|A Science Fiction Romance Novel|
Copyright 2012, Pippa Jay
All rights reserved, Lyrical Press, Inc.
Brilliant flashes of multicolored lights burst and bloomed like flowers in the sky, drawing him onto a small balcony outside.
He stood in the shadows and watched them in fascination, the night air cool on his skin and the wind stirring his hair. His quarters overlooked the stone bowl of the plaza in which they had arrived, a deep crater in the craggy mouth of the mountain that cupped the shell-like palace. Even in the glow of the illuminated sky, he could see nothing below the crater’s rim or the landscape beyond, all of it hidden by night’s dark mantle. The stars were white pinpricks, dimmed to insignificance by the explosion of lights and veiled by a mixture of smoke and wispy clouds.
Amidst the noise and flashes, the sound of movement drew his gaze aside. Quin stepped out onto the adjoining balcony to lean nonchalantly on the ledge and admire the show. The display forgotten, Keir immersed himself deeper in the shadows and watched her instead. Quin had unbound her hair, which now formed a wild red halo around her face. The formal robes had been exchanged for a short black slip that ended mid-thigh, and a long-sleeved robe of black lace. The gentle curves of her slim figure showed through the fabric. His eyes strayed to the white skin of her legs, like fine marble shaped and smoothed. What would it feel like to touch? Cool like stone? Or warm like velvet, soft as silk?
Unease tightened his muscles, and he tried to pull his gaze away. A Salusian woman would never expose herself like that. But she does not know I am here. I should not be looking. Even as he thought it, even as he berated himself for it, his gaze drifted back. A smile arched her lips as she watched the skies, as enchanted as a child. A stronger gust of wind brushed the hair back from her face and folded the satin cloth of her outfit taut around her figure.
A sudden sense of elation overwhelmed him, combined with the heat T’rill had inspired. Desire wrapped tight arms around his body. The heady mix stole his breath. No. Shame burned his skin. Quin was his friend, the first he had ever had. The first person to show him kindness in more years than he could count. Yet at that moment he wanted more. For the first time in remembrance, he wanted to touch and be touched in return. To hold her and have her return his embrace freely, with more than a friend’s affection. To feel her white skin under his fingertips. To brush the hair from her face as the breeze did now, and run his fingers through it.
His thoughts dishonored her gift of friendship to him.
How would she react if she knew? How could he even think she might feel the same for him? Someone who was not even human, someone descended from the creature that had destroyed everything she had loved. Her own words. Bitter disappointment and guilt swamped him at the depth of his desire. What he wanted was impossible and it was madness to think otherwise.
If he was going to be honest with himself, he knew he should leave now instead of tormenting himself by imagining what could never be. But he could not make his legs obey and so he stood in the shadows, and watched.
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