logan's choice (dark hollow wolf pack #3) Page 27

Logan tried to turn his head away, but he was too drowsy. Ian had overfed him, and the blood had a sedating effect, especially after the energy-stealing round with the knot. His eyes closed, and he sank back into sleep. He was exactly where he wanted to be, with Ian, held close to his heart, even with his hands tied. They could talk about the rest later, after Ian had calmed down. Logan had never seen him in such a state.

He didn’t awake until morning, and Ian must have regained a little of his temper. Logan was still naked, but not tied, and Ian cooked over a fire, no doubt making use of Dawson’s rations. Some time while he slept, Ian had retrieved the clothes he’d shed before changing into his killing wolf.He was dressed, but made sure Logan wasn’t. Remembering Ian saying something about being naked for thirty days, Logan got up and walked with some difficulty to the fire, wondering how he could calm Ian down enough to see reason. His ass was so sore he could barely move without flinching. He padded over to where Ian crouched, heating up some kind of stew. Ian looked up and smiled sweetly at him, the sight of him and the smile cutting right to Logan’s heart.

“Morning, baby. I love you. I figured I better mention that right away after the way I treated you last night.Do you forgive me?”

Logan regarded him with surprise.“Yeah,” he said slowly. “I forgive you. I love you too.”

Ian smiled, but the smile didn’t quite reach the sad look in his eyes even as he teased. “Having a little trouble walking there?Want Daddy to kiss it and make it better?”

“Um, very funny. Maybe later.”

Logan eased himself down onto a blanket by the fire, deciding at the first touch of his ass to the hard rock below he would need to sit on a pillow for a while. He got back up on his knees and looked up to see amusement twitch on Ian’s lips. “I’m glad I can provide you with some humor at my expense.” His tone was sulky, but Ian smiled.

“I’m sorry, honey. My wolf got a little out of control last night. Okay, a lot out of control.” He leaned over to him and caressed his cheek. “I’ve missed you so much, darlin’.”

“I’ve tried to tell you for some time I feel the same. I know I went with Nicky, but I really didn’t know what else to do with you saying you wanted nothing to do with me.”

“I never meant it. I wouldn’t have left you in that place, no matter what I said. I was just crazy with thinking you betrayed me and wanted me dead. I never stopped loving you—not for one second.”

“Yeah, well, you sure fooled me.”

“I never meant to chase you away, to make you do something as crazy and dangerous as ask for asylum from those lunatics.”

“I wasn’t serious. I wanted Dawson to give me information. That’s all. What will you do with the bodies?”

“Marco and I buried them last night while you and Nicky slept. All that’s over now. I don’t want to discuss it anymore. We’re going home and starting over.”

“But Ian—”

“No.” He crossed a finger overLogan’s lips. “Not another word. I’ve been stupid about a lot of things, and I know I have to treat you differently.Obviously, I’m having a little trouble with that. Marco told me last night he and Nicky had a long talk and things are going to change for the pets. Now let me get you some breakfast. I decided last night to stop dwelling on the past. I have you in my arms, and I’ll have you in my bed, and that is not going to change. I hope you can get used to it because, no matter what, I can’t let you go.”

“I am used to it. That’s the way I want that part of it. I’ve been trying to tell you, but I’m a soldier, Ian. I know you think of me as your mate and your possession, but I’m more than that. I have to be more than that.” Something he’d come to realize the two weeks they’d been apart.

“I know,” Ian said quietly.

“No, I really don’t think you do. I’ve been military trained for as long as I can remember and started training in combat operations when I was seventeen years old, and I’m pretty damned good at it. If I’m to stay here for the rest of my life, I have to continue working, contributing, being something besides an empty-headed ornament in your apartment. Hell, I like combat. I like training men. I’m damned good with munitions too. Let me use my skills to stop the Hunters. If the idea of me going out in the field upsets you, at least let me train your men.”

“Okay, agreed. That’s settled then.”

Logan looked at him like he’d lost his mind. Puzzled by the easy agreement, Logan added, “Just like that? No arguments?I don’t want you in danger either. If we agree to this, then I want you to stay out of any more field operations too. I nearly went crazy worrying about what they were doing to you.”

Ian was quiet for a moment and then sighed. “Okay, that’s fair enough. A good beta should probably stay in the command center anyway. Agreed.”

Logan breathed out a sigh of relief. He hadn’t realized how important an issue it was to him until he heard Ian agree. “This is all sounding too good to be true.”

“It is though, Logan. I won’t go back on my word. I can’t promise I won’t be bossy sometimes—I’ll try, but…”

Logan laughed.“No, I wouldn’t want you to strain yourself, sweetheart. I know who you are.”

Ian grinned, then turned and scooped some stew into a tin plate. He handed it to Logan. “Eat up, honey. Marco will be in here soon. He and Nicky spent the night outside by the campfire. I think Marco made a lot of rash promises last night to Nicky, too, from what he told me. Marco does like to live on the edge.” He laughed, and his eyes showed some easing of the sadness.“Nicky certainly makes his life interesting.”

“Is Nicky all right?”

“Of course he’s all right. Marco would never hurt him. I imagine he got some of the same treatment as you did last night, though. He might be limping a bit himself this morning and not wanting to sit down.”

“Oh, ha-ha.”

Ian sat across from Logan and occasionally smoothed a hand over his face or ruffled his hair. “Do you really love me, Logan?”

Logan looked directly into his eyes. “I really, really love you, you big oaf. I never stopped loving you, not for one second.”

Ian leaned across and touched his lips to Logan’s. “Never stop telling me you love me. It seems I need to hear it a lot.”

“The same goes for you.”

“Stop looking at me that way, baby, or I’ll have to tap that little sore ass again this morning. Damn, I thought I’d go out of my mind while you two were gone. We were on our way to another site when we stumbled on the Hunters. If we hadn’t done that, we might not have found you in time. We’ve been looking everywhere.”

“It hasn’t been bad. We had fresh water and a fire every day. I showed Nicky how to fish and snare rabbits.”

“My own personal commando.”

“Don’t knock it! I learned in boot camp, very handy skills to have.”

Ian leaned in for another kiss. “I was worried about you getting enough to eat.” “We were fine. I know how to defend myself too.”

”I noticed. If Nicky had been able to defend himself as well, you might have taken the five Hunters when you attacked them. You took two by yourself with your hands tied.” He gave him a tortured smile. “Nicky got in your way.”

“Not his fault. He’s never been trained to defend himself. He was an artist and a waiter in his former life, for God’s sake. Since he’s the mate of the alpha, and as such, an important target, it’s criminal not to train him in self-defense.”

Ian looked uncomfortable.“That’s up to Marco.”

“It’s up to Nicky,” Logan corrected softly.“He’s a grown man, and he can make the decision for himself.”

Ian said nothing, but he did slowly nod his head.“I guess you’re right. We just try to protect our mates.Maybe we get a little overprotective at times.”

Logan grinned.“You think?” When Ian blushed, he laughed aloud and reached for his hand.“Wait till you hear what Dawson told me.”

A loud voice called from outside before he could even get started. Ian shrugged out of his shirt and threw it to Logan. Big on him, it covered him to mid-thigh when he stood and put it on. Not satisfied with the skimpy clothing, Logan went for his pants, hurrying into them as Ian went to the opening of the cave and motioned for Marco and Nicky to enter.

Marco walked in, followed by Nicky. He held Nicky’s hand tightly. Nicky smiled at Logan as he came in, his eyes twinkling at the sight of Logan wearing Ian’s shirt.

“Has Logan had a chance to tell you what the Hunter told them yesterday?” Marco asked.

“No, he was just getting ready to tell me, actually.”

“Well, sit down, Ian. You need to hear this.”

Ian sat beside Logan while Marco sat down by the fire and pulled Nicky onto his lap. Nicky launched into the story of meeting the Hunters on the trail.

When he finished the description of how Elias had used his own son’s life to bait a trap, Ian was at a loss for words, his face pale. “Oh God, Logan, and I blamed you, sweetheart! Can you ever forgive me?”

“I forgive you.” To show him in a way that spoke stronger than words, Logan scooted up in his lap, cuddling up against him. He knew with this wolf he would never be ashamed of his feelings again. He would never again be embarrassed to show his love.“It was an honest mistake. I wish you’d trusted me a little more. I understand how hard that is for you, and it means a lot to me that you loved me no matter what you thought.I guess I haven’t made it any easier.” He dug into the pocketof his pants. The note he’d written was still there. “I couldn’t say anything when we were at the compound. They were watching me too closely. I was going to try sneaking this note to you the next day.”

Ian read it. His eyes watered, and he pressed his lips to Logan’s neck as he hugged him. “They’d have killed you if they saw this.”