A hand grasped her shoulder, and she cried out in alarm. She pivoted on her heel and cursed her lack of awareness. One lapse in judgment, one miniscule second of time, was all it would take for someone to cut her throat.
Swinging her corresponding arm under and out, she rotated in a circle to sever the contact, and the hand vanished. The hood of her cloak dislodged from her head, and the soft red material pooled around her shoulders. She couldn’t help but gawk at the Draigen standing directly in front of her. He was so massive and enormous that he blocked the entire space behind him from sight.
Blessed Fates, he must be seven feet tall.
Form-fitting dark leather pants molded seamlessly to his thick muscular legs; the same material clung to his impossibly broad shoulders, wide chest, and narrow waist. The matching leather coat he wore over his clothing made him look sinister and dark yet intriguing.
Her heart fluttered as her gaze swept over his face. She was relieved to discover he had no scales or blemishes as she had feared Draigens might. His skin was perfectly smooth and flawless, with a golden complexion much darker than her ivory pigmentation.
The black hair cascading around his face radiated blue. The thick strands brushed his shoulders.
She froze and gasped when she met his eyes. Sweet heavenly Moirae.
Dark lashes that matched his oddly tinted hair framed his deep hunter green irises, complementing a face that outshone the beauty of any fae kind she had ever encountered.
A wicked lick of heat swept through her body. She took a cautionary step back. Averting her eyes, she shook her head. She didn’t need her sensual nature rushing to the surface to cloud her judgment, and she did not want to draw him in accidentally with glamour
“Octavia Charon?” His deep, rich voice carried a hint of the olde accent Runa had always been attracted to.
She attempted to respond and found herself nodding like a mindless twit -- mortified, dumbed down, and embarrassed. Her reaction to this stranger, this netherworlder, was totally tantalizing and unexpected. Had she bespelled herself? Was that it? Or did he possess glamour of his own? Is that even possible?
“You are not as I was told.”
“And what were you told?” She could only imagine the exploits he had heard about Octavia. God help him.
“I was explicitly forewarned you would never deem to show yourself here, even as your word had been freely incurred.”
Runa peered up at him, and his irises shifted from forest green to a brilliant reptilian emerald. His gaze drifted back and forth between her eyes. A rush of blistering heat burned through her bloodstream, causing her skin to tingle. She tore her eyes away and focused on a small black stain in the floor. Her body throbbed and pulsed in all sorts of dangerous places. Places that would bring her to her knees before him. Places that could potentially bring forth what she feared in others of her kind.
Places best left alone.
“To be told you would not emerge, yet here you stand. Why did you come?” His voice was like the richest satiny velvet. The extended vowels bristled along her spine.
Runa tried to keep her voice even, grappling for an answer, any answer. “I wanted to meet a Draigen.” She ground her teeth together as she lost her train of thought, frustrated by her sudden inanity. “Since your kind doesn’t venture to our dimension, this is the only opportunity I would have to meet one such as yourself.”
She chanced another look. He appeared legitimately dumbfounded. A frown formed, nearly marring the perfection of his face. He seemed to be struggling with two very different emotions.
Confusion and… She froze.
Holy light, he was positively furious.
“Listen” -- she shifted to the left, her intense desire to get the hell away from this dangerous being suddenly overriding her curiosity -- “this is getting too weird. I only wanted to warn you not to spend too much time waiting around. My sister isn’t the most reliable person, and she does this kind of shit all the time.”
She kept her eyes on him as she moved along the wall, just in case she needed to break into a sprint or get the hell out of dodge. He looked like he wanted to devour her completely and not entirely in a manner she would appreciate.
A deep growl erupted from his chest, and she blurted, “I wish you a swift journey home. I can’t stay. I have to go.”
He moved faster than she would ever have given someone of his size credit for. Grasping her arms in massive hands, he lifted her from the ground in a singular movement that she did not anticipate. He leaned down as he drew her body upward, bringing her face to his. Emerald eyes glowered at her, and she knew two things with absolute certainty: One, he definitely did not want to eat her in the manner she would approve of. Two, she was pretty damned sure he was going to kill her.