God of Malice (Legacy of Gods #1) by Rina Kent
“Yeah. So can you…pull me up?”
I could use his forearm to do that myself, but any sudden movement will probably have the exact opposite effect and he could release me to meet my maker.
Still grabbing my wrist with a nonchalant hand, he retrieves a lighter with his free one and lights the cigarette. The tip burns like rich orange dusk and he takes his time before he throws the lighter back into his pocket and blows out a cloud of smoke in my face.
I usually gag on the smell of cigarettes, but that’s the least of my problems now.
“And what do I get in return for helping you?”
“I have no use for that.”
My lips purse and I force myself to remain calm. “Then why did you grab hold of me in the first place?”
He taps the edge of his camera, then caresses it with the sensuality of a man touching a woman he can’t stay away from.
For some reason that causes my temperature to rise.
He looks like the type who does that a lot.
And with the same intensity he exudes.
“To take a picture. So how about you finish what you started and give me the masterpiece I came here for?”
“Are you seriously saying that your masterpiece is my death?”
“Not your death, no. It’d look too bloody and displeasingly gory when your skull is smashed against the rocks below. Not to mention that the current lighting won’t be able to capture a good picture. It’s your fall that I’m interested in. Your pale skin will have a wonderful contrast against the water.”
He lifts a shoulder and blows more toxic fog. Even the way he slides his fingers against the cigarette and smokes appears effortless, when it’s shackled with tension. “Is that a no?”
“Of course it’s a no, you psycho. You think I’d die just so you can take a picture?”
“A masterpiece, not a picture. And you don’t really have a choice. If I decide you’ll die…” His upper body leans forward and he loosens his fingers from around my wrist, his voice lowering to a frightening whisper. “You’ll die.”
I scream when my foot nearly gives way and my nails dig into his arm with a ferocious need for life bubbling in my veins with the desperation of a caged animal. A prisoner that’s been in solitary confinement for bloody years.
I’m pretty sure I scratched him, but if he’s hurt, he shows no signs of discomfort.
“This isn’t funny,” I pant, my voice choked.
“Do you see me laughing?” His long fingers wrap around the cigarette and he takes a drag before pulling it away from his mouth. “You have until my smoke ends to give me something.”
“Whatever you’re willing to do in exchange for my chivalrous act of saving a damsel in distress.”
I don’t miss the way he stresses the word chivalrous, or the provocative way he uses words in general. As if they’re weapons in his arsenal.
The battalion at his command.
He’s enjoying this, isn’t he? This whole situation that started with my attempts to forget has landed me with a nightmare. My gaze strays to the half-smoked cigarette and just when I’m thinking about prolonging time, he inhales what remains in a few seconds and throws the butt away. “Your time is up. Goodbye.”
He starts to release himself from my hold, but I dig my nails in farther. “Wait!”
No change occurs in his features even as the air tousles his hair back. Even as I’m sure he feels me shaking with the desperation of a leaf struggling to survive.
Nothing seems to have any effect on him.
And it scares the shit out of me.
How can someone be this…this cold?
“Changed your mind?”
“Yeah.” My voice trembles even as I attempt to sound in control of myself. “Pull me up and I’ll do whatever you want.”
“Sure you want to word it that way? Whatever I want might include a number of things that are frowned upon by the general public.”
“I don’t care.” The moment I’m on safe ground, I’m out of this crazy wanker’s orbit.
“It’s your funeral.” His fingers wrap around my wrist in a merciless grip and he tugs me from the edge with baffling ease.
It’s as if I wasn’t hanging toward death by a thread just now.
As if the water below wasn’t opening its fangs to chew me in between them. Maybe, just maybe, that’s not a good thing, considering the devil I’m facing.
My harsh breaths sound animalistic in the silence of the night. I attempt to regulate them, but it’s of no use.
I was brought up to have a steel will and an imposing presence. I was raised with a last name that’s larger than life, and with family and friends who attract attention wherever we go.
And yet, everything I knew seems to vanish at this moment. It’s like I’m dissociating from who I’m supposed to be and morphing into a version even I can’t seem to fathom.
And it’s all because of the man standing in front of me. His features are vacant, his eyes still dull and lifeless, and every bleak color in the palette.
If I had to put a color on him, it’d most definitely be black—deadpan, cold, and a boundless hue.
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