Bad Moon Rising (Page 48)

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Bad Moon Rising (Dark-Hunter #18)(48)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

Dev came forward to pull Aimee away from Fang so that he could hold on to her. Fang started to protest, but realized she needed her family as much as she needed him. While he ached for her, Dev truly felt the pain of the loss. Knowing that pain all too well himself, he released her to her brother.

Dev cradled her head against his shoulder. "It’ll be all right, Aim. We’re here."

Aimee heard those words, but they did nothing to ease the ache inside her. All she’d wanted to do was to share her mating with her mother. . . .

Her father. . . .

It was why she’d come here tonight. She’d wanted her parents to be proud of her. To share in her joy.

Now they were gone. Forever.

Had you not been here, they would have been attacked unawares and Maman would have died without your ever seeing her again.

It was true, yet she couldn’t stop the pain inside her. The grief that cried out for her mother’s love. How could they be gone? How?

It was so unfair and she wanted blood for the loss. . . .

Fang stood back as the bears circled and held on to one another to grieve. They were a family united.

He felt like a total outsider.

Until Aimee and Dev pulled him forward. He hesitated until Remi took his wrist to force him to join them. "You’re one of us, wolf." Remi’s gaze went to Fury, Vane, Lia, and the others. "As are all of you. Thank you for coming to help us fight. It won’t be forgotten."

Aimee reached up to wipe some of the blood off Fang’s face before she kissed him. "I guess we’re all brolf after all."

Dev frowned. "Brolf?"

Simi huffed at him as if she thought he was completely dense. "A bear and wolf family. Jeez, doesn’t anyone understand Charonte English?"

Dev shook his head as he looked around at the hodgepodge of creatures who called Sanctuary home. "This is one f**ked-up family."

Fang laughed. "I think it’s the nature of all families to be f**ked up."

Aimee wiped her tears away. "Simi? What was it you told me once about families?"

"We have three kinds of family. Those we are born to, those who are born to us, and those we let into our hearts."

Aimee held her hand out to Fang as Dev continued to hold her.

Family.

It was all that ever really mattered.

Those we are born to, those who are born to us, and those we let into our hearts.

The ones who were gathered here, they were family and no amount of malice would ever change that. Family could only be destroyed from within.

Never from without.

And tonight they were all closer than they’d ever been before. United in grief. United in spirit.

United in love.

Sanctuary forever.

 

One week later

 

Aimee stood in the center of the bar as Quinn and Serre reattached the lights to the ceiling. They were trying to get the bar back up and running as soon as possible, but it was taking awhile to pick up the pieces and reopen.

In true Were-Hunter fashion, they’d cremated their parents and placed their ashes in an urn that now rested in the memorial chapel where Bastien and Gilbert were kept in a special room in Peltier House.

Aimee had visited with them just that morning. She didn’t think she’d ever get over the need to see her mother or feel her father’s warm hugs.

She would miss them always.

Fang came up behind her and offered her a cup of tea. "Are you all right?"

How could she really answer that?

She looked around at the damage that they had yet to repair. In one night, their lives had all been forever altered. One night that would leave a lasting scar on all of them.

But out of the pain was hope. And like the mythical phoenix, Sanctuary would rise out of the ashes and be every bit as strong as it had been before.

They might never again regain their limani license, but that was all right. That would allow them to pick and choose who they helped and it would give Remi and Dev the freedom to break ass over anyone who crossed the line.

"Yeah, I think I am." She smiled at Fang before he went to help Dev and Xedrix move some of the lumber around.

The bar should be opened again in a couple of weeks. Everything would be back to normal except for two things.

There would be no more Mama and Papa Bear Peltier. That pain burned inside her.

But her brothers had come together and named her and Fang as the new owners of the bar. They would be the two faces that would carry on the legacy her parents had started, especially now that Fang was no longer wanted for what the demons had done. Stu had made sure of that.

For better or worse, Sanctuary would be here. And everyone would be welcomed here equally, so long as they maintained the one law.

Come in peace or leave in pieces.

"Hey?"

She turned at the sound of the unfamiliar voice coming in from the outside door. "Yes?"

A tall blond man stood in the bright sunlight as he skimmed the construction. "When are you opening back up?"

Quinn came down from the ladder. "On the fourth of next month."

"Cool. See you then."

It wasn’t until he’d left that they all realized something.

That man had been a Daimon.

And he’d just walked out into daylight.

"Oh, shit," Dev breathed. "You guys think the Dark-Hunters know?"

Fang shook his head. "No, and I think the Dark-Hunters are about to get seriously owned."

EPILOGUE

Two weeks later

Fang lay in bed, completely nak*d, with Aimee snuggled up beside him. Gods, she felt so good there. . . .

He loved the way she looked when her skin was glowing in the morning light, her hair mussed and her lips swollen from his kisses. There was nothing better.

"Are you ever going to claim me?" she whispered as she traced circles over the muscles of his abdomen.

"I think that’s entirely up to you, my lady." In their world, mating was a decision solely up to the woman. A man couldn’t force a woman to accept him no matter what.

And if she failed to accept him within three weeks, he was left impotent . . .

So long as she lived.

Aimee lifted herself up to stare down at him. "You haven’t mentioned it, so I was beginning to worry."

She was worried? He was the one facing the next few centuries as a poster child for Viagra failure. "I didn’t want to rush you. You’ve been through a lot." And she’d been so sad since her parents’ deaths that he hadn’t wanted to be a prick by reminding her.

She rose up, showing him the br**sts he lived to taste. "Yes, but you only have two more days. . . ."

As if he wasn’t counting down to the exact nanosecond. . . . He had his watch set to buzz him before it was too late. But again, Vane had taught him that women required a certain degree of finesse. Otherwise, a guy ended up in the doghouse. In his case literally.

"I was hoping you’d be feeling better and willing." He flashed her an evil grin.

Aimee let out a playful sigh at his eager look. Her wolf could be impossible at times. But she wouldn’t have him any other way, and the thought of not having him at all hurt her on a level she didn’t even want to think about.

Fang would be hers forever.

She would make sure of it.

Sliding her body over his, she straddled his hips. He was gorgeous, lying in her bed, his tawny skin offset by her white sheets. He had a day’s worth of whiskers on his face that made him look as feral as he was. And his longer hair had an adorable wave to it.

She took his hand into hers so that she could nibble the pad of his fingers. He hardened instantly.

Fang looked up at her, his breathing turning ragged. "Are you sure?"

She nipped at his knuckle as she released his hand. "Don’t be silly. I’ve been waiting for years for this moment."

His eyes turned dark, sincere. "I’ve been waiting a lifetime for you."

Those words touched her. She held her marked hand up. Fang placed his palm to hers, their marks joined as he laced his fingers with her so that they could complete their mating ritual. She was so nervous, and she wasn’t even sure why. It wasn’t like they’d never had sex before and yet . . .

This would bind them forever. She would belong to him and he would be hers exclusively. It was a major responsibility to be a part of someone else’s world.

But she would have it no other way.

Their gazes locked, Aimee lifted herself up and set herself down on top of him.

Fang bit his lip as her body closed around his. He wanted to thrust against her, but it wasn’t part of the ritual. This was her time. She would set the pace and she would dictate what they did.

And when she started moving against him, the wolf inside wanted to howl in pleasure. With their marked hands locked, he ran his free hand down her back as she moved in short, torturous strokes.

She brushed her hand against the mark Thorn had placed on his shoulder. He would still have to fight demons for him from time to time, but Varyk had explained to him how his life was basically his own.

Then again, as he looked into Aimee’s eyes, he realized his life would never again belong to him alone. Aimee was his life now.

She tightened her grip on his marked hand. "I accept you as you are, and I will always hold you close in my heart. I will walk beside you forever."

Fang smiled as she whispered the words that bound them together in a ceremony that went back to a time before recorded history. He repeated them back to her and then added one more statement. "I would gladly give my life for you, Aimee."

"You are my life, wolf, so you better take damn good care of yours."

He started to answer that with a quip, but the thirio came upon him so suddenly that he couldn’t do anything except hiss as he felt his c**k harden even more. Pain exploded in his mouth as his teeth elongated to sharp fangs and a raw bloodlust came over him that made a mockery of the one he’d known when Phrixis had lived inside him.

The thirio was the urge to bond their life forces together and to make them one for all eternity.

In life and in death. It was what her parents had shared. What Anya had with her mate and what his brothers had done with their mates.

Once put in place, it was unbreakable by any other than Savitar.

Fang ground his teeth to keep from biting her.

Aimee cupped his face in her hand as she stared down at him. "Let’s finish this, Fang."

Searing joy tore through him, but he didn’t want to take this step lightly. "Are you sure?"

She gave him an unamused smirk. "I have been through hell for you . . . twice. Do you really think I want to be in this life without you?"

Those words touched him deep. Fang sat up underneath her, pulled her close, then sank his teeth into her skin.

Aimee let out a small cry of dismay as her own teeth elongated. She felt her powers soaring as their blood was mingled. Brushing his hair back from his shoulder, she bit him.

The room around her swam as every sense she had sharpened and burned. In that one instant, she could feel Fang’s heartbeat as if it were her own. The two of them were truly united.

Forever.

They would never again have to live without each other. It was the greatest gift.

And the ultimate curse.

But she would have it no other way.

Locked together, they came in unison. Aimee pressed her cheek to Fang’s as he held her close and she listened to his heartbeat slowing.

"I swore I would never bond to anyone," Fang whispered in her ear. "I thought only fools did this."

"And now?"

His dark gaze locked with hers. "I’m the happiest fool on the planet."

She kissed him then and couldn’t agree more. She too was the happiest fool on the planet.