The Silver Siren (Page 21)

“Well, I had worn out my welcome in your village, and I was tired of being constantly tossed into sheds and deep holes.”

“None of them seemed like much of a challenge for you. Why balk at a few tests?”

“Tests! Tests. Torture.”

“So you went through a bit of the Initiation, although it was altered because you were an outsider. But you passed all of them and earned quite a bit of respect. When I left, the Sanctuary was in upheaval with all the diverse opinions. Let’s just say, Thalia, I don’t think the clan will ever be the same.”

“I, uh, didn’t mean to upset everyone.”

“Didn’t you though?” he spoke softly. “You seem to have a habit of coming in like a storm and leaving a path of destruction and confusion in your wake.”

I pulled at the blanket to cover me but it was now stuck under Kael’s heavy body. “I don’t.” I yanked on the blanket again.

Kael conceded a foot by turning over and releasing more of it. He handed me the pillow and put his hands above his head.

“You do, but I take it back. It’s not really everyone that you affect that way. It’s just me.” He turned his head and I was caught up in both his deep stormy eyes and his confession. I could see the pain, the hurt. It was like a two-edged knife, and we kept using it to hurt each other in our anger.

“I’m sorry, Kael.” The pain and the guilt I had thought buried rose to the surface all over again. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know it was you that night. I lost control and you paid the price. Please you must believe me.” Small tears fell down my cheeks, and I fought against every one of them.

Kael pulled me into his arms, my head on his chest. He didn’t chastise me for crying, and I couldn’t have stopped myself if I tried.

“Shh,” he said, his heart beating a steady rhythm. “Do you hear it? It beats for you, Thalia. It beats because of you.”

I was afraid to move, afraid to wake up from whatever dream we were in. “I still can’t believe you’re alive,” I whispered.

“You’re my reason for living now. In fact, I don’t think my heart truly started to beat until I met you.”

I lifted my head off of his chest, but his right hand slid to my waist keeping me pressed close to his side. His grip was firm. He wasn’t going to let me go.

“You have to be careful. I can’t control my power lately, and I might kill you again.”

“You won’t.” His voice turned husky as he leaned forward.

I held my breath, waiting to see what he would do.

Gently, he pushed me back against the bed and sat up. My mouth went dry and my heart raced. Kael crawled over me and, being very careful to not touch me anywhere else, placed his head on my chest, over my heart—

Which was at this moment racing frantically. I was afraid to move.

Kael spoke softly as he listened to the rhythm. “As long as your heart beats, so does mine. I kind of like that. It’s the ultimate bond between us.”

“You didn’t use too. You hated it. Hated the loss of your freedom. I remember how angry you were—“

Kael chuckled and silenced my argument with a deep kiss that left me breathless and excited. His lips were soft and warm, but his kiss was intense. Demanding. Possessive. Heat coursed through my body. My heart raced faster than a hummingbird. I was falling off a cliff and, like all the other times before, I knew Kael would save me. And with that kiss he did. It felt more than good, it felt right. And I knew that I couldn’t kill him with a kiss.

He pulled away, breaking the kiss, and I groaned in disappointment. Kael breathed out softly, “What can I say? You’ve started to grow on me.” His eyes said he meant those words.

“What? Like a wart?” I whispered, and tried to hold back the laughter that swelled in me. I was elated that he kissed me, not in challenge to anger or to get back at Joss. Kael kissed me because he truly desired me. That thought both exhilarated me and made me nervous. Was I betraying Joss? Was I leading on two men? My mood shifted from top-of-the-mountain-exuberant bliss to bottom-of-a-rotten-barrel-of-fish depressed.

“Thalia, you talk too much.” His eyes danced with light, and I could see the heat building behind them as he leaned forward and kissed me again. But my own morals had me balking.

“Kael, you shouldn’t kiss me. Joss is…mmmfff” Kael interrupted me and kissed me again, and I lost all thought of what I was going to say.

“Don’t…talk…so…much.” His lips pressed against my chin, my neck, my shoulder. It felt good—too good—and I didn’t want him to stop.

“I think—” I started.

“You think too much as well,” he challenged, looking at me sternly.

“You shouldn’t kiss me.” I tried to pull away. At first he wasn’t going to let me go, but then he did. I escaped from the intense heat of his body by scooting over closer to the wall.

His eyes turned dark with frustration. “I’m tired of waiting, Thalia. I’m not a patient person. You have to know.”

“What do you mean, Kael? You know I like Joss.” I tried to move away again, but his hands on either side of me pinned me in. Kael’s determination scared me.

“You know what we share is infinitely more powerful than…that. And you feel this between us too,” he growled. “You melt when I kiss you. You watch me when you think I’m unaware. You can’t sleep unless I’m near you. Tell me none of that is true.”

I swallowed nervously and licked my lips. “No. That’s all true.”

“I promised your father I would give you time, but I’m tired of waiting. Tired of watching Joss try and win your heart from me.”

“Kael, I don’t understand. How is Joss keeping you from me, when you and I don’t think of one another that way?”

“Don’t think of—Thalia! You and I are life mates.”

Chapter 13

I shoved away from Kael, banging my head. “Ouch! How can that be? You aren’t making sense, Kael.” I brought my hand up to my head to make sure a knot wasn’t forming.

I couldn’t breathe. My chest tightened with anxiety and something else I couldn’t identify. Fear? Excitement? Hope? In one sentence, my future had been decided for me. The choice was never mine. It was foolish of me to think otherwise, since I was willing to marry the winner of the Kragh Aru. Now the prospect of being with the strong, deadly, passionate SwordBrother for the rest of my life filled me with both panic and elation.

Kael sat up on the edge of the bed, turning his back to me. “It was the only reason your father allowed you to go to Skyfell in the first place, Thalia, because I promised my life for yours. That is not something a SwordBrother does lightly. Yet I would do it again for you.”

All I could do was shake my head at Kael. “How did you get my father to agree to it? You’re not clan.”

Kael shot me a look over his shoulder in disbelief. “I won the Kragh Aru, remember? The final battle was rescheduled to take place the next day between your cousin and me. Instead, our final match was a battle to the death beside a waterfall—a small technicality, but one worth mentioning to your father. And if you remember, it was you who determined the prize for the winner of the Kragh Aru. You were to be his life mate.”