The Hellhound (Riders of Tyr #2)

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Chapter 26: Healing Wounds

Iris

“It’s itching which means it’s healing.” I say to the Doc sitting near my bed.

“That’s an information no one should ever have to know firsthand.” the man shakes his head.

I bite down my lip and try not to look away. I can never explain to him that I had been through this more than a person should in a life time. Only back then my healing took place in a small filthy room, in my solitude, drenched in fear and despair. Not here with...

“Is she healing?” Rage’s rough voice fills the air.

I want to tell him that I am healed already, the scars in my back are nothing to me before the safety I feel near him. It’s been almost a week since he brought me in his room and it has been the happiest week of my life. He is still taking care of me, letting me on his bed and I know he spends most of his nights sitting on that uncomfortable roll looking at me. Every night I feel tempted to ask him to come in the bed with me, shivering with anticipation at the thought of feeling him near. But each night I do not dare.

“She is healing just fine.” Doc turns to Rage that is standing somewhere behind me, near the bed.

I am aware where he is, all the time. He hardly left my side this week and I’ve grown used to him. No, it’s more than that. I need him, I need to feel him near and it pains me to think that the more I heal, the sooner I have to leave him. He feels responsible for me, he protects me and I can see that he looks at me with a mixture of care and...lust.

I know his look isn’t always innocent and I can hear him breathe heavily when he thinks I am asleep. But he never acts on it, never even talks to me differently. I know I should be thankful for that, appreciate that he is considerate but I am not. What I really want him to do is stop being scared of hurting me and come close. Really, really close.

“Iris, you are a strong girl.” Doc gets up and I sit up rolling my t-shirt down.

I shake my head. If I were strong I would get out of this bed and I would go up to Rage, throw my arms around his neck and kiss him like I have been dreaming since I saw him, like I want to do each time he rubs his lips with his thumb like he does now. But I am a coward. I could still remember what it felt like that Monday I spent with Ava and the girls, the rush I got when they thought I was his Valkyrie. But I am not. Apart from applying cream or helping me stand, he barely touches me. He wants to but doesn’t.

“Doc,” his voice makes turn to him and I ache by how breathtaking he looks “Is...Can she work?”

“Carefully, not heavy lifting and she’ll be just fine.” Doc nods and leaves the room.

I scowl. I can’t shake the feeling that he wants me out and I am cold even if the hot sun falls on the bed and warms the room. I lick my lips and get out of the bed feeling awkward all of the sudden.

“Let’s go to the garage!” he throws his cut over his shoulders.

“What’s the hurry?” I bite my disappointment down with difficulty.

He turns to me and then takes a few steps towards me with that heavy look in his blue eyes, the one that wraps me like velvet and suddenly I feel hot. He comes too close, never having a problem getting into others’ personal space when he wants something.

“You are going to put an extra seat on my bike and then I am taking you out for a ride.” he leans to me.

I am not breathing. I try to order my lungs to draw breath but I am paralyzed. He is so close I can almost feel him against me and my skin is burning up to the point I want to check if I have fever. More than that, though, I want to run my fingers into his thick, golden beard and then caress his cheek before I drive my fingers through his Mohawk. I do none of these things, I just blink. Too many times.

“OK.” I finally say.

“Good.” he backs away and I almost fall over “Get ready.”

We go out the bar and then he goes to his bike, rolling it into the garage. Bjorn is there already and he turns to us. I look at the car that is hidden under a plastic cover and I smile. I look forward working on that classic lady but I am even more excited to work on Rage’s bike.

“Morning, kid.” Bjorn comes over and throws one arm over my shoulder pressing a kiss on my hair.

I look up to him and he smiles. He is not big for tender gestures – to anyone that isn’t Ava, that is – and that sign of open affection brings me almost to tears. He seems taken aback by his action too but he keeps smiling.

"Bror!” Rage’s voice is strict.

“Fuck off, Rage. You are not the only that likes the girl.” Bjorn keeps looking at me “You really look better, kid. Reporting for duty?”

“Rage wants me to install one more seat.”

Bjorn swings to Rage so quickly I think his head will start spinning. And he is not happy.

“Is that true, brother?”

“Got any problem with that?”

“With the fact that you are a suicidal maniac when on that fucking Harley? Yeah!” Bjorn turns his back on me.

“Get out of my face, Bjorn, before I peel the skin off your bones.” Rage glares.

“Iris is just starting to heal. Sure she doesn’t need to visit the hospital this time.”

“None of your business, Bjorn.” Rage approaches with clenching fists.

“Damn right is my business.” Bjorn roars and I see Rage twitch.

“Shut up both of you!” I yell.

Both turn to me and suddenly. I never even realized I got so angry listening to them talking about me as if I wasn’t there, as if they were talking about a little girl.

“I know I am small and young but I have survived more that anyone.” I tremble “I was scorned, beaten to death, lost all I had in the world and still here I am. You can at least give me the choice of whether or not I want on a freaking bike!”

I swallow and I widen my eyes at my own surprise. And I blush. Thankfully both of them are equally stunned and they just blink looking upon me as if they misheard.

“I mean...I am riding with Rage...”

Rage’s face first gives me a proud smile and then takes a malevolent grin as he eyes Bjorn.

“...because I want to.” I add and Rage’s face takes a more comical expression “My choice, my life.”

“Fine.” Bjorn gives up “Your choice, kid.”

“Now,” I inhale “I was thinking a classic leather seat with a back. Got any of those? And foot pegs.”

“Check the back.” Bjorn points and I nod.

“Thanks.” I head in the storage room with my chin held high.

I am excited and happy and proud at the same time. I feel alive, I feel...I feel like me. My dormant soul is waking up, claiming life. I can do this.

“Hurt her and you are dead.” I hear Bjorn hiss behind my back.

But that’s not what has my attention. It’s Rage’s answer that reaches me right before I vanish behind the storage room in the back.

“If I hurt her, then I am truly dead, brother.”

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