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  • Home > Samantha Young > The Tale of Lunarmorte > River Cast (Page 5)     
  • River Cast(The Tale of Lunarmorte #2)(5) by Samantha Young
  • “Why am I not arrested then?”

    “Because of Caia.”

    “Ah.” Jae nodded, smirking at the irony. “They need her, and they know that throwing away the key on me would piss her off.”

    Ryder gave a brief nod.

    “Humph.”

    What the Hades did that mean? he wondered in annoyance.

    “I guess I have no choice.”

    “None whatsoever.”

    It was weird seeing Ryder again.

    His entire presence filled the cab of the truck as he drove them out of the city and towards the pack. The fact that he was singing Sweet Home Alabama didn’t help the matter.

    Jaeden groaned and burrowed deeper into the passenger seat. She couldn’t believe it. How had she gone from being a Rogue Hunter one minute to being... what... Ryder’s babysitting job?

    “Sweet Home Alabama! Yeah! Where the skiiiieees are sooo blue! Sweet Home...”

    Oh goddess help me, she whimpered. He was so out of tune.

    “Alabama! Woo! Swe-”

    “RYDER!” she exploded. It had to be made perfectly clear that his singing was not acceptable. “If I’m to survive a road trip back to the pack... I’m going to need you not to do that.”

    “Lynyrd Skynyrd?”

    “Nope.”

    “Sweet Home Alabama?”

    “Nope.”

    He looked at her in confusion, his warm hazel eyes round, his usually sexy grin missing and replaced by a near-childish pout. “Then what?”

    “Singing. Ryder. The singing.”

    “Excuse me?”

    Jaeden nearly choked on a scoff, “Please tell me you are not delusional enough to think that you can actually sing?”

    He looked genuinely affronted. “I will have you know that my voice has been praised by many lovely ladies.”

    “Wow, you really must be good in bed, cos’ they been a-feeding you a crock of crap.”

    “What?!” Ryder huffed, glancing from her back to the road. “Well... what?!... you know, I have been drop-kicked by a lykan on steroids, had an actual samurai sword sliced through my left shoulder, and been shot in the chest with buckshot... but that shit there really hurt.”

    A silence descended upon the cab.

    And then Jaeden erupted. She was laughing so hard she could barely breathe, and the longer she laughed the wider Ryder’s grin grew. When at last her giggles dissipated, she felt exhausted and mildly uncomfortable for having really laughed for the first time since Ethan.

    “That was nice to hear,” Ryder said quietly. “Even though I was being completely serious.”

    The smile he threw her was soft and coaxing, and for the first time since she had seen him tonight, she remembered why he had been her big school-girl crush. The wolf was gorgeous, no question. She looked away, trying to make out the passing landscape in the dark. Reuben was going to be seriously pissed off when he returned and found her gone. As it was the goodbye had been harder than she had ever wanted it to be. All this time she had thought she had truly cut herself off from people, but no. The sight of Styx crying had still done her in, leaving her with painful regret at having not been able to put a comforting arm around the girl and tell her she was sorry, and that it would all be OK. She had left Lily to do that, who had glared at her the entire time she packed, stonily refusing to speak to her. Josh and Adam had said their goodbyes, their eyes nervously returning to Ryder as they had done so. She wondered what the lykan had done to them before she got there.

    So she had left them. Styx was sad. Lily was pissed. What did they expect her to do? Fight the Coven? Were they crazy?

    No. She was going home. Where she belonged.

    What?!

    A languorous, melting sensation spread through her body, and a tension she had gotten so used to being there she had forgotten it existed, slipped out of her mind. She felt as if she’d been sleeping for the last few months and now found herself awake, a rush of feelings, so in contradiction to what only minutes before she had been so sure of, washed over her.

    She wanted to go to the pack. She wanted to see her parents.

    Wow. She was so sure she hadn’t wanted that at all.

    Here’s hoping the telekinesis doesn’t kick in then huh, she thought wryly, utterly confused by her sudden desire to return to the pack.

    “Hey, Jaeden?”

    “What?” she asked without looking at him, trying to hide her sudden disorientation.

    “Earlier when you said about Caia being angry at the Coven if they locked you up, what did that sarcastic noise you made mean?”

    Jae rolled her eyes. “What do you think it means? It means why the Hades would Caia care if they locked me up? We knew each other for all of five seconds.”

    The growl that rumbled from Ryder’s chest alerted her. Oops, perhaps she had a made a mistake.

    “You ungrateful pup.”

    Yup. Definite mistake.

    “Caia risked her ass to save you from Ethan, and don’t give me any crap about it being her fault you were there in the first place, because it wasn’t. It was mine and it was Lucien’s, and it was your father’s. It was the pack’s fault we didn’t protect you. But Caia.” Ryder shook his head in anger. “That girl did everything she could. She risked everything to find you! And don’t you forget it.”

    She wanted to scream at him; wanted to rail and rage that he had no idea what she had been through, so how dare he?! But in the end she knew he was right. No matter how much she wanted to blame Caia for Ethan taking her, deep down she knew if there was one person in this world she might count on, she was guessing it was Caia Ribeiro. Ryder obviously thought so too, and obviously had a lot of respect and admiration for her. A sneaking feeling swept over. His defense of Caia was quite vehement. Did he... did Ryder have a thing for Caia? For some reason the thought irritated her more than his condescending lecture.

    “Point well received,” she sniped. “And just so you know I thanked Caia for saving me. I thanked Sebastian too before you bring that up.”

    Another tense silence fell between them, until finally Ryder heaved a sigh. “Look. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to-”

    “Why don’t we just sit in silence for a while, hmm?”

    He nodded and relaxed in his seat.

    And just as Jaeden felt herself drifting to sleep, Ryder chuckled. “I heard this really funny joke on the radio the other night. You want to hear it?”

    She shrugged.

    “I’ll assume that’s angry teenage girl gesture for yes.” He smirked. “OK. So one day, there’s this koala bear up in his tree smoking a joint, and this little lizard walking past looks up and notices. “Hey,” the little lizard calls, “What’s up?”

    “Nothing.” Shrugs the koala. “Just smoking a joint, getting stoned. Wanna join?”

    “Sure,” says the little lizard, and he slithers up the tree and starts getting stoned with the koala.

    A little while later, the little lizard says his mouth is dry and he needs a drink, but on the way down the tree, he leans over too far and falls into the river. A big crocodile sees it happen and swims over. “What’s up?” he asks the little lizard. “You OK?”

    “Sure.” The little lizard nods. “I’m just too stoned from smoking some joints with the koala bear.”

    “Joints?” The big crocodile’s eyes lit up. “I gotta check that out, man.” So the big crocodile swims out of the river and takes a wander into the trees until he reaches the one the koala bear’s in. “Hey!” he shouts up.

    The koala looks back down at him and shouts, “Fuuuck duuude! How much water did you drink?!” Ryder slapped the wheel of the truck, laughing as he finished the joke. “Ah man, that’s funny.” He shook his head, wiping at a tear in the corner of his eyes. “It kills me.”

    Jaeden hadn’t said anything. She had managed to hide her answering grin to the joke by looking out of the passenger window.

    “What?” Ryder huffed. “Come on that was funny! That was comic gold right there.”

    She shrugged, enjoying teasing him. “It was OK. Kind of elementary.”

    “Elementary? It’s an effing joke.”

    “Whatever.”

    His groan could probably be heard for five miles. “Aw this is going to be a looong drive home.”

    Jaeden hid her grin with her hand. Teasing and arguing with Ryder was the most normal she had felt in a long time. She sneaked a glance at him again, and a rush of old feelings hit her like a battering ram. She remembered how just the thought of him had sent butterflies into chaos in the pit of her stomach, back when she had been naively carefree; how just daydreaming about him had gotten her through her boring history class; how she had promised herself that when she turned eighteen, she would finally let Ryder know that his mate had been under his nose the whole time.

    A golden peace whispered through her briefly with the memories.

    Goddess, she had made a mistake leaving the pack. Instead of running from them she should have let them fix her. And maybe she would have felt infrequent bursts of that golden peace she felt momentarily with Ryder, until one day she didn’t feel so broken.

    A hollow regret formed in her chest. Running from the pack was probably the biggest mistake of her life. She had been so afraid of her family not understanding who she was. But that wasn’t an excuse was it? Why had she done it?

    She held in the gasp of pain her confusion and regret created, and kept her face turned from Ryder. A single tear escaped, trickling slowly down her smooth cheek, feeling like a heavy stone scoring her skin.

    It was the first tear she had shed since she had left the pack.

    This time she did gasp. She was cracking, the steel armor she had put up around herself rusting off, and all because she was with one of her pack? Coins on Ryder’s dash began to shudder and Jaeden flinched, willing her telekinesis into control.

    “Are you alright?” she heard Ryder ask, and there was a deep concern there.

    “Yeah,” she managed in a shuddering breath, and she turned to him wide-eyed. “Yeah, I think I’m going to be.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire