Dark Hunger


Page 61



Harley wrinkled her nose. “Grand tour?”


“Our mating has brought back traditions nearly forgotten by the purebloods.” He kissed the tip of her nose. “In the ancient days, the King of Weres would perform the Sylnivia when he became mated.”


“And just what does this…Sylnivia entail?”


“Nothing too outlandish.” He shrugged. “We will travel to meet our various packs and receive the blessing of our people.” He paused, the smile slowly returning to his mouth. “It’s supposed to ensure our fertility.”


Harley abruptly cleared her throat.


She wouldn’t get a more perfect segue.


“Actually—” She licked her suddenly dry lips. “I don’t think we’re going to be needing help in the fertility department.”


Salvatore froze, his hands gripping her with a sudden tension. “Harley?”


She shifted, feeling awkward beneath the searing intensity of his gaze.


“When I woke up this morning, I felt weird.” She unconsciously pressed a hand to her stomach. “At first I assumed it had something to do with our bond. It’s been…a little erratic.”


Looking decidedly shell-shocked, Salvatore obediently nodded.


“I’m still struggling with my powers,” he muttered absently.


Harley smiled. That was the understatement of the century. Over the past week, Salvatore had accidentally shorted out the electricity, yanked the bathroom door off its hinges, drained Harley of her power one minute, and the next filled her with such energy she was nearly bouncing off the walls.


Which, of course, explained why she had first dismissed the bundle of warmth her wolf sensed in her womb.


As the day passed, however, she could no longer ignore the truth.


It was the spark of life.


Actually, her werewolf was whispering that it was several sparks of life.


Barely more than a few days old, but already growing strong.


“Yeah, I’ve noticed,” she teased.


“Harley.” He stopped, clearly struggling to breathe. “Are you saying…?”


She went on tiptoe to press her lips to his. “You’re going to become a proud papa, Salvatore Giuliani.”


“Papa.” For a crazed moment he swayed as if he might pass out. Then without warning, he sank to his knees, pressing his face to her flat abdomen. “I knew you were my savior, cara, but now you have given hope to the entire race of werewolves.” Tilting back his head, he gazed at her with such profound respect that Harley had to fight back the urge to weep. “You are a miracle.”


She gently threaded her fingers through his raven hair. “I think you might have had a little something to do with this particular miracle.”


His fingers brushed over her stomach, treating her as if she were as fragile as spun glass, even as his face darkened with sudden concern.


“How are you feeling? Are you sick? We have to get you to a doctor…”


“Salvatore, I’m fine,” she interrupted, belatedly realizing that her mate’s protective instincts were about to kick into hyperdrive. Frigging hell. She would be smothered if she didn’t nip a few of them in the bud. Firmly she tugged him to his feet and laid her head on his chest, taking comfort in the steady beat of his heart. “Obviously we’ll have to find a doctor who will help me through the pregnancy, but I’m not the first woman to have babies. It’s all perfectly natural.”


He pulled back to glare at her casual tone. “I don’t care about other women, only you. We’ll travel straight to our lair in Italy tomorrow. I have a number of doctors at my disposal, as well as a full staff of servants to make sure you have nothing to worry about but taking care of yourself.”


She frowned. “But what about the Sylnivia?”


He blinked, looking at her as if she’d lost her mind. “Naturally, it will have to be postponed.”


“There’s no ‘naturally’ about it.” She caught and held his gaze, her expression warning. “I told you I feel fine, Salvatore, and if you try to treat me like a mindless child who can’t decide what’s best for herself, you’re not going to like the consequences.”


His lips parted, then snapped shut as he studied her stubborn expression. Finally he heaved a sigh of resignation and pressed her head back to his chest.


“I will try to be reasonable,” he grudgingly promised. “But it’s not going to be easy.”


“And our grand tour?” she demanded.


“We will decide on the Sylnivia after you’ve seen a doctor.”


She knew it was as good as she was going to get. “Fine. We can no doubt find a competent doctor here in Chicago.”


“I’ll speak to the local pack master.” There was a pause as Salvatore ran his hand gently over her hair. “Harley?”


She tilted back her head to meet his wary gaze. “Yes?”


“Are you…”


She frowned as his words faltered, his expression oddly uncertain. It wasn’t like her arrogant mate to be anything but supremely self-confident.


“What’s wrong?”


“Are you happy?”


She frowned at the ridiculous question. Her heart felt as if it might burst with joy.


“Of course I’m happy.”


“Not so long ago you accused me of wanting you only for the babies you could give me,” he softly reminded her, his gaze watchful. “I don’t want you thinking I…”


Harley grabbed his face and yanked it down so she could halt his words with a kiss that was filled with all the love and wonder that flowed through her heart.


“Salvatore, I said a lot of stupid things over the past few days,” she murmured against his lips. “I was scared and stubborn…”


“Insanely stubborn,” he clarified.


“Don’t push your luck, wolfman.” She nipped his bottom lip, chuckling at his low growl of approval. “I was an idiot, but now I can’t imagine anything I want more than to have you as a mate, and our home filled with children.”


“Wait.” His tension eased from his body, although his expression remained wary. “Just how many children are you talking about?”


“Five.”


“Cristo.” He blinked, clearly stunned, then with a loud crack of laughter, he wrapped her in his arms and twirled her around the room. “You’re the most amazing woman.”


“Amazing or not, I’m going to be sick if you don’t put me down,” she teased.


Instantly she was back on her feet, Salvatore’s fingers threading through her hair as he kissed her with exquisite tenderness.


“You do know what this means, don’t you, cara?” he whispered.


“You’re going to have to learn how to change diapers?”


He pulled back, the golden eyes flashing with wicked amusement.


“Si. And also how to appreciate the rare moments when I have my mate’s undivided attention.” His fingers traced a path of fire down her back. “They will soon be few and far between.”


“Hmmm. Did you have something in mind?”


His eyes were lit with a golden hunger that sent a shiver of anticipation down her spine.


“We could always return to our rooms.”


“But I was just getting ready to watch the movie,” she said, her expression one of faux innocence.


He glanced toward the screen, his brows lifting in surprise.


“Terminator?”


“Hello. Arnold naked.” She gave a startled squeak as Salvatore scooped her off her feet and firmly headed toward the door. “What are you doing?”


“I have something better for you to look at.”


She wrapped her arms around his neck. “Are you certain?”


He smiled with smug assurance. “Nothing but the best for the Queen of Weres.”


And it was…




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