Bound to Darkness(Midnight Breed,book 13)(43) by Lara Adrian
As his bellow echoed in the cavernous arena, footsteps sounded behind him. Multiple pairs of feet crunched in the glass and fallen debris as they neared him.
Rune tossed a searing glance over his shoulder, then launched onto his feet, braced for battle.
Half a dozen armed Breed males stood there, all bearing black scarab tattoos.
The big male in front peeled his lips back in a cold smile. “What are you going to do now, boyo? Think you can kill all of us?”
~ ~ ~
He was late.
At five minutes past the hour, Carys had told herself not to worry; Rune would arrive at any moment. Five minutes late wasn’t like him at all, but it wasn’t cause for worry either.
He would be there. He knew what this night meant to her.
He wouldn’t let her down.
At least, that’s what she’d been telling herself as she sat beside her mother on the sofa in the Darkhaven’s living room, trying not to notice the increasingly impatient expression on her father’s face as his long fingers tapped idly on the arms of his chair across the room.
Now, it was eight minutes after nine and still no sign of Rune.
Nor had he answered her call or message.
“He’s got about two more minutes to get here,” her father said, his deep voice clipped with irritation. “I’ve got orders from Lucan to deal with, plus a hundred other things I’ve put off for this meeting tonight. I can’t afford to waste any more time waiting for this male to make his appearance.”
“He’ll be here,” Carys insisted. Come on, Rune. Please, don’t do this to me.
Her mother glanced over in sympathy, and lovingly squeezed Carys’s hand. “Maybe it would be best if we did this another time instead?”
Carys saw slim chance of that in her father’s flinty eyes. His disapproval of Rune was deepening with every second that ticked by. After a moment, he exhaled a curse and stood up.
“I think we’ve all waited long enough now,” he said. He walked over to Carys and rested his palm on her shoulder. “I know you’re disappointed, sweetheart. I didn’t want to be proven right about him. But I can’t pretend I’m surprised, either.”
Embarrassment flooded her cheeks. Regret put a dull ache in her chest. Rune and her father meant the world to her, and she could hardly bear the idea that the wedge between them had just widened tonight. She could only imagine how her brother would react when he found out she’d been stood up. Aric would likely have to be chained down to keep from going off to confront Rune and defend her honor.
“This isn’t like Rune,” Carys murmured, hearing the desperation in her voice. “He said he would be here, and he will. I know he will . . .”
But even as she said it, doubts crowded in like dark clouds.
And rising concern too.
Something wasn’t right. Rune hadn’t exactly been excited about meeting her parents, but nothing would have kept him from making good on his promise to her to be there.
She felt it in her bones now. In her blood.
Something was terribly wrong.
As her parents quietly left the room, Carys tried calling Rune again. He didn’t pick up.
His number rang, and rang, and rang . . ..
Dread clawed at Carys’s stomach when she reached La Notte’s front entrance at street level and found the heavy chain lock hanging loose. The fact that the tall, arched double doors were slightly ajar made the fine hairs on her nape rise in alarm.
She hadn’t been sure what to hope for when she’d slipped away from the Darkhaven to come to the club and look for Rune. After he’d failed to pick up her repeated calls or return her urgent messages, she only knew she couldn’t stay there wondering.
And as humiliated and hurt as she’d felt, sitting in her family’s living room, waiting for him to finally show up, the concern she’d felt had overruled it. Now, that concern chilled over into bone-deep worry.
No sounds flowed out to the street. The club was dark. Quiet.
Her feeling of foreboding deepened, and instead of entering through the unsecured front door, she went around to the staff entrance at the back of the old church building.
Before she even stepped inside, the scent of spilled blood and death blasted her senses. Her gums twitched in response as alarm turned to ice in her veins.
“Rune?” Her voice vanished into the silence of the place as she entered the cavernous, underground arena and bar area. “Rune, are you here?”
He didn’t answer, but there he was. Standing inside with a group of six large, menacing Breed males, all heavily armed with semiautomatic pistols trained on Rune. Signs of a struggle were everywhere. The broken mirror behind the bar. Toppled chairs. Shattered glass littering the floor like diamond shards in a sea of pooled liquor.
So much blood. On the wall and the floor. All over Rune.
“Oh, my God! Rune, what hap—”
When she stepped forward, his stark gaze halted her. There was a warning in his eyes that made her fall silent. Made her quell the spark of her Breed instincts.
One of the vampires moved beside him now, clamping his hand onto Rune’s shoulder. “Well, well . . . who have we here?”
The male’s angular face had a dangerous edge to it. Under his short dark hair, his piercing gray eyes glimmered with interest. And unmistakable cruelty.
Rune cleared his throat. “Club’s not going to open tonight,” he said, directing the statement at her. “You and the other girls can take the weekend off.”
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