Bound to Darkness(Midnight Breed,book 13)(70) by Lara Adrian
No. Please . . . fuck, no.
“The stairs go up to the tower roof,” the fighter said, already moving in that direction despite his serious injuries.
Chase didn’t wait another second. Summoning every ounce of strength his Breed genetics had given him, he flashed into the stairwell with his heart in his throat.
Intense light poured out from the small chamber at the top of the stairs. He stepped into the room and immediately closed his visor, his arm raised to cover his eyes, even though they were shielded from the UV rays by his protective gear. It took a moment for his vision to adjust.
It took even longer for his mind to process what he was seeing.
The access door to the roof was wide open.
Carys stood outside in full sunlight.
She held something in her hand—a tattered shirt. Swirling around her in the morning breeze was a cloud of dark ashes. They scattered away into nothingness as Chase stared, dumbstruck.
Carys turned then. She looked over her shoulder at him, fangs bared, eyes ablaze with molten amber.
Chase could hardly breathe as he looked at her now. He’d been terrified that he would reach the top of the tower and find his beloved little girl destroyed by the evil that lived here. Instead, he found a vengeful Valkyrie, with the wind stirring her hair like a tempest, and the tattered remains of her enemy clutched in her unforgiving grasp.
Her eyes softened on him now. She let go of Riordan’s empty shirt and it fluttered away, forgotten.
“Daddy!” she cried, and rushed into his waiting arms.
Chase shut the door on the sun and lifted his face shield as he held her close. “I’m so glad you’re okay,” he murmured into her hair. “Your mother and I have been out of our minds these past several hours. When we heard you’d been taken, we thought . . .”
He let the worry go without finishing the sentence. She was safe. She was back in her family’s arms. Soon, she would be back home with Tavia and Aric and him.
But his little girl was gone, he realized as he held Carys now.
She’d been gone for a while, but he’d been too stubborn to see it.
He saw her clearly now. He saw a strong, courageous, impressive woman.
She was magnificent. Formidable.
And her father had never been more awed by her, nor more proud.
“Holy shit,” someone murmured from behind Carys and her father.
She realized only then that they weren’t alone. Aric, Nathan and his team from Boston, even Lucan and Dante, stood just inside the room.
On a curse, her brother broke away from the group and moved in to hug her too. Carys wrapped her arms around him and her father, so grateful to be reunited with them.
The danger was over. Riordan was no more.
Relief and joy flooded her, but she couldn’t rest yet. Her heart still had somewhere else it needed to be.
She raised her head, peering past the thick knot of warriors to the top of the tower stairs.
And there he was.
“Rune.” Tears choked her when she saw him.
He was alive.
And he was looking at her with so much love, it stole her breath away.
She flew to him on a strangled cry. They kissed desperately, hugging each other close and murmuring private, tender words. She didn’t care that they had an audience. She didn’t care about anything except the fact that Rune was there with her, telling her that he loved her. Kissing her as if he never wanted to let her go.
But the scent of his blood was a potent reminder that he wasn’t out of danger yet. She drew away from him and glanced at the warriors.
“Rune needs help for his injuries. I gave him my blood a while ago, but it’s not enough.”
She saw her father’s chin lift in understanding. There was no disapproval in his eyes at the acknowledgment that Rune was bound to her now. Only concern as his gaze took in the extent of Rune’s wounds.
“Rafe,” he said, motioning to Dante’s son and a member of the Boston team. The blond warrior had inherited his mother’s gift for healing with a touch. He’d mended worse injuries than Rune’s before. He and Tess had even worked together to bring another of the Order’s family back from death not so long ago.
“I believe our introduction is overdue,” Chase said, stepping forward to extend his hand to Rune. “This isn’t the way I’d envisioned us meeting, but I can honestly say it’s an honor.”
Carys held on to Rune, resting her head against his bare chest and smiling as he took her father’s hand and shook it firmly. “An honor for me too, sir.”
“Call me Chase. Or Sterling.”
“Just don’t call him Harvard,” Dante drawled, grinning.
Chase chuckled. “Feel free to ignore anything that one tells you. It’s always worked for me.”
Rune’s laugh vibrated warmly against Carys’s ear. “All right. Chase it is.” He glanced down at Carys then, his gaze intense and meaningful. “My name is Rune.”
Chase nodded solemnly. “Thank you for protecting my daughter, Rune. Thank you for keeping her safe and alive.”
“Not at all, sir,” Rune said. “She’s the reason I’m alive. She is my reason for everything.”
He caressed her cheek and her heart was so full, she couldn’t resist lifting up to kiss him again.
When their lips parted, Aric stood before them. He shook Rune’s hand too. “I guess this is going to make us brothers now.”
“Aye,” Rune said. “Maybe in time we’ll even be friends.”
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