Katie's Hope (Chapter One, page 2 of 20)

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She hurried to Rhyn and stood looking up at him. His silver gaze was on his foes then dropped to her.

"This is the stupidest thing you've ever done," she said.

"Letting you go was the stupidest thing. I'm doing something right for once." The resolution in his face was unmistakable. He wasn't backing down. His eyes returned to the demon.

"They'll kill you," she whispered.

"If they do, go with Gabriel. Death's a bitch, but she's better than Hell."

Her eyes watered. She'd barely known what to do when he un-claimed her two days ago, but at least he was alive. If he left forever … "This isn't right," she said, her throat tightening. He looked down at her again, his gaze taking in her face. He cupped one cheek with his roughened hand and rubbed away a tear with his thumb.

"I'm not dead yet," he said, amused. She wrapped her arms around him, comforted by his scent and tormented it was the last time she'd smell him.

"Can't we just run away, right now? Turn into a bird and carry me with you?" she asked. "Even if we did, they'd both come after us."

"You can go. I'd rather know you're safe than live without you."

"No, Katie," he said softly. "I know where I belong, and it's right here with you. I have to make things right. I couldn't live if I lost you."

"Katie," Gabriel called.

"Rhyn, I love you," she said.

"I know." He pulled away from her and pushed her hair from her face. With a tender kiss on her forehead, Rhyn stepped away. Gabriel drew a long sword, and Darkyn pulled two free. She felt cold from the inside out. The assassin motioned her over. She went woodenly, her stomach in turmoil.

"Break the bond, and Death will save you both. Rhyn will die-dead otherwise," Gabriel whispered then left her standing by a group of boulders. The words struck her as odd, but she had trouble concentrating when the men launched into a three-way battle.

Break the bond, and Death will free you both. She tried to decipher his meaning as she watched them fight, terrified to take her eyes off Rhyn. Rhyn already broke their bond, unless … she had to break it, too.

Death would free them. Herdeath. She was the only one who had the power to end this before he died. Her attention turned to a different direction, the way she'd walked half an hour ago from the beach. She hesitated only a second more before she started running. She ran hard and left the sounds of the battle behind her, her thoughts on Rhyn and nothing else.

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