Home > Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson #2)(7)

Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson #2)(7)
Author: Patricia Briggs

Rage and fear are sometimes only a hairbreadth different. I leapt, mouth open and latched onto Littleton 's throat, tasting first the human blood of the woman on his skin, then something else, bitter and awful, that traveled from my mouth through my body like a jolt of lightning. I fought to close my jaw, but I'd missed my hold and my upper fangs hit the bone of his spine and bounced off.

I wasn't a werewolf or bulldog and I couldn't crush bone, only dig deeply into flesh as the vampire gripped my shoulders and tore himself loose, ripping the leash out of Stefan's grip as he struggled.

Blood, his blood this time, spilled over his front, but the wound began closing immediately, the vampire healing himself even faster than a werewolf could have. In despair, I realized I hadn't seriously harmed him. He dropped me to the ground and backed away, his hands covering the wound I'd made. I felt his magic flare and when his hands fell away from his throat, the wound was gone.

He snarled at me, his fangs showing and I snarled back. I don't remember seeing him move, just the momentary feeling of his hands on my sides, a brief moment while I was hurled through the air and then nothing.

Chapter 2

I awoke on my couch to steady strokes of a tongue-in-the-face wash and Medea's distinctive thrumming. Stefan's voice came as a relief because it meant that he was alive, just like me. But when Samuel replied, though his purring tones bore more than a passing resemblance to the noise my cat was making, there was no comfort to be had from the cold menace under the soft voice.

Adrenaline pumped through me at the sound. I pushed the memory of the night's terrors aside. What was important this minute was that tonight was the full moon and there was an enraged werewolf not two feet from me.

I tried to open my eyes and stand up, but I encountered several problems. First, one eye seemed to be stuck shut. Second, since I seldom sleep in coyote form, I'd tried to sit up like a human. My floundering was made worse because my body, stiff and sore, wasn't reacting very well to movement of any kind. Finally, as soon as I moved my head, I was rewarded with throbbing pain and accompanying nausea.

Medea scolded me in cat swear words and jumped off the couch in a huff.

" Shh, Mercy." All the menace left Samuel's voice as he crooned to me and knelt beside the couch. His gentle, competent hands glided over my sore body.

I opened my good eye and looked at him warily, not trusting the tone of his voice to indicate his mood. His eyes were in the shadow, but his wide mouth was soft under his long, aristocratic nose. I noted absently that he needed a haircut; his ash brown hair covered his eyebrows. There was tension in his wide shoulders, and now that I was fully awake, I could smell the aggression that had been building in the room. He turned his head to follow his hands as they played delicately over my hind legs and I caught sight of his eyes.

Pale blue, not white, like they would be if the wolf was too close to the surface.

I relaxed enough to be sincerely grateful to be lying, however battered and miserable, on my own couch and not dead-or worse, still in the company of Cory Littleton, vampire and sorcerer.

Samuel's hands touched my head and I whimpered.

As well as being a werewolf, my roommate was a doctor, a very good doctor. Of course, I suppose he ought to be. He'd been one for a very long time and had at least three medical degrees gained in two different centuries. Werewolves can be very long-lived creatures.

"Is she all right?" Stefan asked. There was something in his voice that bothered me.

Samuel's mouth tightened. "I'm not a vet, I'm a doctor. I can tell you that there are no broken bones, but until she can talk to me, that's all I know."

I tried to shift so I could help, but all I got was a burning pain across my chest and around my ribs. I let out a panicked little sound.

"What's wrong?" Samuel ran a finger gently along my jaw line.

It hurt, too. I flinched and he pulled his hands away.

"Wait," said Stefan from the far side of the couch.

His voice sounded wrong. After what the demon-possessed vampire had done to him, I had to make sure Stefan was all right. I twisted, whining with discomfort, until I could peer at the vampire with my good eye.

He'd been sitting on the floor at the foot of the couch, but, as I looked at him, he rose until he was on his knees-just as he'd been when the sorcerer had held him.

I caught Samuel's sudden lunge out of the corner of my eye. But Stefan melted away from Samuel's hand. He moved oddly. At first I thought he was hurt, that Samuel had already hit him, then I realized he was moving like Marsilia, the Mistress of the local seethe-like a puppet, or an old, old vampire who had forgotten how to be human.

"Peace, wolf," Stefan said, and I realized what had been wrong with his voice. It was dead, empty of any emotion. "Try taking the harness off of her. I think she was trying to shift, but she can't while she wears the harness."

I hadn't realized that I was still wearing it. Samuel hissed when he touched the buckles.

"They're silver," Stefan said without moving closer. "I can undo them, if you'll let me."

"You seem to have a lot to say for yourself, now, vampire," growled Samuel.

Samuel was the calmest, most even-tempered werewolf I knew-though that's not saying much-but I could hear the promise of violence in the undertones of his voice that made my ribcage vibrate.

"You asked me questions I cannot answer," said Stefan calmly, but his voice had warmed to more human cadences. "I have every hope that Mercedes will be able to satisfy your curiosity and mine. First, though, someone needs to remove the harness so she can return to her human form."

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