Unbound (Forbidden Bond Book 1)(2)

By: Cat Miller

Tessa put both of her fists against his abdomen and pushed with all her might to put space between the two of them. It didn’t move Griffin at all, but the motion forced Tessa back against the cold brick wall behind her.

“I’m not afraid of you! If you wanted to hurt me, I’d be dead by now, or at least unconscious from blood loss,” she stuttered.

He stepped in closer so they were chest to chest, and she had to crane her neck up to look into his black eyes. The fangs he had on display for her to admire and fear were just inches from her face.

“Are you quite sure about that, little one?” he hissed.

He could hear her suck wind between her glossy, bow-shaped lips, and her heart sped at his touch. She composed herself instantly and laid her head back, turning her face to the side in order to bare her neck to him. Her hair fell down her chest from her shoulder. The smell of vanilla wafted up to him. She was calling his bluff. At that moment, his mouth watered for an entirely different reason.

“Do it, then.” There was uncertainty mixed with the challenge in her eyes. “I don’t have all night to hang out in a dark alley with you,” she said, facing the direction they had come from. Her breath suddenly sounded too rapid.

She stayed motionless for several moments, her neck splayed out before him in what felt like a dare, as he looked down on her in wonder. Humans weren’t supposed to know about vampires, but her behavior and lack of shock led him to believe she was fully aware.

“I didn’t think so, tough guy,” she whispered, as he finally allowed her to push him away. The smug glare she tossed him made his body quicken. So arrogant. So beautiful.

Suddenly, there was a noise on the street. The humans began to filter out of the various watering holes and nightclubs nearby. She stepped around him and started to walk away, expecting him to follow. He did so without pause.

Tessa’s weak voice pulled him out of his reverie.

“You know, if you don’t put her down, she’ll be the most spoiled child either of our worlds has ever known,” Tessa teased.

Her weakness concerned him. It had been a long, hard labor for her after nine months of the baby draining her of the blood she also needed to survive. Vampire women would have fed more frequently to replenish the loss, but Tessa didn’t have that option. He had arranged for regular transfusions, but it still hadn’t been enough. She suffered it all with a smile and joyful expectation of their coming child, and he could do nothing but comfort and try to support her. When Tessa went into labor, he felt absolutely useless. She’d assured him that all women experienced this during childbirth but it wasn’t true. Not in today’s world of modern medicine, anyway. But there was no such thing as pain medication in a secret home birth. She’d had to endure it with nothing stronger than ibuprofen and some breathing exercises.

He worried about how her body would deal with it all. Carrying and delivering a vampire baby was very different from a human child. She had spent the last three months of her pregnancy in bed. Griffin had never known of a vampire siring a child with a human, but from his research in preparation for the event, he learned that the mothers didn’t fare well. They usually died in childbirth, and the babies didn’t do much better. In the records he reviewed at the Council Hall library, there had been no known surviving births.

“I fully intend to ensure that is the case. She will be the most pampered little girl in existence. So what does it matter if I hold her all day?” he whispered, as the baby had fallen asleep.

“I love you, Griffin,” Tessa told him.

“I will love you always. Why do you sound so sad? Are you in pain? Can I get you anything?” Griffin’s heart ached at her weakened state and his inability to do anything for her. If he had been able to stand up to his parents, she would have had the best medical care available to humans, but admitting he was bound to a human wasn’t a possibility yet. His parents expected him to bond with the female of their choice, and he’d been ready and willing to do just that, until the night he met a pretty little human in a dark alley.

He felt like he was living on borrowed time because eventually he would be forced to admit his betrayal of the betrothal agreement and his family honor. His odd behavior and frequent absence were already drawing attention to him. Griffin’s parents had no love for humans other than as food. Sadly, he just didn’t trust them not to have Tessa murdered in an attempt to salvage his honor. Coming clean about his new mate while she was pregnant was a risk he wasn’t willing to take. Keeping her hidden was the safest bet until he found a way to deal with his parents.

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