Her eyes fluttered closed, and she answered without thought. "Immortal here. Remember?"
He stopped suddenly, brought her back into his chest, arms around her, protective once more. "I heard something."
"It's nothing." Frustrated, she kicked him in the ass with her heels, rocking on him. He stifled a groan but didn't thrust. When she opened her eyes, she found his gaze furious and focused on...the sword point tucked under his chin.
Regin was pressing hard enough to bring blood trickling down. Lucia stood at her side with an arrow nocked.
"No," Myst said, her voice sounding hoarse from screaming. "Don't."
Regin stared at her in disbelief. Regin, whose entire race had been destroyed by vampires...and who'd secretly learned to count by her mother's bite scars. "This thing just violated you - "
"We followed the lightning here, Regin," Lucia interrupted. "Whatever he did to her she let him do."
She couldn't imagine what they looked like there in the field. They'd fought ruthlessly. They must be bruised, bloody, their clothing in shreds.
Why hadn't he traced her away? Why hadn't he thrown her out of the way and attacked Regin? She suspected the answer to the first - he wanted them to see her like this. Their relationship couldn't be made more brutally clear. She pulled away from him, though his arms tightened around her to prevent it. "Please, Wroth," she whispered in his ear, "let me face them." He finally released her.
But jealous Myst didn't want her sisters to see Wroth hard, huge and magnificent, and she pulled her skirt over them as she drew him free from her, then yanked his shirttail down. That's mine, she thought irrationally. She'd been acquisitive all her life but never with men. Now she wanted possession.
When Myst stumbled away, Wroth reached for her, but Regin raised her sword against him, piercing several inches into his chest muscle. He didn't fight back - he could hardly feel it - and he had vowed not to harm her family.
He was euphoric. There stood his Bride, putting her chin up as she pulled her shirt closed. Claimed. He stifled an evil grin. With witnesses. She could never go back now. She was his.
His heart pumped madly for her, his blood rushing inside him - and her luscious blood as well. She'd enjoyed his bite, lightning had streaked the sky each time that she came - he'd seen her pleasure. He could give her lightning each time he drank, without fear of turning, without fear of hurting her. No more checking his eyes each sunset.
They could sustain each other. He'd never known greater satisfaction.
Now if he could just get her witch of a sister to cease stabbing him.
"You just had sex with a vampire," Lucia said. "Myst, where is your mind? You know the repercussions. You'll be shunned by the Lore, mistrusted."
Regin added in a deadened tone, "When Furie rises..."
Whatever that statement meant, it made Myst's brows suddenly draw together. She appeared shocked by everything, as if her sisters' arrival had splashed ice water over her, waking her from a dream. He needed to get her home, away from them.
Suddenly Regin gasped and stared at Myst in horror. "Oh sweetheart," she whispered, "where's your chain?"
"Quickly," Wroth snapped to Myst as he reached for her, "take my hand." Myst obeyed, diving forward to take it. He traced them just as Regin leapt for Myst's legs and an arrow sang for him, hitting him in the shoulder but not staying within him as he disappeared.
Back at Blachmount, he set Myst on the edge of the bed. "Stay here," he ordered, then returned for the goddamned bag he'd gone to get in the first place. Just as he arrived in her room, Regin and Lucia bolted up the stairs. "Give her the chain back, leech!"
"I've claimed her. She's my wife now," he said simply, then traced with an ease he'd never had, covering the distance as if an afterthought.
Back home, he tossed her things to the side, then took her shoulders. "Rest, milaya. Take a hot bath and relax here until I return." She didn't respond, and he didn't want to leave her unsteady from tracing and reeling from the events of the night, but he needed to let Kristoff know that Ivo was in the New World. They needed to hunt him down and destroy him.
As Wroth gazed down at his Bride he wondered how Ivo could not be searching for her.
He brushed her hair from her face, trying to get her eyes to meet his. "Make yourself comfortable here. Your clothes are here. This is your home now."
When she nodded absently, her pupils were huge, her eyes stark, and he knew he couldn't leave her like this. He would warm her with a bath then put her in bed.
He ran water, undressed her and set her in it. She sat silently as he scrubbed the dirt and grass from her alabaster skin and held a cloth to her neck, to the bites that marred her.
Suddenly, she turned to him and placed her hands on his face. "Wroth, you said you would vow never to hurt my family?"
"Yes. I make it again."
"I believe you. You could've traced and attacked Regin and Lucia tonight and you didn't. But please, if you take more memories from this night, don't give others our weaknesses. Don't allow others to hurt them either."
Was his first loyalty to his king or to her? She was his Bride, and as he stared into her eyes, he realized that that meant she was his family. Wroth's family had always come first, and nothing had changed except that he'd now added to it.
"If I learn of other factions I will relate that information. But never about your kind."
She pulled him to her and kissed him softly with trembling lips. "Thank you," she whispered against him, then she gave him a shaky smile that made his turned heart do things he never remembered from being a human before.