The ghost of a smile crossed her lips at the irony. She had finally found a man she wanted to touch her – and he was the enemy. As she looked up into his black eyes, she saw his frown of confusion and irritation. She wanted to comfort and reassure him. Ryen reached out a hand, meaning to stroke the wound on his cheek, but Bryce flinched at her touch and drew back. “I won’t hurt you,” she whispered, realizing the absurdity of the statement as soon as it had left her lips. The scar that would form on his cheek would be permanent proof of her harm. She withdrew her hand and took a step away from him.
“What do you want from me? Why did you summon me here?” Bryce inquired.
She looked away from him and stepped back toward her sleeping mat. “You are a handsome man.”
He eyed her suspiciously. “Am I here to discuss my looks?”
Perhaps it was ridiculous, Ryen thought. Men never seemed to have a problem with taking what, or who, they wanted. Maybe I’m making this more complicated than it should be. She raised herself up, straightening her shoulders. She boldly took a step toward him. “In a way, yes,” she answered. She watched the frown etch its way into his brow. I am not afraid, she told herself, and approached until she stood before him. He is my prisoner.
“I will tell you nothing,” he snarled. “Even if you give me more of your poison.”
“I do not want to know anything else.” Ryen raised a hand to his arm, marveling at the strength and elegance of his muscles. He clenched his fist and the muscles bunched as she touched them. The explosive power that moved beneath her fingertips amazed her. With her heart pounding, Ryen traced her fingers across his upper arm to his chest.
“What do you think you’re doing, woman?” he demanded.
“Your presence has been a…distraction to me. I sought to cure it.” She looked up and saw those dark eyes hovering over her. His black hair washed over his mighty shoulders. She raised a hand to touch his thick mane.
Bryce pulled back instantly, gazing at her fingertips out of the corner of his eye, searching for the white powder.
Ryen wrapped her fingers tightly in his hair, leaning into his strong chest. “Do you fear my touch?” she wondered in a soft whisper.
Bryce’s black eyes scanned her face, but Ryen could not read his thoughts. His dark look lowered over her neck and down to where her chest pressed tightly against his. She shuddered slightly as if he had touched her there. Then his eyes rose back to hers. “Loathe is more like it.”
She could feel the lie through his leggings and smiled. “Your body betrays you.”
“Step away from me, witch,” he snarled.
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