Home > Dark Legacy (Dark #27)(16)

Dark Legacy (Dark #27)(16)
Author: Christine Feehan

The gesture was pure intimacy, sending heat waves through her body. Her heart seemed to have found the rhythm of his. The longer she spent in Dragomir’s company, the more she fell under his spell.

“Now, will you please go to ground?” She needed him to do so. The moment he did, she intended to find Blaze and Maksim and tell them the truth. She had to save Dragomir from himself.

“Not until I remove the parasites from your blood.”

“After. Tonight. That doesn’t give you much time to heal.” She kept her voice low and soothing, because more than her next breath, she needed to take care of Dragomir. She didn’t want him out of her sight, but he had to heal properly. The healer had made that clear. And no way in hell was Vadim touching him with his disgusting parasites. She was determined to protect Dragomir. It was the least she could do after what he’d done for her. He’d made her feel human again, beautiful and worthy.

“Can you go to ground under my home, so I know you’re close?”

She had no idea why the thought of him leaving her made her feel anxious and even desperate, but she needed to make certain he was alive and well.

“I’m going to remove the parasites from your body and heal you. I took Daratrazanoff’s blood twice so I would have the strength. It was imperative that I live so I could ensure there is no trace of Vadim’s attack left on you. I will remove his parasites and any possible way he can contact you.”

She caught his long hair in her hand and leaned over him, burying her face in the thick mass. All along, when he’d been so wounded and torn, he hadn’t been thinking of himself or his pain, or even if he would live or die; he’d been thinking of her. Living for her. She could love this man. She really could. But she wasn’t surviving for herself.

Emeline straightened and forced her fingers open so his hair slid from her palm. “Go to ground, Dragomir. I have things to do now. Important things.” Like pack a bag, pull every cent she’d stashed out of her hiding place and run before the sun set on the next day. “I don’t want you to take the parasites from my blood, not until you’ve spent at least one full day in the soil. I mean it.”

“I am unused to women believing they can give orders to their men. Make no mistake, sívamet, I am your man. Your…” He frowned, propping his head up with one hand while he tried to remember the correct word. “Spouse. Husband. We are wed. Our souls are complete. I cannot go to ground when my woman is hurting, and you’re…” He broke off again, his gaze searching the room and hallway. “Who else is here?”

She stiffened and tried to slide off the couch. His arm kept her thighs locked in place, preventing her escape. “No one.” Her voice was small. Too small.

His gaze jumped to her face. Those golden eyes refused to allow her to look away. “I hear a heartbeat. Not mine. Not yours. Fast. Galloping. I thought one of the children, but it’s faster, out of rhythm.” He frowned. “Painful. As if something is squeezing the heart.”

His eyes left hers and began to drop lower. Her lips. Her chin. Her throat. Breasts. She held her breath as his speculative gaze dropped to her stomach. There was no way she could stop the involuntary gesture – she covered her womb with her hand protectively.

Dragomir sat up slowly. Stood. Flowed across the room with the grace of a lion. Turned and stalked back toward her, as if she were the prey. Terrified, she held up one hand, a pitiful defense against him as she surged to her feet with the hysterical idea of fighting her way out of the house.

“Köd alte hän.” The guttural words came out like a curse. He towered over her. Close. Their bodies almost touching. “Tell me.” It was a command, nothing less. “Sit in the chair over there.” He indicated the most comfortable seat in her home with a jerk of his chin. “You tell me everything. Everything. You do not leave a single detail out.”

She shook her head. The tears were burning behind her eyes. The endless, useless fountain she couldn’t seem to turn off. She’d lived without hope for so long, weeks of pain and torment, afraid to sleep, unable to eat, terrified someone would learn her secret and force her to leave the safety of the compound.

“Sívamet.” His voice softened to a brush of velvet, a stroke she felt over her skin. He cupped her face in his hands. His hands were big and surrounded her with his strength. “I am your lifemate. It is my duty and my privilege to see to your happiness. You must give me the details. All of them. You must tell me what you want. The truth of what you want. I cannot do what is best for us until I know these things.”

“You can’t help me. No one can help me.” She was so damn tired of feeling sorry for herself, but the last thing she wanted was to trap Dragomir into her mess. There was no way out for her. She knew because she’d had weeks to try to find one. “You’re like a beautiful white knight in the movies, riding on your horse, or in this case maybe a dragon to save the damsel in distress. Believe me, I know if anyone could do it, you could, but there isn’t a solution I can live with.”

“There are ways to remove it.” Again, his voice was gentle and there was no judgment of any kind. He wasn’t trying to persuade her one way or the other, he simply was voicing what she already knew.

“Of course, my first thought was I had to get rid of it. A child of the vilest creature on the face of the earth? There was no question. I couldn’t stand the thought of it growing inside me like some monster with claws ready to tear me apart from the inside. The pain was so excruciating. I was terrified of what it would be, what horrible thing Vadim had conjured up and put inside of me. Every bad horror movie ever made played through my mind over and over.” She was shaking so hard she could barely stand.

He moved into her and gathered her into his arms. His body was large, strong; his arms felt like security, a security she hadn’t known ever in her life. He sheltered her against his heart. She could feel it beating, strong and steady, just as he was. He felt invincible.

“You’re the most unbelievable man,” she whispered, awed by his reaction. He hadn’t yelled at her, or accused her of betraying those in the compound by bringing a child of Vadim’s into the only small part of the world safe to them. He simply ordered her to tell him everything so he could find solutions.

“Stop crying, sívamet. I am unused to dealing with a woman’s tears, and I find yours – unsettling. You aren’t alone anymore.” He walked her over to the large armchair, sank into it and pulled her onto his lap. “Talk to me, Emeline.”

His voice was perfectly pitched. That deep timbre was difficult to ignore, but so velvety it softened the command. He created an intimacy she couldn’t resist. She knew it was wrong to sit on his lap, to allow him to be embroiled further into her insanity, but she couldn’t stop herself. She had to tell someone, and for some reason she couldn’t understand, that someone – the only one she would consider – was asking her at a time when all her defenses were down.

“I made up my mind to get rid of it, but then I heard screaming. Crying. A baby in such pain. I realized she was in pain, just as I was in pain. When I didn’t obey Vadim and go to him when he demanded it, his parasites would attack. Not just me, but the baby as well. He tortured her, and she wasn’t even fully developed. Not nearly so.” She pressed her hand over her womb and lifted her head to look at him. “How can he do the terrible things he does?”

“He is incapable of feeling unless he invokes a strong enough reaction in another. Vampires get high if they kill while feeding. The blood is laced with adrenaline. They can get a rush from someone feeling terror or any strong emotion. The negative emotions are intense. If their puppet eats their prey alive, all of them get a rush. Torturing an unborn child, especially if it distresses you, would be a rush for him.”

“Even his own child?”

“He doesn’t feel. He cannot feel any attachment.”

“Then why go to such lengths to get one?”

His fingers came up to the nape of her neck in an effort to ease the tension out of her. “A tool. He has some plan in mind and children factor into it. Vadim was always incredibly intelligent. All the Malinovs were. He has embraced technology, and clearly Carpathians must do the same if we want to survive in this world. He has a master plan.”

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