This time when he spoke to her, he addressed her wolf. “Wolf mate,” he rumbled into her mind and used the Alpha power bestowed upon him to draw her to him. He felt her wolf seeking him out, could feel her urgent need to get to him but she too was locked in Alina’s fractured mind. “You are strong, and sometimes it is necessary for the wolf to take the lead. She needs you, needs your strength, wake her up, mate. Call her back from the quiet place.” He probably did not have to put the command in his tone, but wolves like to know who is in charge; it makes them feel safe, and lets them know their order in the pack. Alina’s wolf would respond to his dominance and find security in his ability to take control.
“She fights me,” her wolf answered him softly. It was the first time he had heard Alina’s wolf speak. The use of words seemed foreign to her, and he could tell she was using what she had learned from hearing Alina speak. “Her human spirit is tired. She suffered much from the mongrel. We fought, but he was so strong. I could not save her. I tried, mate. I tried to save her.”
“Hush,” he purred as he felt his wolf mate’s frustration at not being able to protect her human half, and he was surprised when he also felt worry that she had disappointed him. “You both belong to us, to my wolf and to me. You have nothing to be worried about. You did what you could, and it is because of you that you are both still alive.”
“I long to be in my wolf skin, to be close to you in your wolf skin, to leave this place for a time and find a den to share, away from pain, away from deceit and those who would harm us.”
She was laying herself bare before him, acknowledging him as her mate, submitting to him, and it took his breath away. Never had anything so very precious been given to him. Alina’s wolf trusted him and his wolf to care for them, to provide for them, to protect them and love them. His own wolf was stirring at his mate’s wants and needs. He too wanted to be out, covered in fur, and free of the human trappings. He wanted his mate by his side, wanted to play with her, hunt with her, and curl his large body around her smaller one, wrapping her in his scent.
“Then wake her up so that we can do all those things you want.”
Vasile could feel Alina’s wolf pushing into her mind, trying to take over, to give her broken body strength. He sat patiently waiting with his hand still entwined with hers and his head still on the pillow. He had no idea how long he waited until he finally felt her stir. First she squeezed his hand and that little movement had him bolting upright. He looked at her hand in his and then at her face. Her eyes were fluttering as though she were fighting their desire to open them.
“Open your eyes, Alina,” he commanded. “I will not wait any longer; open your eyes.”
“Has anyone ever told you that you are a tad overbearing?” Her raspy voice hit his ears and it was the most beautiful sound he had ever heard.
“Not to live and tell about it,” he said and smiled at her as her pale grey eyes opened and met his. “There you are,” he whispered.
Alina stared at the man before her, desperately trying to take in every detail of his incredibly handsome face. He was more beautiful than she had remembered it seemed. When she realized his hand was wrapped around hers she pulled it to her face and pressed his palm to her cheek. The warmth of his flesh on hers nearly made her whimper. How she had longed for his touch, needed it, and at times even craved it. So many nights she had lain awake imagining what it would be like to have his arms wrapped around her, his lips on her skin, his teeth…and just like that the fantasy crumbled as she remembered just whose arms, skin, and teeth had been on her.
She rolled away from Vasile throwing her head over the side of the bed as she retched. Her stomach protested violently as her mind conjured up the memories of what had taken place in her parents’ cottage. Tears streamed down her face and she gasped for air in between the heaves. She felt a cool towel on her neck and a soothing hand on her back rubbing small soothing circles against her skin. She could smell Vasile, his scent mixing with the smell of vomit, and she felt mortified that he was seeing her this way. But then what did it matter, because surely he had seen the bite mark from Serghei. He could not possibly want her now.
“I will always want you,” he whispered as he pulled her hair back off of her skin allowing the cool air to touch her overheated body. It was then that she realized that under the blanket she was stark naked. She should care, but could not bring herself to.
“What he did,” she started but had to stop as the tears came again.
“He will die for touching you. But for marking you, taking something that is supposed to be beautiful and passionate and turning it into the equivalent of rape, for that he will suffer greatly before I grant him the gift of death, for that is what it will be―a gift.”
She finally felt as if she was done vomiting, and she pushed herself up and held the blanket to her chest, careful to keep herself covered. Vasile ignored her swatting hands as he scooped her up and sat her up against the headboard. She could not look at him now that she remembered. She could only imagine what he must think.
“How did you know to come for me? Where are my parents? Are they okay?” she asked as she fidgeted with the blanket. She heard him move, but she still would not look at him―not until he spoke.
“Perhaps, we should get you dressed before he have this conversation. I think you will feel more comfortable with clothes on.”
She looked up at him standing there holding out a shift for her. She reached to take it but he shook his head.
Her eyes widened. “Vasile that, we. No,” she finally blurted out after several attempts.
He smiled at her gently, his eyes full of compassion and understanding. “Keep the blanket around you. I will slip the fabric over your head and put each arm in one at a time while you hold the blanket, and then you will lower the blanket as I lower the shift. None of your flesh will ever show.”
Her eyes met his bright blue ones and she could tell he was not going to budge. She let out a huff and jerkily stood reaching down for the bed to steady herself. Once she was standing with no appearance of wobbling, Vasile started just as he said he would.
They worked in silence as he helped her into a nightgown pulling it over the thin material of the shift. She knew she was blushing from her toes to the tips of her ears, but she could not help it. He was the perfect gentleman, but every now and then he would brush a sliver of skin. His fingertips grazed the back of her neck as he buttoned the gown. His warm hand touched her ankle as he tugged the material down to cover her completely. He knew what he was doing; she could see it in the slight smirk on his full lips and the mischievous glint in his eyes. What she did not understand was why? How could he still want her in that way when another had marked her? How could he want to be anywhere near her flesh when she did not even want to be near herself? His hands on her face, forcing her head to tilt back so she had to look at him, drew her mind from the confusing thoughts.