Assassin’s Kiss Excerpt © Sharon Kay 2015
They reached the forest floor, and Scorpio crouched to allow Tessa’s feet to reach the ground. “Made it,” he said.
Solid ground met her feet and logically she knew she could let go. But it was all too much. Shudders raced along her arms as she loosened her lock on his neck and her legs went ragdoll-limp. “Catch me?” She slid backward.
He spun blessedly fast and scooped her into a cradle hold against his torso. “I got you,” he whispered.
She sighed and curled into him, still too shaky to process anything. He walked away from the trunk and she wondered idly if he planned to carry her all the way home, but he stopped at a different tree and lowered them both to the soft grass. Tension leached out of her muscles as he wrapped an arm around her shoulders, shielding her and soothing her with a tenderness she could never have anticipated.
“I got you,” he repeated, stroking her hair. “It’s over. I don’t detect any more wolves.”
She raised her head to look around, but all she saw were trees. She realized he had positioned them to not see any wolf bodies. “Thank goodness.” Laying her head on his chest, she listened to the strong steady thump of his heart and breathed in the clean scent of him, now tinged with the smoke of his demonfire. Thank the gods he’d been here today. What if it had just been her and Zeebi?
They’d both be dead. She shuddered.
His hand was warm on her arm, and his other was draped across her legs, holding the back of one knee. She studied them, noting several tiny scars, evidence of a life lived harshly, and also seeing the strength that could snap a neck. The push-pull tugged at her heart.
Those hands had ended hundreds of lives.
Those hands had just saved hers. Again.
How was this possible? He held her as though she were a priceless jewel.
Tessa tilted her head to look up at him. She had never noticed how long his eyelashes were. Stubble dusted his square jaw, and she wondered again at the mix of color in his hair.
He met her gaze, those incredible golden eyes simmering with a hotly sensual light. She knew about Lash demons, that their eyes gleamed when in battle, or when experiencing strong emotions. Including lust.
Something pulsed in the air between them, and slowly she reached a finger up to trace the line of his jaw. Rough, warm, stubble-dotted skin met the pad of her finger. He sucked in a breath and released it just as slowly, his lungs shuddering beneath her torso. “I…” she whispered. “I don’t know what to think around you.”
He caught her fingers and held them in his. “Yes, you do.” His tone was soft and coaxing. “You said it before. You know I will never hurt you. And I will never leave you alone and unprotected.” He brought her hand to his lips and kissed her knuckles, one by one.
Her heart stopped again at the softness of his kisses. If she had been confused before, she was officially over the cliff now. No idea which way was up. Heat from his mouth warmed her, shooting up her arm like fire. Nothing about this man said soulless murderer.
She tugged her hand away, unable to take any more of the sensation, the devastating preciousness he lavished on her. Her mind was already starting to imagine those warm lips on hers, and that brought her up short. She couldn’t go there. The thought terrified her as much as it seemed like the absolute best idea in the world right now. But she curled her hand into his T-shirt anyway, wanting to stay pressed close to him.
Why? His kisses pushed her off kilter, but she had no desire to leave the safety of his hold. Physical contact with him registered with the same importance as breathing. Her limbs wouldn’t obey even if she’d wanted to. Something had shifted deep inside, something she couldn’t hope to explain. It should scare her. It should…but instead her mind was filled with wonder, curiosity, and temptation.