Home > The Dark Ones (The Dark Ones Saga #1)(8)

The Dark Ones (The Dark Ones Saga #1)(8)
Author: Rachel Van Dyken

"Of course it did," Stephanie agreed; her eyes held such a deep sadness, my heart clenched in my chest. "Ethan…"

He shoved away from the bedside and walked out of the room, slamming the door behind him.

"He won't hurt you." Alex gave me a sympathetic smile. "Just… give him time."


Stephanie nodded. "To get used to the idea."

"The idea of what?"

"You're his new mate." Stephanie stood, just as the sound of a man screaming in agony pierced my ears. "We'll leave you now."



THE DOOR CLICKED SHUT, LEAVING ME completely and utterly alone. I pulled the blanket up to my chin and gave another jolt when another guttural roar came from somewhere in the house.


The minute I thought his name, I reached to my neck to see if he'd bitten me like Mason. Nothing but smooth skin met my fingertips, though my entire body still felt frozen — as if Cassius had marked me with a frigid temperature or something. But that was crazy.

In fact, the whole scenario was crazy.

I'd left every belonging I'd had with my mother, thinking I'd probably see her after I met with the immortals — she hadn't given me reason to believe otherwise.

I had no cell phone.

No money.

Absolutely no identification.

And, up until this point, I'd thought I'd been chosen to work for some secret society that hated me — but needed me desperately.

Instead, I'd been scared within an inch of my life.

And bitten twice — or at least I assumed twice.

My fingers grazed my neck again.


Another yell, this one hoarser than the ones before, as if Ethan was losing his voice.

I shivered and watched the flames flicker in the fireplace. The room they'd put me in was extravagant. I was lying in a king-sized bed with sheets that felt like silk against my fingers. A flat screen TV was positioned next to the fireplace, and pieces of artfully chosen furniture in tans and brown were scattered around, making everything look like I'd just stepped into Pottery Barn.

You know, if Pottery Barn included screaming as their background music.

Was I just supposed to wait until Ethan was done having a nervous breakdown? I mean, what was the protocol? My stomach growled on cue, reminding me that I hadn't eaten anything all morning.

Well, maybe if I starved to death, they wouldn't have to worry about me anymore. It seemed I was causing more trouble than anything.

My teeth chattered.

Why couldn't I get warm?

With a huff, I moved away from the bed and went to stand in front of the fireplace just as the door to my bedroom jerked open, nearly coming off the hinges.

Ethan stood in the doorway, blanketed in the warmth of the fire's glow. My breath hitched in my chest, even though I tried to stop my physical response. It was impossible — and embarrassing — knowing he probably heard my racing heart.

His hair was loose from the ponytail, falling around his sharp cheekbones and jaw.

His nostrils were flared as if he smelled something horrific.

And when I opened my mouth to speak, he held up his hand and hissed at me.

Freaking hissed.

Like a cat.

I held my tongue and stared at the fire, thinking that was probably the best option for me at that point.

Get warm.

Funny, my entire life had been about rules, memorization, planning, and now I had one goal in life — to get warm and stay that way.

It was all I could allow myself to focus on. I was pretty sure if I let myself fully think about what had just happened to me, I'd have a nervous breakdown. After all, I was only human, something that was impossible to ignore with someone like Ethan standing next to me.

His fluid movement from the door to the fireplace was quick. I blinked, and he was standing next to me, holding his hands out.

I knew he could feel the heat, so I wasn't going to insult him by asking, even though it seemed like some of my studies had been clearly lacking. After all, I'd always thought vampires bit, but I had no bite marks, no recollection, nothing except blackness and the idea that his touch had been so painful I'd wanted to die.

"You are safe," he whispered in a hoarse voice. "Cassius won't be coming for you. He'd have to track you first."

"Am I untraceable now?" Now that I was his. Now that I didn't belong to myself anymore.

Ethan pulled his hand back from the air, clenching his fingertips into a tight fist. "To everyone but your mate."

"You." I closed my eyes and willed the tears to stay in. What was happening?

"Me," he confirmed.

My heart continued to race. I tried to glance at him out of the corner of my eye, but when I did, those eyes — once green — were black and still trained on me. I didn't know vampires had black eyes, didn't know any part of their physiology — outside of their fangs — changed.

"The cold will pass," he said, still staring at me.

Finally, I turned to give him my full attention, hoping it wouldn't be the last thing I did. "Why am I so cold?" My teeth chattered as if to prove a point. I hugged my arms closer to my body and got closer to the fire.

"You'll be cold until he leaves you completely," Ethan said slowly. "I marked over him… took away what I could." His hand reached out cupping my face. "Soon you'll be warm again."

"B-because you're warm?"

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