Tuff Girl Legion Presents OF SILVER AND BEASTS
The cool sensation of the fresh water on my skin helps me forget my nerves and I lie back, floating just below the top of the water. My body dulls, the cold soothing my sore muscles, and I welcome the numbness. The ceiling of the cave is sprinkled with tiny clusters of white lights, dotting the canopy above our heads like stars in the sky. I feel as if I’m sitting on the rooftop of my apartment, staring at the night sky, not here in the Otherworld, awaiting my death.
The water rolls, rocking my body, and I glance over as Caben floats up beside me. He’s on his back also, and points to the lights dusting the cave ceiling.
“Diamonds,” he says.
“Really?” I don’t know much about any minerals other than mercury. And somehow, diamonds as our stars makes my chest heavy. It’s too beautiful. “How can you tell?”
“The ultraviolet light shows the impurities,” he says. “The imperfections actually absorb the dark light, causing the diamond to emit a visible glow.” He chuckles. “A very expensive lighting effect.”
I laugh. “Quite expensive.” They twinkle as they reflect the rippling water. “But almost more heavenly than the stars.” I lower my voice at the end, hoping he didn’t hear my spoken thoughts.
Caben doesn’t speak, and the trickling of the stream and lap of the pool becomes the only sound as we float in compatible silence. I could drift off, fall asleep in this peaceful place, but I know we still have a mission to complete before the Reckoning.
This thought awakens me, and I touch my feet to the bottom of the pool and begin to wade toward the edge.
I hear Caben’s heavy groan. “No you don’t,” he says, and captures the bottom of my tunic. He tugs me through the water, back to the pool’s center. “Not yet. This could be our last reprieve, and I plan for us to enjoy it.”
As I turn to face him, his fingers slip from my shirt to my waist, grazing my stomach. My skin prickles, and I shiver, matching the trembling water around us. His deep blue eyes meet mine, and he swallows, his Adam’s apple working. Slowly, he begins to inch up my tunic—
“Wait.” I place my hand on top of his.
He cranes an eyebrow. “It should really have time to dry before we go back.”
Logically, that makes sense. But the heated look he’s giving me says so much more. And regardless of the attraction I may feel for the prince—a woman would have to be blind—and whether or not we actually escape this hell ... what then? We share an intimate moment once, and go back to our stations in life, simply pretending nothing happened?
Or maybe I’m reading too much into his gaze. He’s a man, and physical desire is self-serving. He may die ... and he probably wants to bed a woman one last time. Everything about his character screams he’s not one who thinks past the moment.
I could lose myself for now, give in to the pulse quickening my blood with need, but I’ve never shown a man the clamp over my heart. It would have to be something I did for a different reason if I ever chose to do so. Not merely because I may die soon.
As I push his hand away and start to swim off, he grasps my waist, encircling his firm arms around my stomach, and pulls my back to his chest.
“Don’t run from me,” he breathes into my ear. “I’m not asking for anything. Not even whatever it is you’re hiding. Just stay here.”
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Bio: Trisha Wolfe is the author of the YA Steampunk DESTINY'S FIRE (Omnific Publishing), the NA Historical/Supernatural ASTARTE'S WRATH, and the upcoming YA Utopian FIREBLOOD from Spencer Hill Press, October 2013. Her NA Dark Fantasy OF SILVER AND BEASTS available May 2013.
She’s the creator of YA Bound, a promotional site for the Young Adult genre. Also a member of SCWW and The Apocalypsies. Check out www.TrishaWolfe.com for more on her books and bonus material. Follow Trisha on Twitter @TrishWolfe and like her Facebook page for updates.