Bound to Darkness(Midnight Breed,book 13)(64) by Lara Adrian
Carys didn’t waste a second. She shoved the guard over the railing, gun and all. He barely had time to scream before the UV barrier consumed him.
She wheeled on Riordan, lips peeled back off her teeth and fangs in a hiss. His eyes rounded with surprise. Then, coward that he was, the bastard bolted away from her.
In a flash, he had vanished from the catwalk, disappearing into the gloom of the castle corridor.
Carys longed to go after him, but down in the pit, Rune was still locked in a dangerous fight.
And to her horror, she saw that he was injured even worse than before. Fresh bullet wounds peppered his back. Yet he kept fighting. Nothing short of death would slow him down.
No way in hell was she leaving him. Not even in the hopes of killing the bastard who’d raised him.
Carys perched on the railing and waited for her chance to spring. When the struggle down below brought Rune and his opponent within range, she leapt off. Sailing down, she dropped right onto the other male’s back just as he was about to lunge for Rune.
The impact drove him to one knee beneath her, but he was immense. As hard as she hit him, her lighter weight didn’t collapse him. He reared back, trying to toss her off him. His big arms grappled for her while she clutched his mane of greasy hair and wrenched his head back.
Rune was right there, not even a second after she landed. With the vampire thrashing wildly, hissing and snarling in rage, Rune pulled his fist back and sent it driving home like a battering ram—straight through the other male’s sternum.
The vampire went rigid, his scream of shock cut short as he convulsed in a violent shudder. Then the body slumped in a heap on the floor of the pit, blood pooling from the gaping hole in the vampire’s chest.
Carys jumped away from the carnage and flung herself into Rune’s arms. “Thank God, it’s over.”
Rune held her, but tension vibrated in every hard muscle of his body. His voice was gravel, raw and deadly. “Where’s my father?”
She twisted to gesture to the empty catwalk. “He ran down that corridor when I pushed his guard over the railing.”
Rune drew her away from him, a bleakness in his eyes. “This won’t be over until the son of a bitch is dead. Come on. We have to get out of here before he sends reinforcements down to find us.”
With Carys running beside him, Rune snatched the dead guard’s assault rifle from the floor of the pit and headed for one of the portals. The iron-banded grate was sealed closed, but a blast of gunfire at its center splintered the thick wood.
Rune rammed it with his shoulder—once, twice, three times—smashing a gap big enough for them to slip through. He took her hand, then he and Carys ducked into the dark, vacant cell on the other side used for holding the pit’s less-than-cooperative fighters.
Another iron-banded door waited across the bare room, and together he and Carys shot and crashed through that one too. The cell opened onto a narrow tunnel, one of many that snaked through the underground bowels of the fortress.
Thin yellow light from flickering, bare bulbs mounted in the ceiling illuminated their path. The stench of urine and old blood offended his nostrils, but the cramped corridor was empty. Nothing but the echoing sounds of his and Carys’s footsteps as they hurried along in the dank gloom.
Rune had been staving off his pain during the combat in the pit, but each step was making it harder keep a hold on his ability. Agony seared him in more places than he could count, but it wasn’t the pain slowing him down now. His injuries were taking a toll.
Added to the gunshot wound in his side were the three bullets he’d taken in his back during the last fight. His breath sawed out of his lungs in a wet, wheezing rasp. Each inhalation was a knife-sharp jab of fire in his chest. Blood ran into his eye from a laceration on his forehead. Still more cuts and bruises covered his hands and arms and torso.
The way he felt, it was a damn miracle he was still on his feet at all.
No, not a miracle.
It was Carys. Her daring move back there on the catwalk had, without a doubt, saved his life.
And it was Rune’s love for her that spurred him forward now, when every shredded muscle and broken bone in his body threatened to drop him on his ass in the middle of the passageway.
In spite of his determination, though, his feet were getting sluggish. Carys had slowed beside him to match his pace. She studied him in the scant light of the tunnel.
Her fangs had retracted now, and her eyes had returned to their arresting shade of blue.
She looked at his glowing irises and fully extended fangs. Her gaze drifted to his glyphs, which were still furious with color, betraying the trauma he was hoping to hide from her.
Her beautiful face pinched with concern as she took in his condition. There was no mistaking her grave expression. She knew he was in bad shape and worsening by the moment.
“Let’s stop for a while, Rune.” Her fingers tightened around his hand as her footsteps dropped to nearly a halt. “Please, stop. We don’t know what’s waiting at the end of this tunnel and you need to rest.”
“No.” He tossed his head, impatient. “We have to keep pushing forward. I need to get you out of here.”
He tugged her hand, but she wasn’t budging. “Listen to me. The Order is on the way. They know your father is part of Opus Nostrum. They’re coming for him tonight. Lucan Thorne, my father, most of the other warrior commanders . . . they could be here in as little as an hour.”
Rune paused, considering. He felt no sympathy for anything that might happen to Fineas Riordan, but if the Order was going to be of any help to Carys and him, they needed to be kicking down the castle doors right now.
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