Oddly, I felt a twinge of sympathy for him. I wasn’t a particularly sympathetic person, but I knew that if I’d had to see Sam with someone else, it would have destroyed me.

“Do you know what’s strange? The fact that I’ve drank from her actually makes it worse. I know exactly what I’m missing.” His eyes returned to me. “So as much as you think I’m smug that I’ve tasted her, you couldn’t be more wrong. It would be a hell of a lot easier if I didn’t know what I could have had if things had been different.” He swallowed hard. “You make sure you save her. I’d rather watch her with someone else than watch her die.”

“So would I.” And that proved just how important she was to me, because I wasn’t the self-sacrificing type. Without another word to anyone, I teleported to the ground floor of the mansion and appeared outside the piano room. Opening the double doors wide, I strode inside. In addition to Sebastian and three guards were too dark-haired females, but that was where the similarities ended for the two women. One was tall and lithe with blazing green eyes while the other was short and curvy with brown doe eyes.

The tall brunette stood slightly in front of the other female – a protective move. I recalled what Antonio had said about Paige refusing to leave her friend behind, which suggested that the protective vampire was Paige West. I thought the ‘keep the f**k back’ body language was kind of odd. Did she think I wanted her friend for some reason?

“You’re the Heir,” Paige realised. Her protective stance didn’t ease. In fact, it turned aggressive, but she made no move toward me.

“I am.”

“Well if you’re going to hurt me, let’s go,” she dared tauntingly.

“So you can give your injury to me? No thanks. In any case, I have no intention of harming you…or your friend, if that’s your worry.”

Her eyes narrowed suspiciously. “Then why did you have someone track us down?”

“Not both of you, just you. I need your healing skills.”

She blinked in surprise. “I’m not a healer.”

“But your gift does heal, in a sense, doesn’t it?”

“Yes,” she eventually allowed.

“That’s why you’ve been brought here.”

She was silent for a moment. “You just want me to heal someone for you? That’s it?” Her tone was sceptical.

“Not just one, there are four.”

She snickered. “And then you’ll hand me over to my Sire or, worse, execute me for whatever it is that he’s accused me of doing so that people will hunt me down.”

“I have no interest in anything that has happened between you or your Sire.”

“You’re the Heir. It’s part of your job to ensure that justice is found.”

“Right now, I’m not talking to you as the Heir. I’m talking to you as someone whose mate is so badly hurt, she’s dying.” Her friend gasped. “If you can heal her injury and that of the others, your crimes – whatever they are – will be instantly pardoned.”

Paige cocked her head, assessing me carefully. “If I heal them, you’ll let us leave? Both of us?”

“Yes. You have my word that.”

Still seeming suspicious, she let her gaze dance from me to Sebastian and back again. After a moment of silence, she gave a curt nod. “Okay. I’ll help them. But Imani stays with me – I don’t want her leaving my side.”

“Fine.”

My disinterest in separating them appeared to surprise Paige. It also made her relax her stance slightly. “Good. I guess you better take me to them then so we can get this over with.”

I couldn’t have agreed more. The quicker I got everyone healed, the quicker I could get both of these females out of The Hollow before any shit had the chance to hit the fan. Sebastian gently took Paige’s arm, who quickly clasped Imani’s hand, and teleported them away. I immediately followed, appearing outside the row of cells beneath the mansion. Paige was regarding the crowd of people warily while gripping Imani’s hand tightly.

“Everyone, move side,” I ordered. Obediently, the crowd parted, which then allowed Paige a clear view of what was inside the cells.

She gaped. “You said they were injured.”

I jiggled my head. “I may have downplayed the matter slightly.”

“Slightly? These people are tainted with The Call! I can’t help them.”

“Sure you can. If you take away their injury and their pain, you should automatically take away the taint.”

“They’ll attack me the second I go near them. Thanks, but I kind of like being alive.”

I pointed to the three droning males. “See the guy chewing on his mattress? That’s my twin brother, Evan. It’s kind of hard to tell that we’re even related when he looks like that, huh? The other two are members of my squad, Max and Stuart.” Maybe if I made her see them as people, it would help. I walked to where Sam still sat; her aquamarine eyes glimmering with a contradictory mixture of sadness and hope. “And this is my mate, Sam.”

“I’ve heard about her,” Imani said softly. “You were Bound recently, weren’t you?”

“Yes.”

“And if she dies, you die too,” mused Paige. The implication that it was only my own ass I was bothered about saving was clear in her voice.

“That’s right, I do, but it’s her life I’m more interested in saving.”

Paige rested her hands on her hips, blowing out a long breath. “Look, I’m sorry that they’re all sick, okay. I really am. But I can’t?”

“We have ways of holding them still so that they can’t hurt you,” I quickly assured her. “All you need to do is touch them.”

“I could be tainted!”

“Only if they bite you. They won’t be able to do that because they’ll be unconscious. And even if they do bite you, you can simply pass that injury back to them.” I took a step toward her, too frantic with worry to keep calm any longer. “Maybe you’re right and you can’t help them, I don’t know. But you have nothing to lose by trying. I have everything to lose by you not trying.”

“You really love her,” whispered Imani, sounding shocked.

Yeah it probably was surprising to see that the big, bad Heir who they had undoubtedly heard plenty of dark shit about actually felt something for another person. “More than anything,” I confirmed.


Tags: Suzanne Wright Deep In Your Veins Vampires
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