a cursed bloodline-Page 66

“Please eat, love.”

Aric licked my hands apprehensively. As soon as he got a taste, he swallowed the piece whole. He stood on wobbly legs and lumbered toward the deer. My jaw fell open. Aric tore into the kill with a ferocious appetite. It had probably been several days since he had eaten. I changed to join him, unable to stand eating raw meat in my human form.

At first, I had to concentrate hard on chewing and swallowing. Soon the blood enticed my beast and I devoured large chunks of the venison. Aric ate long after I had had my fill. I watched him while I waded into the water to cleanse my furry face and paws. I shook off the excess water, knowing I couldn’t save him alone. I needed help.

I needed my sisters.

I changed to explain to Aric. “I’m going to leave for a while.” He swallowed the piece in his mouth and abandoned the buck. I shook my head. “No, Aric. You stay here. Your job is to eat and rest. Don’t worry. I’ll be back as soon as I can.” I gave him a smile I didn’t know I had in me. “I love you.”

That earned me a whine and a small tail wag.

When I tried to change into an eagle form, all I managed was wings for arms. It sucked, but I couldn’t wait for more.

I soared into the air, hoping no one would notice a naked woman with eagle wings flying around. I used the brook that snaked out of the waterfall as a landmark and found it eventually turned into a river, perfect for finding my way back to Aric.

I flew for about half an hour before spotting an abandoned truck stop and landing near a cluster of trees. I shook off the change to regain my human form and arms, and then poked my head around a thick trunk, using my senses to detect anyone on the road or near the old store. I bolted to the pay phone by the side of the building. Thick rust coated the face. I was shocked when it actually worked. I called collect to my home in Dollar Point. After everything that had transpired at the Den, I knew my family would refuse to stay there. They’d wait for me in our home.

“Dude! Are you all right?” Shayna asked when the operator put me through.

My voice cracked upon hearing her voice. “Yes. I’m fine.”

“No, you’re not.” She screamed for my sisters. “Celia’s on the phone!”

I heard her racing down the steps. The phone tapped and I was placed on speaker. My sisters and Danny bombarded me with questions. I quickly cut them off. “Listen, I don’t have time to talk. I need to get back to Aric.”

Danny fumbled onto the line. “He’s still alive?”

“Yes, but he’s really sick. He’s seizing and is in constant pain.” I leaned my forehead against the dirty glass of the booth. I took a breath, but my words came out faster than I wanted. “I need you to find the witch who cursed Aric with moon sickness. Her name is Lucinda. She lives in the village of Izalco in El Salvador.” I swallowed back my sudden nausea. I couldn’t believe what I was asking them to do. “Find her and do whatever it takes to get her to rescind the curse.”

I sensed their apprehension in the silence that followed. “Celia,” Danny finally said. “Moon sickness is a one-way curse. There’s no cure. There’s no taking it back.”

So not the response I wanted to hear. “I don’t believe that, Danny.”

He sighed and I could almost picture his grim face. “Celia, the weres infected are irrational and deadly. There’s no choice, they have to be…destroyed before they worsen.”

I punched through the booth door and knocked it off its hinges. The few panes of glass that had survived the past decades shattered. “Then explain to me how Aric is still in control!”

It was Emme who spoke. “He hasn’t tried to hurt you?”

I almost lied to them, but decided against it. “He bit me—once, but he remembers me now.”

Her voice shook. “He bit you?”

“It’s okay—”

“For shit’s sake. This is so not okay,” Taran shot back. “You need to get away from him before he kills you!”

“He won’t hurt me again. I’m sure of it.”

“Damnit, what if you’re wrong? All we keep hearing is that no were in history has ever been cured—”

“That’s because none are given the opportunity! Everyone is so damn quick to put them out of their misery. I swear he knows me and understands what I’m saying. Doesn’t that tell you anything?”

Taran began to argue with me, but Danny interrupted her. “That is rather unusual. Celia, when he bit you, did he break through the skin?”

I absentmindedly rubbed my fingers over the puncture wounds. “Yes,” I muttered.

“Hmmm. It could be that the magic in your blood could be clashing with Lucinda’s. Did you hurt her?”

“I stabbed her with the knife she made sacrifices with.”

Danny took his time answering, likely disturbed by the ease of my response. “To weaken a witch with her own power gives you strength over her magic,” he said.

I stopped moving. “So I can cure Aric?”

“Perhaps, but I don’t know how. Celia, these are unusual circumstances. But then again you’re an unusual being. My other theory is that our essence runs in our blood. That’s how vamps keep their beauty and power. They nourish themselves by taking portions of the soul mortals carry in their bloodstream. Maybe Aric’s spirit recognized yours through your blood and your bond as mates. Combine that with your strength over Lucinda’s magic and it could have been enough to help Aric recognize you.”

Emme interrupted quietly. “But Celia broke their bond.”

Danny’s voice softened. “Celia and Aric remain mates. The only thing she severed was the bond they created when he claimed her during their, um, lovemaking.”

Hope filled me until Taran interrupted. “Okay, say that’s true, but what if Aric continues to get worse? Will their connection and her strength over Lucinda’s magic be enough to stop him from hurting Celia?”

“I don’t know,” Danny answered.

“Then you have to get Lucinda to rescind the curse,” I said.

When no one said anything, I fell apart. “Please,” I sobbed. “I can’t lose him again. He’s my life….”

“It’s okay, Ceel.” Shayna’s voice was surprisingly soothing and calm. “We’re going to help you.” There was a short pause before she continued. “Celia almost died because we didn’t believe in her,” she told the others. “I’m not going to let that happen again. I’ll find Lucinda myself if I have to.”