He had far more bruises, scars, and bite marks than she did, though her scars were mainly inside. His experience was much more physically taxing but just as mentally abusive, and toxic, as hers. She tilted her head, offering him a small half smile. His clear blue eyes were tender. His sandy blond hair hung about his handsome face and stark features. It was her fault Max was in that awful situation.
He allowed himself to be captured after she was taken, with the hope he could get them both free. Unfortunately, he hadn't anticipated how locked down blood slaves were. Though, she'd been afforded far more freedom than him.
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All she'd gotten for her efforts was a bloody wrist, bloody fingers, and a pissed off prince who had been unbelievably tender afterward. She forcefully shut down the thought. Recalling the prince as tender and loving only reopened the raw and jagged lesions still festering on her heart. She'd tried to apologize many, many times, but neither of them liked to be reminded of their time there. They both kept it to themselves in a bogus attempt to deny it even happened, and they were both failing miserably at it.
No matter how much they sought to pretend their captivity hadn't happened, they couldn't succeed. He was silent for a moment as he stared across the lake. When he turned toward her, his eyes were haunted, but there was something else in them too, something more. She was barely able to breathe through the grief continuously clawing at her insides. The prince had ruined her, and Max didn't fully understand that yet. She hoped one day he would. The last thing she wanted was to have Max saddened because of her again, but with the way he was looking at her, she felt it was inevitable.
I chose to go after you, Aria. It was my fault I was caught, not yours. Even knowing what I do now, I wouldn't change anything.
Renegade (The Captive Series, Book 2), by Erica Stevens
I would never leave you alone, never. She searched his face.
Max was blond, with bright blue eyes, and his open, sweet face made many girls swoon. So much so that Max was her first and only kiss before she met the prince. And now the prince was gone, lost to her forever. Max was looking at her with the same amount of longing she'd seen in the eyes of the prince. She swallowed the lump in her throat, fighting against the tears threatening to fall. Unlike the prince though, Max would never betray or use her.
Max would love her and never seek to destroy her. He would do everything in his power to keep her safe, to build her up again, and would sacrifice himself over and over for her. Even if the prince could locate her, he never would come for her. She was nothing but a pitiful human toy to him. Even knowing all these things, why did she still love the bastard? Why on earth couldn't she love someone as caring and sweet as Max? Oddly enough, she did love Max. She loved him with a fierce sort of protective love, but she wasn't in love with Max and knew she never would be.
She felt like a traitor and a fool. Her father was the leader of the rebels; her brothers and Max were some of his strongest fighters in the cause, just as she was before her capture. They had been willing to risk their lives for her, and she Well, she had given her heart to a vampire, the oldest son in the royal family no less, the heir to the throne. They had been willing to die for her while she had been falling in love with one of their greatest enemies.
I suspected, he murmured. You can't blame yourself, Aria, it was an awful time. Things were warped and wrong in there. It's not your fault you trusted him. Of course, you did; it was frightening, and you were confused. He had a month to manipulate you, to make you think you could believe in and love him. She wished the explanation was that simple, but she knew it wasn't. She knew that. But she still should have fought against her feelings more. He was her enemy, he would always be her enemy, and they'd never had a chance at a future.
She knew all of that, yet she still offered him her blood with no reservations and no fear. She hated to pop Max's bubble, but he couldn't go about thinking such things. He had to know she was a horrible person. Had to know these things so he would stop looking at her like that, and so he would understand she could never care for him the same way he cared for her.
I'm sorry, Max, she whispered. But that's not what happened.
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He didn't manipulate me; he didn't corrupt me. He was kind to me; he took care of me. I may have been his blood slave, but he only treated me as such when it was necessary. I would like to say that I didn't come to care for him, that I remained loyal to you and everyone here, but I can't. I loved him, Max She broke off, unable to speak through the grief clawing at her. I still love him, she choked out.
He stared at her for a moment, his eyes wide in disbelief, and then he shook his head rapidly. His sandy blond hair fell across his forehead curling around his bright eyes. He knew you'd always had nothing and your life was hard. He knew by being kind, by giving you the things you never had, you would come to rely on him, trust him, and perhaps even convince yourself you cared for him. That way it would be more fun when he destroyed you. It's why he never told you he was engaged. Aria's fingernails clawed into the edge of the river bank as she grasped it.
She tried to believe Max's words. Maybe, just maybe, she could move on if she believed them, but she couldn't.
There had been a strange connection between them from the very beginning. Max was aware the prince was blind; he didn't know that whenever the prince was near her , he could see again. The fact he could see her was the reason he had claimed her as his first blood slave. No, Max didn't know about that, and as far as she was concerned no one ever would, not even the prince's brother, Jack. That secret would stay between them. It was the one secret she clung to; the one idea that made her believe it hadn't all been a lie.
Renegade (The Captive Series Book 2) by Erica Stevens - Read Online
It was the only thing helping to ease her self-disgust a little. This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue? Upload Sign In Join. Home Books Romance. Save For Later. Create a List. Cover art by EbookLaunch This series is now complete. Read on the Scribd mobile app Download the free Scribd mobile app to read anytime, anywhere. Special thanks to my husband, best friend, and biggest supporter. My parents, for teaching me to never give up. To my siblings, nieces and nephews who make life more interesting and fun.
Scattered about the forest, seeking to stay hidden and find her family, Aria is stunned when Braith, the monster that savaged her heart, reappears. Stunned by his sudden arrival in her world, Arianna is uncertain if he has come to recapture her, or to kill her for daring to escape. This book contains some language, violence, and sexual situations. Recommended for ages sixteen and up. This series is now complete. Recommended reading order for The Captive Series. She enjoys writing young adult, new adult, romance, horror, and science fiction.
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