FOREVER KNIGHTS: #14 Broken Birds

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Reaching out hypnotically, Mera ran her fingers through its softness. Unaware of loosening what he’d just tied. She stared awestruck as it ran over her fingertips like silk.

He lifted vibrant green-blue eyes to her. A radiant smile lit his face, making her draw a sharp breath.

“You’re breathtaking.” She whispered. Her skin shivering in response to him merely looking at her. His gentle expression and the intensity of his look bespoke how he’d love a woman. Cherish each breath she took. His passion would be satin touches and endless loving caresses. She couldn’t look away. Nearly feeling his touch already in her mind’s eye.

Childish humor rippled from him. At her touch as well as the joy of watching the little dragon purring contentedly in his lap.

I wish she’d cease trying to touch him. Lucien’s upper lip curled as he tugged the woman behind him. I swear she’s dragging her feet to get a better look at him.

Meralee glanced down and noticed the lovely pendant resting between the muscles of his chest, reflecting the light. A dragon encircling a cross. With an amber stone in the center. It hung from a heavy, dark, chain dangling over his collarbones.

She cocked her head and jerked to a stop.

“What?” Lucien asked.

“He has the same pendant you wear.” She pointed from Bast to the pendant resting against Lucien’s chest just below his thin shirt.

Our Dragon Eye pendants.

“Yes.” A tug at Meralee’s hand yanked her from the web of enchantment. Closing her eyes, she blew a steadying breath. Turning to Lucien who now scowled at his friend. “Don’t waste your womanly affections on Bast, Miss Carter. He finds them everywhere he goes.”

An understatement.

Bast made a sound of objection. “You make me sound a great rogue, Lucien!”

“You are.” Lucien defended, tugging Mera behind him protectively.

Bast watched the action astutely. A grin splitting his face.

No. I’m not claiming her. I just don’t want her being seduced by magic…

Sure you don’t…Bast’s voice.

She peered around Lucien with a questioning look toward Bast. “Are you angry?”

She’s asking if she upset him fondling him. Lucien’s expression soured.

Bast’s voice saved him from having to answer. “I’m no such thing. I love women!”

He ran a large palm over the tiny head in his lap. Cleansing the droplets of blood from it and wiping them on his breeches.

The creature rose to his touch like a cat wishing to be petted.

Bast laughed at its antics giving it a quick scrub.

“You certainly do. All of them.” Lucien nearly snarled.

“Waste no jealously on me, Friend. It gives me way too much power over you!” He winked at Lucien. “No need to worry anyway. Your woman wants you.”

She’s not my woman…Yet.

Bast’s attention was focused on the shimmering creature leaping from his lap to galloping around him.

Meralee tugged on Lucien’s hand. Studying his hardened face. “We should go. Before the others catch up!”

She’s right.

Sebastian leapt to his feet, letting the creature fall. His head spinning from side to side as though he listened for something.

He’s hearing someone. Lucien recognized the look.

“Who is it?” Lucien’s tone was grave.

“Alazareth.” Bast said flatly. “I have to go.” He caught his wool cloak from the nearby branch and buckled it as he vanished into the trees. He reached out to move a branch from his path and Lucien could see the frilled cuff of the blue shirt he now wore.

“Strange creature.” Mera commented.

“You’ve no idea…”

They commenced walking back toward the Lion’s Head Tavern and Inn.

He gave her a sideways glance. Attuning himself with her thoughts. “Why are you so resentful?”

She considered the question. Staring ahead. “I took care of my father many years. And my brothers in some ways.”

He waited.

“Sometimes I was an easy target for my father’s frustrations. And he would, on occasion, say cruel things.”

“I see.” He murmured. Sensing those wounds were still hard to talk about, he moved on to an easier subject. “Tell me of these friends of yours.”

“Anna and Nora?” She smiled just saying their names.

She does miss them. No ruse there.

“They both think I’m willful. Nora is tender kindness and Anna, lascivious intrigue.”

He laughed slightly. “I did notice that about her.”

“Hard to miss.”

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