Deadly Game(10)

By: Christine Feehan

"Have you looked your fill, or do you need a little more time?"

His voice made her toes want to curl. Her reaction to him was disturbing and not at all that of a soldier—she was reacting entirely as a woman, and she hadn't even known that was possible. She couldn't tear her gaze from his, and before she could stop herself, the pads of her fingers traced one rigid scar down the length of his cheek. She braced herself for the psychic backlash—the onslaught of his thoughts and emotions, the shards of glass tearing into her skull that always accompanied touch, or even close proximity to others—but she could only feel the heat of his skin and the hard ridges that had been sliced into it.

He caught her wrist, the sound of flesh slapping flesh loud.

His grip was vise-like, but for all that, surprisingly gentle. "'What are you doing?"

She swallowed the lump in her throat threatening to choke her. What was she doing? This man was her enemy. More importantly, he was a man, and she detested men and everything they stood for. She could respect and admire soldiers, but not relate to them at all when they were off duty. Men were brutes without loyalty, in spite of the camaraderie among the soldiers. She was not going to feel compassion for an enemy, especially one who obviously couldn't feel sympathy for others. He was probably the interrogator, a sadist bent on hurting others the way he'd been hurt.

She should have pulled her arm away, but she felt helpless to do anything but soothe him. His mask was just that, a layer over the strange masculine beauty of his face. He seemed so alone. So cut off and distant. "Does it still hurt?" Her thumb slid in a small caress over his arm where the ridges continued. Her voice was unnaturally husky and she had no idea what she was doing—only that when she touched him, the pain in her body receded and everything feminine inside her reached out to this one man.

He blinked. His only reaction. There was no change of expression. No smile. Nothing but that one small downward drift of his lashes. She thought he might have swallowed, but he turned his head slightly, his peculiar light eyes drifting over her face, seeing inside of her. seeing how vulnerable she felt, more woman than soldier, half-ashamed, half-mesmerized.

He hadn't pulled his arm away from her. she realized. It was like touching a tiger, a wild, exhilarating experience. She coaxed his cooperation with that small caress, the pad of her thumb brushing gently back and forth over those terrible, relentless scars, keeping him from whirling around and perhaps killing her with one stroke, or bolting into the underbrush, forever lost before she could uncover his secrets and know the man behind the mask. He trembled, the smallest of reactions, but she felt it, rather like a great untamed predator shuddering beneath a first touch.

He turned his hand over, wrapping his fingers around hers, effectively stilling her efforts. Again, she was struck by the gentleness of his touch. She hadn't known gentleness in her life. She'd never touched another human being the way she had him. She looked down at their joined hands and saw the scars running up his arm and into his sleeve. The moment seemed somehow surreal and distant from her. Her life had been filled with training and exercise, a narrow tunnel of expertise and little else other than duty. His life seemed exotic and mysterious. There was a wealth of knowledge behind those cold eyes. There was something hot and dangerous burning beneath the glacier of ice that called to her.

His thumb slid over the sensitive skin of her inner wrist. A single stroke. Feather-light. She felt her womb spasm. His touch was electric. The smooth silk of her skin in contrast to the violent scars of his. She wasn't without flaws, but that small touch made her feel flawless and beautiful when she'd never felt that way. She wasn't whole or complete, but he made her feel it when nothing else ever had.

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