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I Was Her Target

Bast reached to pull a book off the round table between the chairs, rolling it in his palms to keep his hands busy and his focus sharp. Anticipation heightening. Because I know what’s coming.

Elsabet had seen women staring at Bast raptly. Only Wrenny seemed immune.

Chavias and Sebastian strolled the room. Elbowing each other and laughing jovially.

“Chavias, it was so long ago! Do let it go!” Bast had chuckled.

“She had the bluest eyes I’d ever seen and hair as black as mine. We’d have made a fine pair.”

“Like horses?” He jested. “Calisto was not for you.” Bast shouldered him. “You can’t harbor me ill forever.”

“The devil I can’t! You pulled the fur from under me feet! And placed her squarely in Raese’s path.” He feigned outrage but there was a laughing note in his voice.

Bast was grinning broadly when his eyes had lit on Elsabet. Returning her thorough assessment.

Blonde hair hung loose over his shoulders. Brushing a beautifully cut overcoat which swathed over a loosely laced white shirt. Leaving his collarbone and the defined lines of his upper chest exposed. Breeches molded a well-muscled body and boots were polished a high shine. Vibrant blue-green eyes burned through her.

She wondered where were all the stuffy dowagers were as the disheveled rogue flirted, half clothed, with their daughters?

Too busy staring at me themselves. Bast shrugged absentmindedly as he opened the book in his hand now. Flicking pages with his finger.

She had noticed all the women stared at him open-mouthed and sweating.

Elsabet had watched a woman arrive at his side, tugging his arm. Forcing him to break his study on her. The delicate beauty, dangling off him like a necklace, giggling at something he’d said. Basking in his attentions.

Elsabet cocked her head, watching the interaction.

Chavias wandered to the refreshments table. Relieved the massive redhead man, Mardichi, was absent tonight. Not wishing to contend with the big beast.

Mardichi would’ve probably been too drunk to do much anyway. Bast’s fingers paused on the pages of the book as his lips turned ruefully.

Unaware of the valkyrie’s thoughts, Bast had lifted his arm to spin his dance partner.

Pleasantly oblivious at that moment.

Elsabet caught the glint of a silver chain falling over his collar and dangling just beneath those laces. Stark against his tanned skin. The candlelight caught the shimmer of a gold ornament on the chain. Nestled against his defined chest. A serpent twining a thick cross.

Elsabet moved purposefully through the crowd. Shooting a look over her shoulder to warn Wrenny. A slight nod had Wrenny rising. Elsabet held out a staying hand and shook her head. Focusing on him, she found him absorbed in dancing with the flirtatious brunette. Elsabet calculated his next step.

Her plan was simple: She’d intercept him as he turned in step with the dance, she’d hook the pendant on a claw and let his own movements tear it off him. Freeing it into her waiting hand.

Already hanging open, his shirt would offer little resistance.

Amulet in hand she’d exit the dance floor. Likely while he stood in surprise.

That was her plan anyway. He licked his teeth and clucked. Amused by how simple she’d thought it would be. Her naivete is almost amusing.

Her detail in LandingTown settled and free to return to Sanctuary Island, The Realms of Night and Day…And being revered by her people.

I don’t know what any of that means. Present time Bast blinked at the book in his hand and the ones stacked on shelves behind him. But I will…

Elsabet had watched him, nearly shaking with intensity. Anticipation heightening as he danced closer. She was already reaching, waiting for his flowing movements to place the amulet in her grasp.

Instead, her quarry released the brunette and abruptly faced her. Sparking gold eyes focused on her. His hair settled around his face and back over his shoulders.

Jaw agape she froze a second before her brows descended.

I sensed your thoughts. Present time Bast smiled at her confusion.

He recalled the look on his face, had been accusing. Still unsure what she was after. Grasping her outstretched hand, he twirled her.

Suddenly incorporated into the dance it took her rapid reflexes to move in step with the group.

He’d realized instantly she didn’t know how to dance.

The woman previously dancing with him expostulated profanity.

But Elsabet’s focus was this man whom, had abruptly change from docile prey, to glaring at her predatorily.

They stared each other down, unblinkingly.

For the first time, she felt as though an enemy, an equal, assessed her as she did him.

When he pulled her close to turn her again, claws rent from her fingertips to shred his shirt and grasp the amulet.

She jerked it violently. Snapping the chain.

His eyes narrowed on her.

Spinning on her heel, she dissolved into the crowd. Gesturing to Wrenny as she passed. Wrenny flanked her. Moving through the throng as one, they exited into the dark.

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