Ophelia prided herself in not panicking. Her heart might have been in her throat and beating a mile a minute, but she scrolled through the SAT phone with clarity, looking through nameless numbers, hoping to see an SOS number. Unfortunately, there was nothing to clue her in to who she’d be calling if she pressed the send button.
She looked to Irish again. His greying skin signaled she had little, if any, time to act, so she pressed send on the number currently on the screen. There was a beeping noise and then the phone rang.
He mumbled something incoherent and she crawled over to him, placing her face as close to his as she could. His eyes were still closed, moving franticly beneath the lids. In his weakened state, he feebly tried to move his hand with no success.
In Gaelic she asked, “How can I help you?” Now she was starting to panic. If anyone found where they were hiding, she wasn’t sure she’d be able to fight them off without risking Irish. In this state, Vasily’s men were sure to kill him.
His eyes cracked open a sliver and his fangs descended. “I need—” As if all of the strength had been zapped from him, his hand went limp and his head fell back.
A shout came from behind her and she turned, baring her teeth in a protective stance, but no one was there. The muffled shout came again and she glanced down at the phone. Picking it up, she said, “Yes?”
A man with a Spanish accent answered. She remembered him, Jax. “What’s wrong?” His voice was calm and soothing, which managed to help calm her as well.
She examined Irish and explained everything she saw, including everything that had happened leading up to this point.
Jax grunted. “Is there an open wound on him anywhere?” Ophelia remembered the scent of blood and burned flesh and answered with confirmation. “Okay, can you get to it?”
She took a deep breath and wedged the SAT phone between her ear and shoulder. Pushing with both hands, she got him to roll onto his back. She opened his leather vest and pulled up his cotton shirt. The scent of blood and decay wafted up from the wound. It seeped and oozed blood and a clear liquid.
Ophelia covered her mouth at the atrocious scent. How was it decaying when it’d only been there for a few hours? “Yes, I see it. It looks bad and it’s bleeding. The blood is really dark though. Do you know what I should do?”
There was a silence, a flurry of curses, and then in a measured tone Jax said, “How do you feel about being bitten?” His voice sounded grim, as if this were the only option and he wasn’t sure she’d agree to it.
She cleared her throat and placed her hand to her neck. Heat flared in her collar and her heart gave an extra few thumps in anticipation. “Will it save him? Is there no other way?”
Jax sighed. “Yes, but you don’t have enough time. If you don’t give him your blood, he will die. He’s been poisoned with liquid silver and Olfbreathe seed is the only other cure. I doubt you’ll find it there. Weather conditions aren’t stable enough to grow it.”
It didn’t take long to make a decision. When everyone else had chalked up her disappearance as dismissal, Irish was the only one who’d wanted to free her from the confines of her place in the pack. “Okay, but how do I get him to bite? He’s not awake.” She eyed him again, searching for signs of life. He was breathing, but that was it.
“There’s a weapon in his shoe. Use that.”
She searched for the weapon. A trap opened in the bottom of his shoe and she pulled the small blade from inside. Once she was positioned beside him, Ophelia placed his head in her lap and created as small cut on her wrist. Not too close to the artery, but not too far away either. Coaxing his mouth open, she placed her wrist above his mouth and waited—nothing.
“Jax,” panic laced her voice, “he’s not—”
Before she could finish, Irish’s chest bowed and his fangs clamped down on her skin. At first, she thought to scream, but then his sharp fangs parted her flesh with a delicious burn that made her body sing. A moment later, she opened her eyes to find herself on her back with Irish on top of her.
Her blood dripped from his mouth, his face twisted in a feral grimace. Unsure of whether to push him away, or caress him, she put her hand on his chest and steadied her own breath. He panted above her, body tight and hot. Without thinking, she parted her knees, allowing Irish to settle in deeper. His considerable arousal lay heavy between them, cradled by her warm, soft thighs.
He lowered to her neck, but was stopped by her palm on his chest. He looked at her hand before flicking it away. Ophelia gasped, but didn’t stop his descent. The idea of Irish, fangs deep in her neck, sent excitement shooting through her core. He scraped the tips of his fangs over the delicate hollow of her neck.
She shuddered, and before she knew it, her hand flew to the back of his head and pulled him closer. All she could remember was the feel of his mouth over her wrist, the way it felt as he took her blood; each pull, yanking common sense from her body and replacing it with raw need.