Home > Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson #2)(13)

Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson #2)(13)
Author: Patricia Briggs

I don't know why that was the final straw. Maybe it was the implication that I didn't understand what he was-when I'd just had a graphic example of what vampires could do. I'd been halfway to the bathroom, but I turned back and stared at both men.

"Samuel is going to get you a blanket," I told him firmly. "And a pillow. You are going to sleep for the day in my closet. Dead people don't get to stay in my bedroom."

I shut the bathroom door behind me and dropped the afghan I wore on the floor. I heard Samuel say, "I'll get some bedding," before I turned on the shower to let it warm up.

There's a full length mirror on the door of my bathroom. One of those cheap ones with the imitation wood frame. When I turned to put my clothes on top of the sink where they wouldn't get wet, I got a good look at myself.

At first, all I could see was the dried blood. In my hair, on my face, down my shoulder, arm and hip. On my hands and feet.

I threw up in the toilet. Twice. Then I washed my hands and face and rinsed my mouth out with water.

I was not unacquainted with blood. I am sometimes a coyote, after all. I've killed my share of rabbits and mice. Last winter I killed two men-werewolves. But this death was different. Evil. He hadn't killed her for food, revenge, or self-defense. He'd killed her, and four other people, because he liked it. And I hadn't been able to stop him.

I looked back at the mirror.

Bruises bloomed on my ribs and shoulder. Dark purple marks traced the path the harness had run around my chest and ribs. I must have done that while I was struggling against Stefan's hold on my leash. The bruise on the outside edge of my right shoulder was more black than purple. The left side of my face was swollen cheekbone to jaw and red with the promise of a truly spectacular bruise.

I leaned forward and touched my puffy eyelid. I looked like a rape victim-except for the two dark marks on my neck.

They looked sort of like a rattlesnake bite, two dark half-formed scabs surrounded by swollen and reddened skin. I covered them with my hand and wondered how much I trusted Stefan's assessment that I would neither be turned into a vampire nor be subject to Littleton 's control.

I took out my hydrogen peroxide and dabbed it over the wounds, hissing at the sting. It didn't make me feel any cleaner. I took the bottle into the shower with me and poured the contents on my neck until the bottle was empty. Then I scrubbed.

The blood was soon gone, though it had turned the water at my feet rusty for a few seconds. But no matter how much soap and shampoo I used, I still felt dirty. The more I scrubbed the more frantic I felt. Littleton hadn't raped me, but he'd violated my body just the same. The thought of his mouth on me made my stomach churn again.

I stood under the hot spray until the water was cold.

Chapter 3

My bedroom was empty and the door to the closet was shut when I finally emerged from the bathroom. I glanced at the clock. Fifteen minutes to make it to the garage if I was going to open on time.

I was glad no one was there to hear me grunt and groan as I got dressed. No one alive to hear me, anyway.

Every muscle in my body ached, especially my right shoulder, and as soon as I bent down to pull on my socks and shoes, the battered side of my face started to throb. It would hurt me even more, though, if I lost customers because I wasn't open at my usual time.

I opened the bedroom door and Samuel looked up from where he'd been sitting on the couch. He'd been up all night, too; he ought to have gone to bed instead of waiting up to frown at me. He got up and pulled an ice pack out of the freezer.

"Here, put this on your face."

It felt good and I sagged against the doorway to enjoy the numbness it brought to my throbbing cheek.

"I called Zee and told him what happened," Samuel told me. "You can go to bed. Zee's planning on working the shop for you today. He said he could do it tomorrow, too, if you need him."

Siebold Adelbertsmiter, known to his friends as Zee, was a good mechanic, the best. He'd taught me everything I know, then sold the garage to me. He was also fae  -  and the first person I'd intended to go to for information on sorcerers.

Even though he sometimes filled in for me when I was sick, I hadn't even thought about calling him for help with the garage-proof that it would probably be better if I didn't try going to work today.

"You're swaying," said Samuel after a moment. "Go to bed. You'll feel better when you wake up."

"Thank you," I mumbled before shutting myself back in my room.

I flopped facedown on my bed, groaned because that hurt my face again. I rolled until I was more comfortable, covered my head with my pillow and dozed for a while, maybe for all of half an hour.

I could smell Stefan.

It wasn't that he smelled bad-he just smelled like himself, sort of vampire and popcorn. But I couldn't get his statement about being dead during the day out of my head. Ugh. There was no way I was going to be able to sleep with a dead man in my closet.

"Thanks, Stefan," I told him glumly as I heaved my sore body out of bed. If I couldn't sleep, I might as well go to work. I opened the door to the living room, expecting it to be empty, since Samuel had been up all night, too.

Instead he was sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee with Adam, the local Alpha werewolf, who happened to live on the other side of my back fence.

I hadn't heard Adam come in. Once Samuel started sharing my house, I'd become careless. I should have realized that he would come over as soon as Samuel called him, though-and, of course, Samuel had to call him about the bloodbath at the hotel. Adam was the Alpha, and responsible for the welfare of all the werewolves in the area.

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