Damien watched the startled expression cross her eyes, heard the gasp stop in her throat. His fingers trembled. One quick move… How innocent she was. How trusting. How foolish. Foolish in her blind faith and trust in him.
He had waited a long time for this moment. His freedom was within striking distance.
Her lips parted in a silent gasp and she lifted her chin beneath the pressure of the blade. “Damien,” she whispered.
Betrothed. Anger flared through his veins at the thought of Ormand laying his hands on her, at the image of him kissing her and tasting her as he had. Is that why Roke wanted Aurora dead? So no one else could have her if he could not? Were Roke’s thoughts thick with jealous rage just as his own thoughts were now? Did that make him just as evil and twisted as Warin Roke?
He had to do it now. He felt himself swirling toward oblivion. He was becoming lost. Lost to his mission, lost to his freedom, lost to everything he held dear except for her. Damien looked at the silver blade he held to the white skin of her neck. Your freedom means everything to you. He pressed the dagger up tighter against her throat. Her beautiful, smooth, white, flawless throat. Do it.
She should be afraid. Why wasn’t she moving? Why wasn’t she running or trying to talk him out of it? Would she stand so motionless before another assassin like this? All of his victims had struggled and fought for their lives, especially when they knew their end was near.
Aurora stood before him, her chin held high, unflinching, unmoving. Unafraid.
Damien clenched his teeth tighter. Trusting, he thought with bitter disdain. No one trusted him. No one. Not his father. Not his colleagues. No one. And rightfully so. He was an assassin. He brought death. He was death.
And yet… Aurora stood before him, imperiously, bestowing goodness on him with a simple glance.
His hand shook, his fist tightening around the handle of the dagger. “You’re wrong about me,” he snarled.
In her eyes, in her stunning blue eyes, he saw absolution. Damien could not move. His freedom was at hand. Just a little slash with his sharp dagger. But this was Aurora. She was so damned pure and innocent. He wanted desperately to kiss her. He wanted to have her. She was dangerous to him. So dangerous. That thought could not save him from his desperate need for her. Damien growled low in his throat.
He threw the dagger aside and grabbed her shoulders, pulling her against him tightly, pressing his lips to hers. It was a frantic, despondent kiss. A punishing kiss. He would not give up his freedom. Not for anyone. It was all he wanted. It was all he needed. She would not stand in his way.