Home > Pleasure of a Dark Prince (Immortals After Dark #9)(12)

Pleasure of a Dark Prince (Immortals After Dark #9)(12)
Author: Kresley Cole

"I would do it myself," Garreth snapped. "But I canna since I've been put in a cage after coming to your rescue."

What if all he said was true? Then Emma desperately needed to drink from Lachlain. But Annika would never allow it without proof. "I'll retrieve and review it," Lucia said, "then give it to Annika, if it's as you say."

Lachlain growled low in his throat, straining against the bars. "Damn it, that will take too long. Can you no' just take my blood for her to drink?"

"Annika forbids it. I'm... sorry." She turned for the stairs.

Regin met her as she was hurrying toward the front door, about to haul ass to the kennel. "Where are you going?"

"Apparently I'm traveling to the Lykae compound. Lachlain swears there's a film that shows little Emma killing Demestriu. Stay here and call me if anything happens."

Once she was gone, Garreth continued to stare at the door, telling Lachlain, "Lousha will be quick about it."

"How long have you known she's yours?"

That obvious? Garreth faced his brother. "A while now."

"I wondered why you were so eager to remain," Lachlain said, examining the cell for weaknesses. "You've no' told her?"

"Lousha's tricky. And I suspect she's a runner. Tell her something she does no' want to hear and she'll disappear. And she feels no love for me. She's the reason I'm here in the first place," he admitted. "She's an unmatched archer, but suffers agonizing pain when she misses her target - that's why she's so bluidy good. Annika set a trap, baited it with Lousha missing and screaming in pain, and I ran headlong. I should have known there was no way she'd miss again. You've never seen a creature shoot as she - "

"I have a good idea." Lachlain drew his shirt aside, exposing a wound on his shoulder.

I'll bluidy kill her. She went to Scotland and shot my brother!

"I harbor no anger toward her." Lachlain fisted two bars, struggling to stretch them apart. "They've reinforced these?"

"Aye." Garreth joined him, grasping the same bars Lachlain contended with. "These creatures ally with the witches. Annika told me nothing physical can bend these."

When they both failed to make a dent, Lachlain began pacing, only stopping to punch one of the cement walls.

"I canna believe she shot you." Garreth had known she'd been gone for an entire day before Emma had returned but hadn't thought she'd been to Scotland and back. "When we get out of here, I'll - "

"No, I doona care. Especially since you seem to accept that my mate's a vampire."

Not bothering to hide his exasperation, Garreth grated, "I would no' give a damn if she was a Fury, as long as you are content with her. And it's clear you are."

"Aye, but I have to get to her." Lachlain knelt down, clawing at the floor.

"At least we're no' chained. When they open this door, we can attack."

"I'd prefer to be only chained," Lachlain said, his eyes wild. "I'd take off my hands before I let Emma suffer any longer."

Garreth studied his brother's expression. Any Lykae would do the same for his mate. But Lachlain had made that statement as if he spoke... from experience. What has happened to you out there, brother?

"Trust me, Garreth, it is no' so bad as this feeling - "

When a whimper sounded from Emma's room, Lachlain growled in answer, pounding at the bars. Then he deliberately raised his gaze to the ceiling. "I can dig through."

"Lachlain, I doona think that's wise. This house is centuries old and gets battered as you would no' believe."

"Doona care."

"You might care that all three stories are tongue-and-groove construction. One piece falls, it'll be like a domino effect. War, hurricanes, and constant lightning have made it unsound. I doona think Val Hall can take a Lykae biting through the first floor."

"Support it while I'm gone."

"Hold the floor? If I canna, you could be hurting both our mates. This place could come crashing down."

Lachlain slapped him on the shoulder. "Be sure that you doona drop it."


 16

Princess freaking Lucia.

Her trip to the Lykae compound had been like a bucket of ice water tossed in her face. Because the denizens there had welcomed her - as Garreth's "mate." She'd heard the whispers, the truth out loud: "That's Princess Lucia, the Archer."

He lied! I am his mate. He'd deceived her to get what he wanted. Typical male.

Now as she hastened out the door with the tape, she called Regin. "I'm walking out right now with the video - it's all true. Get Annika to let Emma drink from Lachlain! Right now, Regin! Demestriu was the one who hurt Emma, and she did truly kill him."

"You're a little late. Take your time."

Lucia froze, dread seeming to stop her heart. "Emma...?"

"Oh, no, she's bingo! Just like you said, she drank from Lachlain and healed right up."

Lucia sagged with relief, sinking onto the front steps of the kennel. Emma's going to live! Then Lucia frowned. "Annika allowed this?"

"Hell no. The wolves escaped. And then Emma the Timid bitchslapped me when I went after Lachlain!" she added happily. "I mean really hard, and didn't telegraph the move - at all. Finally, all those years training her paid off."

"What are you talking about? Where's Garreth?"

"Holding up, like, the entire floor of Val Hall while we get repairs done. Lachlain tore and bit through the ceiling over the cage to get to Emma, and now our whole house is sagging, about to fall down. Just goes to show you, Lykae are outside pets," Regin said with a snort. "And Em loves Lachlain, and they're getting married, I shite you not. Annika is freaking. I myself am torn. I mean, if Emma's going to be their queen, her first decree could be that all Lykae are the Valkyrie's bitches. She's resistant to the idea, but I'll wear her down."

Emma was safe - healthy. And in love. "How are the others reacting?"

"They're kind of feeling that if Emma wanted the wolf bad enough to go tag Demestriu, then felicitations to them both. And Lachlain did just save her life. Also, no Valkyrie were injured in the making of their recent escape. Still, doesn't mean we want to hang out or anything."

Emma would wed Lachlain and be his queen. Now everything between the Valkyrie and Lykae would be different.

Didn't matter. Garreth was a liar - and she wanted nothing to do with him. Most of the time. Except when he was touching her.

"So what's the kennel like?" Regin asked.

Lucia turned toward the building with narrowed eyes. Before or after I get through with it?

"Do they have food bowls and chew toys all around?"

"The 'compound' looks like a Scottish hunting lodge." The whole vibe was so... normal. It'd rattled her all the more because she could see herself hanging out there. Yes, there were some claw marks on the walls, but hell, Val Hall had its own "love stripes."

"And?" Regin asked.

"What?"

"What else happened?" Regin said. "I can hear something in your voice."

"I'm definitely... his mate."

Regin made a wincing sound. "Dude. Sorry."

"I've known, but I've been in denial. He even denied it." Which proved that he was a cool customer, able to control himself instead of bellowing mine as he demanded her eternity. "But to hear the reality said out loud, and to see his clan treating me like one of their own, like their princess... it was just too much."

Before, as long as it hadn't been acknowledged, she could pretend it wasn't so.

Now, the truth sunk in, her suspicions were confirmed, his lie revealed.

"He won't leave you alone. Especially not until he's claimed you," Regin said.

"I know." Lykae simply didn't give up. They were the living embodiment of obsession. Just like Lachlain with Emma, Garreth would never rest until he'd possessed Lucia completely.

"And you can't have sex. So what're we going to do?"

Since I also can't seem to deny him... "I'm going to get out of town."

"Where're we headed?" Regin asked. When Lucia didn't answer, she said, "Like I'm letting you go out into the world by yourself to let life kick you in the ass. We're both getting our asses kicked or not at all! We're a team, Bonnie and Bonnie, together forever."

Lucia's lips quirked. No one could have a better friend than Regin. "We start the hunt for a dieumort." She stood and turned back inside the compound, striding for Garreth's quarters. "Pack a bag for me - I'll be back in an hour. For now, I'm going to act out, demonstrate that some Valkyrie aren't house-trained either."

"Ooh, break something for me!"

Inside his rooms, Lucia kicked an expensive-looking lamp, sending it crashing to the floor. "Any other requests?"

"Yeah, since matehood means you own fifty percent of all his swag, then bring me home any vinyl LPs you may come across, some weapons, and of course, anything shiny."

"On it."

"MacRieve'll follow us."

Yes, but Lucia would protect herself, do whatever she had to do. She had no choice. "Then let the games begin."

Lachlain MacRieve and his brother stood outside on the grounds of Val Hall, drinking a couple of rounds of longnecks before Garreth's imminent departure.

"You sure you canna stay?" Lachlain was loath to see his brother go. He'd been so panicked about Emma that he'd barely registered the time he'd spent jailed with Garreth.

"I need to follow Lousha."

Unfortunately, Lucia the Huntress had disappeared. Lachlain had heard she'd "gone on vacay" with her "partner in crime" Regin. The new lingo of this time still stumped him, but he'd gleaned enough to know that Garreth had been right about his mate: Lucia was indeed a runner.

"Aye, o' course you must go after her. But maybe you could leave after my wedding?" Lachlain was to marry Emma tomorrow. Though the Lykae considered mate-hood eternal - marriage was a bit superfluous - the Valkyrie insisted on some kind of binding ceremony. Or as Annika had choked out, "Something a little more respectable - than a bite."

More important, my lass is excited about it. In less than twenty-four hours, he'd take his sweet Emma as his wife. Those hours couldn't pass soon enough for him.

"I canna." Garreth took a swig. "No' unless you need me. To help you... acclimate." His expression darkened.

Though Garreth had been utterly accepting of Emma's vampiric nature - even the fact that Lachlain himself fed her and relished doing so - he hadn't taken the news of Lachlain's decades-long imprisonment and torture well. And Lachlain had downplayed the worst of it.

"No, I can manage," he said. "Especially now with the vampire threat lessened." His wee Emma had somehow slain Demestriu, and Lachlain himself had killed Ivo the Cruel.

Garreth said, "Lessened but no' gone."

Lothaire still lived. There was something about that vampire, something that tugged at Lachlain's subconscious. A threat even greater than it appeared on the surface... "When you return, we'll strategize what to do about the Enemy of Old."

"Aye," Garreth agreed. "For now, you need to concentrate on your queen. And hup two with the bairns, old man. Tired of being your heir."

Lachlain drank deeply. "Doona hold your breath. You saw how delicate she is - will no' relish the idea of getting a babe on her."

"Delicate?" Garreth raised his brows. "The rest of the Lore, and especially the Lykae, see her as a fierce warrior queen who slew the Horde king. And you still see her as delicate."

Lachlain scowled. "First impressions are lasting. In any case, doona be concerning yourself with this - you've enough on your plate. Do you know what spooked your female in the first place?"

"Oh, aye. She found out she was my mate, though I'd lied about it."

Lachlain rubbed the back of his neck. He'd done just the same with Emma. Mates that were other didn't often find the news welcome. "How'd she find out?"

"I'd made the twins vow no' to tell anyone about her. But when they thought they were about to war with the Valkyrie to retrieve me and cover your incursion, they gave an order that Lousha could no' be hurt. Upon pain of death, she was to be spared. I appreciated the foresight, but the clan quickly figured it out."

"Where do you think she is?"

Garreth said, "I have some leads."

"Nïx?"

"Aye."

Nucking Futs Nïx. Lachlain owed everything to that soothsayer. She was the one who'd coaxed Emma to go to Paris in the first place. If Emma hadn't been there, then Lachlain never would've had the strength to escape the vampires - who'd imprisoned and tortured him for over a century....

Tamping down those memories, Lachlain said, "Before you go, I wanted to pass on some advice. Emma told me that to win your mate, you have to accept Regin. The two are thick as thieves. Always have been. Since they were children."

"So calling Regin a glowing bluidy freak dinna help my cause? On top of the lie? Christ, I've bollixed this up."

"But you said she's no' immune to you. You can win her."

With a firm nod, Garreth said, "Aye, then, I will. I'm off." He hugged Lachlain, clapping him on the back. "It's good to have you back, brother."

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