Destroy Me (The Last Vocari #4) by Elena Lawson

1





"If you take any more, I'm going to need another burger. Or twelve," I grumbled between mouthfuls, a greasy double bacon and cheddar in one hand while the other lay limp against the table, an IV needle jabbed into the crook of my elbow.

"Just a little more," Ethan said in a tone that was trying way too hard to sound detached. Though I clearly saw him flinch at my remark.

He'd gotten good at dealing with my blood. Before, I could see the discomfort in the lines on his face. The tension between his brows, the slight downturn of his full lips. His bloodthirst made his job of playing doctor and scientist much harder than it needed to be. But now...now he seemed unaffected.

I swallowed another mammoth size bite and set my burger down, trading it in for fries drenched in gravy and cheese curds. These Canadians really knew what they were doing with this poutine shit. It was like crack, even though I could feel my stomach rebelling against the sheer amount of grease and dairy. I couldn't stop eating it. "You're getting really good at that," I told Ethan as he pressed a cotton ball to the base of the IV and gently slid it out from my vein.

Guiding my arm up and into a bent position to staunch the blood flow, he allowed himself a small smirk. "Thinking you could be dead really put things into perspective."

My brows furrowed.

He bit his lower lip. "Your blood doesn't bother me anymore," he explained. "It hasn't since I peeled you off the pavement in NYC."

I offered an impish returning grin as he wheeled himself away, placing the newly filled blood bag with the stack of others in the mini fridge. I could hardly believe it'd already been a week since then. A week since I escaped a building of nearly two hundred vampires.

A week since I escaped Raphael.

I'd slept the first thirty hours after my return, dead to the world in an apartment ringed in a heavy line of salt and black ash to protect us against Amala’s magic. When I finally woke, everything was already in motion. Bags packed. Private plane fueled and ready for take-off.

We moved quickly, my three guys and me. Under Azrael's instruction, we made for the tarmac, following the exact route he laid out for us. When we got to the airstrip, we found there were two planes. Well, one was a jet, really. The guys and I took that one, and the other was piloted by and filled with 172 vampires. Our army.

Estelle was already on our jet, waiting with a thermos of her famous chicken soup and a warm smile. I had no idea how Azrael had managed it, but I was immeasurably glad to see her. And the soup was just the thing I needed to set my mind back in motion.

"Az will be here soon," Ethan said as he worked, filling vials with blood, bringing me back to the here and now.

I stiffened and his hand paused over a vial, sensing the shift in the atmosphere.

Ethan turned from the long stainless-steel counter so I could see the tight set in his jaw. His caramel hair seemed to have grown while I was gone and dropped low over his brow now, concealing his steeped-tea eyes in shadow. "Are you ever going to tell us what happened in there, Rose?"

I sighed, hopping down from the stool, my appetite suddenly vanished. "It doesn't matter. It's over now."

Ethan's lips pressed into a hard line, but he said nothing, resuming his work. If it had been Frost or Blake, I’d have had to put up more of a fight to make them drop it. But Ethan would never make me talk about something I didn’t want to. He’d never make me do anything I didn’t want to. It was one of the many reasons I loved him so much.

Even if I was doing a piss poor job of showing it lately.

I moved to leave, but in the blink of an eye, Ethan was up and across the floor, his hand wrapping around my wrist to jerk me to a stop. He swallowed my short gasp of surprise with a kiss, fingers pressed to the nape of my neck as he guided my mouth open and dove in with his tongue, stealing all the breath from my lungs.

At first, I was all hard edges. Clenched. The vivid memory of Rafe’s fingers on my body flashing before my closed eyelids.

And then...the memory faded.

There was only Ethan.

I shuddered against him, a heavy moan curling up from my chest to be smothered between our lips.

Fuck.

He pulled away, gazing heavily into my eyes as he pressed his forehead against mine. "Sorry," he breathed. "I couldn't wait any longer, it was driving me insane and you didn’t stop me so—"

I silenced him with another kiss. This one shorter, but every ounce as toe-curling as the first. I hadn't been intimate with any of my guys since my return. My body was battered and broken then. Healing.