Finally he could close the door behind the man who wanted to ruin his life.
Now he could go back to Alayna.
He wondered if she was still conscious. It had been nearly three hours since he’d stuffed her in the box. He hadn’t had a choice. If his brother found out she was here he would kill her, and he wouldn’t be quick about it.
Poor Alayna. She didn’t know what she’d gotten herself into when she’d fallen for him. He’d tried to push her away, him and relationships never mixed well, but the stupid girl had been so persistent.
Then she’d done the stupidest thing she could ever do.
She had made him fall in love with her.
That had cost her her freedom and if his brother ever got near her also her life. He could never let her go now. No one else had ever loved him. He’d been used by everyone he came in contact with since he was a child. Alayna’s selflessness was such a stark contrast to what he was used to seeing in people that at first he hadn’t been able to believe it was real.
But it was.
Alayna was pure goodness personified.
And now she was his.
Despite his warnings that he wasn’t what she thought he was, she had left everything to come to him. Now he could never let her go. How could he let such sweet angelic perfection walk out of his life? He couldn’t. She’d got what she wanted, he loved her, and now she had to pay the price of just what that meant.
Unlocking the box he opened the lid and looked down at her. Her eyes were closed, her body slack in unconsciousness, she looked . . .
He couldn’t even think the word.
She couldn’t be, he couldn’t lose her already, not when he’d just gotten her.
His fingertips pressed to her slender neck and he was rewarded by the thumping of her pulse.
She was so small, so delicate, so fragile, he’d never had something so vulnerable in his care before. While his dark side relished in the knowledge she was completely helpless and at his mercy, the protectiveness that only she brought out of him was fierce with the need to keep her safe.
While he had tied her up to keep her from drawing unwarranted attention to herself, he couldn’t deny that the part of him that enjoyed hurting people, that fed off their pain like it was genuine nourishment, stirred as he unhooked her hands and she moaned as circulation returned to her numb limbs bringing with it a rush of pain that ripped her from her slumber.
When he had her free he picked her up, cradling her in his arms as though she were the most precious thing he owned. And she was. He knew he could never promise that he wouldn’t hurt her but he could promise her that he would be devoted to her for all eternity. That her every wish was his command. That he would do whatever it took to make her smile, to bring her joy, to make sure she never regretted falling in love with him.
She stirred as he set her on his bed, her eyelashes fluttering on her cheeks, before her eyes opened and he was losing himself in a blue so bright it didn’t seem real.
Her gaze was unfocused, and she murmured, “What’s up with the feathers?”
“Shh, my sweet angel,” he stroked her long blonde hair. Her mind and her body needed time to heal, both needed to accept that they now belonged to him.
Alayna would be his, body, mind and soul. She already owned his, so it seemed only fair he should have hers.