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Cassandra Palmer 1

By:Touch the Dark

ul as they met mine. The glowing, cinnamon amber completely overwrote Louis-Cesar's blue. I had a feeling that I'd never see another pair so stunning, or so sad. «You cannot run forever, Cassie.»

«I hid before. I can do it again.»

«You were found before.» He clutched my hand as tightly as he could and, for the moment, I let him. It might be a long time before I knew the touch of another person, much less one I cared about.

«Only by you and Marlowe,» I told him gently. «Tell him to take a vacation. He'll need one to recover from the attack. Take one yourself.»

Mircea shook his head, as I'd known he would. He wouldn't lie to me even now. For a vamp, he was a hell of a catch. I reached out and ran a hand through his hair, wishing it was his own dark, straight strands under my fingers instead of the Frenchman's bronze curls. It was somehow hard to imagine never touching him again, never holding him. But the price was too high. There were simply too many strings attached.

«I will find you, Cassie. I only pray it will be before the circles do. Both of them will come after you, you can be sure of it. Do not underestimate them.»

«I won't.» I started to rise, but he held on to my hand.

«Cassie, stay with me! I will keep you safe; I swear it!»

I asked him the same question I had put to Tomas. This time I got an answer. «Would you want me, even if I wasn't Pythia?»

He raised my hand to his mouth. His lips were cold. «I begin to think I would prefer it.»

I looked around at the body of the fallen mage, the slimy walls and the despair-filled room. I tightened my grip. «I know I would,» I told him, and shifted.