He grabbed his hair, pulling at it as he looked away from me. “I got there before they were able to do too much damage, but…” He brushed his thumb against my temple and I winced. “That douchebag ex-fiancé of yours got in a few good licks.”

I took a breath that turned into a wince. “Feels like it.”

Lucas stood and paced away from the bed. His hands balled in tight fists and he kept his back to me. “I shouldn’t have let you go. I knew better. You got hurt and it’s my fault.”

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My jaw would’ve dropped, but some part of me sensed that that would hurt too much. How could he possibly blame himself? “First off, it’s not your fault.”

“It is my fault. I’m supposed to protect you.” Lucas spun to face me, but only looked for a moment before pain flashed in his eyes. “I cleaned your cuts and put some liquid stitch and bandages on them. I can’t do anything for the ribs or the knot on your head that seems to be growing by the second, but I’ve got some pain pills.”

The way he was behaving…

I wouldn’t be ready to deal with that until I got some of those pain pills in me. I tried to sit up, and winced again.

This was so bad. I didn’t have time to be hurt. I needed to get to that temple.

Which reminded me… “Please tell me you got my purse.”

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“You’re damned right I did. And I burned your blood and everything else in that evil torture room of theirs.”

“How did you—”

“I’m the Alpha of the Peruvian pack—”

He was Alpha? Of the Peruvian pack? Wasn’t that Muraco’s job? Or did being one of the Seven mean he wasn’t involved in the local pack? Suddenly I doubted everything I’d learned about the wolves.

And what did that mean for—

No. That wasn’t important right now. He’d saved me, and I’d think about the rest when my whole body wasn’t screaming.

“—I can take on a couple witches. If the whole sect had been there, I might’ve needed reinforcements, but they weren’t and the ritual already had them distracted, so, we lucked out. They ran off when I came through the door, and I was too worried about you to go after them. But I will. When the time is right, they’ll pay.”

I swallowed. With his tone, I knew he wasn’t joking. And I was glad it wasn’t me he was angry with.

He put his hands under my shoulders and lifted me carefully until I was sitting up. He reached over to the nightstand. “Here you go.”

He placed two white pills in my hand, and I swallowed them with the glass of water he handed me. “You should be feeling better in twenty minutes. At least that’s what the doctor said.”

Doctor? “How long was I out?”

“A few hours. I was worried about a head injury, but the doctor is also a witch, and he said that the magic needed to work its way out of your system.” He grumbled something unintelligible. “But he didn’t say it’d take so long.”

I sighed. “It would’ve been faster if I wasn’t already so worn out.”

“From Luciana draining you.”

“Yeah. And from the healing chant I did last night on Raphael.”

“What?”

I filled him in on the phone call. “So, I was already depleted.”

“I see.”

“Can I have my purse?”

“Sure.” He got up and grabbed it.

I looked up at him. He’d saved me from something really, truly horrible. Teresa had survived it, but I wasn’t sure that I could live without my magic. Luciana’s way of draining me was one thing, but I always knew my power would recover. If he hadn’t stopped it this time…

My hands shook as I took the purse from him. I met his gaze “Thank you for getting me out of there. I’m terrified of what would’ve happened if you hadn’t shown up.”

“I’ll always show up for you.” He cupped my face in his hand. “You’re not ready for all of this, but I’ve been waiting a long time for you. I’d rather die than let you down.”

I didn’t know what to say to that. Right now, he was right. I wasn’t ready. I had so much to deal with, I didn’t know where to start.

I reached inside my purse. “Going there was awful, but it was worth it. I found this before they caught me snooping.” I pulled out the old map. The paper had yellowed and the edges were frayed, but the ink was still bright on the page. And for something so old, the paper didn’t feel too fragile. It had to be the magic that preserved it so well.

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