Shadow Bound Page 0,2

a landscape of life, and that knowledge incited a persistent expectation of what was to come. Not so in Twilight, where everything stretched in-between and time was something Twilight folk wove into their midnight music.

“Do you know when?”

“I don’t. No one can know that. Would you really want to?”

Her gaze darted up, forehead tight.

“No. And yes. I want to know—or, or understand something. I’ve been sick my whole life. What is the point of being alive if I never get to live? I want—” Her words choked off. She took another steadying breath. “I guess I just want a reason.”

Riding through her body, down her arm, across her fingertips and into his hand—frustration and loneliness. Almost unbearable. Certainly unacceptable.

“There is no reason for beauty. It just is.” Scant comfort, he knew. “Perhaps you will find a better answer in the next world.” He raised his hand to the horizon line on her painting. “In the world beyond the sea.”

“And you can’t go there?”

“Just you. The faerie are forbidden.”

“So this is it.” She turned back, eyes shimmering with fresh pain. “This is all the time I get?”

He inclined his head in answer, but slightly, carefully. He did not know precisely what she meant, so he could not agree in totality. Not with that strange light shining in her eyes. Not with the alien intent that coursed out of her and into him, the velvety longing that gathered in his gut.

“Touch me,” she said, suddenly. “I mean—will you?”

Then, not a friend. Or, not only a friend. What did she see?

She stood, her body a breath before his. “I want to feel something real while I can. You’ve been there all my life, waiting. Just out of sight. I’d hoped that we were…that you and I…” She dropped her gaze, shaking her head in frustration.

You and I. Yes. Nothing else was necessary; she’d captured the truth in a marriage of words that had power on any side of the veil.

He felt her will harden inside her, and she slowly raised her head to meet his gaze. “Please touch me.”

No. Being in this room, speaking thus, already broke the laws of Twilight. There would be repercussions as it was. But her heart pounded in his head, pushing out all thought. Heat rose in his chest. He searched blindly with his mind for the coolness of Shadow. He should not have come here; the laws of Twilight existed for a reason. He understood that now.


The sound of his name stopped him short.

She released his hand, reached up to his face, and dipped into his dark hood. Finding his cheek, she drew back just enough to skim her fingertips over his lips.

“I cannot do this,” he said. He should remove himself from her reach at once and draw the fae shadows tightly round his shoulders. Never come here again. He’d meet her in Twilight, perhaps soon, and that would have to be enough.

Yet he turned his face into her palm, her soft skin burning away the last of his resolve. Her mortal will was stronger than any he could marshal.

He could not pinpoint the moment he fell—perhaps when he first stepped out of Shadow. Or in that breath drawn to shape the sound of his first word, hush. Or years before when he came to watch her from his dim vantage when he had no call to do so.


But he was lost now, bending his head, tasting her lips for the first time. The dark, wet wine of her mouth, sweeter than anything on any world or in-between. One taste, one deep drink, and then he’d go.

Her heart beat strongly, thudding over the bridge that they’d created. Hardly weak. Perhaps if he touched her like this she might live forever.

He pulled away and the loss of her hollowed him out. “There are laws that even you must know, deep inside, should not be broken.”

“I don’t care. I’ve been careful too damn long.”

Only a mortal could be so brave. They know an end will come and so, too, a new beginning. But for an immortal, the repercussions were simple and never finite. She had no idea.

“You said it yourself,” she insisted. “It will not be today. Maybe tomorrow or the day after, but I have right now. Can you understand?”

“Kathleen…” His argument died on his lips. He’d never said her name before.

“You’ve been there all my life making the worst better, the most frightening moments easier. Why? You have to love me.”

“I do.” Beyond reason.

She stilled, her