Chapter dedicated to Hlmaness. Thanks, my friend, for reading and smacking the vote button silly!

Music: Animal by Chase Holfelder

Chapter 140 –You're a Bastard– Raine's POV

Abruptly, Marku leaned down and swept me into his arms. His jaw was clenched. The muscles in his arms bulged and rippled against my skin. He took a step toward the building.

Felaern raised his hand. His eyes flashed a warning. "Wait! She needs to tell me every step, every detail."

Marku halted. His jaw ground together, "Obviously, there is much to discuss. However, it can wait until she is cleaned and the needs of her child addressed."

Brialle stepped forward, her arms outstretched. "I'll help you."

Marku stood frozen, waiting for my response. Shockingly, it seemed he was going to leave it up to me. I wrapped my arms tighter around the back of his neck and shook my head at Brialle. "He cared for me. He kept me alive. He knows what I need."

Brialle took a step back. She bit her lip to keep it from quivering. Felaern's eyes narrowed as he looked from Marku back to me. "Your mother is trying to help."

I didn't like his tone or the disapproving glint in his eyes. I met his hard gaze with an equally stony one of my own. My voice was deathly quiet, "A part of me understands why Lady Sofielle did what she did. But make no child is dead as a result of her decision. So, do not lecture me on how I should act."

He had the decency to flinch.

Brialle wiped a tear from her cheek.

I laid my head against Marku's chest. I was just too weak to hold it up any longer. His voice reverberated with authority, "Once we take care of her and the child's needs, we will meet you in the conference room. I trust Killian can show you where it is."


Marku's gait never wavered. He was strong and steady. But every step closer to my child, caused a firestorm of emotions to erupt inside of me.




When we entered the room, Marku walked to the bed and knelt in front of where I'd placed the little one. Talon joined Ileana on the couch.

"Set me down," I whispered.

Marku gently put my feet on the floor. I climbed onto the bed and curled into a ball around the tiny nest where my child lay. He stroked his fingers silently through my hair as tears ran down my cheeks.

"The silver..." my voice broke.

He shook his head. "You didn't know."

"I should have. I was a mother. How could I not have known?" Agony wrapped itself around me like a tight blanket, thick and unyielding, a suffocating straightjacket. I rasped, "I killed my baby..."

"No," A low growl emitted from his throat. "Even vampire pregnancies do not always come to fruition. There are too many factors in play to assume the child died as a direct result of the silver your body ingested."

A sob slipped from my lips. I reached my hand out, my fingers trembling to touch the little one's head. "He's so cold." Gone was the child's earlier warmth provided from my womb. Now, the cool kiss of death had set in.

Marku placed his much larger hand over mine, steadying it. He held my fingers tightly and moved our hands so they rested next to the child on the bed. "What's done is done. What's lost is lost. Guilt and regret will only eat away at you. Would you condemn another in your shoes?"

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