“Just know I won’t do it, Alana,” Nicholas said firmly. “I can’t fully invest my heart and soul in you if I know you will leave this life one day. Thirty years seems like a long time, but it’s not. It’s merely a drop in a sea of time.”
“Why does it have to be all or nothing?” Alana asked him. Tears pooled in the corners of her eyes. Why did this have to be so difficult? “You know I love you. I’ve proven that time and time again. Even after you kept Ben’s plan from me, I stayed. You still haven’t made a move to get Matt back, yet here I sit.” She sat up and stormed to the window. “Should I go? Should I walk away now? Or wait for you to do it when I can’t be what you need me to be?”
Despite the rising sun, Nicholas tossed the covers aside and crossed the room to stand behind her. As his hands slipped down her arms, he felt her pulse quicken. “Your body betrays you,” he whispered. His hand pressed gently against her chest. “You can’t leave me. You can’t fight the feelings stirring inside your own heart anymore than I can fight mine.”
“Maybe not,” she said leaning her head back against his chest. “But I’m not asking you to change.”
“I’m only asking because I love you so much.” He kissed her cheek and turned back toward the bed. Any minute the pull of daytime sleep would overtake him. “I need you, Alana. I need you to consider the gift I want to give you.”
“You know you can’t stay there with him,” Chris said, stirring sugar into his coffee. He tossed the spoon aside and looked at Alana. It had taken him awhile to get her to agree to breakfast. Admittedly, his immediate prodding would likely not earn him another, but he had to try. “He’s got an agenda and you know it. You won’t have a chance if he decides to make the decision for you.”
“I don’t think that’s a possibility, Chris,” Alana told him. Even as she said it, she wasn’t sure she even believed it. Just last night she’d opened her eyes to find him running his finger up and down her neck. Had he not been so concentrated on her pulse she’d have thought nothing of it.
“He says he wants me to decide.”
“And when you actually believe that, I’ve a lake in the middle of the desert I wanna sale you.”
“Don’t be sarcastic,” she snapped. “At least he’s trying.”
“To seduce you into his lifestyle.”
Alana sighed and pushed her pancakes away. Food, drinks, nothing held any importance to her anymore. All she did want was to know Matt was somewhere safe, far away from Ben, and Nicholas to accept her humanity. At the moment Ben leaving her alone was more likely than Nicholas accepting her fully for what she was.
Nicholas loved her. Loved her dearly, but he’d made it clear to her over the last few days he didn’t plan on spending a few short years loving and losing a woman he’d grown to care so much about. Not that he could guarantee they’d work out in the long run. In his words, no one could predict that.
“Have you found anything on Matt yet?” she asked, determined to change the subject.
“Maybe,” he shrugged. “Since we’re not officially on the case, Carter and I are having to look when we can. Things have been fairly busy lately. Odd really. We’ve never had gang activity like this before.”
“I doubt it’s gangs, “she mumbled. Chris’s eyebrow cocked.
Alana sighed and shook her head. May as well tell. “I’m guessing it’s the werewolves. Ben paid them off with Matt’s girlfriend to grab him. They want her so she can tell them which pack’s gonna win whatever turf war they’ve got going on.”
“Turf war. Territorial dispute. Clan fight. Whatever you want to call it…it’s probably why things have been so busy.”
As much as he wanted to push her for more information, he decided he needed more time to wrap his head around the idea of werewolves being as real as vampires. Shaking off his surprise, he put his hand on hers and looked her right in the eye. She wanted to pull away, but lack of energy made it impossible. Between Chris and Nicholas, she was physically and emotionally drained.
“We think we know where he is. No one besides women ever leave the house, so we really don’t know if Ben’s even there or not. Give us a few more days and we’ll know for sure.”