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Hard to Insult the Shameless

She jerked her shoulders back, but her body wouldn’t retreat. She was unable to resist as he swept her into his arms.

He put her before him on the white stallion. They rode through the forest, beneath leaden clouds. He released her will and heard her draw rapid breaths. Huffing in anger.

“How did you-”

“I crept into the parts of your mind that control your willpower.” He omitted he now clenched it in an iron fist. He held it to keep her still.

You should be grateful I’m not using it to have you pressed against me. Molding all that sweet skin against me.

Instead her face revealed only fury.

She hates me. All men. He sensed her barely contained anger. This close to him he caught the scent of wildflowers coming from her shoulders and wet hair which was slicked against her back and molded her cotton tunic to her.

She gave him a withering look over her shoulder. The sapphire eyes changed. The pupil reddening as blood pooled in them. She considered killing this mount to escape.

Fury snapped through him at her thoughts of harming his horse. But before he could react, he noticed her unusual stillness as she fixated ahead.

He twisted to see her profile and followed her gaze to the crown of his horse’s head as they passed through a patch of moonlight. The silver horn appeared, winding heavenward. Unbearably beautiful to behold.

And gone just as fast. The instant they stepped back into shadow. The horse again seeming no more than it’d been before.

She gasped.

“His name is Sivikon.” Lord Bodane whispered in her ear.

Her brows drew together as she felt his breath in her hair. His arms tightened around her reflexively as she trembled.

“Cold?” He questioned.

She shook her head vehemently.

“Liar.” He brushed the back of his hand down the back of her upper arm. Feeling the bumps rising there.

Hissing she tossed a withering look over her shoulder.

Taken aback to see her crimson eyes so close, he gathered his composure and wiped his expression.

It’s blood filling them in her rage.

“Can you not but once, tell me the truth, Little Harpie?” His tone was flat as he realized she’d likely been considering attacking Sivikon. “You should know I may kill you if you harm him. He’s my oldest friend.”

She cracked her neck in an action that caused other creatures to give her space. “I’m surprised you have any at all.”

Instead he inhaled deeply as her hair moved. Giving a guttural growl in response. “You could be my friend, Little Harpie…”

He smiled. Not reacting as she’d hoped.

Stiff against him she became very still. Realizing he wouldn’t answer. Knowing exactly what she’d meant.

“I’m not one to be easily intimidated.” His laughter daunted her, but she dared not move. She let him to take her back to the stables. Stiffly sliding from, the horse.

Only then did he turn on her. “You’ll do as I say woman. If you continue to defy me, I’ll have you beaten and thrown in the dungeon.” He bluffed.

But she doesn’t know that.

“Now,” He straightened. “tell me why you were trying to steal my pendant.”

She was unflinching. Chin notching.

She doesn’t fear threats. And she’d fight me to the death if I tried to have her beat. He hid a grin. An admirable trait.

“You don’t control me. You’re only a man. Nothing to me. As any man.”

We’ll see.

“So much hatred for my gender…” He said thoughtfully. Studying her face.

What kind of past do you have, Little Harpie?

Never one to keep his thoughts to himself he couldn’t resist. “Did you have a childhood? Were you a little human girl once?”

Hard to imagine.

She blinked at him. But the shock on her face was priceless.

“Or were you always a woman-bird disguising yourself as a beautiful woman?”

Her chin lifted as though she’d confirm this.

So, no. She’d only confirm a lie. His lips turned in amusement.

“How long do you think a man can resist touching someone as lovely as you?” He taunted.

Her look turned scathing. “As long as he wants to keep his hands.”

“Hmm…That’s the price?” He murmured. Tilting his head in thought.

She cocked her head as she gave him a withering look.

“That’s all?” He probed moving his hand as though he’d touch her.

Rearing back, she eyed him like snake ready to strike. Eyes flaring red like the inside of a flame.

“Now it’s nearly irresistible.” His hand snapped up to catch a tendril of hair. Winding it around his finger as he pulled it from her face.

She tried to jerk from his reach, but he held her by that lock of hair.

Her teeth gnashed.

Unwinding his finger, he tucked it behind her ear and drew back.

She leapt away. Shaking with unholy wrath.

He barely had time to complete the simple motion. Cocking his head, he drew his hand back from where it hovered.

Smelling her fear. His eyes lit knowingly.

“What?” She snapped.

“Torture doesn’t scare you. Death doesn’t worry you. But my touch...It’s my touch that sends you quaking with terror.” His tone was silken.

But it fascinates me. Women fall at my feet. Begging for my touch. Caressing my skin like it’s made of gold…But you…He was awestruck.

“I’m unafraid.” But her voice shook.

You’re afraid.

He clucked “Little Harpie, you lie to me.” He laughed. Sniffing as he added. “I can smell your fear. A cloying scent clinging to you, even now.” He gestured to her length. “Nearly as potent as your woman’s scent.”

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