Halfway to the Grave

Page 65

"I'm sorry. It's not adequate, I know, but I am so sorry Hennessey killed her."

Bones looked at me and a small, bitter smile twisted his mouth.

"He didn't. Bloke would have done many, many things to her, but killing her straightaway isn't one of them. Her body was dumped within an hour or two at most after I spoke with her. Hennessey would have kept her alive for days at least. Until he'd found out every detail of what she'd relayed to me. There isn't one of Hennessey's sods who would have gone behind his back and done it themselves, either."

He wasn't making sense. "What are you saying? Then who killed her?"

His mouth twisted further. "Francesca did. It's the only logical explanation. She must have been trapped, saw there was no escape, so she killed herself. It would only have taken a second for her to run a silver blade through her heart, and then there's not much they could do about it afterwards. Hennessey's leaving her where I nearly finished him was just his way of saying he knew who she betrayed him to."

I couldn't imagine the ice-cold courage it must have taken for her to do that. It reminded me of the Indian who'd given Bones the cave. Deciding his manner of death was all he'd had left also. One last stand before that final fall.

"Your part is done in this, Kitten. Finished."

His uncompromising tone whipped me out of my contemplation. "Bones," I said gently. "I know you're upset-"


He seized me by the shoulders, and his voice was low and resonating.

"I don't care how pissed you are or what you threaten me with. End our relationship, don't speak to me again, whatever you fancy, but I will not continue to dangle you out as bait to the kind of people Francesca killed herself rather than be at the mercy of! I couldn't bear it if it was you I was waiting for a call from that never came, or if it was your body I had to see stretched out on the sodding ground..."

He spun away abruptly, but not before I saw a pink shine to his eyes. It took away my anger at him telling me what to do.

"Hey." I tugged softly at the back of his shirt. When he still didn't turn around, I leaned against him. "You're not going to lose me. Francesca was on her own, she didn't have you shadowing her. It's not your fault, but you owe it to her to keep after Hennessey. She gave it all she had, for her own reasons, maybe, but that doesn't change what she did. You're not giving up and neither am I. We've got to have faith. Hennessey's going to be scared, wondering what she told you. Scared enough to get sloppy and make some mistakes. You've hunted him for over eleven years; you've never been this close before! There is no turning back, and I'm not running away because I'm afraid. We're going to get him. We're going to stand over him on the ground, and every greedy bastard on his team, too, and then they'll know they were taken down by you...and your little Grim Reaper, who hasn't met a vampire she didn't try to kill first."

He made a choked noise at my reference to what he'd called me in frustration that morning with Lola. Then he turned around and pulled me into his arms.

"You're my Red Reaper, and I've missed you terribly."

Despite everything going on, in that moment, hearing him say he'd missed me, I was happy.

"Bones, when I called you before-before I found out about Francesca...it was to tell you that I'd finally figured out who I was and what I needed. You told me that once I did, I shouldn't apologize to anyone for it. So I'm not going to."

He drew back, and his gaze was clouded with caution. "What are you saying?"

"I'm saying I'm a moody, insecure, narrow-minded, jealous, borderline-homicidal bitch, and I want you to promise me that you're okay with that, because it's who I am and you're what I need. I missed you every minute this week and I don't want to spend another day without you. If my mother disowns me for being with a vampire, then that's her decision, but I've made mine, and I won't apologize or back down from it."

He didn't say anything for such a long moment that I grew worried. Had I been a little too honest in my self-evaluation? Granted, it didn't sound like an ad you'd run in the personals, but I had been trying to make a point...

"Would you mind repeating that?" he said at last, another emotion replacing the strain on his face. "I'm afraid I might have lost my wits altogether and just hallucinated what I've longed to hear."

I kissed him instead, so glad to be back in his arms I couldn't stop touching him. I hadn't realized until this moment how much I'd truly missed him, because even with the horrible circumstances of Francesca's death, this was the happiest I'd been since he left my apartment five days ago.

Bones ran his hands over me, kissing me so deeply, I was soon out of breath. I tore my mouth away, gulping in air. He slid his mouth to my neck, tonguing my pulse and lightly sucking on it. That throb in my neck seemed to zoom southward with his actions, and I yanked at my collar to give him better access.

He drew my shirt over my head, his mouth losing contact with my neck only in the second it took him to do that. His fangs, now fully extended with desire, grazed my neck as he nuzzled me. Bones never broke my skin, no matter how passionate things got. He was so careful to stay within the boundaries I'd set for him, whereas I certainly couldn't say the same thing. I'd drawn his blood in the throes of passion more times than I could count, but he never brought up the double standard. I wondered if he was thinking about it now, as he teased my throat the way he knew I liked it. Was he holding himself back? The ache I felt inside, that burning hunger to have him deep within me...was he feeling it also, but in a different way? Smothering it because this was a part of him I'd refused to accept, even though he'd accepted all of me?

Bones slid his mouth lower to my br**sts, but I pulled him back to my neck. "Don't stop," I whispered, and meant it in every way.

He must have heard in my voice that I wasn't talking about foreplay, because he stiffened.

"What are you doing, Kitten?"

"Overcoming my former prejudice. You're a vampire. You drink blood. I've drunk yours and now I want you to have mine."

He stared at me for a long moment, and then shook his head. "No. You don't really want that."

"Your fangs don't scare me," I breathed. "And neither do you. I want my blood inside you, Bones. I want to know it's running through your veins..."

"You can't tempt me like this," he muttered, turning away with his fists clenched. Oh yeah, he wanted this, and I wanted to give it to him, along with everything else I'd held back.

I moved in front of him. "I'm not tempting you. I'm insisting you drink from me. Come on. Tear down this last wall between us."

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