Bad Moon Rising (Page 28)

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Bad Moon Rising (Dark-Hunter #18)(28)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

Yeah, right.

Funny, he didn’t feel like that anymore. "Just pretend I’m still in a coma. I’m sure that’ll be easy enough for you to do."

Vane screwed his face up into a look of disgust. "Oh, f**k you, you selfish bastard. You know, Fury and I were the ones who kept you safe while you laid in bed, worthless to us. And now you dare to cop an attitude with me? You are such a bitter shit."

Fang raked Vane with a sneer. "Yeah, like you don’t know anything about being selfish."

"What’s that supposed to mean?"

"You abandoned me to chase tail and then when I didn’t rise at your command, you buddied up with a bastard you hate. Don’t forget, I know your love of Fury runs about as deep as mine does. Where was your loyalty in all this?"

Vane slung his hand out and pinned him to the wall. "You better be glad you’ve been sick or I’d shove those words down your throat."

Fang blasted him with a wave of his own. It shattered the powers Vane used to hold him and sent his brother reeling as he was released. "You’re not the only one who can command magick, dick."

Vane looked up from where he’d landed on the floor against the wall, his features shocked. "How did you do that?"

"There’s a lot about me you don’t know, adelphos. Be grateful that I’m not willing to show it all to you. Now get out."

Vane pushed himself to his feet. No, this wasn’t the same Fang who’d been through a bitter childhood with him. Something was seriously wrong with his brother and he had no idea what.

But if Fang wouldn’t tell him, there was nothing he could do.

He wiped his hand against his mouth. "Fine. Sit up here and rot." He slammed the door shut as he left.

Aimee shot out of her room at the sound and paused in the hallway as she saw him. "Are you all right?"

"No, I’m not." Vane glared at the closed door as he imagined splintering both it and Fang’s head wide open. "I’m one step away from killing that idiot."

"Fang?"

"Is there another one?"

Her expression bemused, she nodded. "Quite a few under this roof, point of fact, and I’m related to several of them. But why would you want to hurt your brother after all he’s been through?"

"After all he’s been through?" Vane scoffed. "Pah-lease! You sound like him. I’m sorry if laying in bed and being hand-fed because I can’t deal with the same reality the rest of us had to face just doesn’t relate to what has been happening to me and Fury. We barely survived the hunt. I’ve had to battle a demon and Daimons and-"

"And you think Fang wanted to be in that coma?"

Vane sneered at her. "You heard what Carson and Grace said. He could have come out of it anytime he wanted to."

Aimee shook her head. "No, Vane, he couldn’t. Believe me."

"Believe you? No," he said as his bitterness swelled up deep inside him. How dare she take up for Fang. "I know my brother better than anyone and I know exactly how selfish he is. All he cares about is himself."

"Vane . . . you’re wrong. Fang wasn’t in a coma. He was trapped in hell. I know because I’m the one who went in and got him out of there. You battled one single demon. He battled hundreds."

CHAPTER NINETEEN

Fang sat on the edge of his bed with his feet on the floor, his elbows on his knees, and his head in his hands. He was so tired of everything. Tired of trying to hold himself together. Tired of hurting. Of longing for things he couldn’t have.

He just wanted one minute of peace.

Why was that one thing so hard to find? Surely it should be simple and yet it was the most elusive target he’d ever known.

Before he could move, Vane appeared there before him in the room. He pulled Fang up from the bed and grabbed him in a hug so fierce he felt his ribs crack.

Fang fought the hold. "Get off me, you f**king perv!"

Vane let go, then punched him hard in his arm.

Grimacing, Fang shoved at him and would have returned the blow with one of his own had Vane not dodged it. "What was that for?"

Vane snarled at him. "For not telling me what happened to you, you ass**le." That last word was loaded with enough venom to bring down a raging bull elephant.

Completely confused, he scowled. "What are you talking about?"

Vane grabbed him by the shirt and held him with two angry fists. "Aimee told me where you were all the months I thought you were in a coma. What pisses me off most is that you should have been the one who told me. Not her."

Pissed at his tone and hold, Fang shoved him back again. "Yeah, well you should have been the one helping me get my soul back. Not her."

"I thought I was dreaming."

Fang snorted. "Vane, come help me," he said coldly, using the words he’d tried repeatedly to get his brother’s attention. "Not exactly subtle."

A tic worked in Vane’s jaw. He gestured toward the rumpled bed. "And when I came in here to see you, you looked comatose. Everyone told me that’s what was wrong with you. How was I supposed to know otherwise?"

How indeed. Fang glared at him and his obtuse stupidity. "You should have known better. When have I ever laid down and licked my wounds? Really?"

Vane looked away, his features sheepish as he realized the truth. Fang wasn’t a coward. He was a fighter through and through. "You’re right. I should have known better. I should have thought better of you. But I know how much Anya meant to you. I just assumed-"

That Fang was weak and incompetent. It was what Vane had always thought of him and Fang was tired of being in his shadow. "Look, I don’t want to talk about it. What’s done is done. Thanks to Aimee and her brothers, I’m back."

Bully that, given the way Fury and Vane had shafted him. But for better or worse, he was here in the human realm.

Come to think of it, he’d basically traded one hell for another. Tell me again why I fought so hard to get back here. . . .

Then again, at least here no one was trying to disembowel him.

Yet.

"Let’s just forget what happened."

Vane heard those words, but he knew his brother. He’d hurt Fang and it would take a lot of time for both of them to come to terms with what had happened. In all honesty, he hated himself for not being there when he should have been.

But as Fang said, he couldn’t undo what had been done. All he could do was make sure that he never let it happen again.

"We’re brothers, Fang. You mean everything to me. I hope you know that."

Fang grimaced. "When did you turn into a woman? Gah, if that’s what being mated does, I’ll do without."

Vane shook his head. "Bride didn’t teach me that. Losing Anya did. There are a lot of things I wish I’d said to her before she died. I don’t want to make that mistake with you."

Fang made a face. "Yeah, well, please make the mistake. You’re creeping me out with the lovey bullshit." He jerked his chin toward the door. "Your woman’s downstairs. You shouldn’t keep her waiting."

He didn’t budge. "We want you to live with us."

Fang still wasn’t ready for that. Too much had changed and living with Vane and his human mate . . . he’d really rather not.

"I think I’ll stay here for a while. It’ll be good for the two of you to have time together without your obnoxious brother intruding."

Vane scoffed. "Is that the real reason?"

"What else?"

Vane looked at the door, then lowered his voice to a low whisper. "Aimee."

Fang snorted, even though his brother was a lot closer to the truth than he ever wanted to admit. "We’re friends."

"If you say so. But you have to know that if you’re messing with her-"

"I’m not an idiot," he said between clenched teeth. "Wolves and bears don’t mix."

"Keep that close. It may be the only thing that saves your life."

Fang rolled his eyes.

Vane clapped him on the back. "If you need me-"

"I’ll call."

He shook his head. "I won’t let you down again, Fang. I swear it."

"I know." But Fang still wasn’t sure if he could trust Vane. His brother hadn’t meant to let him down before. Yet it had happened.

Vane held his hand out to him.

Fang took it and let Vane pull him into a tight man hug. He patted him on the back before he left.

Alone, Fang returned to bed only to have someone else knock on the door. He knew instantly who it was. Only one person had that soft, hesitant knock and smelled of vanilla-scented lavender. "Come in, Aimee."

She pushed the door open to frown at him while she held a tray of food. "How did you know it was me?"

"I smelled you."

She tsked. "And to think I waste all that time bathing every day and all my money on soap. Why do I bother when I obviously smell to high heaven?"

He smiled in spite of himself as she set the tray aside. "I like the straight lavender more than that vanilla stuff you have on right now."

She cocked her head in mock offense and rested one hand on her hip. "Oh, I’m being dissed by the wolf who didn’t bathe for . . . how many months was it?"

"Not my fault. You could have bathed me."

"Ha! Then you would have been skinned and would have never needed a bath again."

He despised how charmed he was by this exchange. More to the point, how charmed he was by her presence. "Why are you here?"

"I wanted to make sure you and Vane were good."

"Yeah."

She looked at him suspiciously as she neared the bed. "You don’t sound sold on it."

"It’s not that. I love my brother. I’m just . . ." Bitter. That was the only word to do any kind of justice to his surly mood. He only hoped it was temporary. "It’s nothing that I won’t get over."

She handed him a beer. "If you say so."

He took it from her and eyed the tray of food she’d parked on his dresser. "I thought I told you I wasn’t hungry."

"I figured you were lying."

He laughed. "Thanks for the faith."

Wrinkling her nose at him, she uncovered a plate to show him ham, turkey, dressing, and potatoes. "Do you need anything else?"

You. . . .

Gods, he was such a fool. Her rump was the only roast he wanted to take a bite out of. Even now he could imagine stripping her bare and making love to her until they were both blind from it.

He cleared his throat, wishing he could clear his mind just as easily. "No, and I’m really sorry for the way I treated you earlier."

"You should be, but I understand. I have the same feelings, which really piss me off."

He took a deep draft of his beer. "There’s something wrong with us, isn’t there?"

"Yes. We’re broken."

Setting the beer aside, he pulled her toward him until she was standing between his spread knees. Her scent wrapped around him like a warm cloak as he imagined sliding her T-shirt over her head and freeing her br**sts. "I’ve never wanted a woman as badly as I do you."

She rested her hands on his shoulders as she looked down at him, her gaze scalding hot. "I’ve never wanted a man until you."

He leaned his head against her stomach while she brushed her hand through his hair, then down to his shoulders. "What are we going to do?"

Her touch sent chills over him. "We have to stay away from each other. I’m my mother’s heir. I have to find a bearswain to mate with."

Anger shot through him at those words. He couldn’t stand the thought of another man touching her. But he let the heat of her body soothe him until he was calm again. "We can be adults about this."

"Absolutely. We’re just friends."

"Friends." Had there ever been a more disgusting word invented?

Aimee looked down at him as he pulled away to gaze up at her. His hair was shaggy and his whiskers were already starting to darken his cheeks again-it gave him a feral sex appeal that was hard to resist. And those beautiful eyes of his . . . she could lose herself to him so easily.

Don’t . . .

"I’m going to my room now."

Fang nodded and released her. His heart heavy, he watched her leave even though what he really wanted to do was call her back and run off to a place where no one would care that he was a wolf and she a bear.

"What have I done?"

Made a complete and utter wreck of your life.

It was true. Everything was screwed up and he had no idea how to make it right again.

Sighing, he went to the tray Aimee had brought and sat down to eat.

 

Aimee tried her best to sleep. But for some reason, she couldn’t. It was around three in the morning when she went to the bathroom and saw the light shining from underneath Fang’s door.

Against her better judgment, she padded down the hallway to knock lightly on his door.

He didn’t answer.

"Fang?" she whispered.

Again he didn’t answer.

Closing her eyes, she looked inside the room and found him there. He was pacing the room like a caged animal. Wild. Cold. Deadly.

Something was wrong.

Without considering the danger, Aimee went inside to check on him.

He whirled on her so fast, she couldn’t even protect herself. He pinned her to the wall, his hand on her throat as if he would kill her right where she stood.