Dark Lover | Chapter 61 of 67

Author: J.R. Ward | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 300561 Views | Add a Review

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Chapter Fifty-one


In the surgical suite’s anteroom, Havers snapped off his latex gloves and threw them into a bio-trash container. His back ached after having spent hours leaning over Wrath, stitching up sections of the warrior’s intestine and fixing the wound in his neck.

“Will he live?” Marissa asked as she came out of the OR. She was weak from all the blood she’d given. Pale, but intense.

“We’ll know soon enough. I hope so.”

“As do I.” She walked past him, refusing to meet his eyes.


“I know you are sorry. But I am not the one to whom you should offer your regrets. You might start with Beth. If ever she is ready to hear you.”

As the door slid shut with a hiss, Havers closed his eyes.

Oh, dear God, the pain in his chest. The pain of deeds that could never be undone.

Havers sagged against the wall, pulling the surgical cap off his head.

Thankfully, the Blind King had a true warrior’s constitution. He was stout of body, fierce of will. Although he wouldn’t have survived without Marissa’s nearly pure blood.

Or, Havers suspected, the presence of his dark-haired shellan. Beth, as she was called, had stayed by his side throughout the operation. And even though the warrior had been unconscious, his head had stayed turned toward her. She’d spoken to him for hours, until she had only a hoarse whisper left.

And she was still in there with him now, though she was so exhausted she could barely sit up. She’d refused to let her own wounds be examined, and she wouldn’t eat.

She just stayed with her hellren.

With a lurch, Havers went over to the deep prep sinks. He gripped the stainless-steel gunnels and stared at the drains. He felt like throwing up, but his stomach was empty.

The brothers were outside. Waiting for news from him.

And they knew what he had done.

Before Havers had gone in to operate, Tohrment had grabbed him around the throat. If Wrath died on the table, the warrior had vowed, the brothers were going to string Havers up by the feet and beat him with their bare fists until he bled out. Right in his own house.

No doubt Zsadist had told them everything.

God, if only I could go back to that alley, Havers thought. If only I hadn’t gone there at all.

And he should have known never to approach a member of the brotherhood with such a treasonous request. Not even the soulless one.

After he’d made the offer to Zsadist, the brother had stared down at him with those terrifying black eyes, and Havers had immediately realized he’d made a mistake. Zsadist might have been full of hate, but he wasn’t a traitor against his king, and he was offended that he’d been asked.

“I’ll kill for free,” Zsadist had growled. “But only if I were going after you. Get out of my sight before I get out my knife.”

Rattled, Havers had rushed away, only to find himself being tracked by what he’d assumed must be a lesser. It was the first time he’d ever been close to one of the undead, and it was a surprise that the society member was so fair of hair and skin. Still, the thing was pure evil and ready to kill. Trapped in a corner in the alley, scared out of mind, Havers had started talking, as much to get the job he wanted done as to keep himself from getting slain. The lesser had been skeptical at first, but Havers had always been persuasive, and the word king, used liberally, had gotten its attention. Information had changed hands. The lesser had walked off. And the die was cast.

Havers breathed deeply, bracing himself to go out into the hall.

At least he could pledge to the brothers that he’d done the best he could with the surgery.

Although that hadn’t been because he’d wanted to save his own life. Such an acquittal was impossible. He was going to be put to death for what he’d done; it was just a question of when.

No, in the OR, he’d performed to the best of his ability because it was the only way he could make up for the atrocity he’d committed. And because those five heavily armed males and that fierce human man waiting outside had looked like their hearts were breaking.

But neither of those had been his truest motivator.

He’d been galvanized most by the burning pain in that dark-haired Beth’s eyes. He knew well that horrified, impotent expression. He’d been wearing it himself as he’d watched his shellan die.

Havers washed his face and went out into the hall. The brothers and the human looked up at him.

“He has survived the surgery. Now, we have to see if he holds on.” Havers went over to Tohrment. “Do you want to take me now?”

The warrior stared down at him with hard, violent eyes. “We’ll keep you alive to care for him. And then he can kill you himself.”

Havers nodded and heard a soft crying sound. He looked over to see Marissa clasping a hand to her mouth.

He was about to go over when the human male stepped in front of her. The man hesitated before holding out a handkerchief. She took what he offered and then walked away from them all.




Beth put her head down on the far corner of Wrath’s pillow. He’d been transferred to a hospital bed from the operating table, though he was not going to be moved into a normal patient room. Havers had decided to keep him in the OR in case he needed to be operated on again on an emergency basis.

The white-walled facility was cold, but someone had put a heavy fleece on her. Evidently, they’d also wrapped a blanket around the bottom half of her body, too. She couldn’t remember who had been so kind.

As she heard a clicking sound, she glanced over at the mountain of machines Wrath was hooked up to. She measured each one of them without having much idea what the readouts meant. Provided that none of the alarms were going off, she had to imagine it was okay.

The sound came again.

She looked down at Wrath. And shot to her feet.

He was trying to talk, but his mouth was so dry, his tongue was thick.

“Shhh.” She gripped his hand. Put her face in his line of vision in case he opened his eyes. “I’m right here.”

His fingers twitched in hers. And then he faded away again.

God, he looked like hell. Pale as the ceramic tiles on the OR’s floor. Eyes sunk deep into his skull.

He had a thick bandage on his throat. His belly was wrapped in gauze and cotton pads, with drains leading out of the wound. There was an IV pumping fluids and painkillers into his arm and a catheter bag hanging off the bedside. A tangle of EKG wires were stuck on his chest, and an oxygen sensor was clipped onto his middle finger.

But he was alive. For now.

And he’d stirred to consciousness, even if it was just for a moment.

It was like that for the next two days. He would surface and sink, surface and sink, as if he had to keep checking that she was with him before he went back to the herculean job of healing his body.

Eventually, she had to sleep, so the brothers brought in a more comfortable chair, and someone gave her a pillow and a blanket. She woke up an hour later, still clutching Wrath’s hand.

She ate when she was forced to, because Tohrment or Wellsie demanded that she did. And she took a shower in the anteroom. Quickly. When she got back, Wrath’s legs and arms were flailing wildly and Wellsie had called for Havers.

The instant Beth took Wrath’s hand, he calmed right down.

She didn’t know how long the waiting would go on. But every time he came back to her, she drew a little strength.

She could wait. For an eternity, she could wait for him.




Wrath’s mind came back online in a rush of activity. One minute he wasn’t aware of anything; the next, his circuits started firing again. He didn’t know where he was, and his eyelids were too heavy to open, so he did a quick scan of his body. Lower half felt okay, toes moved, legs were still attached. Whoa, ouch. His stomach felt like it had been punched with a tire iron. But his chest was solid. Neck was burning. Head was achy. Arms were good. Hands—


He was used to feeling her palm against his. Where was she?

His eyes flipped open.

She was right beside him, sitting in a chair, her head down on the bed as if she were asleep. His first thought was that he shouldn’t wake her up. She was obviously exhausted.

But he wanted to touch her. Needed to.

He tried to reach out with his free hand, but his arm felt like it weighed four hundred pounds. He struggled, willing the limb across his body, dragging it over the bedcovers inch by inch. He didn’t know how long it took. Maybe hours.

But then he finally touched a lock of her hair. The silken feel of it was a miracle.

He was alive, and so was she.

Wrath started to cry.




The instant Beth felt the bed shudder, she woke up in a panic. The first thing she saw was Wrath’s hand. His fingers were wrapped around a long strand of her hair.

She looked up at his face. Tears were rolling out of his eyes.

“Wrath! Oh, love.” She leaned up to him, smoothed his hair back. He was totally distressed. “Are you hurting?”

He opened his mouth. Nothing came out. He started to panic, his eyes peeling open until the whites showed.

“Easy, love, take it easy. Just relax,” she said. “I want you to squeeze my hand, once for yes, twice for no. Are you in pain?”


She gently stroked the tears from his whiskered cheeks. “Are you sure?”


“Do you want me to get Havers?”


“Do you need anything?”


“Food? Drink? Blood?”


He began to get agitated, his pale, wild eyes imploring her.

“Shhh, it’s okay.” She kissed his forehead. “Just calm down. We’ll figure out what you need. We’ve got plenty of time.”

His eyes fixated on their linked hands and came back to her face. Then his gaze locked on their hands and returned again.

“Me?” she whispered. “You need me?”

He squeezed and wouldn’t stop.

“Oh, Wrath…You have me. We’re together, love.”

Tears poured out of him in a mad rush, his chest quaking from the sobs, his breathing jagged and raw.

She took his face in his hands, trying to soothe him. “It’s all right. I’m not going anywhere. I’m not going to leave you. I promise you. Oh, love…”

Eventually he relaxed a little. The tears slowed.

A croak came out of his mouth.

“What?” She leaned down.

“Wanted to…save you.”

“You did. Wrath, you did save me.”

His lips trembled. “Love. You.”

She kissed him gently on the mouth. “I love you, too.”

“You. Go. Sleep. Now.”

And then he closed his eyes from exhaustion.

Her vision went blurry as she put her hand over her mouth and started to smile. Her beautiful warrior was back. And trying to order her around from his hospital bed.

Wrath sighed and seemed to sink into sleep.

When she was sure he was resting peacefully, she stretched, thinking the brothers would appreciate knowing that he’d woken up and been well enough to talk a little. Maybe she could find a phone and call the house.

When she peered into the hall, she couldn’t believe what she saw.

Right in front of the OR’s door, in a great, breathing barrier, the brothers and Butch were sprawled out on the floor. The men were fast asleep, looking as exhausted as she felt. Vishous and Butch were propped up against the wall next to each other, a little TV and two guns between them. Rhage was flat on his back, snoring softly, with dagger in hand. Tohrment had his head balanced on his knees. Phury was lying on his side, clutching a throwing star to his chest as if it soothed him.

Where was Zsadist?

“I’m over here,” he said quietly.

She jumped and looked to her right. Zsadist was fully armed, gun strapped on his hip, daggers crossed over his chest, length of chain shifting in his hand. His glittering black eyes regarded her steadily.

“It’s my turn to stand guard. We’ve been taking shifts.”

“Is it so dangerous here?”

He frowned. “You don’t know?”


He shrugged and looked down the hall. One way, then the other. Scanning.

“The brotherhood protects what is ours.” His eyes refocused on her. “We would never leave you or him undefended.”

She sensed he was evading, but wasn’t about to press. All that mattered was that she and Wrath were safe as her husband’s body healed.

“Thank you,” she whispered.

Zsadist looked down quickly.

How he hides from any warmth, she thought.

“What time is it?” she asked.

“Four in the afternoon. It’s Thursday, by the way.” Zsadist brushed a hand over his skull trim. “So, ah, how’s he doing?”

“He woke up.”

“I knew he’d live.”

“Did you?”

His lip lifted in a snarl, as if he were going to make some kind of crack. But then he seemed to catch himself. He stared at her, his scarred face remote.

“Yeah, Beth. I really did. No shotgun’s ever going to keep him from you.”

And then Zsadist’s eyes shifted away.

The others started to stir. A moment later, they were all on their feet, staring down at her. Butch, she noted, seemed right at home with the vampires.

“How’s he feeling?” Tohr asked.

“Good enough to try to tell me what to do.”

The brothers laughed in a rush. The sound was one of relief. Of pride. Of love.

“Either of you need anything?” Tohr asked.

Beth looked at their faces. Each one was expectant. As if they hoped she would give them something to do.

This really is my family, she thought.

“I think we’re okay.” Beth smiled. “And I’m sure he’s going to want to see all of you soon.”

“What about you?” Tohr asked. “How’re you holding up? You want to take a break?”

She shook her head and pushed open the OR’s door. “Until he can walk out of here on his own two feet, I’m not leaving that bedside.”




As the door closed behind Beth, Butch heard Vishous whistle under his breath.

“That is one fine female, true?” V said.

There was a low, affirmative grumble.

“And someone you do not want to mess with,” the brother continued. “Man, you should have seen her when we came into that barn. She was standing over his body, ready to take the cop and me on with her bare hands if she had to. Like Wrath was her cub, you feel me?”

“Wonder if she has a sister?” Rhage asked.

Phury laughed. “You wouldn’t know what to do with yourself if you ran into a female of worth.”

“This coming from you, Celibate?” But then Hollywood rubbed the stubble on his chin, as if considering the ways of the universe. “Ah, hell, Phury, you’re probably right. Still, a male can dream.”

“He sure can,” V murmured.

Butch thought of Marissa. He kept hoping she would come down, but he hadn’t seen her since she’d left the morning after the surgery. She’d looked so drawn, so distracted, but it wasn’t as if she didn’t have enough on her mind. Her brother’s death was coming soon. Sooner still as Wrath recovered.

Butch wanted to go to her, but wasn’t sure if she’d welcome his company. He just didn’t know her well enough. They’d had so little time together.

Was he a curiosity? Some fresh blood she wanted to taste? Something more?

Butch looked down the hallway, as if he could call her into being.

God, he ached to see her. If only to know she was okay.

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Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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