About the Book
I stalk from the bushes. A shadow moves on the path. I freeze. I’d know the curve of those shoulders anywhere.
“Bloody hell.” I’ve only murmured under my breath, but I’m heard.
Annelise stops, turns, steps closer.
I tear into her the moment she’s within earshot and hiss into the darkness. “What are you doing here?”
Even in the shadows, I sense her recoil. “Hi to you, too, Ronan.”
I take my urumi into my left hand and grab her arm with my right, tugging her back onto the path. “How’d you get back so fast?” She shuffles close, her side bumping mine. I experience a stupid, pleased sensation and shove it away again. “You should be halfway across the island right about now.”
“Why, thank you, Ronan,” she says in a voice thick with sarcasm. “I think I did a great job, too. It’s all that stuff I learned about the Draug. They feed on fear, and seeing as I’m not scared of them anymore, they’re not hungry when I’m around.” She stops walking when I pause to wrap the urumi back around my waist. “I mean, except for that time I was covered in my own blood. Being covered in your own blood would make” — she stopped short, tuning into what I was doing– “what the hell is that?”
“It’s a weapon,” I say quietly.
“Thanks, Sherlock. I mean what kind?” She tentatively reaches out to touch the blade. Her fingers brush mine.
I clench my jaw. “Careful.”
“Does this… this” –she peers closer — “this most awesome object have anything to do with the fact that we’re whispering?” At that, she tilts her head up and pins me with her eyes. She’s closer to me than I realized.
I step away, beginning a brisk walk down the path. “Why are you here?”
She falls into step with a sigh. “I was looking for you.”
I raise my eyebrows. “Why?” I know I’m being harsher than is necessary, but I’m in uncharted depths.
“I told you before,” she says, frowning. “I have to talk to you.” A hint of vulnerability edges her voice — a needful thing suggesting she requires me and only me.
Or maybe that’s just my wishful thinking.
Either way, I have to stop short. Look down. Focus on getting the cursed urumi back in place without severing a finger.
She pauses beside me. “But it seems you have something to tell me first.”
My head shoots up. “Tell you?” Have I betrayed my feelings so quickly?