She was alive. Kane stared at her, hiding the tremble in his hands, the need welling inside him like a dark, hungry cloud. How many years had he dreamed of her, needed her, longed for her with every fiber of his being? And now she was here, standing before him, shrouded in darkness, her eyes glittering with hatred.
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He swallowed past the emotion clogging his throat, the regret lancing his chest and the disbelief he couldn’t seem to shake. As though the world had shifted on its axis, pitching him into a world that was as different as it was the same the day before.
“Why didn’t you contact me?” He could barely force the words past his lips. She was alive, had been all these years. He had suffered through hell, ached until he swore his soul was a raw, open wound, and all this time, she had been alive.
She sneered. A cold curve to her lips that twisted in his soul as he watched her. Fingers as slender and graceful as life itself reached beside her to pluck a delicate white blossom from the thick bush at her side. They tore at the petals, ripping them casually from their delicate mooring and leaving them to drift in wounded splendor to the ground.
Staring at her was tearing his soul to pieces. Realizing she had been alive, all this time, free, and she hadn’t contacted him, hadn’t even bothered to let him know, was destroying the last thread of sanity he
thought he had held onto all these years.
“Goddamn you!” he snarled, fury surging inside him, so hot, so deep it blistered the open wounds her
“death” had left years ago. “All these f**king years, and not even a goddamned phone call, Sherra?
He had to clench his fingers into fists to keep from jerking her to him, to hold back the lust and burning rage filling his mind. He was literally seeing red. The haze at the edge of his vision rippled and burned, turning the soft fall of the hotel lights into a bloody aura. Her gaze flickered over him, cold, unemotional, filled with victorious triumph.
“And I would have done that why?” She bared her teeth, her hatred crisp, clear, lining the beauty of her expression with remorseless hatred.
He fell back a step, feeling the blow to the pit of his soul. He had bled for her. Had nearly died for her. For this. Her hatred.
“No reason.” His voice was hoarse, and he hated her for that. Hated the emotion tearing his heart to pieces as she watched him with the glimmer of amusement in her eyes. “No reason at all.”
Merinus was all that mattered now. His sister and the man who held her.
“Where’s my sister?”
“She’s safe.” She shrugged again. “That’s all you need to know.”
He moved before she could blink. He had known his only edge would be whatever surprise he could gain. He took the advantage fiercely. His hands caught her wrists, twisting them quickly behind her back, holding them in a steel-hard grip as he pushed her roughly against the side of the motel.
“Wrong,” he snarled. “That is not all I need to know, nor is it all you will tell me. By God, I nearly died for you and your f**king Pride once, but I’ll be damned if Merinus will be hurt any further.” His free hand gripped the long silken hair, his fingertips transmitting the sensation of cool, perfect pleasure to his brain even as he fought it. Her body pressed against him, still, unyielding as her eyes widened in shock.
“You’re crazy,” she snapped. “No more games, Kane, you betrayed us all…”
He wanted to shake her, wanted to howl in misery. “You believe what the hell you want to now, Sherra. I really don’t give a f**k. But you will tell me what the hell is going on and you will do it now. Or so help me God I’ll make you wish you had.”
Hunger ambushed him. His c**k swelled to painful, immediate erection, his mouth watered for the taste of her, the scent of her body made him sweat, made his balls draw up in lust. Eleven f**king years. Eleven years without her, craving her taste, her touch. For what? For f**king nothing.
“You will tell me.” He pressed his c**k into her lower belly, watched her pale, watched the fear that flickered in the shadows of her eyes as his heart twisted in misery. “Or I’ll show you, lover , the bastard you believe I can be.”
Only Merinus mattered. For now.
Five months later
“Afternoon, kitty.” Kane’s deliberate drawl as Sherra entered the kitchen, prepared for the weekly meeting Callan insisted on, had the hair on the back of her neck rising in instant defense. That drawl never indicated a pleasant conversation where Kane was involved.
It wasn’t as if any conversation she had with him was ever pleasant. He insisted on provoking her at every opportunity and generally did his level best to see just how angry he could make her. His blue eyes were cool, calculating, watching her with an amused mockery that made her ache to scratch them out. That need was in direct conflict with the overpowering urge to f**k him silly. She was in heat. She hated it but had no choice except to admit to it. After eleven long years of pain and fear, she now knew why her body turned traitor on her, beginning with an overwhelming arousal and ending with a bleak, almost agonizing pain before slowly diminishing. For one month of each year, she had been going into heat. And she had suffered because her mate had already taken her, had already programmed her body to accept no other touch but his.
If he had been a Breed, she could have understood it. Merinus and Roni had been marked by their mates, their bodies conditioned by the hormonal fluids that eased from the swollen glands just under the men’s tongues. But Sherra knew that on the single night she had spent with Kane her own hormonal glands hadn’t been active. And she sure as hell hadn’t made the mistake of kissing him since he had barged back into her life. Not since learning the signs of the mating heat and knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that Kane was her mate.
He was leaning negligently against the kitchen counter, cup in hand, his tall, leanly muscled body relaxed and tempting. His jeans bulged between his thighs. She swallowed, dragging her gaze away from him. He was hard and ready to f**k. And only God knew just how badly she wanted him to come into her. Strong and thick, his c**k surging up her wet pu**y until she screamed. She almost shivered at the thought as heat rushed over her, through her.
“Ohh, now there’s something interesting.” His amused voice was pitched low as he obviously caught the betraying color. “What’s the blush for, kitten? Getting overheated?”