Home > Dark Legacy (Dark #27)(11)

Dark Legacy (Dark #27)(11)
Author: Christine Feehan

Sergey scrambled off his brother, yanked him up and kicked Dragomir in the head. Pulling Vadim with him, they stumbled to the stairs where three of their army were just hurrying toward them. Sergey snarled at them to hurry, to kill both.

“Just the hunter,” Vadim objected, “but bring me the woman.”

Emeline’s heart stuttered as Sergey grinned evilly at her and then caught up Vadim, thrust him onto his back and streaked into the sky. She took a deep breath. There were at least two cartridges left. Three vampires. Dragomir wasn’t moving. She wasn’t even certain if he was alive. She’d altered the course of her nightmare, but as far as she could tell, he’d suffered more, not less.

Her body felt frozen, every muscle locked with fear. She forced herself to take another deep breath and then move. Blood still leaked down her neck to her shoulder in two steady trickles. She felt it and shuddered at the crawling sensation on her skin. It was difficult to move, to force her cramped, frozen muscles to work. She managed to get to her hands and knees and crawled to Dragomir. It was only a very short distance, but it felt like the length of a football field.

She could no longer hear or see the rest of the compound. Her world had narrowed to the three vampires and the helpless Carpathian she’d vowed to save. She put her body over top of his, making certain the vampires would have a difficult time killing him without getting her off him first. That might only buy him a few moments, but every second would count. If she was lucky, one of the other hunters would notice the drama playing out on her porch.

The three vampires gained the porch and spread out, coming at Dragomir from various angles. She couldn’t keep them all in her sight, so she chose the two closest to each other to watch. She lifted the gun. “Go away.” She hated that she sounded so scared.

One waved his hand to remove the gun. She felt the pull, as if a great magnet had attached itself to the weapon and yanked, but in her mind, she countered the magnet with an opposite one, pushing the powerful compulsive drawing-away. The smile vanished from the vampire’s face, and his two comrades looked at each other.

She felt the one coming up behind her. His energy was evil, oily, a filth spreading across her porch and reaching her before he did. She turned and fired a missile right into his chest. Flames raced up his torso and he screamed, sprawling backward, rolling and then jumping off the porch to run. The wind fanned the flames as he raced away.

She felt movement and tried to turn back around to face the double threat, but Dragomir moved then, his arms going around her as he rolled, tucking her body under the weight of his, one hand smoothly removing the gun and firing at the vampire closest to them. He staggered back into the rail and fell backward over it, clutching his chest where the white-hot flames incinerated his heart.

The last vampire was on them, coming down on one knee beside Dragomir as he slammed his fist downward. Dragomir rolled both of them once more, taking Emeline out of the vampire’s reach and shoving her away from them as he used his legs as a vicious vise, catching the lesser vampire around the neck and squeezing mercilessly. The vampire thrashed and kicked while Dragomir held him down. Emeline sat up slowly and realized Dragomir was trying to sit up as well in order to get to the vampire’s chest.

She hurried over to help him, shoving at his back and then positioning herself there so he could slam his fist into the vampire’s chest and remove the heart. She kept her eyes closed tightly, but it didn’t stop her from hearing the sucking sounds as he withdrew the blackened organ and tossed it over the railing. Lightning flashed, a terrible whip in the sky lashing out so the fiery tip could incinerate the heart.

The vampire’s screams cut off abruptly, and Dragomir shoved the body from him. He turned slightly, caught at Emeline and pulled her close, bunching her hair in his fist so he could tip her head back. “Stay still.”

“Don’t.” She knew his intention. He would try to heal the burning, bleeding holes Vadim had made in her neck. “I’m unclean.” The admission slipped out before she could stop it. To her dismay, it didn’t deter him.

He tightened his hold on her hair and forced her head back when she attempted to resist. She could have countered magic, or pushed energy, but there was no way for her to counter brute force. His tongue was soothing on the fiery pain. She hated that it was. Hated that he would taste Vadim’s filthy blood with its horrid parasites. He would ingest them for her, to try to stop the bleeding.

“I want it to bleed. His parasites are in me, too many to remove. Don’t. Please. You’ll only harm yourself.” God knew, he was already in a bad way. She didn’t see how he was still conscious when he’d lost so much blood. It was everywhere, all over her porch, his clothes, her, and both vampires had gulped as much as they could in the time they had.

“Hush,” he crooned softly, barely lifting his head. Just enough that with every word, every breath, she felt his lips move against her skin. “Let me stop this right now. Get me into the house and put your herbs and whatever else you deem necessary into my wounds. I’ll appear dead, but I won’t be. I’ll need Carpathian blood.” His mouth was once more over the twin wounds Vadim had put in her neck.

“I can’t have you in my house,” she said, betraying her desperation. “Or any of the Carpathians. I…” She felt helpless. Selfish. He was nearly dead because of her. He’d done what she’d asked of him. He’d saved the children and the dragons. He had come back to save her, and he had. Now, he was torn, losing far too much blood. Helping her instead of saving himself.

“Do what I say, woman.”

She winced. Now there was authority in his voice. It might be said in a low, velvet-soft tone, but it was pure command. Even Tariq, the owner of the property, didn’t give her orders. They all treated her gently, afraid she’d break. Worse, she wanted to do as he said for all kinds of reasons, but mostly because he was still alive and she needed him to be. The stroke of his tongue on her skin had been… shocking. Soothing. It wiped out the horrors of Vadim sinking his teeth into her, making her skin crawl and burn.

She glanced over her shoulder toward the battle. The sound of gunfire was loud and once she thought she heard Genevieve screaming. She stood gingerly, her legs shaky, making up her mind. Determined. He was slippery, his blood coating his skin, and so was she, but she managed to pull him a couple of feet across the porch until they were beside the door. She had to let go of him in order to open the door.

She turned back to catch at his arm. To her dismay, there were more of them. Vampires. Surrounding her house. Threatening both.

Did you think I would give up? I will never stop until you are mine. If you don’t come to me now, we will kill everyone there. Each death will be on you. Vadim’s voice, beautiful and yet foul, moved through her mind like an oily sludge.

She gasped, her hand going protectively to her throat. Could she make herself go with them? Put herself back in Vadim’s hands? A shudder went through her body. She should have known that Vadim wouldn’t give up. He wanted her, and if she didn’t go, Dragomir and every other person in the compound would die.

Dragomir’s fingers settled around her ankle like a vise. “Emeline, step back into the house. Leave the door open, but get inside. If they try to get to you, slam the door shut. They cannot enter without an invitation.”

She knew that. It made sense. She could save herself. Hide in her house. Watch Dragomir die right in front of her. She shook her head and tried to take a step toward the waiting vampires, five of them. Far too many for a Carpathian, even one with Dragomir’s skills, let alone one torn up the way he was.

Dragomir flowed to his feet. She had no idea how. None. He shouldn’t be alive, let alone standing. He literally shoved her into the doorway. “Stay put. You try to leave and I will have no choice but to stop you.”

She glared at him. “They’ll kill you. You can’t fight them.” She took one step toward him, determined to fight with him. If he was going to die for her, then she could do the same for him. Except, she couldn’t move. Her foot ran into some kind of invisible barrier. She reached out with a hand and encountered the same thing. She looked up at him, her eyes meeting his. Determination and resolve were in his. She knew he saw despair in hers.

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