Bound to Darkness(Midnight Breed,book 13)(31) by Lara Adrian
She smiled in awe when the waiter brought her plate of seared scallops and some kind of brightly colored, artfully arranged vegetable accompaniment. Even Rune had to admit the dish looked and smelled delicious. Not that he would be partaking. Unlike Carys, the rest of the Breed could only consume human food in minute quantities.
“Why take me to dinner if you can’t enjoy it too?” She took a sip of her chilled wine and all he could do was stare at the delicate working of her throat.
“You’ll enjoy it, so that’s enjoyment enough for me.”
He watched her cut into a scallop, then spear it on the end of her fork. Her lips closed around it and a slow smile spread over her face. “It’s amazing.”
She moaned in quiet pleasure as she chewed, and his groin went tight under the drape of the white tablecloth. Fuck. Had he really thought he could watch this sensual woman eat a decadent meal without it making him think how hungry he was to put his mouth on her?
“I’m sorry I kept you waiting so long at the museum,” she said after a moment. “I’m working on an American painters exhibit and I really needed to get it wrapped up before I left.”
Rune smirked. “Here I thought you were punishing me for yesterday.”
“Maybe some of that too.” She glanced down and picked at some of the fancy vegetables with her fork. “Is this date your idea of an olive branch? Wine and dine me at one of the hardest restaurants to get into in the city?”
“I was hoping it could be a start.” He reached across the table to settle his hand over hers. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about the club.”
She shook her head. “That wasn’t it, Rune—”
“I’m saying I don’t want to lose you, Carys.” He swore under his breath. “I’m saying I want to try again. Can we do that?”
When she didn’t answer right away, a coldness began to infiltrate his chest.
“You have to be willing to let me in.”
“You are in. You were in before I even knew what hit me.”
She smiled, but he could see that she was also wary of him now. Damn it, he could see that she was afraid to get hurt again.
Part of him wished she didn’t care so deeply for him. But a stronger part of him couldn’t deny how his blood roared through his veins, knowing that this extraordinary woman wanted to be with him when she could have her pick of any man she set her eyes on.
“I’m willing to start again, but I’ve got questions, Rune.” She exhaled a dry laugh. “I’m not even sure that’s actually your name.”
“It is,” he said.
“Your first, or your last?”
A tendon pulsed in his jaw. “My only name.”
“But not always.” She stared at him, and he knew she saw the tell.
He forced himself to hold her sharp gaze, even when she seemed to look right through him. “No, not always. But it’s the only name I’ve used for a very long time.”
She didn’t say anything. Her silence measured him, and he knew he owed her more than that.
“I was given a different name at birth, but when I left my father’s Darkhaven, I left behind everything he gave me.” And he would never utter that man’s name again, unless it was to curse the bastard to hell as he took his hideous life. “My name is, and will always be, Rune.”
Tenderness softened Carys’s gaze as she listened to him. She sat very still, compassion written across her face. “It must’ve been difficult, being on your own at such a young age.”
A young age? He’d been a grown man by the time he had finally cut ties with his past, not a child. He frowned, unsure what to say. Not quite certain where she was going.
“I’ve heard a bit about your background from the other fighters, from things I’ve picked up here and there. You know, how you grew up on the streets here in Boston, all alone. Doing whatever you had to in order to survive. It couldn’t have been easy for you.”
Rune felt himself nodding absently. He’d told a lot of different stories about his past over the years, some of them more or less true. But leave it to him to get tangled up in one of those tales with a woman gifted with photographic memory.
“I never expected life to be easy,” he murmured, and that much was the truth.
As he spoke, the group of guys from before circled back and began to approach the table.
The one in the lead awkwardly cleared his throat. Rune ordinarily might have scattered them with a glower, but given the uncomfortable path of his conversation with Carys now, he was actually grateful for the interruption.
When he glanced their way, the three young men gave him eager looks. “Excuse us, uh . . . We just wanted to say, uh, really great match between you and Jagger the other night.”
Another nodded enthusiastically. “You were awesome, man.”
Rune smiled blandly and murmured his thanks, but they weren’t leaving. “We know you’re kinda busy here, but, uh . . . could we maybe get a picture with you real quick?”
Carys grinned over the rim of her wine glass as Rune nodded and waited for the men to crowd in with him and snap the photo. He made sure to turn his head at the last moment, a subtle dodge of the camera’s eye.
Or not so subtle.
Carys’s knowing stare held his gaze as the fans finally moved on. “You don’t like the attention, do you?”
He grunted. In fact, he hated the attention. “I didn’t get into fighting for the fame. Not for the money either.”
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