A scroll with exceptional abilities, Camille Brighton lived a life of wealth and privilege until tragedy changed everything. The gifts that had once made her special are suddenly a curse to be feared, and she finds herself a captive in her own home with a world of possibilities just beyond her reach. When the demons of her past return, though, forcing her to flee to the outer rim of Alliance territory, she soon realizes freedom isn’t exactly the adventure she’d thought it would be.
Running from his own past on Helix, Tariq Navarra has spent the last nine years as a mechanical engineer on Beta Station 4. Life has proven the only person he can depend on is himself, and he’s built an impenetrable wall around his heart, wearing suspicion and distrust like a second skin. Then a slip of a woman carrying the scent of fresh rain and lavender turns his world upside down with just a smile. He’s never wanted anything or anyone more, and he’ll go to the ends of the universe to keep Cami safe. With danger lurking at every turn, he may just be forced to prove it—even if that means protecting the angel from himself.
Betrayal left them broken. Can love see them mended?
“Cami? Cami, look at me. Open your eyes and look at me.”
Warm hands cradled her face, bringing some semblance of reality back to her. Prying her lids open, she stared up at Tariq through blurry eyes and moaned. Everything hurt. Her heart pounded and her temples throbbed, making her lightheaded, and each breath came in short, shallow pants until her stomach cramped with nausea.
“Cami, focus,” Tariq ordered. “Look right here at me, only me.” He stroked her cheeks with his fingertips and petted her hair. “That’s it, angel. Deep breath. Good,” he praised when she complied. “Again. One more.”
Staring into his amber eyes, Cami breathed in through her nose and out through her mouth, focusing solely on his voice. “Keep talking, please.”
“I’m not going to let anything happen to you, remember?”
Then he did the most remarkable thing. Tariq pressed his palm to the side of her neck, using his thumb under her chin to tilt her face up, and kissed her. When their lips met, everything in her head melted away, dissolving into a peace she hadn’t known in years.
Her pulse accelerated once more, for a completely different reason this time, and Cami pressed closer, opening for him with a quiet whimper. The first glide of his tongue against hers sent a shiver down her spine, and the scrape of his fangs against her lower lip produced a lusty moan she didn’t know herself capable of making.
“That’s better,” Tariq whispered against the corner of her mouth. “You’re okay now.”
“Better than okay.” Cami tried to sit up, but stopped when Tariq closed his eyes and groaned. Only then did she realize they were sitting in the middle of the hallway with her perched in Tariq’s lap. “How did I get here?”
“I thought you were having a seizure or something, so I carried you out of the atrium.” He dropped his head back against the wall and groaned again. “Stop moving.”
“Oh.” Cami held perfectly still. “Did I hurt you?”
In response, he tucked her head under his chin and laughed. “No, angel, you didn’t hurt me.”
A hard bulge behind his zipper dug into her backside, alerting her to the problem. Pushing away from his chest, Cami peeked up at him through her lashes, realization finally dawning. “Oops, sorry.”
“Don’t apologize.” Sliding his arms around her midsection and behind her knees, Tariq stood, lifting her as easily as if she weighed nothing. “You need rest.”
“I’m feeling better now.” The pain in her head had vanished, and only a warm tingle in her belly—remnants of their kiss—remained. “Why did you kiss me?”
Though he looked straight ahead, Cami didn’t miss the faint smile or the way his voice gentled when he repeated his earlier assessment. “You talk too much.”
Resting her head on his shoulder, Cami sighed in contentment. “It only seems that way because you barely talk at all. I’ll try to be less vocal, though.”
Tariq pressed his lips to the top of her head as a satisfied rumbled vibrated his chest. “Don’t. I’ll get used to it.”