EXCERPT OF THE SOURCE OF MAGIC
The slightest crack of a twig behind Jilian was her only warning. Spinning, she raised an uncertain fist. A strong hand grabbed her shoulder, her chest connected with a male body and her fist met empty air. The body smelled good. Alvarr.
“What the hell . . . ” Jilian glared as he pinned her arms to her sides.
His eyes blazed in the darkness. “Why were you sneaking off?”
“I wasn’t sneaking,” she huffed. “I was walking to that rock so I could look at the stars.” She jerked her head toward the boulder.
He only clamped her harder against his chest. “You’ve been gone much longer than it takes to walk here.”
“Well, forgive me for needing a good pee,” she snapped, and stomped her heel onto his booted toes. The bastard didn’t even flinch.
Alvarr’s eyes burned into her and his voice roughened. “You swore an oath. Where’s your heart? Don’t you care about your mother’s people? Doesn’t their plight bother you?”
His words yanked her guilt from its shallow grave. “My heart? It’s breaking for my mother,” she snarled. “Whom I haven’t seen in a week.” She ground down harder on his boot, wishing he were barefoot. “Exactly where do you think I’d run?” He still smelled good and was too close for comfort.
Far too close. The hard plane of his chest didn’t yield, but her breasts did. Uggh, you traitors, she thought as her nipples warmed and rose.
“Where would I go?” she repeated. “I’m in a world totally unknown to me until a week ago. I may have a marvelous sense of direction,” and she raised her gaze in challenge, “but I can’t escape this world without some sort of map. Not to mention a spaceship, a wormhole, a portal, or whatever it takes me to get back home. So — despite my fervent wishes otherwise — you’re calling the shots.” Corralled fury hovered just below her breath.
With a troubled expression, he released her suddenly and she wobbled, unbalanced. He caught her shoulder and waist to steady her. Heat blazed beneath his touch.
Well, at least he’s not an ungentlemanly ass. Most of the time. His nearness overflowed her brain. She closed her eyes and swallowed.
His palms dropped away as if scalded. “Let’s return to camp.” The words were gruff, and he gestured for her to walk in front of him.
She spun away so she wouldn’t be tempted to sever his hands. I wonder where I should wear my slave chain? She imagined it clinking behind her as she stalked toward their fire pit. Hmm, definitely my neck. In defiance, she flipped her hair away to expose her nape, taking strength from her private joke.
But her imagination, renegade that it was, substituted the neck-chain with a sizzling trail of kisses from Alvarr.