Since I was such a tease last time, I’ll do a longer post today…
“Is it this?” He reached up and touched the patch covering his eye. “More than one person has had a hard time meeting my gaze because of it. Although I would have thought you were more accustomed to those with unsightly scars.”
There was no inflection in his voice, and though the light was dim, she could see his face well enough to know there was no expression on it.
“Your scars don’t bother me at all. They aren’t unsightly—I’ve seen far, far worse. God knows, we all have our share of them.” She jerked a shoulder and said, “Some of us have scars much uglier, although many carry them on the inside.”
“Then why do you never look at me?”
Syn felt the blush once more start its slow climb up her neck, staining her cheeks, her face. “I do look at you. I am looking at you.”
“Because I’ve all but made you,” he replied, his brow arching. “Truthfully, if I wasn’t touching you, if I wasn’t asking you for a straight answer, what would you be doing?”
“Truthfully.” She tore her gaze away from him. Truthfully—she didn’t want to tell him truthfully. But what was she to do? Lie? Somehow, she suspected that unless she gave him an answer, he could wait forever.
She could break his hold and she knew he wouldn’t force it, but she felt foolish doing that.
Swallowing, she looked back up at him and said flatly, “If you weren’t touching me, if you weren’t pushing for an answer, I’d be clear on the other side of camp.” On the other side of camp. Alone. And cold. Again. Always cold. Except when you touch me. How sick was it that the highlight of her days now centered on when there was training and she could put herself in the circle with him? She’d spar him, and only him, every damn day if it wouldn’t have looked so suspicious.
“Why? Again, I ask you, have I offended you?”
“No.” She forced the word past her tight throat.
“Then if it isn’t that, if it isn’t my scars, perhaps it is just me.”
“No.” The word slipped out before she could stop it. Idiot. If she was half as interested in self-preservation as she should be, she should let him think just that. If he thought she had a personal problem with him, maybe he would leave her alone.
But I don’t know if I really want him to leave me alone. And her body already knew it didn’t want to be left alone.
“Then what is it?”
He was closer now, Syn realized. When had he moved closer? She swallowed, aware that her throat was terribly dry, that her heart was racing. Her head was spinning, too. Damn it, he smelled good.
She had to tip her head back to see him now, he stood so close. She could feel that seductive heat of his, shimmering between them. The heavy intensity that made up his being had surrounded her, slammed at her shields. Through them, she felt something she really didn’t need to feel. Not if she wanted to keep her distance.
He was every bit as aware of her as she was of him.
Every damn bit.
Her control shattered and she reached up, hooked her hand around the back of his neck and pulled his head lower. As she slanted her mouth against his, she felt his surprise—it lasted all of two seconds before he wrapped both arms around her body and hauled her close. He straightened and her feet left the ground.
Their mouths opened and she shuddered as she traced her tongue along his lower lip. Male. The heady male taste, his scent, all of it flooded her and she wrapped her other arm around his shoulders, straining to get closer.
It dominated Xan’s every thought and he was just a heartbeat away from forgetting everything—himself, where they were—a heartbeat away from forgetting everything and everybody who wasn’t Syn.
She tasted like honey and heat. Her mouth was soft under his, but there was nothing hesitant in the way she kissed him. Nothing at all nervous. She kissed him like she craved him. She kissed him like she absolutely had to do it, or die.
Off in the distance, he heard voices. Instinctively, he moved, walking blind until they were lost in the shadows between two buildings.
There, he backed her up against a wall and leaned into her.
Syn wrapped her legs around his hips and rocked against him.
Xan was utterly convinced the top of his head was going to come off if she did it again. Sliding a hand down her side, he cupped her hip and growled against her lips, “Do that again.”