Endless (Merciless 4) - Page 9

“Daniel had already told me you were all right.” I hope that truth eases something in him as I realize at least one of the reasons why I’m angry. “I knew you were all right and even if I was mad that you were ignoring me, I promise you I couldn’t have felt more relief at finding out that you were okay.” Every time I turn soft for him, I lose that hard edge that makes me his equal. I know it, yet I do it every time.

Carter’s quiet for what seems like an eternity, as if registering what I may have been feeling for the first time. Please, I pray he’ll understand. With so much against us, we need to understand each other if nothing else.

“I thought you were dead and I was ready to kill anyone who stood in my path to find you, Aria. And yet, when I got there, you didn’t…”

“I didn’t what?” I question him with a raised voice, begging him to tell me everything. With a hesitant step forward, I stop when he answers.

“You didn’t react to seeing me.”

“What did you want from me?” I ask him, honestly not knowing what he wanted. “You grabbed me like I was a child acting up.” Instinctively, my hand moves to my forearm where he ripped me from the doorway and yanked me inside of the house.

“You didn’t even ask if I was all right,” he spits at me, condemning me for not comforting him when I’d just witnessed more death firsthand than I ever have in my life.

“There was death everywhere around me, and I knew my family was out there but-“

“It’s your family you care about!”

I’m taken aback by the venom in his words. “You already knew I loved them and that I didn’t want this-”

“I would do anything for you. I would kill for you. I feel like I would die without you. Yet when I got to you… all you wanted was for me to let you go.”

“Carter, you don’t understand.”

“No, I don’t.” His answer is hard and unmoving.

“I’m sorry,” I say, giving him an apology I truly mean. “I didn’t want to upset you; I’m just not okay right now… and I was even worse earlier.”

Carter’s expression softens slightly, but I can tell he’s holding on to his reservations. I know he doesn’t trust me. I’ve lost his trust completely and it makes me feel trapped and desperate, needing him to give me a chance.

“I’m sorry. Do you believe me?” My question is pleading as I take the few small steps needed to stand in front of him. I swear he can hear my heart pounding as I dare to tell him, “If I could go back, I would. I would make sure I gave you what you needed, even as I dealt with all of this… this agony inside of me.”

I’m careful as I raise a hand and cup his jaw. His five o’clock shadow is rough against my fingertips. The anger wanes from him as I rub my thumb up and down his cheek.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t want any of this to happen, but I don’t want to lose you.” My words slip from me easily, raw, transparent and true. I mean every word of it.

Carter takes a step to his left, closer to the bed and says under his breath, “There’s no room to be sorry in this life.”

Crying is something I’m done with. I swallow down the spiked pain and embrace it rather than succumb to weakness. A second passes as Carter strips out of his shirt, unbuttoning it and then tossing it onto the floor.

He may have grabbed me earlier as if I was a defiant child walking out recklessly into a busy street, but right now, he’s the one acting like a child.

“You just want to be angry with me, don’t you?” I pause my thoughts as he removes his cotton undershirt, stained with blood too. “There’s nothing I could say or do to change your mind. You want to be pissed at me.”

He looks at me from over his shoulder, a derisive glance. “Why would I want that, little songbird?”

“Because if you aren’t angry, you’ll have to deal with everything else that’s brewing inside of you. If you aren’t a beast, then you have to be a mere mortal and deal with what you’re feeling.” I spew the words, not even conscious of them until they’ve left me.

“Ever the artist, aren’t you?” He makes light of the truth, not willing to admit how accurate my words are as he turns to me and stalks closer, wearing nothing but his pants. His hardened muscles ripple in the dim light and his dark eyes seem bright with a challenge.

“Make light of it all you want. You simply want to be angry with me.” He takes a large step forward and I take a small one back, not letting him get close enough to touch me. “And I’m fine with it, so long as you know it’s bullshit and that I’m very aware of what bullshit it is.” I spit out the last words, hating him for what he’s doing. He’s using his rage as a buffer to maintain his veneer of control. And it’s not fair. “I love you, Carter Cross. I chose you.” I have to add in the last statements, if for no other reason than to be honest with myself. Even now, I still love him. He’s ruthless; an uncaring and brutal asshole. And I’m the fool who loves him and wants him to give up a piece of his armor, knowing I’ll protect that part of him with everything I have.

Tags: Willow Winters Merciless Erotic
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