Coming December 4 to Loose Id!
“SO YOU SAVED my son. Then you screwed him.”
Dane didn’t move, keeping his gaze on Dylan’s face.
“You saved him a second time, then ended up here, even after the town rejected you. Why is it I get the impression you’re a hell of a lot more dangerous than any of those rogues?”
“Because I am.”
Dylan wanted to move, to get away from the touch of this alpha wolf. He’d felt and been impressed by the power emanating from Lukas Blacque, but this older wolf’s energy was off the charts. And all of that amazing focus was centered on Dylan.
“How’d you know how bad it was?” He gestured to his ankle.
“Logic. Blacque told me you were old and powerful. He had Jason cuff you with steel. That kid’s cautious and edgy. If he agreed to using iron on you, then he perceives you as a threat. And old fae like you don’t take well to iron or steel.”
Dylan nodded in acknowledgment of his words. He liked Dane Blacque. In another place and time, they might have been friends. But in the here and now, Dylan had to convince the wolves to free him, to let him heal, and more important, to give him the freedom to finish his hunt.
“My son is brilliant.”
Dylan looked steadily at the alpha wolf. Most people would assume the alpha spoke of his elder son, but he knew better.
“He is. And his mind is restless. That’s why he tends to…run amok.” He couldn’t hold back the smile. Dane smiled back.
“You understand him, then. He’s more dominant than he gives himself credit for, but he doesn’t want to lead. Blacque didn’t either, but he can’t escape his own nature to be an alpha. Travis, though…his contributions will be different. Great, if he finds himself.”
“He doesn’t want to be at the bottom of the pack structure. He’s afraid of fighting, so he seeks confrontation to defy that fear. He craves structure yet is a free spirit.”
“Do you love him?” Dane leaned forward. Dylan sat up straight, fighting the urge to retreat.
“I barely know him, Dane. And he barely knows me.”
“That’s not what I asked. I know damn well the fae don’t mate like shifters do. They claim their partner. They draw blood and mark their lover. Gender isn’t an issue. Reproduction isn’t an issue. Fae like you fall hard and fast, and while you don’t have the whole ‘mate for life’ thing going on, you guys are pretty permanent. For you, love isn’t just a gift; it’s a weakness that can be exploited.”
Dylan literally felt the blood drain from his face. Dane Blacque spoke the truth, but it couldn’t be the case. He tried to recall the last time he’d been in love. It had been in another life, another world completely.
“No. I am far too old.”
He paused when Dane laughed.
“I’ve been accused of being a cradle robber, but my target was only decades younger than me. You must be older than Travis by a century, maybe more.”
“Much more,” he whispered through stiff lips. “I don’t know that I am capable of love.”
“Of course you are. That and the bite on Travis’s lip are all that’s keeping me from slapping a steel collar around your neck and dragging your ass out of town.” He let loose of Dylan’s leg. “That metal had to hurt. Badly.”
“And I’ll bet you didn’t complain once. Not to Travis, anyway. See, you don’t want him upset. You don’t want him feeling bad for something he has no control over.”
Dylan looked away, every word lodging in his heart like iron-tainted arrows. He cursed the alpha, and he cursed Travis. He cursed himself for being so vulnerable, for falling so easily.
“You’re dominant. It oozes from your pores. Yet he commands you. Because of that, you won’t do anything to hurt my son, will you.” It wasn’t a question.
Dylan raised his chin slightly. He met Dane’s dark, sharp gaze. A brief shake of the head was all the alpha needed—and all he had to give. Because the geas was far more powerful than any love or compassion he might feel for anyone. He’d already hurt Travis; the kid just didn’t know it yet. Thanks to the wolves, he knew exactly who his prey was, knew what he looked like and where he lived.
For a moment he considered not following through, not fulfilling the hunt.
The geas screamed at the thought—the brands burned his skin. He winced, grateful the wolf would blame the iron poisoning for his pain.
“It is unlikely your son is as bonded to me as I am to him. When I am healed, I will leave.” His heart twisted at the words. It wasn’t the artificial pain of the enchantment, but true grief of his heart. He’d loved unwisely and would suffer the cost.
“Quite the sacrifice, Dylan. I guess I’ll have to be satisfied with that, then.”