Home > The Dark Ones (The Dark Ones Saga #1)(9)

The Dark Ones (The Dark Ones Saga #1)(9)
Author: Rachel Van Dyken

He dropped his hand and smirked. "Scorching."

I was swaying toward him, not even realizing it, but his hands came out and steadied me then stayed. When he touched me, I could feel his heartbeat through his fingertips; it was addicting, fascinating. I moved closer. He didn't release me. His black eyes changed to more of a gray and then finally changed back to a flashing green as I moved into his arms. It was like I had no control over my body — I just wanted to be close.

And he was so warm.

And alive.

Very much alive.

His eyes hooded.

Inches apart — our lips were almost touching. My mind screamed at me to back away, but my body told me it was exactly where I needed to be.

"You're hungry." He twirled a piece of my hair with his fingertip then sniffed it. "I'll bring you food. Under no circumstances are you to leave this room until the marking is complete."

He released my hair. His other hand fell from my arm.

And the loss was heartbreaking.

"How will I know when it's complete?" I croaked out, like any terrified prisoner would.

His face cracked into a seductive smile before he looked away and his jaw clenched. "You'll know… because you'll be so on fire for me, you'll think of nothing else. Not food, water, safety — not anything. Your only need will be me."

I gulped. "Then what happens?"

He turned and walked to the door at a normal pace, pausing only to call over his shoulder, "I give you exactly what you need."

That's what I was afraid of.

CHAPTER SIX

Genesis

IT WAS AN HOUR LATER BEFORE any food was brought to me. I'd foolishly assumed it would be Ethan bringing food; instead, it was Alex.

I breathed a sigh of relief when he came into the room, tray of food in hand, and offered a shy smile — without the noticeable waves of seduction. Apparently, he could turn it off and on.

"Actually…" He sat the tray down on the bed and took a seat in the nearby chair. "…now that you're his mate, I could try my damnedest to seduce you, and you wouldn't feel a thing."

"Great," I croaked, reaching for a piece of toast.

"Mason cooked." Alex offered an apologetic yet radiant smile. "Word of warning, the man's been surviving on tree branches for the past twenty years, so if he's a little rusty in the kitchen, I apologize."

"Tree branches?" The toast was a bit dry, but it satisfied the hunger. I kept chewing, waiting for Alex to elaborate. Maybe he'd give me the answers I needed.

Alex propped his feet up on the bed. "His way of punishing himself, I suppose — ridiculous if you ask me. Then again, he's a werewolf, more beast than man. Who am I to judge?" His blue eyes twinkled briefly before he reached for the teakettle on my tray and poured some into one of the mugs. "Ethan didn't specify what to make for you. Sorry if we made a terrible mess out of things, but we mostly eat out every day, so there wasn't much food in the house — not to mention a vampire lives here so…"

I leaned forward, my eyes narrowing. "So he doesn't eat?"

Alex burst out laughing. "Just adorable. I may love you."

I scowled.

"Humans are funny," he said to himself more than to me. "I'd keep you if you weren't already being fought over and owned."

"I'm not a pet."

"Believe me when I say I treat my pets very well," he said in a low voice. "No complaints. Ever."

"Good for you." Arrogant much?

"Feeling the effects yet?" he asked, once I finished the toast and had moved on to the small slices of cheese and fruit. Crackers were on one side of the plate. Alex leaned forward, folding his massive hands in front of him. "A vampire's mark isn't something to be taken lightly."

"Well," I sighed, "I don't even know what the mark is, let alone what it should feel like. Apparently, I've been wrong about what I've been studying my entire life so, really, I don't know what to expect." I snorted. "You know, other than certain death if I disrespect any of you."

"That's still true," he said quickly. "With us four? Not so much. With the rest of them… keep your head down and try to say please and thank you."

"Noted."

"Fast learner."

"Survivor," I fired back.

He sighed, his smile slowly fading as did the light behind his blue eyes. "It's fifty-fifty."

"What?" I was just popping a piece of cheese into my mouth. Why did the food taste so bland? I was hungry — ravenous — so I didn't care, but it was like eating sandpaper.

"The survival rate, of course." Alex examined his fingernails then clicked his tongue. "Most humans are able to survive it, the strong ones."

"Survive what?" I clenched my teeth together as another chill wracked my body.

"The marking." His eyes narrowed. "It's made easier when your mate actually holds your damn hand through the process." I could have sworn he said ass under his breath, but it was too low to hear.

"He didn't…" I licked my lips and reached for a cracker. "He didn't want to do it though."

"Tough shit," Alex said in a louder voice, repositioning himself on the chair, dangling his legs off the side. "We've all had to make sacrifices for the greater good — this is his."

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