Who ever would have thought a twelve-year old memory would have the power to turn his blood to lava? Hunger raged inside him and when he focused on Dee’s face, it was almost like he was staring at her through a time warp. He could see the dark hair, straight as a pin, falling to her shoulders and the plain, almost ugly utilitarian clothes and the unsmiling set of her face. But the memory of that last night kept superimposing itself and he saw her smiling and laughing, her arms reaching for him and her mouth opening for his.
“What happened to you, Dee?”
She lowered her lashes, shielding her gaze from him. “I don’t know what you mean.”
“Bull.” Blake closed the distance between them, watching her the entire time. She didn’t move away. But everything about her went on edge. He could see it. Her body tensed. He could see her open her hands, flexing them, before closing them into tight fists.
“Something happened,” he murmured. He reached down and captured one wrist, lifting it. She resisted but he didn’t let go. He looked from her fisted hand to her face. “You look like you’re afraid of me, Dee.”
Her voice shook as she said, “I’m not afraid of you, Blake.” She tugged on her hand but he didn’t let go. Dipping his head, Blake kissed her knuckles. They’d gone white, she had her hand fisted so tight.
Not afraid? Yeah, like he was going to believe that. She was scared and she’d take off running if she could get away from him. He wanted to pull her close and soothe her, chase away whatever it was that had put those shadows in her eyes. Without even thinking about it, Blake started to stroke his thumb back and forth across her wrist.
Dee’s eyes widened, her pupils flared and her mouth went tight. She jerked against his hold again and Blake kissed her knuckles again, rubbed his thumb across the delicate skin of her wrist. “Talk to me, Dee.”
There were ridges on her soft skin—they didn’t register at first. Dee continued to struggle against his hold, harder, almost desperate. She managed to turn her wrist a little, pulling it in closer to her chest.