Keir lay awake some time later, staring up into the darkness in silent contemplation. Quin’s passion tonight had been almost frenzied, alarming him with its intensity and desperation. As if she sought to bind his soul to hers so they could never be parted. Afterward, as her heart raced in time with his and with the touch of her hands still burning him, he had asked her why. His only answer had been her tears dampening his skin. He had stroked her hair until the tears were spent and she eventually fell asleep, her arm across his waist and both of them draped in her filmy sarong. Even when their minds were merged, when he could see so much inside her, she kept things back. Did she truly believe this was their last night together? Had she foreseen their fate and hidden it from him?
Her dark mood had infected him at last, and he held her tight, memorizing the way she felt in his arms, the scent of her hair, and the sound of her breathing in sleep. He rested his hands on her back, straying again and again to her scars, touching them with a shiver of something that felt like premonition.
Around their small clearing, the sheltering greenery whispered in the faint sea breeze, enclosing them in a blanket of soft sounds and protecting them from the sharp edge of the wind. In the distance, he could hear the saurians celebrating still. L’enko had said it would continue until dawn, when morning would herald the start of the wraith hunters’ lives as true adults, by island tradition. It was possible the royal guard would also arrive with the new day, and Keir wondered if Quin finally believed J’dahzi’s stark warning that the queen could no longer be trusted. Had T’rill betrayed Quin? What would the sunrise bring?
“Keir?” Quin murmured.
He buried his doubts and fears as he held her close, unwilling to lose precious time to his own bleak thoughts. If this was all they would have together, he would not waste it.
A sudden silence fell in the distance as the first ray of morning light set the horizon aglow.
“Dawn,” he whispered.
Quin sat up and stared into the fiery crescent of the rising sun, peering apprehensively between the bamboo stalks that shielded their secluded hollow, as if fearing the touch of light through the ridged stems. Then she turned and kissed him, as fierce as the newly risen sun.
This time, he did not respond. Instead, he seized her shoulders and held her back, keeping her from him. “Quin,” he said sharply. “Stop trying to say goodbye to me. Is it death you have foreseen?”
“I don’t know,” she whispered, and shook her head. “There are things worse than death.”
“Quin!” He sat up then, unable to keep the despair from his voice as he pulled her to him. “I swore last night to be with you until the end of forever. I would follow you even there.”
Trembling, she clung to him, her arms locked around his neck. As he held her, Keir’s mind flooded with panic at the stark possibility of losing her, of a life without her. Whatever danger lay ahead, he was determined to face it with her, no matter if it ended in victory or death.Without warning, a thunderous sound filled the sky and a vast shadow blocked the morning light.
Keir (Book #1):
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