Home > Blackwing Wolf (Kane's Mountains #2)(16)

Blackwing Wolf (Kane's Mountains #2)(16)
Author: T.S. Joyce

“Nope, I noticed the difference. Trust me, it’s a big change.” She bumped his arm. “It’s a good change for me. You have a nice voice.”

“Compliment! We should make a compliment jar like a swear jar. Like…every time we say something sickeningly nice to each other, you have to give me a blow job.”

Emma blasted a surprised laugh and hugged the blanket closer to her chest. “You’re ridiculous.”

Dustin got quiet, and as he set up their blanket on a flat field of grass overlooking the water, he got a faraway look and a slight frown to his features. When they were settled and dishing out food, he said something that surprised her down to her bones. It was a soft admission, as if he didn’t know if he wanted her to hear or not. “You have a nice voice, too.”

“What?” she asked, watching his lips carefully. Those lips…so sensual, and she knew what they could do against hers, but now they rained down words that got the butterflies going crazy in her stomach.

“I said you have a nice voice, too. I like it.”

Heat burned her cheeks, and she ducked her gaze as she admitted, “I hate it. I worked really hard in speech therapy to get where I am, but someday I want a normal voice. One I can hear perfectly so I can sound like other people. I want to sing.” The heat spread to her ears on that last admission, so she cupped her hands over them to hide the blush.

Slowly, Dustin leaned forward and pulled her hands away. “Did you just give me something big?”

She nodded, still unable to meet his gaze.

Dustin scooted closer and lifted her chin with his hooked finger, drew her gaze to his lips. She really liked his mouth. The shape of it, the thickness of his lips, the way he licked his bottom one sometimes when he was nervous and didn’t want anyone to know. “You said someday. Is surgery an option?”

Emma shook her head. “I have sensorineural hearing loss. Both of my inner ears are malformed. This is the best I get as a human.”

“As a human,” he repeated. “Is that why you wanted to pledge to Kane’s Crew? Are you going for a shifter bite?”

“No. A bite won’t cure me. I was born with malformed pieces, Dustin. Maybe an animal would improve it, maybe it would make it where I could hear some without my hearing aids, but there is only one thing that will fix me.”

Dustin angled his face, frowned, and dropped his finger from her chin. And then suddenly, his eyebrows jacked up in an ah-ha expression. “You mean you’re going vamp?”

“I’m taking a break from my coven because I wanted to see life outside of it, you know? My parents wanted that for me, too. But since I was a kid, all I’ve wanted is to be Turned and be whole.”

Dustin gritted his teeth and shook his head at the river. “You are whole.”

“You know what I mean.”

“No, I don’t! You think being a bloodsucker is a fix, Emma? It’s not a fucking fix. You’re giving up sunlight, food, humanity—”

“Stop!” She shoved him hard. “Stop talking about things you don’t understand.”

“You don’t need to be fixed.”

Emma’s eyes rimmed with tears, and she ripped her gaze away from him so he wouldn’t see how much this hurt. “You don’t know what it’s like.”

“To be different? Fuckin’ false, Emma. You know what percentage of the population of werewolves are submissive? Do you? Almost zero percent. I grew up the cull pup. I grew up being the disappointment, only supporting my brother’s rise to alpha like a fucking servant because he was the important one. I got pitied looks from every wolf I ever met because it must be awful to be me, right?”

“But being submissive isn’t a disability!”

“To you!” Dustin stood and walked to the water’s edge, ran his hands through his hair, then paced back to her. “Even if I could change the parts I hate about myself, I’d never turn vamp to do it. You won’t be you anymore. You won’t. And now you’re pushing for this crew you plan on leaving anyway?”

“Turning vamp isn’t an option for you, wolf, and I don’t have to leave the crew. I would just live on a different schedule.”

“For eternity.”

“Vampires don’t live forever.”

“Chhhh. Fucking technicalities now? A couple thousand years in darkness, close enough. You’ll watch everyone you love die. You’ll watch the crew die of old age, and I’m calling it now—you’re going to find a man you love, who dies on you, and you’ll carry that hurt for two thousand fucking years. Turning vamp isn’t a fix for anything. It’s replacing one problem for a dozen more.”

“One problem,” she repeated, standing. She clenched her hands. “I’m a song-writer, Dustin.”

“What?”

“Yeah, that’s my passion. I write songs. Some of them are big. Some of them you’ve probably heard on the radio. I’m a natural,” she said, the words tasting bitter against her tongue. “A music prodigy, my teachers said, if not for the hearing loss. And I want to write songs for me. Can’t you try to understand? My whole heart is full of music, all the time, and I have this voice I can’t control, can’t stand the sound of, can’t hear well enough to hold a tune. So yeah, if I have to give up sunlight and live the exact way I’ve been raised my whole entire life, which isn’t the awful experience you imagine, then yeah, I’ll give up steak and sleep during the day.”

   
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