RELEASE DAY: AUGUST 12, 2-14
Jared watched her walk from the library. Anger rolled from her in waves of tangible heat, rivalling the blistering temperature of the day. His gut tightened. Something had happened inside the old building. Something he should have seen, should have felt but didn’t.
He frowned, tracking her progress down the library steps. The smoldering sulphuric-red hue of her anger floated around her like a thundercloud, staining the air a deep vile scarlet. He’d never seen that color about her before. Auras of pensive blue, yes. Overlays of uneasy, guarded grey and insecure muddied brown, but never this turbulent red. Tess was angry. Very angry.
He clenched his fists, studying the color enveloping her. It boiled about her head, writhing and contorting—like a living thing in the throes of extreme pain. His heart clenched, feeling Tess’s torment. As always, he fought with the overwhelming urge to go to her. To embrace her, hold her to his body and kiss away her pain. She’d been through so much, possibly faced so much more, alone. And yet, she never faltered in her determination to deny it all. He admired her strength. It was almost stubborn, a trait he understood very well. A trait he’d been accused of more than once himself. Tess wouldn’t bow to her grief. But she wouldn’t acknowledge it either, and that was dangerous.
Jared’s heart clenched again. The One Almighty knew that, yet still he was forbidden to help her. Sent to protect and observe and that was all.
Denied longing flooded Jared’s being. He focussed hard on Tess as she made her way west, drawn to her innate sensuality and fragile resolve. What’s pissed you off so much, Tess? Why can’t I feel it?
A shower of brilliant white sparks suddenly erupted in Tess’s sullied angry aura, blinding him for a split second before disappearing again. Jared sucked in a hot, dry breath. She’d felt him. Her spirit had felt his presence. How had that happened?
How could that happen?
If her spirit sensed him…
His body stirring in a base, elemental way, he frowned at her back.
And she looked over her shoulder.
Straight at him.
His heart thumped into rapid life and, incapable of doing anything else, he stared straight back at her.
Time froze. For a glorious moment, Tess Darcy saw him. Deep, chocolate brown eyes held him prisoner before, with a distracted frown, she looked straight ahead again and continued hurrying along the street.
His pulse leapt into life and he felt the familiar tug on his being he’d experienced the second he’d laid eyes on her—like a fist around his damned soul. God, he was in trouble here. The last time he’d lost his heart to a woman, he’d had it destroyed. After so many months of watching Tess, of seeing her so deeply, knowing her soul so completely, his dead, shattered heart felt afire with life, with futile hope again. He couldn’t afford to fall for her. To do so would be just as dangerous as Tess’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge her grief. He couldn’t fall for her.
Yet he was.
And he was incapable of preventing it.