Bound to Darkness(Midnight Breed,book 13)(26) by Lara Adrian
He tried to be gentle. “This is the only way I know how to live. I don’t expect you to understand that. I wouldn’t want you to understand what that really means.”
“What if I want to understand? What if I told you I need to understand, Rune?” She looked at him, holding his stare with a searching gaze that pierced him. Stabbed him. “What if I want something more than this for you . . . for us?”
He slowly shook his head, knowing there was nothing he could say that she would want to hear. “I’m never going to be part of the world you want me in. Not in any way that matters, Carys. I can’t be.”
“Only because you refuse to be,” she said, seeing through him as only she could do.
“Ah, love.” Regret made his words hard to summon. “I tried to warn you. I told you not to expect anything from me . . .”
She scoffed now. “Oh, don’t worry. I remember the rules. No blood between us, not ever. We’ll have a good time together until it’s no longer a good time, then we’ll go our separate ways. No harm, no foul.”
Jesus. Had he actually said something so stupid and callous? He knew he had, and Carys, with her flawless memory, hadn’t forgotten a syllable of the asinine terms he’d set down for their relationship.
He reached out to smooth a wild tendril of caramel brown hair behind her ear. “This is what I wanted to prevent from happening with you, Carys. Hurting you. Disappointing you.”
“Because you care so much.” She said it as if the words were ashes on her tongue.
“Yes, because I care.” He slid his fingertips under her chin to draw her eyes to his. “I care more than you can possibly know.”
She pulled away from his touch. “Why don’t you want a blood bond with me?”
The question made his pulse hammer, even while the notion of binding her to him as his mate sent a coldness into his veins. “I don’t have room for that in my life.”
“No room for me.”
“No, not just you.” He shook his head. “Hell, especially you.”
“Especially me?” A jagged laugh scraped out of her. “At least you’re finally being honest about something.”
Shit. He was fucking this all up. Saying the wrong things. He was making everything worse.
In a darkened corner of his conscience, he knew this was the moment when he could do the right thing by her at last. Right here, right now, he could let Carys go.
She was angry with him for good enough reason, already wounded by him. One more hard push and she would probably be able to hate him.
But damn it . . . He couldn’t do it.
He didn’t want to let her go.
A harsh curse rushed out of him as he looked at the misery on her beautiful face. “You weren’t supposed to happen to me, Carys. You were going to be trouble for me and I knew it. I told myself that, the very first time I saw you. I should’ve fucking listened.”
He leaned in to kiss her, but she shoved him away on a broken cry.
“Don’t touch me.” She was off the barstool and standing more than arm’s length from him in less than a blink of time. Her eyes were glittering with fury now. The pretty tips of her fangs peeked out from behind her lip as she glared at him. “Sex isn’t going to fix this, Rune. I’m asking you to let me in. I want to know who you truly are.”
In truth, she didn’t want to know.
No more than he wanted to go there with her.
He couldn’t open that up. He’d buried that part of him in the past where it belonged. And where he planned to keep it.
“You know more than anyone else, Carys.” He rubbed a hand over the tight tendons that started to ache in his jaw. “Christ, woman. You know more than you should.”
“It’s not enough. I can’t do this with you anymore. It hurts too much.”
“Carys . . .” He moved toward her and she dodged him, using her Breed genetics to elude him in a flash of motion.
She started for the corridor across the arena toward the staff entrance at the back of the building. Rune fell in behind her, but she was already at the door.
“Carys, for fuck’s sake. Wait a minute—”
She paused only long enough to throw a searing glare over her shoulder. “Congrats on the club, Rune.”
She pushed the door open. The battered metal panel swung wide, into the blinding blast of midday sunlight. Hot rays poured inside the corridor, pushing Rune back into the shadows on a hiss.
He brought his arm up to shield his eyes and saw her stride into the broad daylight, where she knew he couldn’t follow her. She was unreachable now. Gone.
He told himself he should be relieved.
He kept telling himself that, even as he stormed back into the arena bar and smashed the bottle of whiskey into the nearest wall.
After a long day of talks in the command center with D.C. on conference call and his own team in Boston, Sterling Chase still had hours of work ahead of him that evening. But as he strolled back up to the Darkhaven with Tavia, he could think of nothing more pressing than taking a long moment to appreciate his mate’s perfect backside as she walked ahead of him in the corridor leading into the mansion.
He fell back another pace or two, watching her hips sway with each long-legged stride. Her firm, fine ass never failed to captivate him. Wrapped in gray tailored pants as it was now, or gloriously bared for his every wicked pleasure. Preferably the latter. As soon as possible, if he had anything to say about it.
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