MoboReader> Horror > Bound

   Chapter 18 No.18

Bound By Julie Embleton Characters: 13559

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:02


Taylor moved into the guest bedroom for her second night in his house. It was the room across the landing, the one right opposite his, which was why he had decided to stay in his office until he knew she was asleep. He wasn't entirely sure why it felt so awkward. Or maybe he did; she was half-dressed, in a bed, in his house and she was his mate. And she'd had a helpless look in her chocolaty brown eyes all evening that had made him want to pull her into his arms and hug her or something. Yeah, 'something' he snorted at himself. The magnetic pull which had vanished when her wolf had the previous night was back – not in full force – but enough to drive him nuts. And it was hell.

Wolves shared a mind-blowing moment when they connected with their mates, wolves plural, not singular. Finding your mate and having the connection abruptly severed as you basked in the event was malicious. In that glorious moment, just when he'd been about to wake her, enough energy flowing between them to power a small nation, it was as if some sick bastard had gone and yanked out the plug. Just like that her wolf had vanished. It had been so abrupt that he'd snatched his hands off her face, leapt to his feet and staggered back. She'd grumbled in her sleep and rolled over, turning her back to him as he'd stared at her in shock. It had gutted him.

Even thinking about it now, as he rolled his head in a slow circle, the taut muscles in his neck cracking in protest, it still hurt. He'd spent the whole of last night convincing himself that as soon as she clapped eyes on him in the morning she'd connect with him, but when she'd come in to the kitchen and looked at him like he was fit for nothing but a mental institute, he'd been devastated. And then when she'd told – no, yelled – the truth about how she'd had some kind of black magic worked on her, he'd lost it. All he could think was how she'd fooled him, made him feel something that wasn't real, tricked him into believing she was his mate. So he had walked away. He'd ripped into the forest and torn sods out of the earth as he'd pounded his anger out on the forest floor. Mad wasn't the word for how he had felt. He'd literally been seeing red. And making the decision that he wanted her gone hadn't been difficult.

With his mind made up he had gone back to the house, but just as he'd neared the front door he'd heard her crying in the hallway. Immediately, his wolf had reacted; it had yipped and howled to get back into the house to comfort her and when he'd realized it was what he had wanted to do, too, he'd understood their connection was real. With every hour that had passed since, the initial draw he had felt towards her had begun to re-appear. It wasn't anything as powerful as when he'd first experienced it, but enough to start distracting him and generally making him feel like a love-sick puppy.

When she wasn't dodging his questions or flinging some sarcastic glare at him, she had this way of fixing her eyes on him that made him struggle with his train of thought. It was a very intent look, as if what he was saying was the most important thing she'd ever heard and didn't want to miss a word of it. And a couple of times, while they'd been talking at the table after dinner, she'd done this thing with her hair which was now seared into his brain for the rest of his life; she'd gathered it up at the back of her neck, twisted it into a knot, and then with her two hands laced together she'd held it against the back of her head while listening to something he'd been rabbiting on about. When she'd taken her hands away the knot had uncurled and her hair had tumbled down like something out of a shampoo commercial and the innocent sexiness of it had nearly knocked him off his chair. The second time she'd done it he'd actually had to get up from the table. Something else was stuck in his mind, too: She hadn't meant it when she'd said she'd stay and let him help her.

He understood why, and he wasn't angry with her for lying to him, but it was frustrating to know that if she had felt their connection, even the idea of leaving him would kill her. It also meant he couldn't let his guard down with her; she'd still try to escape and the only way to prevent her from doing so was to get her wolf back.

It was motivation enough to make him jerk his chair closer into the desk and flip open his laptop. As soon as the search engine popped up he typed 'black magic', groaning at the number of hits it produced. Settling into his chair he clicked on the first website and began to read.

The more Dean read, the more he began to balk. Clicking between sites he patiently followed links, soon realising that the expression 'in over your head' was clutching its stomach with laughter as it watched his pathetic attempts to fathom the stuff he was reading. Wincing at the graphic images of disembowelled animals he returned to the search engine home page and typed in shaman.

A few lines in on the first page, Dean frowned. Shamans practised a nature-based spirituality. They were healers, working with people, animals, the earth and plants. Nothing of what had happened to Taylor seemed to be a practice any shaman would associate with. Reading further, his confusion grew. "This doesn't make sense, " he muttered, clicking on another link. It was then when Taylor's wolf resurfaced.

Immediately, invisible hands grabbed hold, urging him up from his chair to take him to where she slept. He tried to ignore it at first, but when his wolf joined in with the urgent pleas he was forced to get to his feet. Ordering his wolf to settle, Dean crossed the room and shut his door.

Returning to his chair he closed his eyes, pulled in a few deep breaths and told his wolf to shut the hell up. He wasn't going to go near her. He couldn't. He couldn't trust himself not to wake her, and how freaked out would she be if she woke to him hovering over her with big puppy dog eyes.

Not surprisingly, his wolf got angry. It wanted to be with its mate. Dean dug his nails into the armrests of the chair and kept his feet firmly planted on the floor. No, he repeated to his snarling wolf. Forget it. Just make do with sensing her from here. But his wolf wasn't going to take no for an answer. A flash of heat raced through him and his spine jerked, flinging him forward as it began to morph into its werewolf form. "Fine!" he snapped. Throwing himself off the chair he strode back towards the door and yanked it open. "One minute, " he warned his wolf. "You get one minute and that's it - okay?"

Dean's hand trembled as he turned the handle of Taylor's door and eased it open. Holding still in the doorway, he squinted into the darkness, his eyes quickly adjusting to make out her shape in

the bed. She was on her side, one arm out over the duvet, her hand loosely clutching the edge of it to her chest. Her hair formed a black fan where it spread out on her pillow, and as if her wolf was suddenly now aware of its mate's proximity too, she sighed in her sleep.

Forty seconds, Dean counted down to his keening inner-self. Taylor's scent teased his nostrils and against his better judgement he drew in a deep lungful, regretting it the second he realized he'd left the doorway and was now standing at the end of her bed, his hands taking a death grip on the iron bed-end.

It was intoxicating to have the connection restored. He would have given his soul to have her wake up at that second and bond with him, but she continued to stay sleeping, her breaths steady and even. "I wish I knew your real name, " he whispered desperately. "I wish you'd at least tell me that."

She stirred and murmured something, prompting him to back away from the bed towards the door, but at the last second he paused. Had she. . .? "What's your name?" he breathed, hardly daring to believe what he was suddenly thinking.

"Nyah, " came the soft reply, almost instantly.

Don't, he ordered himself. Don't ask anything else. It's not right, it's abusing her trust, it's wrong on every damn level. "Who is your pack?"

She gave a little groan and rolled onto her back.

"Who is your pack, Nyah, tell me."

"Blackwater Ridge, " she murmured and sighed deeply. The sense of her wolf began to flicker.

Stop, he ordered himself. It's a blatant betrayal. She'll never forgive you. But her wolf was fading further and the part of him that wanted revenge for what had been done elbowed its way forward. There's no time to hold a mental debate about this, it snapped. Ask the damned question!

"Who hurt you?"

She shifted restlessly and murmured a frightened 'no'.

"Nyah, you're safe. It's me, Dean. Tell me who hurt you."

With her wolf signal sputtering like a dying candle she kicked out under the duvet and whimpered softly.

"Tell me, Nyah, who hurt you?"

He was at the side of the bed now, bending over her. She rolled away from him, curling into a tight ball, her head all but disappearing under the duvet. With a final wavering flicker her wolf vanished. He'd heard her reply though, muffled as it was, the single word was clear to hear. 'Alpha'.

Ignoring his wolf's yowling misery Dean left her room and returned to his office. Nyah, Blackwater Ridge, Alpha; pieces were rapidly falling into place in his mind. If he wasn't mistaken, Harper Morgan, the deceased Alpha of Blackwater Ridge had a daughter called Nyah. Could that be right? Taylor – no, Nyah – was Harper Morgan's daughter? He'd met Harper Morgan about a year ago. They'd spent a long afternoon together, along with the Alpha from the Carverbacks pack, shooting the breeze over a few beers and a vast, fish-stuffed lake.

Dazed, Dean sank into his chair. Harper Morgan had been replaced by Alan Stenson, and then Alan had died suddenly – a rogue attack, as far as he could remember. The current Alpha was called. . . was called – the name wasn't coming to him – Shaun, Stephen, something with an 's'.

The abrupt shrill of his phone flooded him with infuriation when it knocked him off his train of thought. Snatching it up he barked his greeting. "Dean Carson."

"Hello, Alpha Carson. This is Simon Northfell, Alpha of the Blackwater Ridge pack."

Simon Northfell had to loudly repeat 'hello?' a number of times before Dean could wrench words up from his choked throat. "Alpha Northfell, " he coughed, "sorry – this line is bad – can you hear me?"

"Loud and clear, " Northfell replied.

"How can I help you?"

"Unpleasant business, I'm afraid."

"How so?"

"I'm trying to find one of my pack."

Dean closed his eyes and dug his knuckles into his forehead. "Someone turn rogue?"

There was a disappointed sigh. "Yes, unfortunately."

"Sorry to hear that."

"Yes. Have you had any rogues on your territory in the last three weeks or so?"

"I briefly had a Taylor here, but -."

"No, no, " Northfell corrected him. "Mine's a female."

"Oh."

"A little firecracker, too."

"What's her name?" Dean squeezed his closed eyes tighter. Sweat was already swamping his brow and it was a struggle to keep his voice loose.

"Nyah Morgan."

Even hearing Northfell say her name made him want to reach down the phone and rip his head off. "Harper Morgan's daughter?" he said with forced lightness.

"Indeed."

"An Alpha's daughter turned rogue. There's a first." Northfell didn't reply. "Well, I'll let you know if I hear anything. Have you talked to Alpha Nickleson yet? He's further north than we are, but if -."

"I will be calling him next."

"Okay. Well, as I said, I'll let you know if I see or hear anything."

"Thank you, Alpha Carson."

"No problem at all, Alpha Northfell."

"Shit, " Dean exhaled when the phone was snugly back on its cradle. His mouth had gone dry and a sticky sweat had begun to soak through the back of his t-shirt. Standing up he pulled the t-shirt away from his back, wafting cool air under it as he began to pace the floor. Simon Northfell. He'd heard rumblings from other Alphas about his sudden elevation into the Alpha position at Blackwater Ridge, and while no-one liked to disrespect an Alpha, the general unspoken opinion of him wasn't kind. What in the hell was going on in Blackwater Ridge? Taylor – Nyah, he corrected himself – had said something about all her pack being robots. Was that what he'd done? Spelled them to obey him? No wonder there was a radio silence about her absence.

"Shit, " he murmured again, stalling his pacing to stare in the direction of where Nyah slept. Should she know Northfell had called? Should he tell her? No, he decided, turning away. She'd do something stupid and desperate. He needed to deal with this on his own. Or at least, he and Nick did. There was no-one else he would trust with his precious mate's welfare. It only took a second for Nick to respond to the mind-link as Dean left the office and crossed the landing once more. 'I'll be right over, ' Nick replied.

Dean eased Nyah's bedroom door open an inch. She was still curled up under the covers, her body motionless in a deep sleep. He stared in at her, his gaze not moving until Nick's approach demanded he leave her to go downstairs.

He didn't know how he was going to get her wolf back. He didn't know what protecting her might bring him face-to-face with. And he didn't know where he was even going to start. But as he soundlessly closed her door and went downstairs to open the door to Nick, he knew one thing for sure; Simon Northfell was going to pay for what he had done – with his life.

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