Read an Excerpt
"No, beast. Come no closer." Her hand rose to ward him off. "I won't be tempted by your lustful nature. Not now. Not ever."
"Strong words for a woman destined to be mine. But I can wait." He backed away and sat on an outcropping of rock. From the pouches along his waist, he pulled a nourishment packet. "Here, you need food."
Joyella took the offered sustenance, sat across from him, and tore open the seal. The food inside didn't look appetizing, but it had all the needed nutrients. She took a bite, realizing she was hungrier than she'd thought.
"You need to eat also," she said.
"In time. Right now I have an appetite for something else. I need to suppress that urge before I can eat."
She choked on the bite she'd taken. He laughed, the sound echoing off the chamber walls. He seemed so different when he smiled or laughed, not at all the ferocious warrior bent on claiming his due. She set the packet in her lap and played with the torn end.
"Why did you help me?"
He gazed at the stalactites above her. "I want you to succeed."
"But you could have incited my warriors to follow you instead. They want to trust someone that's actually been to the surface." She stared at her stomach. "Someone who hasn't betrayed their faith."
"We would lose a day if we backtracked. Your way is just as valid."
"But how do you know?" Joyella gripped the crisp edge of the container. Food started to spill out and she relaxed her hold. But she had to know. She needed some form of reassurance that she was right, because the people had forced her to doubt her own mind--to doubt Yorellite's vision.
"I saw what you saw," hereplied.
"But that doesn't mean you have to believe my thoughts. What if they were only fanciful dreams? How can you be sure I know the way out?"
He made no comment, and she stared at his averted face, trying to see deep into his soul. Then she knew.
"By Yutenk's glow, I don't believe you. You didn't just read my thoughts, did you?"
He shrugged. "I did what I thought best."