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Let Go

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Chapter Five : Let Go

A breath left my throat in a rush of disbelief at the husky warmth in his voice. The mist of rain that was growing heavier was plastering his raven black hair to his forehead and I felt the warmth of his skin against my fingers. The front door had been shut andwe were left out here alone. I watched the rain travel in rivulets down sharp cheekbones and over the slope of his strong nose as I struggled to find the words to respond to him.

My stomach knotted as I met his eye and saw how unashamedly he stared at me. "I suppose we do."

A hand closed around my upper arm, drawing me closer. Close enough that I could feel the warmth ebbing from him through the darkened leathers he wore. I didn't know what to say – I expected anger for lying to him, but he was holding me so softly, and looking at me with such unapologetic disbelief that any words that I had thought of to say in this moment were gone. They had vanished in the face of his true emotion.

"You have every reason to be mad," I said resolutely, stubbornly.

It hurt that I thought he was beautiful. He had a face I wanted to capture on canvas, with toosharp lines that would look strange compared to other men. I could imagine myself just sitting there, watching the minuet expressions crossing his face forever and trying to catch even one with the pencil. And it scared me that I thought of him like that.

That I wanted him to think of me like that too.

I wired that thought shut. If he spoke to me without shouting at me, I would be happy.

Long fingers flexed on my upper arm, the brand of his fingers searing now. "You're alive."

My brows creased, and we continued to stand there. If I turned, I could guess that Dem was pressing his face to the glass in obvious curiosity and Peter would be quick to yank him away with that lovable scowl of his. "I am."

A breath left him at my cautious tone, followed by a slight shake of his head. Both of his hands moved now, and I jerked at the soft touch against my cheeks. Every part of me rebelled at the gentle touch, instinct screaming that those fingers were going to tighten so much that I would cry out, thinking my cheekbones were going to break under the Innoch's strength.

But that hold never strengthened; that raw power was tightly leashed. He cupped my face in his hands, the pads of his fingers brushing lightly against my skin stained with the soft mist of rain. He closed his eyes for a moment, and when they opened, that look was achingly soft.

"You're alive."

That softness was unexpected. I had steeled myself for shouting, for raging anger, but not this. Not the aching relief ebbing through his voice, the sound washing over me, or the gentle touch of a man who had no reason to touch me so softly. Tears burned in my eyes, and a sob choked in my throat. For the first time since we left Naughton mountain in search of our dragons, broken and bruised, I felt that shell around me cracking.

I had steadily ignored everything inside of me that wanted to break down and cry, instead focusing my scarily obsessive nature on something other than cleaning in determination and anger, doing anything to find Nethore. It had left a residue inside of me, a heaviness that grew harder and harder to carry. I thought of that burden little, but under Zephyr's soft touch, I felt exposed and vulnerable.

"You have every reason to be mad," I said again.

Of course he did. How must it have felt to escape the mountain, only to realise too late that five Riders you considered friends were still trapped on the mountain? Had stayed willingly?

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