Deidre's Death (Chapter Eight, page 2 of 5)


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"I want every night to be like this," she proclaimed.

"I agree."

She returned her head to his chest. Did he still think they were dysfunctional, or was he as pleased as she was? She loved the feel of his warm skin against hers and breathed in his scent deeply.

"Thank you, Gabriel," she murmured.

"For what?"

"For taking a chance on me."

He squeezed her with his thick arms, and again she marveled at how he managed to be gentle with her when he was so strong. She never appreciated his strength or level of discipline, either, before this day.

"This is a good start," Gabriel said.

She propped her chin on his chest, unable to see his eyes in the night.

"We've got a long way to go."

"What does that mean?" she asked.

"Trust."

"Ah." She absently traced a hand down his shoulder and large bicep to the roped muscles of his forearm. "But it's possible, right? We'll be happy?"

"Of course."

She'd never heard such awesome words!

"We're kind of doing it backwards," he said with humor. "Normally, you build trust then sleep with someone."

"But we already loved each other. We're not starting from scratch," she pointed out. "We're starting in the middle."

"It's still something we will work on." There was firmness in his tone that threatened to pull her happiness down a notch.

"I don't want us to change this," she said. "What if trust does?"

"We'll deal with it. I won't lose you again. We won't spend our nights away from one another. Ever."

Guilt fluttered through her, making her cold on the inside.

"You're my mate, Deidre. I swear it on my duty as Death. I won't walk away from you, no matter how bad it is," he said softly.

She said nothing. She wasn't certain why her chest felt tight enough to hinder her breathing while her eyes were watering. Why was she sad? He swore to stay with her forever, just like she wanted him to, and she felt sorrow.

Deidre tried to sort through her emotions and rationalize them. It was impossible. She didn't know what to do to return to the heady high she'd been on.

"Do you love me Gabriel?" she asked.

"It's hard for me to respond to that," he replied.

"Why?"

He was quiet for a moment. One of his thumbs stroked the small of her back as he thought. Deidre waited, needing to know what it would take for him to love her. It was far more important than the bet with the human, but Deidre couldn't help thinking about her deal and Darkyn's threat to reveal everything to Gabriel.

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