About the Book
The Mark of the Tala
Author: Jeffe Kennedy
Released: May 27, 2014
Author contact links: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads
Purchase links: Amazon, Barnes ‘n Noble
He stood by my bed. His black hair spilled loose over his shoulders, his midnight gaze on me, his face grave.
“Beautiful Andromeda—don’t be afraid. I’m here.”
He sat beside me and stroked a finger down my cheek. It felt real and warm and I wanted to lean my cheek into his palm, for comfort.
“You’re not real,” I whispered, willing myself to wake up.
“I am real. The other things are not. They’re just…fragments tossed up by your mind because of the changes in you. I would spare you this pain, but I cannot. Let me soothe you.”
He ran a hand over my hair and his scent wrapped around me, warm, enticing.
“I apologize, Princess, for this morning. I bungled things. I thought once our blood mingled, you would understand. Come to me and I’ll make it all up to you. You need to. It’s your destiny. Neither of us can change that.”
“I cannot. I never will.” I clung to the covers, as if I could keep from being dragged away. “This is my home, my people.”
His fingers twined in my hair, possessive, impatient. Tugging me close. For a moment I thought he’d kiss me, and my heart pounded in fear and elation. “Your true people await you. Your home is Annfwn and it needs you. Won’t you see? You only wound us all by resisting.”
He turned, showing me the dagger that stood out from his muscled shoulder, blood soaking his sleeve dark.
“You injured me, Andromeda. Won’t you take it back?”
He took my hand, unfolded my fist, stroking my open palm, and wrapped my fingers around the hilt of the knife. It filled my hand, hard and hot with his blood. I cringed. It had seemed so right at the time.
“I was defending myself.”
“I know. It was my fault for frightening you. But now I need you to pull it out.”
“Have someone else do it.”
“Don’t you understand yet, my Andromeda? It has to be you. No one else can. I need you. Annfwn needs you.
“Please.” He whispered the words, insidious. “Please, Andromeda, do this for me.”
I tried. I tugged, but the dagger wouldn’t come free. It was stuck, deep in the bone. Rayfe threw his head back, howling out a scream of agony, and I snatched my hand away.
He was gone. I sat alone in bed, the fire cold, dawn barely lighting the sky from black to dark blue. The dim light, though, was enough to see the blood covering my hand. Feeling sick and sorry, I dashed to the washbasin, stumbling a little in my haste, and scrubbed my hands in the chilly water until they gleamed white and stainless.
If only I could do the same for my heart.