Sealed with a Curse Page 42

“Taran, knock everyone out; wipe their memories. Do it now!”

Taran paused briefly before the scent of her magic filled the room. A storm cloud of blue and white shot from her core, expanding as it seeped out into the hall, engulfing the entire ED. Screams faded into yawns until only silence remained.

Silence except for the increasing snarls from the she-wolf and Taran’s cursing. “For shit’s sake, I knocked out Emme!”

The wolf kicked her legs out, freeing her feet and further damaging the bleeding veins at her hips. “Get Emme up. We’re losing the wolf!”

Tires screeched near the front entrance. My heart pounded. I left Shayna to continue to strengthen the shackles she’d fashioned around the wolf’s arms as I dove on her legs. She kneed me hard in the stomach. I couldn’t control her flailing limbs.

But then I was no longer alone.

Aric and Gemini grabbed onto her legs while Koda and Liam locked onto her arms. Aric growled. “What happened?”

I fell back to search the cabinets for packing and tape while Shayna retracted the metal bars away from the she-wolf’s arms like slithering serpents. I grabbed another metal tray and poured my supplies on top of it. “She and her partner were brought in. The staff thought they’d been attacked by bears.” I paused to look at Aric. “Her husband didn’t make it.”

The collective fury of the wolves filled the room like a heat wave. The she-wolf thrashed harder, snarling through clenched teeth. “They took my Paul! They took my Paul from me!”

Aric’s head snapped up. “Liam, go find him.”

Gemini and Koda took over flailing-limb duty as Aric and Liam released their hold. Aric stroked back the she-wolf’s blood- and sweat-soaked hair. “Leya, calm,” he whispered before murmuring sounds that resonated more animal than human. Aric took slow, deliberate breaths. Within moments, Leya began to mimic his breathing. “That’s it. Breathe with me, Leya.”

Liam returned. “Paul’s dead. His neck was in pieces and his heart was torn out.”

Leya stopped breathing. A wet sob tore out of her as she wept like a small, hurt child.

“Shhh…we’re going to take care of you, Leya.” Aric’s voice stayed soft and reassuring. “I need you to trust me.”

Leya’s eyes rolled back into her head with Aric’s very next stroke. Her arched back relaxed until she lay flat on the gurney. “Don’t let go of her,” Aric instructed the wolves. “Her grief is such that she could easily break my hold.” The wolves nodded, relaxing their grips enough so her limbs weren’t twisted against theirs. He motioned for me to get started. Emme stumbled in behind Taran, frazzled like she’d been startled awake by an obnoxious alarm.

“Seal her wounds,” I whispered. “She’s bleeding out.”

Emme staggered toward her, dazed by all the blood saturating Leya’s body. She touched Leya’s ankle. As her soft yellow light encased her, Leya’s eyes shot open and she bucked her off.

Aric’s voice grew more stern. “Leya, stop. These are friends of the pack. Let them help you.”

Leya stopped struggling, but this time wouldn’t fall back into a relaxed state; her breathing bordered on the verge of hysteria. I grabbed her wrist and felt her pulse.

Taran leaned in. “How is it, Celia?”

“Weak and thready. She’s lost a lot of blood. We need to transfuse her or she’ll code soon.”

I could sense Aric’s worry, yet his voice remained smooth as silk. “Tell me what happened, Leya.”

“We were out with the pack, hunting the infected vampires. Paul didn’t want me out because…because of our baby.” Her choked sobs barely kept her words audible. “He was walking me back to the car when a cluster of them attacked. They took me down. Paul tried to protect me but…there were too many, Aric.” A whine broke through her core, thick and heavy with misery. “I watched them feast on my m-m-mate, Aric. I watched them eat him alive.”

My sisters covered their mouths as tears slid down their faces. The wolves growled, demand for vengeance squelching Leya’s cries of hysteria. Emme released Leya. Her wounds were sealed, but she still needed care.

I shoved away my sadness and examined Leya closely. With all the volume she’d lost, her veins had collapsed. “She needs blood. And she needs it fast.” I glanced at Taran, who’d turned away, not wanting anyone to see her cry. “Taran, can you start an IV in her femoral vein? I think that’s the only option we have to transfuse her.”

Taran wiped her eyes and nodded. “Shayna, go to the blood bank and get some platelets. We’ll need a few units.”

Gemini shook his head. “Human blood is not compatible. It will cause an allergic and potentially fatal reaction. Take ours instead.”

“Mine first,” Aric insisted. “As a pureblood and her Leader, my blood will stabilize her faster.”

Shayna’s panicked face met mine. “But how will we transfer it?” Her eyes danced to Koda’s. “Your blood clots quicker, doesn’t it?”

Taran grabbed a set of scissors and cut through the side of Leya’s jeans. “I’ll get the catheter into her vein. You draw her blood in a syringe and pass it to me right away.”

Shayna gripped the side of the stretcher. “But if the blood clots too fast, we can send an embolus into her heart.”

Koda placed his arm on Shayna’s shoulder. “It’s okay, baby. Blood clots don’t kill us.” He skimmed Leya’s graying tone. “Usually.”

Shayna and I set up the catheters Taran needed. Taran shrugged off her jacket and directed the wolves on how to hold Leya’s legs. Emme wiped the blood from Leya’s face with a warm washcloth.

Aric spoke to Leya as we rushed to get things started. “How did you get away?”

Leya’s glassy eyes blinked back at Aric. “They let us go. In the middle of feeding on us, they turned toward the mountains like something had called them. And just like that, they were gone.” Her pale lips pursed together. “I picked up Paul and carried him to the road. Some humans stopped and brought us here. They kept trying to take Paul from me…but I didn’t want to let him go.” Leya’s voice trailed into an echo before her lids closed.

Aric and his wolves exchanged glances. I groaned. Someone is controlling the infected vamps.

“We need to hurry,” Taran muttered.

Aric sat in a chair Emme placed in front of him. He rolled up the sleeve of his thick navy sweater. I brought the tray with me and stared at his muscular arm. Were veins didn’t rise to the surface like human veins. They were embedded deep beneath the muscle, where other preternaturals couldn’t easily reach them. I showed him the tourniquet. “I’m going to have to make this tight.” They were the first words I’d spoken to him since our fight. And while I recognized the need, I wished I’d said more.

Aric’s eyes met mine, his voice gruff. “Don’t worry about me. Do what you have to.”

I screwed the eighteen-gauge needle onto a fifty-milliliter syringe. “Taran’s in the vein,” Emme whispered behind me.

“Okay.” I applied the tourniquet on Aric’s upper arm. And although Aric’s were blood prevented infection, I wiped the bend in his arm with alcohol.

“It’s not necess—”

I cut Aric off, clenching my jaw tight enough to grind my fangs. “Give me a break. I’m a creature of habit.” My voice shook as I spoke. I’d started IVs and drawn blood more times than I could count. Yet I was scared senseless to pierce Aric’s vein, knowing it would cause him pain. I would have turned him over to Emme and Shayna…but I didn’t want them touching him. My fingers swept over the crook in his arm, trying to find that thick, juicy vein all humans had. The warmth of Aric’s skin sizzled beneath my touch. He turned his head, groaning softly. Our skin hadn’t connected as much as I would have wanted. And although I’d longed to touch him, I’d never imagined the next time would involve a needle the size of a dart. I cleared my throat. “Your veins are buried in deep. I’m going to have to dig around to find one.”

Aric kept his head turned. “Go ahead.”

I stuck the needle far in, guessing where his vein might be hiding. I drew back on the plunger slowly, not wanting to collapse his vein. When I didn’t get a return, I swore and pushed further in, only to jerk the needle almost immediately back out.

Emme hurried next to me. “What’s wrong, Celia?” She muffled a scream.

“Damn it, Celia, hurry…”

Taran’s voice trailed off as she caught a gander at the bent needle. I bumped Emme blindly with my elbow. “I’m going to need a sixteen-gauge or bigger.”

Emme tottered backward before I heard her little feet racing down the hall.

Liam held out his arm to me. “Try mine. I’m not of pure blood, but I can still help Leya.”

I switched syringes and started working on Liam. His vein was hard to find, but I managed with the same-size needle I’d tried on Aric. My hands also didn’t shake with Liam, and I couldn’t help but notice the lack of heat between us. I tried to reason that weres—pureblood weres—ran naturally hotter. And all that rising heat Aric and I shared was nothing more than a physiological response between two extremely warm-bodied creatures with superhigh metabolisms who had gotten too close to each other.

Yeah. Right.

I passed the filled syringe to Taran as Shayna handed me another. Taran flushed the catheter in Leya’s vein, fast. We paused, each of us likely expecting her to go into cardiac arrest. When she didn’t, Taran stretched out her hand. “I think she’s okay; give me another.”

I made ten more passes with Liam, then stopped. “It’s okay,” he said. “You can take more.”

I was about to, but then Emme returned with something that resembled a meat thermometer. My eyes widened as I looked back at Aric.

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