Shay launched at the girl and was immediately smacked back by a wave of energy. A force powerful enough to send her crashing into the wall on the opposite side of the room.
She hit the barrier with a thud then slid to a stop at the baseboard, feeling crumpled and broken. Despite the unseen beating she had just taken on, Shay struggled weakly to scramble to her feet. Yet, the more her limbs fought to find balance, the tighter her joints contracted together. Closer and closer her arms and legs bent at the seems, until she felt bound into a folded sitting position. It was as though someone had slowly tied a heavy rope around her slender body and then pulled the slack to rigid tautness.
Her hazel eyes lifted toward the source, in the direction of her new enemy. Through blurred vision – the invisible binding was squeezing the air from her lungs, suffocating her slowing and painfully, bringing tears of frustration to sting her eyes – Shay saw how the girl smirked in triumph, with one side of her lovely glossed mouth lifted high. The fingers on the girl’s right hand were sticking out, fixed in an unyielding and unnatural position, with the tips nearly straight up against the angle of the knuckles. She was using some dark spell to hold Shay captive, refusing to release her to allow even one small breath, delighting in watching her prey slide into a horrible semi-consciousness.
“Enough.” A booming voice pierced the tension in the silent air.
Still the girl held her unseeing grip on Shay tight…tight…tighter.
“Mouse, let her go.” Ethan’s hulking shadow slid soundlessly from the door that led from the hallway and into the oversized master suite.
The girl’s trance remained focused on pulling the life from Shay’s drooping body, which was nearly flat to the floor by now.
“TIFFANY!” His words shook the room, causing the boards of the wooden floors to creak and the plaster embedded within the walls to crackle in fear. “I said, enough! Release her.” His words were like a truth which the girl could not obey.
And just like that, the once constricted blood in Shay’s veins finally began to flow again, and she drank in a long, raspy gulp of bitterly sweet air.
From her position on the floor, with her head touching the wood and beads of sweat dripping slowly on the polished amber slats below, Shay saw the girl – Tiffany – Mouse, as Ethan had initially called her – turn silently on her bare heels and stalk from the room.
What followed was a dark blurr crossing Shalise’s vision, and less than a heartbeat later, Ethan kneeled beside her.
A pale hand, large and smooth, reached toward her, and with her lifeforce suddenly restored, Shay had the strength to immediately jolt upright and push herself against the wall. With her heart racing in full gear and eyes wild with adrenaline, she smashed her palms flat against the barrier that kept her trapped and tried to slide her body further away from him. In one motion, faster than a blink, Ethan moved both his arms so that she was pinned between the space of them on either side of her head.
Nearly two feet taller and no less than fifty pounds heavier, Ethan was a menacing figure standing guard over Shay’s every breath.
The moment their eyes met, her hazel touching his blue, her fear melted away into nothingness.
Instead, an eerie calm fell over her entire being.
Deep at the center of his cold stare, with irises the color of winter ice, there was a fire burning. Rhythmic…enticing, hot like a flare from the sun. Ready to consume all in its path, including Shalise.
One large palm slid down and moved toward her cheek. Though her natural instincts screamed for her resist, a more carnal calling held her steady and even moved her face closer into his touch.
The sensation of his skin against hers was like being embraced by what she imagined pure peace to be. She felt whole. Calm. Balanced. Powerful. Capable of pulling the sacred moon closer to the earth if it were called upon her to do so. At that moment, she felt one with her innermost self. And with his too.
As they stared endlessly into one another souls, they became wrapped tighter into an unending bond. Beyond words. Beyond time. Beyond understanding.
She sensed a kiss coming. He angled his face closer. Lips the color of the softest pink moved toward her own light caramel ones. Shay had never kissed anyone. This would be her first, and the anticipation of it sent an electric wave through her body to her most secret places.
And then the mighty spell was broken. Without warning, Ethan turned his head, pulled himself away and walked – slowly, heavily, one long footstep at a time – toward the open door.
Without looking back, or even peering over his shoulder, he spoke in the smallest tone.
“Your bed maids will help you dress. Dinner will be offered soon.”
Offered. What a strange way to announce a meal. The thought stung Shay’s mind.
Then he was gone.
Once she was all alone, or assumed that she was, Shay allowed a low gasp to escape her throat.
Sobs crowded her voice and thick tears clouded her vision. She collapsed onto the floor, somewhere near one of the four massive bedposts. Cries racked her into violent shivers.
For the first time since she was a small girl, watching her parents’ lives end in front her, Shalise was afraid. More than afraid, terrified to her core.
What was going on? Why was she here?
Why had she, of all people, been taken from the party? There were plenty of girls who would have willingly sacrificed themselves for a night with the prince. Why her? Why now? She had worked at the bar dozens of times, seen him from a distance at least half as many.
The most frightening unknown of all – What did he plan on doing to her?
Offered. The word bit her mind once more.
There was no doubt, before the next setting of the moon, she would know what path was sealed into her fate.
If needed, could she end her own life to save herself from some worse agony?
Before Shay could answer the question, a sharp tap, tap rapped on the wooden door, and the remainder of her night of imprisonment began.
Copyright 2018 Lenise Lee Publications. All Rights Reserved.