Home > Whispers in the Dark (KGI #4)(9)

Whispers in the Dark (KGI #4)(9)
Author: Maya Banks

Do you have some other kind of powers? Besides being able to talk to me in my head and hear my thoughts?

Unfortunately no. But we’ll work with what we have.

I was being an ass. You’ve taken my pain and that’s no small thing. I don’t know how you do it or why, but I’m grateful. I don’t think I’ve ever even said thank you.

You’re hurting now.

It was on the tip of his tongue to deny it but then he realized the absurdity of denying what she already knew.

Before he could respond, warmth spread through him. To his very core. He couldn’t even describe the sensation of comfort sliding so deeply into his heart and mind. He wanted to tell her to stop, that he didn’t want her to hurt in his place, but he was overwhelmed and nearly shattered by the instant relief that swamped him.

And then he became aware of her huddled, wrapping her arms around her body, her soft moans sliding through his mind. Without thought as to how to accomplish it, he simply reached out, imagined holding her to offer the comfort she so selflessly offered him.

She went still, suddenly alert and wary. And then as if realizing who it was who held her, she relaxed.

He was immediately assailed by the feel and smell of her. Her scent drifted through his nostrils, a sharp and welcome contrast to the odor of sweat and blood and death.

The sensation of holding her was so keen that he closed his eyes and imagined himself in a place far away from his present reality.

She was warm in his arms, though she still trembled from the aftereffects of taking his pain. Her hair was soft against his cheek, and he rubbed up and down, feeling the tickle of the strands against his nose.

He inhaled sharply, taking in the scent of her shampoo. Honeysuckle danced through his nostrils, reminding him of summers in Tennessee.

Tell me about you. You said you were in trouble.

She tensed and he panicked, thinking that she would withdraw. His link to her had become the single most important thing in his existence.

Tell me anything, he hastily amended. Just talk to me. Who are you? How do you have this ability to talk to me, to take my pain and hear my thoughts?

She laughed softly. You don’t ask for much.

We can talk about anything. I just hate the silence.

He felt the soft explosion of air against his neck as she sighed.

I don’t know how or why I have the abilities I do. I’ve always had them, at least for as long as I can remember. My mother always knew I was different or so she said. She told me a story of when I was a toddler and she burned her hand cooking. She cried out and I grabbed her hand only wanting to take the pain from her.

She said I started to cry the longer I held her hand, and when she pulled it away I had an identical burn mark on my palm. She said her pain was completely gone but we both had a blister.

He went completely still as he grappled with what she’d just told him. Dread gathered in his gut. Are you telling me that when you take my pain from me, you actually take on the wounds as well?

She was quiet for a moment.

Tell me, he said fiercely.

What do you want me to say, Nathan? Yes, I take the pain and the marks or wounds, but it isn’t permanent. They don’t last as long as yours will. They often begin to fade within a few hours.

Son of a bitch. I don’t want you to do it anymore.

It’s my choice.

Why? Why, goddamn it? You don’t know me. I could be a complete ass**le. Why would you do something like that for me at such a risk to yourself?

Because you need me.

Because he needed her. It was an explanation he couldn’t even wrap his mind around. It was so simple and yet baffling. Did anyone ever just do for someone because they needed it? It wasn’t like she was helping a hungry child, or giving money to a homeless person. She was taking on unimaginable pain. Because she didn’t think he could bear it any longer.

You were so close to giving up. I was in your mind, Nathan. I knew what you were thinking. What you were feeling. It broke my heart. I couldn’t not help you.

Shame slid through his chest. Guilt that he’d been so weak to even briefly contemplate giving up. Because of that weakness she’d taken far more than she ever should have. And yet, could he have survived if she hadn’t?

He knew the answer. It ate at him that he was so dependent on this faceless woman, just a whisper in the dark. Now that the connection had been made, he’d go insane if it was broken.

There’s no shame in needing someone, she offered softly.

He considered her words for a moment. No, I don’t suppose there is.

You just have to hold on until your brothers come for you. I know how you see them, that you have absolute faith in them. Hold on to that and you’ll be home soon.

You’re a f**king miracle, Shea. I don’t know what the hell I would have done if you hadn’t spoken to me when you did.

You would have endured.

You have more faith in me than I have.

I see who you are, Nathan. The heart of you. You can’t hide that from me. A weaker person would have already given up. You didn’t.

Her words filled him with determination. Her faith humbled him. It made him want to be the man she saw, the one she believed him to be.

You’re going to escape. I’ll be with you the whole way. We just have to wait for the right time. We can do this.

Maybe it was the way she said it with such conviction. Or maybe it was that she said we in every instance. Like they were a team. It was a promise never to leave him and it heartened him in a way he hadn’t been able to do for himself since his captivity.

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