Chapter Thirty-One: Glass

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I hadn't been asleep long when a horrible crash jerked me awake. I sprang up, confused and frightened, to see Duke's bedroom door had been kicked open.


Dean Lachlan crossed the threshold, looking positively murderous. The expression faltered when his eyes locked with mine. His white eyebrows knitted together, then shot up in realization.

"Miss Ridley..." He began, his tone poorly masking the rage behind his blue eyes. "Care to explain?"

Oh fuck.

I tried to stand, but was held back by Aiden's hand--which was still down my pants.

Oh double fuck.

Gingerly, I freed myself from his grasp. "Um, well, the thing is..."

I glanced back at Aiden, who was still out cold, then over at Duke. He was sound asleep, lips slightly parted. He looked so peaceful; it was hard to believe that only minutes earlier he'd been charred black, and in agonizing pain. 

Dean Lachlan had done that to him.

The white-haired bastard.

"Actually," I stood, my own rage suddenly rippling through me. "I would like an explanation from you."

"Is that so?" He came forward, only stopping when we were nose to nose. "Fine, I will explain."

He hauled me against him, crushing the wind out of my lungs. "I will explain how Duke tried to slither past me like the snake he is." His hand knotted in my hair, yanking hard so I was forced to look him in the eye. "I will explain how the scent of your arousal seeping from him pervaded my senses, drove me mad."

A gasp escaped my lips at the unexpected twitch of his erection. I tried to pull away, but Dean Lachlan used his free hand to hitch one of my legs around his waist, bringing me to stand on tiptoes with my other foot.

He held tight to my thigh, fingers digging painfully into my flesh. "Yes, I set him ablaze. And I will gladly do it him, or anyone else who touches you."

Before I could blink, his lips crashed harshly into mine.

"You are mine," he breathed against my mouth. "Now and forever."

He moved me against him, against his erection, and I internally cursed the moan that fell from my lips.

"See?" He glanced down at our grinding sexes, our clothes preventing them from truly connecting. "See how your body moves with mine? It knows you belong to me, whether you admit it or not."

Shame washed over me at the sight. He wasn't controlling my movements anymore. No, my stupid body was acting on its own, dry-humping the monster that just admitted to setting his friend--my friend--on fire.

"Let me go," I panted, eyes still glued to our joined bodies. "Please, Dean Lachlan. Gabriel,"

Every caress of his sex against mine brought my body closer to betraying me. I closed my eyes, tried to tune out his ragged breathing, but to no avail.

My orgasm tore through everything. The anger, the shame, the fear. All that existed was an exquisite release powerful enough to make me see stars.

My chest rose and fell rapidly as I came back to reality, anger and desire coursing through my veins. I wanted to punch him in the face, to break that perfectly straight nose of his.

I hated him for what he did to Duke... and to me. But more than anything, in that moment, I hated myself for wishing he would make me cum again.

An abrupt, deep and sickening snap caused Dean Lachlan to release me. I opened my eyes to watch him fall limply to the floor, with Duke towering above his prostrate form.

His caramel eyes were wide, shocked, as he stared down at the Dean.

"I broke his neck." He uttered, surprised. "I have never raised a hand to him before."

Shakily, I hugged myself, a lone tear racing down my cheek. "Yeah, well, he deserved it." My voice was low, hollow.

Duke glanced up at me, face unreadable. "Come with me, I'll help you get cleaned up."

I nodded, allowing him to take my hand. Carefully I stepped over the Dean's body, afraid he might come to, and trailed behind Duke as he led me to an adjacent room.

It was a bathroom, with a huge walk-in shower at the back and a deep soaker tub to our right. Wordlessly, Duke took me to the shower, letting go of my hand just long enough to turn on the water.

Though I was dressed, for the most part, I still felt exposed, as if he could see the sickness I felt deep in my bones.

"I can leave, if you like." He whispered, focused on adjusting the shower knob.

I shook my head, knowing he couldn't see me. "I don't want to be alone."

I didn't want to think about what happened, how I'd became a slave to my body. Plus I was afraid Dean Lachlan would wake up and find me.

Satisfied with the water temperature, Duke turned to reach out, but froze. "Do you need help undressing?"

"Please," I replied, voice trembling with unshed tears.

Gingerly, he rolled my torn shirt off my shoulders, his fingers never straying from the fabric. Then he wrapped his arms around me to undo my bra, careful not to touch me.

He removed my shoes, leggings and panties in the same gentle way. Never touching my skin, moving cautiously, as if I were splintered glass on the verge of shattering completely.

Once I was naked, Duke quietly helped me into the shower, keeping me at arm's length. Can I wash you?

I nodded, shame pushing my head low and locking my gaze with Duke's feet.

But instead of grabbing soap, Duke dragged a fingernail across his palm, leaving a small trail of blood in its wake.


"I cannot heal the wounds we caused you internally," he whispered, rubbing his blood on my neck. "But I can heal the wounds me and my kind inflicted externally."

Carefully, he smoothed over where he had viciously tore into my neck two days prior. Then the spot on the other side of my neck, from when I was first attacked.

Next were my hands. He rubbed his blood into the puncture holes he had given me in the cave until they vanished. And then my other hand, caressing the slice in my palm and fresh bite marks from his feeding.

"I will help you leave," his pained words snapped my head up. I gawked at him, uncertain if I heard him right.

"I cannot bear the thought of never seeing you again," he said, cupping my face. "But if it keeps you safe from Gabriel's wickedness, I will help you escape."

Closing his eyes, Duke pressed his forehead to mine. "I'll let you go."

So sorry for the wait, but it looks like we have another person onboard with the escape plan! Hope you guys are still reading, and I really hope y'all like this chapter 😊

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