Home > Dark Legacy (Dark #27)(13)

Dark Legacy (Dark #27)(13)
Author: Christine Feehan

“I’m your best friend. Practically your sister. Invite me so I can break down the door.”

Despite everything, Emeline smiled. Blaze would, too. She’d break down the door in a heartbeat if she thought Emeline was in trouble. “They know,” she whispered softly aloud. “Oh, God, they know and they’re going to kick me out of here. What am I going to do?” Tears ran down her face. She wanted to stop them, she was sick of crying, but she didn’t have a solution. All this time and she still had no idea what to do. She couldn’t stay. She couldn’t go. Her tears fell on Dragomir’s face and she brushed them off gently.

Dragomir’s hand moved, coming up to hers, shocking her. By all rights, he should have been completely asleep, dead to the world. “She is not alone.” His fingers settled around her wrist lightly, like a bracelet.

She jerked her hand away, her heart racing. Was Blaze, the one person she counted on to help her, betraying her? “Who is with you?” Her voice shook. There was no way to keep fear from shimmering through the room.

Dragomir’s eyes opened. For one moment, she saw pain etched into his face. He took a deep, shuddering breath and was once more expressionless. “Go into the other room and close the door. I’ll handle this.”

“I’ve brought a healer with me,” Blaze called. “Everyone can feel Dragomir’s need.”

The relief was so tremendous that for a moment she didn’t actually realize the implication. Then it hit her. Dragomir’s injuries were so severe other Carpathians could feel them. “Put yourself back to sleep. I’ll let them in.”

He caught at her before she could get up. “Go into the other room. I’ll let them in.”

Her heart skipped a beat and then became a drum. She tasted fear. “Dragomir…”

“Do as I say, woman. You have secrets. A healer will discover them. This healer will discover them. Go now.”

“Why are you doing this for me?”

He touched her hair. “Beautiful color,” he whispered.

Her hair was a wild mess. In tangles. She wanted a brush immediately.

“Go,” he said. “I won’t let them near you.”

She believed him. He was hurt beyond imagining, but he’d poured steel into his voice and she knew he would do exactly as he said he would. All because he liked the color of her hair? Hardly. It was because he was a good man. The best. He’d appointed himself her shield and he stayed on that course no matter what.

She lifted her chin. Squared her shoulders. It was time to face the consequences. They were hers, not this man’s. “I’ll let them in. You put yourself to sleep. Whatever he says…”

Dragomir moved then, a fluid ripple of sheer power. He stood up, towering over her, reaching down to very gently pull her to her feet. “Do as I tell you.” He turned her toward the hallway. “Stay away from the healer until I know if you are safe.”

He was implacable, and no matter what she said, no matter that for the first time she was willing to be thrown out of the compound – for him – he wasn’t accepting her sacrifice. He was going to force her to accept his.

His finger slid down the path her tears had taken on her face. She felt that touch as if it had sunk through her skin and impressed right on her bones.


She nodded, because he’d stand there all day, leaking blood he couldn’t afford to lose. She ducked under his arm and headed down the hall to the first bedroom. She stood in the doorway and watched him lift his hand to wave toward the front door, allowing it to swing open. Blaze was framed there for a moment, her long red hair pulled back away from her face.

“Only the healer is invited in,” Dragomir said firmly.

Blaze stepped aside and a man moved into the house. Emeline’s breath caught in her lungs, trapped until she felt raw with the need for air. He wasn’t particularly tall, nor was he short. Power flowed through him, so much that his body couldn’t possible contain it all and the energy surrounded him. Like Dragomir, muscles rippled beneath his clothes. His hair was longer in the manner of Carpathians, but to his shoulders, pulled back with a leather cord. It was his eyes that caught her attention. They were a startling blue, rimmed with a liquid silver. They were eyes that would see right through her to her secrets. She was grateful that she hid like a coward in her room.

Those strange eyes swept over Dragomir and then moved past him, the gaze traveling down the hall straight to the bedroom. Emeline stepped back, certain he couldn’t see her, but still uneasy.

“You are the Carpathian who betrayed Aleksei with his woman,” Dragomir observed. “Ancient, yet young. I do not believe we have formally met.”

“There was no betrayal,” the man said, clearly uncaring what anyone thought of him, already striding into the room. “Sit before you lose what is left of your life.”

Dragomir hesitated. It was the first time he’d ever done so and she instinctively knew he didn’t want to be in a vulnerable position, one that wouldn’t allow him to protect her. She silently willed him to do as the healer bid him.

“The name is Gary. I am a Daratrazanoff, but was born human.” He didn’t offer any further information, and Emeline had no idea what being a Daratrazanoff was, or how that was important, only that it was.

Dragomir settled onto the floor, but he turned his body so he could watch the door, the hallway and the healer. She wished she had more of the weapons with the fiery missiles. At least she could protect Dragomir if she needed to.

Gary knelt beside him and, without preamble, allowed his spirit to leave his body and move into Dragomir’s. It left the healer completely vulnerable to attack. Blaze had explained the process to Emeline numerous times – how the Carpathians could leave behind all ego, everything to do with them and become pure healing energy. Some were reputed to be far more powerful healers than others. She had heard rumors that they had sent for an extremely strong healer, one they hoped would be able to help heal psychic wounds as well.

She watched closely, saw the wounds on Dragomir’s body mend from the inside out one after another. Time went by. She had no idea how much, but it was long. It took the healer hours to repair the damage to the ancient’s body. Gary didn’t stop until even the rake marks on his face and chest closed. They were still there, red lines to mark where the vampires had ripped him open, but the terrible lacerations and wounds were closed.

The healer came back into his body, pale, weak and clearly disoriented. “We both will need blood, ancient.”

Dragomir glanced at Blaze. “He needs blood. I’m inviting you in only to give him blood and then you must leave.”

Blaze looked hurt but she came in immediately. Emeline watched her open her wrist with a long fingernail and extend her arm toward the healer. He didn’t look at Blaze but studied Dragomir as he fed.

Blaze looked around the room. “Is Emeline all right?”


“She’s my friend.”

“Then respect her wishes.”

Emeline twisted her fingers together, waiting. The healer politely closed the wound on Blaze’s wrist, still without looking at her, and offered blood from his own wrist to Dragomir.

“Who are you to her?” Blaze demanded.

“She is under my protection,” Dragomir stated and took the wrist the healer offered him.

Emeline’s breath caught in her throat. He said it so matter-of-factly, as if his declaration wasn’t handing her the world. Why would he do that? Why would he decide to save the children instead of going after Vadim as he wanted to do, just because she asked? Ancients rarely bothered with humans. She’d seen enough of them to last her a lifetime. Mostly, they ignored everyone and seemed only to live for battles.

But they saved lives. She respected the ancients. She respected the Carpathian people. But they would kick her out in a heartbeat if they knew what she was. Who she really was.

The healer gave Dragomir blood, and then Blaze supplied Gary a second time before the man spoke.

“You need to be put in the healing soil,” Gary said.

“I will do so when I am ready,” Dragomir declared.

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