Read Harmony's Way Online

Authors: Lora Leigh

Harmony's Way (9 page)

BOOK: Harmony's Way
6.55Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

The voices slid through Harmony’s consciousness as she felt a cold burn building in certain parts of her body. Her thighs. Arms. Along her neck. Her tongue. Which was odd as hell.

It felt as though an icy fire were building beneath the flesh in those areas. It was drawing her slowly from the heavy sleep she was encased in, forcing her to reality despite the obvious reluctance of her body to awaken.

But it was becoming irritating. That cold burn. Irritating enough that she frowned and forced her eyes to open.

Her gaze focused on the Breed scientist Elyiana Morrey, and Lance. Lance looked haggard. Ely, curious.

She stared around Lance’s bedroom.

“It’s about damned time you woke up,” Lance snapped. “Don’t you have to use the bathroom or something?”

The incongruous question had her blinking up at him.

“Why am I here?” She turned her gaze to the scientist. “Why are
you
here?”

Ely’s lips twitched.

“I’m here because Jonas ordered me not to be.” The smug satisfaction in her expression brought a frown to Harmony’s face.


Why
are you here?” she asked again.

“She’s here to begin the hormonal treatments you need to keep from conceiving,” Lance finally answered for the doctor. “She stayed when you hadn’t woken up through her examination.”

Harmony’s fingers curled in the blanket at her side.

“You examined me while I slept?” And she hadn’t known it? Hadn’t sensed it?

She swallowed tightly as she stared up at Lance. He was watching her with tormented eyes, his expression heavy with worry.

“It was easier for you that way,” Ely answered. “The examinations are very painful after the mating heat begins. This way, you didn’t suffer.”

“I would have been fine.” She couldn’t remember any dreams. She looked at Lance again, but she couldn’t tell from his expression if she had spoken in her sleep or not.

“Either way, the tests are completed.” Ely shrugged. “You seem to be in fine shape other than a bit of anemia that you’re still suffering from. You haven’t been taking the vitamins I gave you, have you?”

“Sure I have.” Yeah. Right.

Ely snorted. “I found the bottle in your bag, Harmony. They’ve been untouched. But no worries, the hormonal therapy will set that to rights.”

She moved to the black bag sitting open on the dresser across the room. “One of these a day for this first month. The mating hormones are showing up in high concentrations in your blood and fluids.” She lifted the vial of pills where Harmony could see them before moving back to the bed. “You’ve been on injections for the past twenty-four hours, which probably explains why the heat allowed you to sleep. These will prevent conception and allow you to function through the more debilitating symptoms. Though hiding from another Breed will still be impossible.”

Harmony watched as the doctor set the vial of pills beside the bed.

“What is the mating heat?” she asked then. “Why is it doing this?”

Ely glanced at Lance, as though needing his permission to reply.

“He didn’t ask you.” Harmony tried to insert strength into her voice, but she felt as strong as a wet noodle at the moment.

Ely’s lips twitched. “You remind me of Jonas when you use that tone. And that’s not a compliment.”

“It wasn’t taken as one,” Harmony growled. “Answer me.”

“It’s a bonding.” Ely tucked her hands into the pockets of her white lab jacket as she stared down at her. “Nature’s way of ensuring that you stay with the male she chose for you. From what we’ve been able to figure out, it’s an emotional and pheromone-based reaction. We’re still working on it.” She shrugged again as a regretful smile curved her lips. “There is no cure, and no way to escape it.”

So Harmony had heard.

“I need to get up.” She was naked beneath the blankets.

She glanced back at Lance as he moved across the room and picked up her silk robe.

“I picked up your clothes at the hotel. And your weapons.” He turned back to her with a frown. “Do you know that half of what you carry is illegal?”

She stared back at him silently.

Lance breathed out heavily. “Here’s your robe. Are you strong enough to get up on your own?”

She took the silk from his hand.

“Leave.” She didn’t bother to voice it as a request.

His gaze narrowed on her.

“Ely stays,” he ordered as he headed for the door. “I’ll see about getting dinner together.”

Harmony flipped the blankets from her nude body and swung her legs over the side of the bed before struggling into her robe.

“You touched me with your hands?” she asked the doctor coldly.

“I was gloved.” Ely crossed her arms on her chest as she stared down at her.

“Find better gloves,” Harmony snapped. “My skin is burning where you touched me.”

“Burning?”

“A cold, deep burn. Thighs, arm, neck and tongue.”

“No one has ever mentioned a burn. Pain, but no burn.”

“It happened when Jonas touched my back after the first night with Lance as well. It’s highly uncomfortable.”

“Which means painful as hell,” Ely grunted. “You’re one of the most willful Breeds I’ve ever met. Do you ever feel pain, Harmony?”

“Not if I can help it. I need a shower. Where’s my overnight bag?”

“You mean the lotion boutique?” Ely laughed. “Lance couldn’t pronounce half the names on those bottles. Quite a collection you have there.”

“Where is it?” She wasn’t in the mood to talk.

Ely sighed heavily as she moved to the closet and pulled the large overnight bag from the depths of it.

“You can talk to me, Harmony. I’m not your enemy.”

“Anyone not a friend is an enemy.” Harmony stared directly into her eyes. “And I have no friends.”

“Well, that puts me in my place.” Ely carried the bag to the bathroom, sitting it on a counter before turning and reentering the bedroom. “There you go. Can you walk to the bathroom?”

“I can walk.” Or she would die trying.

She was weak. Terrifyingly weak. Her legs shook as they took her weight, but they held her up. For the moment, that was all that mattered.

“Harmony, I have to leave tonight,” Ely announced as Harmony made her way across the floor.

“Good-bye.” What the hell did the woman want her to say? The doctor had helped hold her captive for two weeks and had helped take enough blood to refill another human body.

“You can’t run from him, Harmony,” Ely retorted as Harmony reached the doorway. “The hormonal treatments only work if you’re having sex regularly with your mate. If you leave, the mistake could be fatal.”

Harmony lowered her head, staring down at her feet as she gritted her teeth furiously.

“Jonas knew what he was doing, didn’t he?” she whispered. “This was planned.”

“I can’t verify that.” Ely’s voice chilled, assuring Harmony that Jonas had indeed known exactly what he was doing.

“This is a dangerous game you’re letting him draw you into, Doctor.” She turned her head, staring back at the other woman bitterly. “I won’t be the only one to die if this turns out the wrong way, I promise you that.”

“Who will avenge you, Harmony?” Ely asked her. “The same people who have pulled your ass out of the fire before. I read Jonas’s file on you, and it’s vastly different from the one in the Breed database.”

“As I said, you don’t want to get caught up in this.” Harmony smiled tightly. “If he hadn’t played his little game, if he had left it with merely attempting to reincorporate me into the Breed society, we would have all been safe. But this…” She waved her hand down her body. “This just changed the stakes. If I’m taken out, trust me, Jonas won’t escape unscathed. And neither will you.”

———

“How is she doing?” Lance asked Ely as he stood over the pot he had poured the chicken soup into, letting it come to a slow simmer as his aunt had instructed.

She walked slowly into the room, her hands tucked into the pockets of her lab jacket, her shoulders hunched.

“She’s frightened, but hiding it well.” She shrugged, her expression concerned. “She has a few symptoms no others have mentioned. A cold burn where I touched her while examining her, but other than that and being a bit weak, she seems fine.”

Lance nodded before turning back to the soup, watching as the slow curl of steam began to build at the top of it.

“Jonas called again,” he said. “He says he needs you back at the labs.”

“I’m surprised he waited this long.” Her expression was wry as she stared back at him. “At this point, I’ve done all I can for your mate. She won’t conceive, and I was expressly forbidden to add that particular hormone to her treatments. For some reason, he believes conception will ensure she stays with you.”

“You disagree?” He watched her narrowly.

“My only purpose is her survival—period. Your first priority is her protection and the bonding building between the two of you,” she informed him harshly. “Listen to me, Lance, if she runs, for whatever reason, then she’s lost to you forever. She’ll go on the Breed registry as a rogue. Kill on sight. We can’t allow that.”

“And why do you care?” Lance watched the young doctor, saw the compassion in her eyes, but he sensed something else. She wasn’t completely selfless in her desire to help Harmony.

“Because Jonas is so determined to have his own way.” She smiled mockingly. “At this point, that’s enough for me.”

“And when it’s no longer enough?” he asked sharply.

“Then I’ll take it up with Jonas.” She shrugged again. “But I do have to leave now. I don’t want to give him reason to order more tests on her, with another scientist. It’s best that he never learn of my deception here.”

“Braden will take you back to his place.” He nodded rather than questioning her further. “Jonas is having the heli-jet dispatched there.”

“Lance, I couldn’t strengthen the hormone as I could have if she were at the labs. She needs a more precise adjustment that can’t be accomplished as long as Jonas is playing his game. What I gave her will help; she won’t be completely helpless against the arousal, but it will still be severe. I’m sorry about that.”

“You took care of the most pressing problem.” He sighed. “She won’t conceive. I won’t have that choice taken away from her.”

“And I agree with you, obviously.” She shook her head wearily. “I’ll be leaving now. Make certain she gets plenty of fluids, but no caffeine. And rest. Right now, she needs that more than anything.”

God, could he handle another of those deep sleeps? She had cried as she dreamed. Streams of tears as she begged Alpha One, Jonas, to help her. To save her. Pleaded with him for forgiveness.

Twenty-four hours she had slept. Torn between silent tears and nightmare battles, Harmony had faced demons that Lance had been unable to fight for her. He had only been able to hold her, to croon to her. At times, it had seemed to ease her a bit; at others it had seemed to only frighten her further.

As Ely left the house, Lance moved to his bedroom and strode quickly to the small safe hidden in the back of his closet. There, he removed the small electronic bug detector Braden had brought in that morning.

Twenty minutes later he found two of the listening devices in his bedroom and three more throughout the house. As he stared at the small devices, he shook his head in resignation. For all her help, Ely had obviously been there for her own reasons as well, perhaps even Jonas’s. He stored them in the safe along with the detector, snapped it closed and moved for the bathroom.

“Harmony?” He knocked on the door before easing it open.

She was sprawled back in the large tub, hair wrapped in a towel, a blissful expression on her face as the water frothed around her.

“Comfortable?” He smiled as her eyes peeked open.

“Go away and I might let you live,” she retorted drowsily.

“I have some homemade soup on the stove. It will be ready when you’re done.” He paused. “When will you be done?”

She rolled her eyes. “When you see me coming into the kitchen. Now go away. I need to recuperate.” She closed her eyes again and settled back into the tub.

“And here I thought cats didn’t like water,” he commented, failing to hold back his amusement.

“This cat does. Now go away.” She didn’t bother even to glance at him.

Lance chuckled before moving from the bathroom and heading back to the kitchen. When she managed to recuperate, he was certain he’d have the wildcat back. For now though, while she was weak, he’d press his own advantage.

He had very little time left in which to make Harmony Lancaster, aka Death, fall in love.

———

What had she done?

Harmony sat up in the water after Lance left, lifting her knees until she could rest her forehead against them, and fought for control.

She had slept for twenty-four hours, so deep that she hadn’t even known she had been examined. There was no doubt in her mind that she had dreamed. But what had she dreamed?

She closed her eyes and swallowed back the bile threatening to rise in her throat. She knew what she did when she slept so deeply, when the exhaustion finally overtook her and her body overrode her control. She cried and she begged. Fear filled her voice and horror whispered past her lips. She knew, because before she had always awakened to the sound of it, to the memory of the nightmares that haunted her.

She only prayed that she hadn’t given her secrets away.

God, she was going to have to find a way out of this. There had to be a way to defeat this need, to still the hunger that ate at her and escape this situation. Nothing good could come of it. Only death could result. Her death.

But to leave, she had to walk away from Lance. She lifted her head then, her eyes still closed, and breathed in the scent of him. His home was infused with the smell of him. Strong and male, filled with a powerful sense of warmth she hadn’t known she needed.

But as she sat there in his bathtub, the heated water swirling around her, she realized that was what had drawn her to him that first night. That sense of warmth, of his body heat flowing from his hand into hers, swirling inside her soul and creating a bond that made no sense.

BOOK: Harmony's Way
6.55Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Leaves of Flame by Joshua Palmatier
Raven by Monica Porter
The Gift-Wrapped Groom by M.J. Rodgers
Force and Fraud by Ellen Davitt
Poison Tree by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Stratton's War by Laura Wilson
Return to Shanhasson by Joely Sue Burkhart
Fading Out by Trisha Wolfe
Monk's Hood by Ellis Peters