dress she wore. Once before, after continually trying new things in her dreams, she’d changed the outcome of the future. She was determined to do the same this time, or die trying. Time slowed down. Just as she knew it would, the air exploded with more vampires, and as they appeared, the Carpathian hunters joined in the fight.

She knew the children were safe. Genevieve was still out in the open, slumped over the bench in the play yard, but everyone was too occupied with the fierce battle to notice her. Emeline’s world narrowed until there was only Dragomir and Vadim. They moved as if in slow motion, but she knew it was really just the opposite. Dragomir didn’t so much as hesitate. He came up the stairs leading to her verandah with a steady pace. To her shock, he used a human weapon, one developed by Tariq for his security forces. That was new, not in her dream.

As the missile streaked toward Vadim, the vampire leapt into the air and rushed Dragomir so that the fiery bullets missed him. Dragomir flung the weapon aside as he took to the air to meet Vadim’s attack. Emeline crawled across the planks of wood beneath the two snarling opponents to get to the strange gun Dragomir had discarded. Blood dripped down onto her shoulder, and she knew immediately it was Dragomir’s. Vadim’s blood would burn, a terrible acid, going through skin to bone. She caught up the gun and kept crawling, moving to the far side of the porch and the relative shelter of the wide railing.

“You can’t have her,” Dragomir said softly.

The words carried to her despite the low tone. The two men were close to each other, fists driving deep into chests. Two primitive fighters going for the kill. The moment she heard those soft, determined words, his statement absolute, her heart fluttered. So did her stomach. She looked up at his face. He had to be in pain. Vadim’s talons were digging through flesh to get to his heart, but Dragomir’s scarred features gave nothing away. He stared directly into Vadim’s eyes, his fist in Vadim’s chest.

Emeline pulled her gaze from the two combatants with difficulty, lifting her weapon and turning slightly to face the threat that always came and prevailed in her dream – Vadim’s brother, Sergey. He came up behind Dragomir as the master vampire kept the Carpathian focused on him. Before Sergey could reach Dragomir and attack, Emeline rose up onto her knees and pulled the trigger. The gun bucked in her hand, driving her backward. Shockingly, the weapon was hot as the missile left the barrel, rolling, fanning the accelerant so that it burst into flames just before it entered Sergey’s body.

She couldn’t believe she’d actually scored a hit. It wasn’t his heart, but she’d aimed for the chest, the largest target on him. She knew it wasn’t a kill shot, but it did drive him away from Dragomir. It also got her Sergey’s attention. His lips drew back in a terrible snarl and he slapped the fiery missile away from his body. It left a hole in his chest, flames still licking up his torso.

She steadied her hand and her nerves, placing the weapon on the railing to keep from ruining her aim. She pulled the trigger and a second missile spun through the air. Sergey howled as it struck his stomach, penetrating much deeper than the first. Furious, the vampire dove at her, uncaring of the fiery hole in his body. She bit off a scream and ducked as he raked at her face. The claws ripped at her scalp and snagged in her thick, wild, very tangled hair. The vampire dragged her halfway across the porch back toward her front door before he let her loose to get the burning missile from his body.

The moment she was attacked by Sergey, Dragomir ripped his hand back, taking part of Vadim’s heart with his fist locked around it. Vadim screamed, throwing his head back and then forward to crash into Dragomir’s forehead. Dragomir fell back, hitting the floor of the verandah. Blood poured from wounds in his chest and neck where the master vampire had ripped at him. In his fist was part of the blackened heart and he kept his fingers closed tightly around the prize.

Vadim, spraying acid-like blood over the flooring, rails and even the side of the house, staggered back and fell, landing almost in Emeline’s lap. She dragged the ice pick from under the railing where she’d stashed it after her third dream. She rolled once, bringing her right against the master vampire. He caught her head in his hands as if he might break her neck. Staring into his eyes, she thrust the ice pick into his heart, using both hands and every bit of strength she had. Simultaneously, Dragomir tossed the bit he held into the yard as he called down the lightning, directing it at the little piece of Vadim’s heart. Instantly it was incinerated.

Vadim howled, fury overcoming his perfect good looks, now long since vanished. His face was a mask of evil, eyes glowing red. His teeth, sharp and terrible, bit deep into her neck. Pain flashed through her. He wanted it to hurt and he gulped at the blood, even as he pulled the ice pick from his chest and tossed it to his brother. Sergey caught the weapon and slammed it down on Dragomir’s thigh, pinning him to the floor as he elongated the blade. His hand morphed into a second ice pick, and he did the same with that blade, deliberately hitting the artery as he struck the other thigh.

Emeline tried to fight, to get Vadim off her, but he held her to him, gulping at her blood while Sergey swallowed the blood spraying from Dragomir’s thigh. Vadim thrust Emeline aside without running his foul tongue over the twin marks in her neck, allowing the burning holes to continue to bleed freely. The master vampire crawled to Dragomir, shoved his brother out of the way and pressed his mouth over the wound on the Carpathian’s thigh.

Dragomir’s eyes met hers. She’d never seen a man more ravaged. The hot threads falling from the sky had burned him over and over. Vadim had shredded his chest and neck and put a hole in his chest near his heart. Both legs were pierced through. He looked tired and pale, the lines etched deep into his face, his scars proclaiming his many battles standing out proudly. He didn’t look defeated, only tired.

Sergey turned his head toward Emeline. He licked his lips, staring at her neck, Dragomir’s blood staining his teeth and jaw where it had trickled down. He started toward her, and her breath caught in her throat. She couldn’t even scream. She just watched him come at her, aware that the other hunters and the human security force were fighting off Vadim’s army and wouldn’t come to her rescue.

Dragomir moved then, with sudden blurring speed, catching Vadim by the back of the neck and slamming his head into his leg and then into the floor with shocking strength. He flung the master vampire backward again and was instantly over top of him, his fist driving deep into the vampire’s chest.

Vadim screamed, shrieking for his army to come, to kill Dragomir. He fought, pounding at the wounds on Dragomir’s legs, lunging forward to bite at him savagely with his sharp teeth, tearing chunks of flesh from him.

Emeline realized she had rolled right over the gun. It dug into the back of her leg. She caught at it in desperation, pulled it out from under her and fired almost point-blank into Sergey’s chest. The missile blew him backward right over both Vadim and Dragomir. She fired a second time, straight into Vadim’s back.

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