Knight-in-Arms - Trust: (BWWM Interracial Paranormal Shifter Romance Part Two)

BOOK: Knight-in-Arms - Trust: (BWWM Interracial Paranormal Shifter Romance Part Two)
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Copyright © 2015 Athena Dore


The right of Athena Dore to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988.


All rights reserved.


No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior permission in writing of the author, except for brief quotations featured in critical reviews, or certain other non-commercial purposes in accordance with copyright law.


This is a work of fiction. All characters and events in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.


The door opened. A man stood in the doorway with tousled brown hair and blue eyes.


“Hey, Xave, I brought the change of clothes you asked - Whoa, you look jolly awful” he said. There was playful amusement in his voice but Xavier didn’t have time for that.


“Where’s Cate? I’m in desperate need of some antivenom”.


The man looked down, his blue eyes fixing on the girl lying listlessly in Xavier’s arms. If he needed antivenom, that meant…


“You bit her? What a rogue”. His eyes scanned over the ripped blouse where her bra peeked through.


“Looks like the two of you were getting down to business when you turned”.


“Bastian”. Xavier’s tone was calm and quiet but laced with warning. Bastian conceded. He stepped aside and let his brother in.


“Hey, I’m not judging”, he said, a jovial glint in his eye “It happens to the best of us”.


Xavier scowled as he carried Rochelle inside.


“That’s not what happened”.


He didn’t have time for idle conversation. Rochelle was in this state because of him. He just wanted – just
– her not to die.


They were in the half-lit waiting room of a clinic. Since it was after hours, most of the rooms were enshrouded in darkness. However, the light of one room was on. A woman with blonde hair tied back in a neat, elegant bun opened the door.


“Bring her in here” she said. She disappeared back inside. Xavier followed.


Doctor Cate Astor worked quickly. The venom was efficient at its job. The girl had a pulse for now, but like her breathing, it was erratic and the intervals were growing longer and longer. If she didn’t administer the antivenom soon, her new patient would be a new corpse.


Xavier watched in silence. The lights were like white-hot metal, searing into his forehead and without a shirt, he felt cold, despite his fever. But he was determined to make sure Rochelle would pull through. It wasn’t just from guilt. It was like he’d said the night before: he enjoyed her company. He was starting to like her. More than he should.


Doctor Astor attached Rochelle to a ventilator and switched on the machine. However, she knew the limitations of her equipment.


“We need to get her to a proper hospital” she said. Xavier thought as much. If Rochelle hadn’t needed the antivenom, he would have gone straight there.


“I’ll call an ambulance”, she continued, “and then I’ll have a look at you”.


Xavier furrowed his eyebrows in confusion.


“The cuts and scratches on your face”, she clarified. Xavier had forgotten about those with everything that had happened later. They seemed so trivial compared to Rochelle’s fragile life.


“Oh, and one more thing, Xave” she continued.




“Put a shirt on”.


*              *              *


Rochelle opened her eyes. The white skirting round the ceiling featured intricately carved swirling patterns painted in gold – luxurious, unfamiliar patterns. She sat up and immediately wished she hadn’t. A massive headache crashed over her. She groaned, reaching for her temples.


“You’re awake” said a voice.


Rochelle wasn’t aware she’d even been asleep. She looked around for the person who had spoken. Like the ceiling, the room was cream with a gold trim. In the centre of the room hung a beautiful chandelier, beneath which were an armchair, sofa and chaise longue. This certainly wasn’t Kansas anymore.


The person who had spoken was sitting in the armchair. She was a woman with blonde hair tied back in a bun. She stood up and walked over to the bed, which Rochelle noticed (with a child-like delight) was a four-poster.


“I’m Doctor Cate Astor. How are you feeling?”


“Terrible” admitted Rochelle.


Doctor Astor nodded in that professionally sympathetic way so unique to doctors.


“Yes”, she said, “I would have preferred it if you were still in hospital, but circumstances, you know…”


What? She’d been in hospital? But she had no memory of being there. There had to have been a mistake. Or, what if she was dying of some sort of disease accompanied by amnesia?


“What’s wrong with me?” she asked, suddenly frightened. Doctor Astor smiled reassuringly.


“Nothing” she said. Rochelle’s heart rate slowly returned to normal.


“Then why was I there?”


Doctor Astor’s smile seemed frozen in time, like a star that had long since ceased to exist in space, but which still appeared in the night sky.




She collapsed. Something stirred in her memory. She was falling. It was dark. That was all, but perhaps that was when it happened.


“So, where am I?” she asked, deciding to focus on the present. Doctor Astor seemed to relax a bit at that – but only a bit.


“You’re at Roseford Abbey” she said tentatively.


“Roseford Abbey?” Why didn’t anything make sense? Roseford Abbey was a very large and very grand house in the countryside of the South-East of England. She’d been there once on a school trip when she was about ten, although they had only visited the part that was open to the public.


She didn’t know what was going on, but she certainly wasn’t in the public area now. Either she’d been kidnapped, was the long-lost heiress, or knew the owner. He was probably an extremely wealthy Duke Something or Other and she didn’t know any extremely wealthy Duke Somethings or Duke Others so her last thought could be ruled out, as could the second. Heiress? That was too silly to be considered. So, kidnap… She looked out the window. It was hard to judge how high-up she was, in case she needed to jump or tie all the bedclothes together and make a bid for freedom.


“Yes,” said Doctor Astor, “It belongs to the Duke of Wyvern”.


“Why am I here?” she asked.


Doctor Astor’s frozen distant star smile was back.


“We…it was…I thought it was the best place for you”, her voice was slow and melodic, as though she were reading a bedtime story to a five-year-old, “I know the family and they said it would be all right if you stayed here”.


“Why, what happened?” Rochelle was suspicious now.


“How much do you remember?”


Rochelle strained her memories. It was difficult to catch anything; they kept melting away like snowflakes in the palm of her hand.


Someone – a man – on top of her. Fear. She couldn’t escape. Then, pain. Pain rushing through her neck… Rochelle shut down her thoughts quickly. Her eyes were wide with relived terror, her breathing, quick and shallow. She gripped the bed sheets. Xavier. Xavier had bitten her. No. She was mistaken, surely. But…no…


“It seems you remember” said the woman, “but Rochelle, I want you to know that you’re safe now”.


“Where is he?” Her voice was loud, shrill, panicking.


“He’s outside”.


“Don’t let him in” she said.


There was a knock on the door.


“That’s him, isn’t it?”


“I don’t know”, Doctor Astor said, “But Rochelle, I want you to know that you


She answered the door. It
Xavier. He must have heard the commotion.


“How is she?” she heard him ask quietly.


“She seems to remember” Doctor Astor whispered. Xavier sighed.


“Can I talk to her for a moment?”


“It’s probably best if…”


“Please, Cate”. There was something in the tone of his voice, not commanding, but more like a gentle push in the right direction.


Doctor Astor sighed and opened the door further. He came in. She left. The changing of the guard.


“Don’t come any closer” exclaimed Rochelle.


“Rochelle, I won’t hurt you”. How could she trust him after…after what had happened? She jumped out of the bed and snatched up a glass jug lying next to her on the bedside table. Bad idea. Her legs were too weak to sustain her and her head exploded with the heightened intensity of the headache. She stumbled slightly, but was determined to hold her ground.


Seeing she was about to fall, Xavier took a few steps closer.


“No,” she commanded, “You…you stay there”.




“Stay away from me, you monster!”


She thought she saw him flinch at her last word but she wasn’t sure; she wasn’t sure of anything except that the jug suddenly felt as heavy as lead and she couldn’t hold it any longer. Just as it rolled from her fingers, spilt water seeping into the thick cream carpet, her legs finally collapsed. She was falling…falling… However, Xavier’s strong arms caught her, encircling her waist. She was pressed against the warmth of his chest. She felt safe and secure – something she had been unable to feel since waking up. She basked in the feeling for a fraction of a second but images of
night flashed before her, bringing memories of what he was and what he had done. She tensed in his arms and tried to pull away but he refused to let go. Instead, he scooped her up and carried her kicking and protesting to the bed.


“Don’t touch me!” she cried, “Put me down!”


Xavier laid her gently on the bed. She sank into the soft duvet. Lying still, she looked up at the ceiling for a moment while her indignation at being carried seeped away.


When she felt calm, she turned to him. He was sitting on the chair beside the bed, looking at her, hands clasped and pressed to his lips. His face was expressionless but she could detect a twinge of mournfulness in his eyes. He almost looked as though he were praying, but it would be a prayer that was uttered in vain. There was no room in heaven for creatures like him.


“Rochelle” he said, his voice low and grave, “I can’t begin to tell you how sorry I am”.


“Don’t” she said. She didn’t want to hear apologies or excuses or pleas for forgiveness. Nothing he could say could make things okay between them. If she wasn’t already bedridden, she’d have walked out the door by now.


“I don’t want to ask for your forgiveness”, he said, “I know I’ve gone beyond the point of being forgiven. But I want to apologise, to explain and hopefully offer you some closure”.


Rochelle regarded him coolly. She didn’t agree to anything, but she didn’t try to stop him again either. He carried on.


“I’m not fully human. When I’m in my non-human form, my natural diet consists of eating people”.


Rochelle was horrified. She moved as far away from him as possible. What had she nearly got herself into?


“I take medication to suppress it”, he continued, “In fact, that package you delivered when we first met was a batch of my medication. It works most of the time, but if I’m ill or drunk or stressed or something like that, it is less effective and I can still partially turn”.


Goodness, Nico had been right about him. He’d been right and she’d been too blinded by budding infatuation to see. There
something not right about him and it wasn’t just general creepiness; he was downright sinister. A wife in the basement would be child’s play compared to this sort of cannibal-but-not confession.


“So, when you attacked me, you were going to eat me?”




BOOK: Knight-in-Arms - Trust: (BWWM Interracial Paranormal Shifter Romance Part Two)
4.3Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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