Thread of Death - (Elemental Assassin #5.5) Page 0,1

you sure you want to do this?” he asked. “You don’t have to, you know. You don’t have anything to prove to anyone. Not to me, not to the others, and especially not to yourself.”

That’s where he was wrong. I had a lot of things to prove to myself—namely, that I could be the same Gin, the same Spider, as before. Physically, I was still weak from my fight with Mab. Still stiff and creaky, still saddled with arms and legs that gave out too soon, still without the quickness, stamina, and strength I’d had before. I knew those things would return eventually, but I was pushing myself hard to get back to where I’d been as soon as possible. I couldn’t afford not to.

But today wasn’t about my physical limitations. No, today—today was about my state of mind. Today was one of the necessary steps to recapturing that mental toughness that had served me so well over the years. Once I got that back, everything else would follow. That’s why I was so determined to go through with this particular outing. I wanted to be the old me—starting right now.

I didn’t tell Owen any of my thoughts, though. He’d already spent far too long worrying far too much about me. So had the others. They’d all spent the last few weeks taking care of me, healing me, helping me with my rehab—even cooking for me. I appreciated their care and concern, but it had been hard for me to take it slow, to let myself rest, relax, and heal. Now, after all these weeks of recuperating, I figured it was time for me to look after myself again.

I walked over to Owen and wrapped my arms around his neck. He put his hands on my waist and drew me closer, the warmth of his fingers and the heat of his body driving away the faint, nagging chill I’d felt ever since I’d killed Mab.

“I’m sure,” I said in a firm voice. “We both know I need to do this. I need to go there and see her—for all sorts of reasons.”

“I know,” Owen murmured, concern and worry deepening his voice. “But I don’t like it. You’re still not fully recovered. What if someone notices that? What if something happens?”

I grinned at him. “Then it’s a good thing you, Finn, and everyone else will be there watching out for me. Don’t worry. Nothing’s going to happen.”

Not today.

I didn’t say the words, but I could tell Owen was thinking them just like I was. This was new territory we were entering, and neither one of us knew quite what to make of it. I didn’t think anyone in the entire city knew exactly how things were going to play out, and I imagined that all the other folks in attendance today would be waiting to see what happened and which way the wind was blowing, just like Owen and I would be.

I stood on my tiptoes and kissed him, flicking my tongue against his lips. Owen opened his mouth, his tongue stroking against my own. More warmth pooled in my stomach, driving away the last of the chill. As we kissed, I ran my hands through his hair, then down over the chiseled planes of his face, enjoying the heat of his skin, his mouth, on mine. No matter how much I touched him, I always marveled at the strength of his body and the desire he was able to ignite in me. It thrummed through my veins like a siren’s seductive song, whispering of all the pleasures that could be had between us.

“You know, we could just forget about going out and spend the rest of the day in bed,” he murmured, and kissed the side of my neck, even as his hands slid down to the buttons on my suit jacket.

“As tempting as that is, you know we have someplace to be,” I replied, running my hands across his broad shoulders. “Unfortunately, this is an appointment that I just can’t miss, no matter how tempting your proposition may be.”

Owen drew back, his eyes shimmering with heat. “Rain check, then? Tonight at my place? If you feel up to it, of course.”

I arched an eyebrow. “Is that a challenge, Grayson? Because you know how much I love those—and showing you just how up to it I am.”

He grinned and lowered his mouth to mine. We kissed again, long, soft, and slow, teasing each other with promises of tonight, before finally