Read Gladiator Online

Authors: Kate Lynd

Tags: #Post Apocalyptic Erotic Romance

Gladiator (13 page)

“No, no, no.” Tristan knelt to the ground beside Kevin, turned him over and removed his helmet. His face was a bloody mess.

“Mom?” Kevin was hallucinating.

“Stay with me Kevin, don’t go. We can work through this. Just don’t go.”

“Dad…I’m…I’m…I’m sorry…” Kevin’s eyes closed. He was dead.

Tristan threw his head back, and all of the grief and rage bottled within him erupted like a volcano, from his gut to his chest to throat. He pulled the military garb from Kevin’s torso and flung it across the arena.

Tears rolled down his face as he pressed his forehead to Kevin’s. Had he found his son, only to lose him?

Tristan noted that the crowd had gone silent. There was a distant hum in the air, and gradually, it became a chant that reached a crescendo as a gale force wind kicked up. The crowd panicked as Kevin’s body, surrounded by whorls of raw energy, lit up and rose into the air. A long silk scarf floated into the arena and wound itself around his body, seemingly in slow-motion despite the high wind, before gently lowering it to the ground.

The wind died down. Kevin’s eyes fluttered open and he looked up into Tristan’s face, his eyes brimming over with tears. “Dad…?”

“It’s okay, Son, we’ll get through this together.”

“Seize them!” Veronica screamed.

Tristan looked to the viewing box and saw her standing and shaking with unmitigated rage. Veronica had realized that Alex had found a way to help them. How had she done it? Where the hell was she?

The Military Elite flooded the arena and dragged them back to the Gladiator quarters in the dungeons. They manhandled them through the corridors of the restless men and women reaching out to touch them, until they got to the darkest cell and slammed the door on them.

They could barely see one another’s faces. Neither of them spoke. Tristan knew that Alex had given him the opportunity to heal the breach with his elder son.

“Son…”

“I don’t think there’s anything left to say, is there?”

“Kevin, I would have given my own life so that your mother would not have been forced to endure what she did. I tell you, I was as bound and helpless…”

“Dad, I don’t know what happened. I felt myself being lifted into the air, and I heard a voice telling me to come back to you… I saw her face—it was radiant…”

“Her name is Alexandra. She’s the queen’s sister.”

Kevin closed his eyes. “She is nothing like her.”

“No she isn’t,” he agreed. “I will always love your mother, Kevin. Alex is nothing like your mother was. These are different times, different circumstances.”

“Dad…” Kevin sobbed, his voice breaking.

“It’s okay, Kevin. You’ve been through a lot. Too much for a young man your age.”

“I…when I looked her in the face it was as if every bad thing I might have done or even thought about doing to you was forgiven without me even having to ask for it. Like she could read my mind. How could that be?”

He looked at Kevin and said softly, “That is true. You’re my son. It will always be true.”

“And Elizabeth?”

Tristan swallowed hard. “Is she still alive?”

“I managed to place her in hiding, with a family out west, in California, right before the Elite Guard took me prisoner and turned me into a Gladiator. My only goal in life was to become a household name, like you…”

“It’s nothing to write home about. If I was really that great I would’ve been able to protect all of my children.”

“I realise now it was unfair of me to blame you for Mom’s death.”

“It’s not your fault. You were not there to see what happened.”

“No. But Lizzie did. We never talked about it, though. I could hear the ruckus as they chained us up and dragged us away.”

“I’m so sorry.”

“Don’t be, Dad. I’ve done things in my lifetime that I thought I’d never do. And now I’ve met you.”

“You said you hid Elizabeth. How’d you manage to do that?”

“For a long time they kept us together on the harvesting teams. The one time they let their guard down I grabbed Lizzie and we made a run for it. I begged a couple to take her in and promised Lizzie that one day I’d come back for her. I ran in the opposite direction, and when the Elite found me I told them I didn’t know where she was. They tortured me, but I didn’t cave in.”

“How old were you when this happened?”

“Sixteen. I did the best I could.”

“That you did, Son. You were just a kid. We found each other again, and that’s all that matters now.”

“To think I could have killed you.”

“Veronica has a knack for driving men to do crazy things.”

“I take back all I said about Alex. I got the impression she would do anything for you.”

Veronica stood before them, a cruel smile playing on her thin lips. “I see you have been enjoying your reunion. It seems my sister has a deep connection with you, Tristan. So much so she can reach out from the depths of her pain in the Inquisition Room and help your son.” Tristan’s mouth went dry and his heart began to pound crazily. “My selfless, altruistic sister will stop at nothing to fulfill her destiny. Funny—even though I sent more electricity through her than I did to you, she refuses to let go of this life. So I’m going to give you a choice Tristan, and I hope this is as hard for you as I think it’s going to be…because you’ve definitely made my life hard enough over the last year.”

“Just spit it out Veronica,” he said vehemently.

She giggled maniacally. “Soldier son or Healer wife. The choice is yours. And if I were you I’d think carefully of all these years without your son after failing him and the rest of your family. And just for a hapless piece of ass.”

“Let him see her,” Kevin said, stepping forward.

“Oh, isn’t that cute? Father and son have bonded. Ah, what the hell, show them the little bitch.”

A guard stepped forward with Alex slung like a sack over his back. She was pale, unconscious, and limp. Her arms dangled down the guard’s back.

“The Healer wife. No question about it,” Kevin said.

“Oh look…the Soldier Son wants to sacrifice himself for his father’s happiness. Be careful, you might be called to do something far worse than kill your father in the ring. I may ask you put out the fire that burns in your father’s heart for my sister.”

“You sick bitch,” Kevin said, lunging at Veronica. Tristan placed his palm against his son’s chest.

“You don’t have to do anything.”

“I saw something when she came to me and saved me, Dad. No matter what happens, I know something now that I would have never known without her. And I will never turn on her, and I will not turn on you again.”

“How touching. Take the soldier, leave my sister. For what good it will do you.”

The cell door opened and Kevin was taken away. But as Alex was tossed roughly into the cell, Tristan heard Kevin yelling. “I am your son. I will always honor you and your choices. She is as much a part of our family as Mom ever was.”

Alex groaned. Tristan touched his lips to hers and prayed she had not given the last parts of her soul just so that he would know his son once more.

 

Chapter Thirteen

 

Alex was alive. Barely hanging on. Her breaths were few, raspy, and labored. For the first time since they’d come together he was overcome with an impending sense of doom and powerlessness. Which, of course, was what Veronica desired.

Alex now seemed to be beyond his healing touch, and he wasn’t sure he had anything left to give her, anyway. He could hear his son being tortured in the Inquisition Room, and he was pummeled by memories of the day his first family had been torn apart. Tristan held Alex close and winced with every cry of agony he heard.

“Don’t leave me Alexandra…it’s too soon…it’s too soon…”

* * * *

The Military Elite held Hope down as the captain yanked her clothes off. She screamed for him, even as she fought in vain to stop her attacker.

“Tristan!” Hope cried out in desperation.

He pushed against the men holding him back, straining with all that was within him to get to her. “Hope! Let her go!” he roared in pain as the captain loosened his belt and dropped his pants to his ankles.

His mind snapped and he lunged forward, breaking part of the hold and unsheathing his sword. He swung it wildly as the captain got to his knees over Tristan’s wife.

“Pin him to the ground!” The captain barked. “As for this one…hand me a dagger.”

Hope screamed as the captain raped her. The guards wrestled Tristan to the ground. “Hope!”

He screamed her name until he was hoarse.

“If you submit to me, whore, I can make your life so much easier,” the captain said to a struggling Hope.

“Never!” she said, spitting into his face.

“Have it your way.” The captain pulled out of her and pulled up his pants. He covered her nose and mouth and placed the blade of the dagger to her jugular.

Hope looked at Tristan and closed her eyes. He fought with futility to get to her. But the guards overpowered him.

The captain grinned evilly and said, “Last chance, woman... Are you sure you want to stand by your husband?”

Hope looked at Tristan with tears in her eyes. The love was there, but the light which for so long had shone there had been snuffed out. She spit at the captain’s face again, and the monster laughed.

“Very well, have it your way. Make him watch.”

His wife’s eyes went wide with pain and terror as the dagger sliced through her neck.

“Pity, really. She would have made a nice concubine.”

Tristan leapt to his feet and charged the captain, knocking him down. He grabbed the blood-stained dagger and drove it into him repeatedly, before the guards recovered enough from the shock of what was happening, to save their leader.

* * * *

Tristan came to with a start to find his cell flooded with an eerie light. He half-expected to see Alex hovering in the air; instead she still lay limp in his arms. So he focused on the center of the light.

Hope was wearing a glowing white gown, her large wings fluttering behind her, her hands folded in front of her, and her head lowered. Was he fantasizing? Were Veronica’s games driving him mad? Hope reached down and touched Alexandra, and her chest heaved in a deep, full breath.

Hope took Tristan’s hand and placed it on Alexandra’s chest, and she breathed in another deep, full breath. Her chest lit up and he could see her heart begin to beat more strongly. “You can still save her…” Hope said, her voice a deep, soft, whisper.

Tristan wanted to reach out and touch Hope, to feel her again. To still be able to save her. To beg her forgiveness for failing her.

“You never failed me. Fate had a limited time for us.”

“I love you…”

“And I you. But she…she is the one I could never be. I know you love me. But it’s okay to love her, too. I’ve moved on. It’s time for you to move on, too. She needs you now, more than ever.”

“Forgive me…”

Hope touched his cheek and said, “I’ve never held you responsible.”

Alexandra’s body became white hot to the touch, and suddenly it was just the two of them in the cell. He was overcome by a sense of erotic possession of her. Her eyes had not opened but he could see the bruises beginning to heal. He lifted her head slightly and brought her mouth to his. He kissed her savagely. When she didn’t respond, his heart clenched in his chest.

He undid the buttons on her shirt and held her breast in his hand, stroking it, massaging it, pinching at the nipple. Her breathing quickened and he took it in his mouth, suckling at it as if it would assuage his hunger forever. And when he touched her other breast, she gasped and wound her fingers through his hair.

They undressed completely and he lay on his back. She straddled him, taking his rock hard cock into her soft and wet pussy. She stretched her arms wide toward the sky in a gesture of freedom, and she heaved her hips and rocked against him.

He reached up and fondled her breasts and her eyes seared his soul. “Heal me.” She moaned. “Make me feel again. Make me come for you.”

He ran his rough hands up and down her back, rubbing her ass and capturing her mouth in a searing kiss. She moaned without inhibition, and rocked into him as he slid in and out of her. The friction was maddeningly hot and tight.

“Make me feel you.” She groaned, heightening his own sense or eroticism. “Bring me back to you again.”

He was dizzy and drunk on her scent and words, the sexual electricity dancing on his skin. He took her breast in his mouth again and feasted at it. And she began to rock faster, undulate more wildly, and pant harder.

He splayed his fingers against the skin of her back and clasped her close. She groaned his name and she gasped and writhed against his touch. He freed her breast and caught her lower lip with his teeth and stretched it out.

When he let it go he said, “Look at me. You were sent to me. You healed me. Now I’m going to heal you.”

He flipped her to her back and began to drive into her relentlessly. “You are mine to protect. You are mine to heal. You are mine to share passion with. You are no one else’s.”“I am no one else’s. I need no one else. Make me feel again, Tristan. Make me feel you.” Again her words ensconced him like erotic whispers, and he could feel himself about to lose control.

He thrust into her three times and she bucked wildly against him, thrashing and moaning and crying out his name until he released his cum inside her. He lay down beside her, gently, and kissed her slowly, deeply, and erotically.

“Do you feel me now?”

“You are my destiny Tristan. Come what may I will always be yours. I will always feel you now.”

“You needed me. So I did what I had to do.”

“You nearly died for me. You brought Hope to me.”

“You inspire me to do great things. Hope came because you needed her to. I hope Lucilla and Isaiah share a love as strong and deep as ours.”

He rolled to the side and brought her head to rest on his shoulder, and she reached her arm across his chest. He ran his fingertips back and forth over her arm.