Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Craft of the Wise: Book of Shadows

“Princess?”

A pair of boots stepped into her vision and cut off her path of escape. Long legs encased in faded black denim bent into a crouch next to her. Through blurry eyes, she traced over the tucked in shirt that opened at the chest, revealing a hard set of pectorals. An outstretched hand reached for her and she whimpered again.

“Princess.”

The word registered this time. He knew who she was. Well, not necessarily who she was, but certainly what she was. A good sign. There was something familiar about him, too. Maybe she’d seen him before. She couldn’t quite place her finger on it.

That voice. Deep and rich. Almost as if he’d practiced reaching into the depths of his belly to bring forth the sound. Grave and raspy. A little guttural.

Sensual.

She would have laughed if she dared test her burning throat. If her mind could go to along those lines, she must be feeling safer. Stupid gut instinct. Couldn’t help out when she was afraid for her life, but certainly reared its head to recognize when she was horny.

Ava looked past the hand she ignored and into the face of the man before her. She inhaled sharply as she gazed into his eyes. Pools of midnight stared back at her.

Horniness be damned, she scrambled further away from him, in the opposite direction of the door. To his credit, his only reaction was to maneuver himself so that he faced her once again. It didn’t matter. Nothing good could come of a man whose eyes were as unnatural as his. On top of that, a tattoo crawled up his neck to decorate one jaw. The intricate lines didn’t hide the scars that reached into the collar of his shirt where a green stone hung on a gold chain, however. Long black hair curled at the back of his neck. Almost everything about him screamed menace, but something in his expression eased her panic.

Despite the very rough exterior that proclaimed his take-no-shit demeanor, his softening voice combined with a hesitant display of brilliantly white teeth, calmed her. On closer inspection, the searing coldness of his eyes thawed into a soothing warmth. For a brief moment, she wondered what it would feel like to curl against him.

Then he changed position. Her gaze skimmed past the arm he’d hidden behind his back. From where she sat, she could see blood trickle to the ground in bright, round drops.

Despite herself, she dragged her stare back to his face. He’d killed the demon barehanded? That was unheard of. Impossible.

“Who --—” She rubbed her neck. That freakin’ hurt. Ava cleared her throat softly. Her voice dropped to a whisper. “Who are you?”

“My name is Aaron Remington, Princess.” His eyes also seemed to soften when he spoke to her. Maybe unnatural wasn’t the right word to describe them. They were…intense.

With his unsoiled hand, he reached towards her. She stiffened when calloused fingers grazed her throat. They tightened against her skin for a moment causing her breath to quicken. He opened his mouth to say something else, but the word cut off before he spoke. His eyes narrowed as he focused on something behind her. The rough fingers dropped away.

She turned her head before she could catch herself. It could have been a trap to distract her for all she knew. When the door creaked open, her suspicions fled.