The Darkest Touch

By: Gena Showalter

His gaze locked on those points and narrowed. “Fae are descendants of Titans. Titans are children of fallen angels and humans. They are the current rulers of the lowest level of the skies.” He shot out each fact as if it were a bullet.

Can’t roll my eyes at a star. “Thank you for the history lesson.”

He frowned. “That makes you...”

Evil in his eyes? An enemy?

He shook his head, refusing to finish the thought. Then, his nose wrinkled, as if he’d just smelled something...not unpleasant, but not welcome, either. He inhaled sharply, and his frown deepened. “You look nothing like the girl who rescued me...girls who rescued, just one,” he said with another shake of his head, as if he were trying to make sense of things that had happened. “Her face and hair kept changing, and I recall each countenance, yet what I see now I didn’t see then. But your scent...”

Was the same, yes. “I possessed the ability to switch my appearance.”

One of his brows arched. “Possessed. Past tense.”

Even in his compromised state, he’d caught her meaning. “Correct. I no longer have the ability.” The strength—and capabilities—she borrowed from others could remain with her for as little time as an hour to as long as a few weeks. She had no control over the time frame. What she’d taken from the Phoenix had faded yesterday.

“You’re lying. No one has an ability one day, but not the next.”

“I never lie—except for the few times I do, in fact, lie, but it’s never intentional, and I’m totally telling the truth right now.” She raised her right hand. “Promise.”

He pursed his lips. “How long have I been here?”

“Seven days.”

“Seven days,” he gasped out.

“Yes. We spent most of our time playing incompetent doctor and ungrateful patient.”

A dark scowl contorted his features, and oh, it was a scary thing to behold. The books hadn’t done him justice. “Seven days,” he repeated.

“I didn’t miscount, I assure you. I’ve been crossing off the seconds in the calendar in my heart.”

He gave her the stink eye. “You have a smart mouth, don’t you?”

She brightened. “You think so? Really?” It was the first compliment she’d received from someone other than herself since her mother had died, and she would cherish it. “Thank you. Would you say my mouth is extremely intelligent or just slightly above average?”

His jaw fell, as if he meant to reply, but no sound emerged from him. His eyelids were closing...opening...closing again, and his big body was swaying from side to side. He was about to go down, and if he hit the floor, she would never be able to lift him onto the bed.

Josephina surged forward, reaching for him with gloved hands. Though he teetered backward, he slapped her arms away, wanting no contact between them. Smart man. (As smart as he thought she was?) Down he fell, slamming into the carpet with a loud thud.

As she scrambled to her feet to rush to his side—and do what, she didn’t know—the motel door burst open, shards of wood raining in every direction. A tall, thickly muscled warrior with dark hair stood in the center of the gaping hole, his features bathed in shadows. Menace lanced from him. Maybe because he gripped two daggers—and they were already stained with blood.

Another warrior moved in behind him, this one blond, with...oh, someone save me. Guts hung from his hair.

Her father’s men had found her.

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