Whispers of Darkness (The Deadwood Hunter Series Book 2)(3)

By: Rachel M Raithby

As he sat there his legs hanging from the bed and his head spinning, an image of Lexia drifted through his mind. He'd shifted on the forest floor, the change had been excruciating, the pain in his side felt like a knife was stabbing at him over and over and then as he'd opened his eyes, he'd seen Lexia standing above him.

She’d been leaning on the tree to her side, shaking and wobbling on her feet; he'd never seen someone so broken and still standing. He could hear the cries and sobs from Alice as she begged Lexia to help them. As she’d bent to pick him up he'd screamed for her to leave him and save herself, surely she couldn't still carry him, but nothing would come out of his mouth and as a fresh wave of agony had hit his body he’d slipped into unconsciousness.

Lincoln leapt from the bed now, all the pain forgotten; he had to see her, she had to be alive. As he crashed through the door and pounded across the landing he realized this was Caden’s house. He ran down the stairs knowing where Lexia must be and as he burst through the door to the little room outside Caden’s home office, he saw Alice. She wore Caden’s T-shirt which made her look even smaller than she was and even though she’d clearly had a shower, there was still an unkempt look about her: her hair was tangled and knotted, her face tired, a now-fading bruise marked her cheek. She moved to block his path; his way to Lexia. Lincoln stopped in his tracks at Alice's face. She'd changed in the short time he'd known her; she'd seen too much death and pain and it had strengthened her.

"You’re not going in, Lincoln!" Each word was forced out to be strong and firm.

"I need to see her," he whispered, fear closing his throat.

"I know, Lincoln," she sighed. "Look sit down, you shouldn't be out of bed, you nearly died, well, I suppose you did for a while. You two dying on me leaving me with that scary arse doctor…" and so she babbled on sounding more like the Alice he knew. Lincoln listened to her rant, letting her let out her frustration but eventually he couldn’t listen any longer.

"Alice! How long was I out and what is Caden doing to Lex?"

"Oh, erm, four days and Lexia’s leg’s infected. Caden had to dig out the bullet in front of your tree house thing."

"Four days! What injuries does she have?"

"She had the bullet in her leg when she got to me in the bedroom, then she was shot again protecting us, don't you remember? And then she has cuts and bruises all over her... She’s a mess, Lincoln."

“Everything’s a bit fuzzy; I only remember bits and pieces really."

"Wait how did we get to my place?"

"She carried you."

"Shit, even though she'd been shot twice?"

"Oh yeah, Lexia's shit scary when she goes all crazy Hunter on us. I’ll be happy if I never see her turn again."

"Alice!" Lincoln growled. How dare she say that when all Lexia's ever done is protect her?

"Oh you can growl at me all you want Lincoln but when she attacked all those men, she wasn't Lex, she was the monster her mum wanted her to be. What will happen when she goes all Hulk on us again and it's just us around?"

Lincoln sat in stunned silence. Was Lexia's best friend really calling her a monster, was she really frightened of her?

"After all Lexia risked for you and you say that! She is powerful, yes, but she would never hurt you."

"Look, Lincoln, I love her, sure, but I’m in this mess because of her and so are you. I know she'd never hurt me on purpose, but that thing wasn't Lexia."

Lincoln lost it, he growled low and deadly. His eyes flashed to panther, the beast wanted to rip out her throat for saying such cruel things. He stalked towards her and Alice jumped to her feet pressing herself against the wall. "L- Lincoln ?" she whispered.

He growled again, the panther taking over. How dare she call his mate ‘a thing’, could she not see how beautiful and strong she was? A woman who fought with everything she had for those she loved. He was a meter away, Alice was crying now begging him to stop. She was sorry she'd said those things, the past week had been hard and crazy, her whole life turned upside down, of course she loved Lexia and it wasn't her fault her mum was a crazy bitch but the panther didn't listen.

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