White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements 1) - Page 41

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I turned my head ever so slightly and sucked in a soft breath.

Roth was on his side, like he’d been before I’d fallen asleep. His face was relaxed, lips parted. I wanted to touch the line of his jaw, the curve of his brow, and I had no idea why. But my fingers tingled with the desire to do so. At rest like this, the harsh edge to his beauty was absent. In that moment, he was what I believed angels might look like.

Then he opened his mouth.

“You shouldn’t look at me that way,” he murmured.

A different kind of heat swamped my cheeks and I cleared my throat. “I’m not looking at you in any way.”

He gave his customary lopsided smile. “I know what you’re thinking.”

“You do?”

An eye opened. The pupils were stretched vertically, and I shivered—not out of fear, but from something else entirely. He reached out, brushing a few strands of hair back from my face. His hand lingered on my cheek, surprisingly gentle compared to what came out of his mouth next. “Just so you know, your virtue isn’t safe with me. So when you look like you want me to devour every inch of your mouth, I will without an ounce of regret. However, I doubt you’ll feel the same afterward.”

“How do you know what I’ll regret?”

The moment those words left my mouth, I knew I probably should’ve kept that comment to myself. Both of Roth’s eyes opened and fixed on me. Then he moved incredibly fast.

Hovering above me, he stared down at me with eyes that were a mosaic of every shade of gold imaginable. “I know a lot.”

“You barely know me.”

“I’ve watched you for a long time, always a few steps behind you. I wasn’t trying to be creepy when I told you that before.” He ran his finger along the hem of the borrowed shirt, his knuckles brushing the swell of my chest. “You know what I saw?”

I blinked slowly. “What?”

He stopped messing with the hem and slid his hand along the curve of my ribs as he bent his head down. His lips moved against my ear. “I saw something in you that you desperately try to hide from everyone. Something that reminded me of myself.”

I drew in a shallow breath, mouth dry.

Roth pressed his lips against my temple, sliding his hand under the edge of the shirt. I jumped when his fingers touched my belly. “You always seemed lonely. Even when you were with your friends, you were lonely.”

My chest spasmed. “And you...you’re lonely?”

“What do you think?” He shifted so that one leg was between mine. “But it doesn’t really matter. I’m not lonely right now. Neither are you.”

I wanted to pursue the conversation, but his hand traveled up my stomach, stopping at the edge of my bra. My body had a mind of its own and it arched against his hand, willing him further without really knowing why. His eyes met mine. There was something hot and calculating about his gaze—feral and predatory.

Roth’s gaze landed on my mouth, and I felt his chest rise sharply against mine. A soft breeze kicked up, stirring the canopies. They rolled noiselessly, revealing the sky. I knew he was going to kiss me then. The intent was in his stare, in the way he lowered his head to mine and parted his lips. I reached up, placing my hand on his cheek. His skin was warm, hotter than mine.

Roth pressed against me and my heart beat crazy fast. Our bodies were nearly flush, pieced together, and his musky, wild scent enveloped me. There was a brief moment when his lower body rocked against mine, and every nerve I had came alive, but then he sighed a sound full of regret and rolled off me.

Rolled right on off me.

Standing beside the lounge, he stretched his arms up over his head, flashing a tantalizing glimpse of his abs and the dragon tattoo. “I’ll get us some coffee. We need to talk.”

There was no chance to respond. He was just gone. Poofed like Cayman had in the hall the night before. What the Hell?

Sitting up, I pressed my palm against my forehead and groaned. I used his absence to gather my wits and calm my chaotic pulse. Five minutes later he returned with two cups of steaming coffee.

I blinked. “That was fast.”

“Being a demon has its benefits. Never have to worry about traffic jams.” He popped open the tab and handed it over. “Be careful. It’s hot.”

I murmured my thanks. “What time is it?”

“A little after five in the morning,” he said. “I’m thinking about skipping school today. You should.”

I smiled wearily. “Yeah. I don’t think school is going to happen.”


Saying nothing to that, I took a sip of the coffee. French vanilla? My favorite. Just how closely had Roth been watching?

He sat beside me, stretching out long legs. “Seriously, though, how are you feeling?”

“Better. My face doesn’t hurt as much.” I peeked up, wondering if he’d felt anything before he rolled off me and disappeared into thin air or if he’d just been messing with me. “How does it look?”

Roth’s gaze drifted over me, and I had a feeling he wasn’t really paying attention to the bruises. “It looks better.”

There was another stretch of silence, and I reached for my necklace out of habit.

It wasn’t there.

“My necklace?” Dismay hit me. “Petr ripped it off. I have to—”

“I forgot.” Roth leaned back and reached into his pocket. “I saw it on the ground and grabbed it. The chain is broken.”

I took it from his palm. Squeezing my hand around the ring, I wanted to cry like a fat, angry baby. “Thank you,” I whispered. “This ring...”

“It means a lot.”

I looked up. “It does.”

Roth shook his head. “You don’t know how important it really is.”

The ring seemed to burn against my palm and I looked down, slowly opening my hand. In the blossoming sunlight, the stone looked like it was full of black liquid. I thought back to what Roth had told me about my ring and then I thought about what Petr had said.

I looked up and found Roth watching me. A full minute passed before he spoke. “You must be so lonely.”

“We’re back to that again?”

He frowned. “You live with the very creatures obligated to kill you on sight. One of them tried, and who knows how many more want that same fate for you? You’ve probably spent your entire life wanting to be like them, knowing that you can never be. And the only thing you have to remind you of your real family is a ring that belongs to the only part of you that you refuse to claim. Nothing else, right? No memories. Not even what it felt like for your father to hold you, or a memory of what his voice sounded like.”

I sat back, a dry lump in my throat. The low hum of traffic on the street below muffled the gasp that escaped my tightly pressed lips.

Roth nodded without looking at me. “I’ve tried to imagine what it’s like for you, wanting to belong so desperately and yet knowing you never can.”

“Wow,” I whispered, looking away. “Thanks for the reality check. Are you the demon of downers?”

He looked at me then. “Why were you out in the woods last night?”

The change in subject caught me off guard. “The Alphas were at the house. It’s not good for me to be around when they visit.”

Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout The Dark Elements Fantasy
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