Home > Dark Legacy (Dark #27)(15)

Dark Legacy (Dark #27)(15)
Author: Christine Feehan

She patted the couch again. She wasn’t about to say she thought he was delirious on top of everything else. He needed blood and he was obviously exhausted. He’d appointed himself her guardian and protector, but he was stubborn as hell. His duty, privilege and honor to protect her? Even knowing she was Vadim’s lifemate? She changed tactics.

“Dragomir, please come and lie down on the couch. Just for a few minutes. If you need to slay dragons for me, you can do it later. Although I love those dragons. Ever since the children got them, I’ve secretly wanted one. I love the idea of having the freedom of soaring in the sky.” She smoothed her palm over the cushions. “Please.”

His gaze drifted over her face. His eyes were a strange amber most of the time, but right then, they were pure gold. Burning hot, molten gold framed with black eyelashes that were far too long for a man to have. He crossed the room to the sofa and took her at her word, shocking her by stretching out, his head in her lap.

Her breath caught in her throat. It was one thing to have his head resting on her thighs when he was asleep, another when he was awake. It felt… intimate.

“You are most certainly not Vadim’s lifemate, Emeline,” he said, closing his eyes as if he was so weary he couldn’t keep them open one moment longer. “You are mine.”

Her heart stuttered at his proclamation. For the first time, there was a bite in his voice, as if no one had better try to take her from him. She wanted the fantasy. This man. One who would want her when she looked like a hag from a horror film. One determined to save the lifemate of a master vampire conspiring to take over the world.

The healer had cleaned the blood from him and repaired his clothing, but even with the hours of work, Dragomir still looked as if he’d been in an epic battle. She couldn’t help but smooth back the hair falling around his face. “I wish that was true, Dragomir, but we both know it isn’t. I would know. I dream about things that happen. I would know.” She knew she couldn’t have a man like Dragomir – someone with courage and integrity. She was lost to that world. Lost to any world where there was a good man.

He angled his head and opened his eyes. Her heart jolted. Pure liquid gold blazed at her. “I do not want you to be upset when the ritual works and you are bound to me. I am giving you fair warning. I know binding you to me will work.”

“I would be honored to be your lifemate, Dragomir,” she said, being honest. “Thank you for saving the children. And me.” The last wobbled a little. He had kept her from Vadim. That was worth everything to her. Watching him fight for them, for her and the children, bending his shoulders and back to shelter the two youngest from the horrific burning threads falling from the sky had been so humbling. He was the most courageous man she’d ever known. She was a stranger to him and she knew ancients rarely associated with humans, yet he’d been the one to come for her. To save her.

His unblinking gaze searched her face as if looking for hidden traps. “Te avio päläfertiilam. You are my lifemate.” He reached up and took her hand, pressing it against his chest, right over his heart. His fingers began to move in slow caresses over her bare skin. “Éntölam kuulua, avio päläfertiilam. I claim you as my lifemate.”

Emeline felt a shiver go through her. Her body felt hot in comparison to his. That worried her. She knew he needed to be in the healing soil, and the fact that he refused to do so made her anxious beyond her comprehension. “Dragomir,” she whispered his name. Fearing for him. “Please do as the healer asked.”

“Shh… Listen to the words I say to you. First, in my language, the ancient language of my people, and then in your language so you understand the enormity of the sacred vows I am saying to you. I am tying us together. Giving you my heart and soul and body. I will take into my keeping your heart and soul and body. You will be safe with me.”

His fingers tightened around hers, his thumb still moving until she felt that caress go right through her skin straight to her heart. He had an effect on her she didn’t understand. When he spoke his language, his voice was deep, the timbre commanding, vibrating through her body as if he was striking chords in her that were already prearranged and tuned immediately to that frequency. Bonded with him. She was so susceptible. She wanted every single thing he said to be true – but she knew it was impossible.

“Ted kuuluak, kacad, kojed. I belong to you. Élidamet andam. I offer my life for you.”

Tears welled up again. The words were so beautiful. He couldn’t do that, of course, but she understood why Blaze was so enamored with Maksim. Dragomir brought her hand to his mouth, his lips moving over the center of her palm as he kept declaring his vows to her.

“Pesämet andam. I give you my protection.”

He’d already given her his protection, and he was so torn up, his body ripped to pieces, yet he refused to take care of himself, refused to go into the healing earth as he should have. She felt the words go right through her skin, his lips brushing the center of her palm, so that his vow sank into her veins. Her blood carried them straight to her heart.

“Uskolfertiilamet andam. I give you my allegiance. Sívamet andam. I give you my heart. Sielamet andam. I give you my soul.”

She couldn’t stop the tears trickling down her face. Her throat felt raw. Her lungs burned for air. What man could give a woman such a vow and mean it? She could hear absolute honesty in his voice. She wanted him for herself with every breath she took, but he deserved so much more. She was a mess. A terrible, hot mess. A man like Dragomir had no business tying himself to her, even if it was only in his mind.

“Ainamet andam. I give you my body. Sívamet kuuluak kaik että a ted. I take into my keeping the same that is yours.”

That lower lip curved again into his almost smile, and she couldn’t help it, she had to touch it with the pad of her finger. A light caress. The compulsion was so strong there was no stopping that little stroke, but his gaze jumped to hers and she fell into all that hot burning gold.

“You have a beautiful body, sívamet, and, although mine is a bit torn up right now, I assure you, I will take proper care of you. All the time.”

Her heart skipped a beat and then began to gallop. What was she thinking sitting here with this decent, honorable man? She made a move to slide out from under him, thinking to run, to keep him from knowing the worst. He thought he knew the worst, but he didn’t.

Dragomir rolled onto his side and clamped his arm around her thighs. “Stay still. Listen to me, Emeline. Every word must be said to you.”

She shook her head. “Don’t. Don’t, Dragomir. Not because I don’t want it to be true. I do. Every single part of me is saying this is the most beautiful moment of my life, but you can’t think to throw away your life. I won’t let you. There’s Genevieve…” She broke off. She’d want to kill Genevieve if the woman came near Dragomir. That knowledge shocked her. Already, just because he’d said his vows as if they truly belonged, she wanted it so badly that a part of her was believing he was hers.

“Ainaak olenszal sívambin. Your life will be cherished by me for all time. Te élidet ainaak pide minan. Your life will be placed above mine for all time. Te avio päläfertiilam. You are my lifemate.” His thumb slid down the tracks of her tears. “Did you understand me, Emeline? You are my lifemate, not Genevieve. No other woman can possibly be. There is only you for me.”

She took a deep breath and let it out. She wasn’t going to dissuade him, and he desperately needed to go to ground and heal. If she didn’t agree with him, tell him the things he thought he wanted to hear, he would stay there until the sun came up. She stroked a soothing caress over his hair. That beautiful head of salt and pepper that flowed like a waterfall to his waist. She’d never been fond of long hair on a man, but it didn’t detract from his fierce warrior persona. Neither did his long lashes or that lower lip she was beginning to fixate on.

“All right. It’s done. Now, really, you have to get into the earth and let it heal you.”

“Almost. Ainaak sívamet jutta oleny. You are bound to me for all eternity. Ainaak terád vigyázak. You are always in my care.” He turned her hand over and brushed his lips over her knuckles.

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