11. That Voice

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Nick's blood was boiling. She wanted to challenge Ryker to a duel. In fact, everything in her being demanded it. But it wasn't like she could. Though she was a member of the keepers and as such entitled to duel anyone she saw fit, within reason and attempted rape was a good fucking reason in her eyes. But she was a prisoner here, plus David had already laid claim to Ryker.

David, who had saved her from Ryker. Who she had needed to. Anger bubbled up her throat, more at herself for not being able to handle the situation on her own, than at him.

Speaking of which, he stood at the door of the cave with a heaving chest and clenched fists. His back was to her and he leaned his forehead against the black stone next to the wooden door. His arm rose and with a brutal jerk, he punched the wall.

Nick flinched. Flinched. She never even blinked in the face of another's pain, as little as she did in the face of her own. But seeing David pull back for another punch and seeing the skin open and pushed back on his knuckles hurt. It hurt her and she shot toward him and grabbed his elbow mid swing. She knew one thing for certain; she could not let him continue this. Why that was so important, it was only a bit of pain after all, she didn't know.

"Stop that," she grated out.

He didn't. In fact, David swung his other fist, but Nick pulled him back and turned him around. Wasting no time at all, she got up in his face.

"What the fuck is wrong with you?"

His face was a storm of rage and hate, so far gone that Nick hardly recognized him. It scared the shit out of her. If there was one thing she could count on, it was him being level and rational, he didn't look it now. Not by a long shot.

David's angry eyes finally landed on her when she shook him a bit. His rough hands reached up and grabbed her shoulders, fingers ran over her skin, her face and neck. Frantic and hard.

"The fuck, David?"

David tilted her chin up to look at her, his eyes darkened even further as they glanced at her split lip, bruised jaw and black eye.

"You hurt anywhere else?" His voice was deep and rough, warped by anger.

"I'll live. Nothing I can't handle."

His brows drew together and a pained expression flashed across his face. "Did he..."

Nick shook her head. "I'm dressed aren't I?"

A second later she was flush against him, his heavy arms encircling her and squeezing the air from her chest. "I'm so goddamned sorry, Letti. I couldn't forgive myself if... God, I'm so sorry."

She breathed him in for a second. Having him so close was heaven, it soothed her anger, made her warm and did strange things to her stomach. She couldn't hold back her hands, which settled on his broad shoulders, pulling him even closer. This felt... Safe. Soothing in a way she wasn't used to. It was nice and that made her wary a second later.

"Take off your clothes," he whispered in her ear.

Nick recoiled. "Excuse me?"

"I know you, woman. You downplay everything happening to you. Now take off you bloody clothes."

Her hands sank down and she stepped back, eyeing him while pulling up a brow. "You're kidding, right?"

His eyes flashed with that subtle glow and he prowled closer, breaching the distance she'd just created. His gaze was burning intensity and Nick could feel it rake across her skin. This was the part of him she'd become infatuated with since the beginning. The part of him she was addicted to. The moment he lost that control he always clung to and became something else; primal instinct and raw power. Something she could meet head on.

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