Bound in Sin Page 9


This time, it was the vampire that fell.


Drake dug another bullet from his flesh. The smoke from his blistering fingertips rose in the air.


Another vampire came at him.


A swipe of his claws and the vampire’s blood flowed.


“Stop him!” Gabe’s scream of fury.


Then all the vampires swarmed him. Even though Drake still had at least three silver bullets in him, he didn’t hesitate when they attacked.


He roared and slashed into the chest of the nearest vamp. Another one down. Bye, asshole.


The other two vamps–they just turned and ran.


Drake grabbed a weapon that had been tossed aside and turned his focus on the one that mattered. The vampire that was about to lose his damn head.


“How?” Gabe gritted as he stared at Drake with fury boiling in his dark gaze. “You can’t–you’re not strong enough–”


Paige’s laughter cut through his words. “He’s strong enough…if he’s got vampire blood in him.”


Drake could still taste her on his tongue.


Mark me.


The wolf had claimed his mate. Marked her. And tasted her blood.


“You bitch.” Gabe shook Paige, sending her head snapping back.


Begging for death. Drake fired the gun. It just clicked. No more bullets. That was all right. He wanted to get his hands bloody.


“You did this to him!” Gabe shouted. The guy didn’t even seem to see Drake closing in on him. The stake had fallen from his hand. “You made him–”


“Stronger,” Paige gasped out as blood dripped from her lips. “I made him strong enough to kill you…just in case I couldn’t.”


Her words had Drake’s body tensing. He’d kill the vamp for her, all right. A promise is a promise. Drake grabbed Paige and yanked her away from Gabe. Drake’s wolf was snarling, his claws were fully extended, and he was ready to destroy.


The stake broke beneath his feet, and he broke Gabe’s neck with one twist of his wrist.


But the vampire just laughed–and his bones snapped back into place almost instantly.


“Try harder,” Gabe murmured. There was no fear on the vampire’s face or in his eyes. “Come on, let’s see what you can do, alpha. Let’s see if you can fight as hard as you father did.”


His father? What did his–


More laughter from Gabe. Colder than the night that surrounded them. “You thought that you got all the vamps from that attack, huh? Think again, alpha. Think fucking again.” Gabe barred his teeth. “Those vamps attacked because I gave the order. Only they were supposed to have killed your sorry ass that night, too.”


But he hadn’t been at home when his family was so brutally attacked. He’d been out, watching Paige as she worked at a little diner. He’d gone to that diner over and over, eager to catch a glimpse of her. That night, he’d finally asked her out. He’d been so excited when he’d gone back home. She’d said yes! Then he’d found the blood and the bodies waiting on him.


“Jeremiah let me in,” Gabe told him as the vamp circled around Drake. “He knew you’d be the next alpha, and he wasn’t ready to let go of the pack. He let me kill them all…and drink all that shifter blood.”


Because shifter blood was stronger than human blood. Far more powerful.


Jeremiah had fed his own pack to this prick? Why?


“Your bastard alpha was addicted…the same way she wants you to be…to vampire blood.”


He could taste her…The wolf howled within him, desperate to break free and attack.


Drake sucked in a deep breath. Paige was on the ground. Still, like a broken, beautiful doll. “It’s not the blood I’m addicted to,” Drake told Gabe, voice growling. The beast was coming out. The vamp was dying. “It’s her.”


He leapt at the vamp even as the shift burned through him. The vamp would get in a few swipes while he transformed, no way around that, because Drake was weak in those moments when he was locked between man and beast.


But he had to shift. The shift would push the rest of the silver from his body, and the wolf would be stronger than the man.


The wolf would take the vamp’s head.


Gabe was smiling as he lunged toward Drake. The vamp’s fangs were barred and–


“Think fucking again,” Paige shouted, throwing the vamp’s words right back at him. Then gunfire thundered. Once. Twice.


She had picked up one of the other discarded guns. But, unlike the weapon Drake had chosen, her gun still had ammunition. She filled Gabe’s chest with the silver bullets. He stumbled back, screaming and bleeding.


Not a broken doll, not anymore.


Time to die, Gabe.


In his mind, Drake could see his mother’s broken body. His father’s pale face.


The shift was over. The wolf growled and charged the vamp. They fell down in a tangle of limbs and claws. The vampire was biting, tearing into the wolf’s body, and punching with his enhanced strength.


Gabe was too used to pushing around humans. Too used to torturing them.


Wolves weren’t so easy to take down.


“K-killed the alpha…” Gabe gritted out as they fought. “And I’ll kill you, too.” Blood dripped down his chin. “The vamps are taking over this–”


Drake’s teeth locked around the pureblood’s throat.


Paige was standing right behind him. He could smell her sweet scent, hear the ragged gasp of her breaths.


This was it. She’d be free. His parents could rest in peace.


But Gabe was still laughing. “Mine…” Gabe gasped, spitting blood. “She’ll…always be…mine. The vamps…win. We take…Alaska…”


No, he wouldn’t win.


When the wolf’s teeth sank deep, the vamp didn’t speak again.


He just died.


Chapter Eight


It was over.


Paige turned away from the sight of Gabe’s body. She didn’t want to see anymore. She just wanted–


Wolves surrounded her.


Oh, crap, when had they arrived? She hadn’t even noticed them. She’d been so intent on fighting Gabe and helping Drake that she hadn’t been aware of the wolves. They could move so quietly as they prepared for an attack.


A dozen wolves formed a circle around her and Drake. They stood back. Watching, waiting.


Had they heard Gabe’s final taunt? Hell, she knew the wolves weren’t going to let her stay in the pack, so they didn’t have to worry about her taking over their precious territory.


The minute Gabe had transformed her, she’d known that her dream of finding Drake and staying with him–forever–well, it had truly just been a dream.


They might have sex. They might turn to each other in the darkness, but his pack would never accept her.


And she wouldn’t ask him to leave the wolves.


She held up her hands and realized they were stained with blood. Her own. Gabe’s. “Easy…”


The black wolf near her snarled.


Great. Just–


Drake leapt in front of her. He opened his mouth and howled his fury at the pack.


Paige shivered. She hadn’t been afraid when she faced off against Gabe and the vamps. She’d been too pissed. But now, with the wolves circling, hell, yes, she could admit to fear.


These wolves would love to rip and tear her apart. Once they found out the truth about what she’d done, the final secret that she’d kept from them…


They’d want her head, just as she’d wanted Gabe’s.


Drake was shifting back into the form of a man before her. The snap and crunch of his bones filled her ears.


But she didn’t wait around for him to finish shifting. Paige knew an exit time when she saw one. “Don’t worry,” she told the wolves–jeez, it sure looked like they were about to rip her limb from limb. “I’m leaving.”


She had friends waiting for her. Friends who’d helped her reach Alaska. Friends who’d be glad to welcome her back to the vampire world.


We’re not all monsters. She’d learned that. Some vampires were more than just predators. Just as the werewolves were more.


She kept her steps nice and slow. The wolves could probably smell her fear, but a running target–that was prey they’d always instinctively chase. No sense giving them any more reason to want her blood.


“You’re not leaving me.”


Drake’s voice. Guttural. Still more beast than man.


She froze. “The deal’s over.” Not the conversation she wanted to have in front of a wolf pack. “Gabe’s dead.” You’re safe.


He grabbed her hand. Pulled her close. She could smell the metallic scent of the silver hanging in the air. She’d come too close to losing him.


If he hadn’t taken her blood…


She swallowed. “Let me go.” Dammit, the words were a plea. Because she knew he wanted her, just as much as she wanted him.


I’m addicted to her.


But sometimes, the things you wanted most were the things that would destroy you.


His head lowered toward hers. “I killed for you.”


She’d wanted to kill for him. To protect him, she would have done anything.


I did.


“Do you know how your alpha died?” Paige asked him quietly. Maybe he knew some of the details already. There were spies in the vampire covens. For the right price, they’d share any information.


She’d sure offered up enough money over the years for the Intel they’d given her.


Drake frowned down at her. The wolves behind him still didn’t move.


“Your old alpha was fed poisoned vampire blood.” Jeremiah had thought that he’d get stronger by taking the vampire blood. If he’d been given normal vamp blood, he would have become stronger.


But he’d been ingesting blood laced with silver for years. Poison, building up in his body. Eating away at him from the inside.


He’d lost his ability to shift. He’d lost his ability to walk. To talk. To breathe.


Because Gabe had always enjoyed his torture.


“I knew what was happening to him,” she said. She’d known for a long time. Long enough to save him. Only she hadn’t wanted to save him. She’d wanted him to suffer. “I didn’t stop it because I wanted that bastard dead.”


A wolf snarled from somewhere behind her.


Screw them all. She turned and barred her fangs right back at the snarling beast. The wolf shut up. Good. Paige exhaled on a low, rough sigh and turned back to meet Drake’s intense stare. “But when Jeremiah finally died, I-I knew Gabe would come after you.” She shook her head. “But I wasn’t gonna let you die. I knew I’d do whatever I had to do…in order to keep you safe.”


And she’d done her part. He’d survived.


“It wasn’t ever about me taking his head…to protect you,” Drake muttered.


No, she hadn’t been the one who needed protection.


“You tricked me into taking your blood,” Drake said as he towered over her. Eyes so intent. Body naked. Strong. His hand tightened around her wrist. “You got me to drink, so I’d be strong enough to kill the pureblood when he came after me.” Because despite what Drake had originally thought, even an alpha wasn’t strong enough to take out a vamp like Gabe–not Gabe and his silver wielding buddies. But an alpha pumped up on vamp blood? He could kick ass and destroy any vamp in his path.


The wolves were shifting around them. Transforming into men and women and the snow was falling again.


She didn’t look at the dead body on the ground. And Michael–he was groaning and struggling to his feet. Some of the shifters went to help him.


“Leave him,” Drake ordered, voice tight with fury. “He worked with the vampires. He led them right to me.”


The shifters froze.


“He’s banished from the pack,” Drake said flatly. A judgment. Cold and brutal. “Leave him where the fuck he is.” His head turned as he stared over at Michael. “You’re still breathing, so count yourself damn lucky.”


When Drake’s gaze came back to her, Paige forced herself to meet that hard stare. So much fury. How much was for her? For the vamp he’d killed? And for the traitor he’d had in his own midst?


“You lied to me,” Drake said. The words were low and all the more lethal for their softness.


“From the beginning,” Paige agreed, her own voice just as soft. But there was no reason for lies anymore. She’d done her job. She’d protected him.


They’d saved each other.


Now they could go their separate ways. He’d go back to his pack. She’d go back to the life she’d created in Florida.


So what if she went back without a heart? She’d been missing that particular organ for years.


Paige turned away. She had to get out of there. Her chest was burning. Aching. Looking at Drake just hurt too much. Her job was done.


Time to leave before he saw through her mask.


I want you. I want to stay.


Some things just weren’t meant to be.


But Paige didn’t run away. She walked. One foot in front of the other. Slow. Steady.


“Was everything a lie?”


She stopped. Didn’t look back. “Not everything.” Then because–hell, what did she have to lose? Paige glanced back over her shoulder. “I really have always loved you.” From the first moment she saw him. “And I always will.”


Then she kept walking. Because sometimes, love just wasn’t enough.


Not when you were a vampire.


And not when the man you wanted more than blood was a werewolf.


***


Did Paige really think that she was just going to walk away? Hell, no.

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