Matt paced the floor trying to think of some way to get Alana out of Nicholas’s house and keep her out of Ben’s reach at the same time. Carly had managed to make a deal with the Weres. As long as Alana was with Nicholas they’d agreed not to do anything that could possibly put her in harm’s way. That didn’t mean they weren’t staking out his place though.
In fact, since they’d been in contact with Chris, a couple of them had taken up temporary residence in the woods behind his house. As far as they knew Ben hadn’t figured out where they were yet. “Yet” wasn’t going to last forever. She knew it was only a matter of time before he fumbled his way into one of the pack mate’s minds. Once that happened, Alana’s safe haven would turn into a hellhole.
“There’s gotta be something,” Matt said, slamming his fist on the table. “She can’t possibly be that head over heels in love with this guy.”
“We could use his fangs against him,” Chris suggested.
Carly whipped around to face them. “And make her feel like a fool on top of everything else?” she asked. She walked to the table and sat down between them. “She loves him. He loves her. If you tell her he was feeding off her all you’re gonna do is hurt her.”
“If it gets her away from him,” Matt snorted.
“And then what? Ben catches her when she runs from the house hurt and humiliated? She gets caught in the crossfire when the Weres decide to go in?”
“Then what?” Chris asked. “She looked half dead the last time I went out there and that was a week ago. He’s gonna force the change on her if we don’t step in and you know it.”
“No he’s not,” she smiled. Chris frowned, confused by her confidence. “He’s opened himself back up to me. Alana’s fine. She’s weak, but she’s fine.”
“Weak?” Matt asked, concerned. “I thought you said-”
“Blood loss, Matt. She lost quite a bit there for a while,” she answered, rolling her eyes. “She’s getting better though. Nicholas has opened his eyes. He sees having her on her terms is far better than not having her at all.”
“You’re sure?” Chris asked skeptically.
Carly nodded. She didn’t see a point in telling either one about the arrangement the couple had come to. What they did was their business. “I’m positive.”
“You’re sure this isn’t going to turn me?” Alana asked, staring down at the glass Nicholas had set down on the table in front of her. Wine was fine. Blood mixed with wine was another entirely.
“Trust me,” Nicholas chuckled. “It would take far more than the few drops I put in there to manage that. It will however make you stronger. I sense you’ll need all that you can get soon. Ben is growing restless. He wants you and he wants you yesterday.”
“And this will help me fight him?”
“Not in the way you’re thinking, no.” He nudged the glass closer, urging her to drink it. “But it will help.”
“Tell me something.” Alana took a sip, pleasantly surprised to find the wine was all she could taste.
“You want to know if it will make you live longer?” He slid his hand under her hair to massage her shoulders. She took another drink. “If you drink enough, yes. You will experience some benefit. It can’t stop aging completely, but it will slow its progression. It will also keep you healthy. No more flu. No more colds.”
“Can you live with that?”
“I can. Can you? Can you give yourself to me? Mind, body, soul and blood?”
She smiled and put her hand on his. As long as they were together and she was human, she knew she could live with anything. With peace and understanding as a foundation she was actually looking forward to sharing every part of herself with him.
“You know something, Nicholas? I think I can.”