Bound to Darkness(Midnight Breed,book 13)(42) by Lara Adrian
He glanced at the time. Twenty minutes across town would get him there just before nine. He didn’t want to show up too early, but he sure as hell wasn’t going to be late and give Carys’s father another reason to despise him.
Shit. Maybe the pall-bearer jacket was pouring it on a bit thick.
Rune took it off . . . then froze when the club’s sound system in the arena suddenly went from silent to ear-splitting.
What the fuck?
It was still a couple of hours before the first of the staff were due to show up to open the place, so who was there? He stalked out of his quarters and into the main floor of the arena, cutting the noise with a sharp mental command.
A large man leaned on the bar, one foot jacked up on the boot rail below.
No, not merely a man.
A Breed male.
His head was shaved, showcasing a blend of dermaglyphs and tattoos that snaked up his thick neck and onto his skull. He wore black pants and a black shirt, the kind of clothes that were standard issue for any urban street thug. A black nine-millimeter pistol was holstered at his hip.
Rune’s hackles rose in warning. “Club’s not open now. You lost or something?”
“Just lookin’ for someone,” the guy said without bothering to look Rune’s way. “Thought I’d have me a little peek around in the meanwhile.”
The gravelly voice, dark with amusement, carried an unmistakable Irish brogue. The sound of that accent turned the warning that clamored in Rune’s veins to something colder.
“I think you misunderstood me,” he growled at the stranger. “What I meant was, get the fuck out of my place.”
Now the vampire grinned. He drew to his full height, and Rune realized he wore one of the spiked cage gloves on his hand. He curled a fist and met Rune’s stare across the arena. “Ya know, as efficient as a nine semiauto is, I’ll wager slicing into some asshole with one of these is a lot more satisfying.”
“Aye,” Rune said. “Come back tonight after we open, and I’ll be glad to demonstrate for you.”
The thug chuckled. “Won’t be staying in town that long. Neither will you . . . Rune, is it?”
Rune didn’t reply. Although he hardly needed the confirmation, now he spotted the black scarab tattoo that rode on the back of the male’s hand. His molars clamped so tight, it was a miracle they didn’t shatter as he immediately began calculating the quickest way to kill the bastard.
“You need to come with me,” the vampire said. “Someone wants to talk to you.”
Rune grunted. “I’m not going anywhere.”
“Really? Looks like you are. All polished up and fancy.” The vampire gestured toward him, the metal spikes glinting in the low light of the bar. “That shirt made outta silk? Sure as hell hate to ruin it for you.” He put his other hand down on top of his weapon, ready to draw.
“Go ahead and try,” Rune said. “Only place you’re going tonight is your grave.”
“Don’t be so sure about that.”
The thug’s fingers twitched. It was all the warning he gave.
Then the gun was in his hand and exploding a fired shot. Rune dodged the bullet’s path, realizing as the round grazed his rib cage that the aim hadn’t been to kill. Not yet, anyway. No doubt this son of a bitch was saving that honor for someone else.
Blood seeped warm and wet at his side as he rolled to the floor, then came up on the balls of his feet. On a bellow, Rune launched himself airborne at the vampire. The gun fired again—a shot squeezed off in panic this time.
The bullet went wild, missing him completely.
Rune body-slammed him, driving his assailant across the bar and into the large mirror behind it. The gun slipped out of the thug’s fingers and clattered across the floor. Glassware and bottles of liquor crashed down. Broken shelving crumbled all around them.
The other male snarled and made a flailing slash at Rune with the glove’s spikes. Rune grabbed the fist as it came driving toward him. Titanium teeth cut into his fingers as he immobilized the strike and wrenched the thug’s wrist back with a savage thrust of muscle and fury.
Bones popped as they broke, tendons grinding as they severed. The male howled in agony as his hand flopped uselessly in the wrong direction on his arm.
And then, Rune’s rage really snapped its leash.
Straddling the vampire on the concrete floor, he pounded his fists into the other male’s face. Blood spurted. Teeth and fangs crunched under Rune’s relentless, punishing blows.
He didn’t stop hitting the bastard—could not stop—even after the dead man’s face was a pulpy mash of pulverized bone and destroyed cartilage.
Rune’s breath sawed out of his lungs, wheezing through his enormous fangs. His eyes burned red with rage. His veins hammered with adrenaline and anger . . . and the dawning realization of what he’d done.
He turned his gaze away from the carnage to look at his torn, gore-soaked shirt and pants. His hands were gashed and bruised. The graze in his side licked at him like an open flame. Even with his Breed metabolism, it would take hours, possibly days, for the evidence of this altercation to fully heal.
Carys . . .
He couldn’t go to the Chase Darkhaven now. Not like this.
And the thought of calling Carys to tell her what had just occurred—and all of the ramifications that would follow when he’d have to explain why—would be the certain end of anything they had together.
He dropped his head back and let out a roar of anger and frustration.
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