Atlantis Unmasked

Atlantis Unmasked by Alyssa Day

Book: Atlantis Unmasked by Alyssa Day Read Free Book Online
Authors: Alyssa Day
table to fill her mug from the thermal carafe filled with hot coffee. An even dozen trainees. It was a pitifully small number, but recruits were down. Ever since the so-called “accidental” fire that had wiped out a training compound in northern California two months ago, during the same week that a “gas leak” had caused an explosion that killed twenty-six rebels at a training compound in Colorado, people had been more and more reluctant to have anything to do with the movement.
    Grace couldn’t even blame them. Most people had families and friends. Loved ones who would mourn if they died, even for so just a cause as freedom. Unlike her.
    She had no one.
    She scooped too much sugar and cream into the rich pumpkin spice coffee—one of her few luxuries—and stirred it mindlessly, giving herself pep talk number 67(a), the one in which Our Heroine refused to give in to self-pity. It’s not like she was really alone. She had friends. Michelle, Quinn, Jack, and now Sam and—
    â€œHello, Grace.”
    She jumped a little at the sound of his voice; the sound she’d been waiting for—and dreading—all morning. Coffee splashed over the rim of the mug, stinging her fingers. “Ouch!”
    â€œNot the greeting I would have expected, but you do have a history of surprising me.” The amusement colored his voice until it was as rich and dark as the coffee.
    She told herself the shiver snaking down her neck was simply because of the cold. He couldn’t possibly be as formidable in reality as he was in her memories. It had been adrenaline-fueled attraction, that was all.
    Pasting what she hoped was a friendly but neutral expression on her face, she put the mug down and swung around to face him. “Alexios. Welcome. We’re glad you’re here. Did you just get in through the magic doorway?”
    It hadn’t been the adrenaline.
    He was tall, broad-shouldered, and lean-hipped with the exact muscular body type she’d always found irresistible, but that wasn’t what she saw first. It wasn’t what anyone would see first.
    In the bright afternoon sunlight that turned his mane of thick hair the color of molten gold, the sight of his scarred face was almost shocking. She’d seen him—seen his face—several times before, but always in the nighttime. Always in the dark. The merciless quality of the winter sunshine cast dark shadows along the jagged edges of the badly healed gouges. The left side of his face was scarred from temple to chin, leaving only his left eye and, oddly enough, his nose, whole and unmarked. But the right side was perfection; both counterpoint and mockery to the damage it mirrored.
    The half smile that had quirked at the edges of his lips faded under her perusal and she was suddenly desperately ashamed. How long had Alexios been forced to endure the stares and speculation? And, worse, what torture and unimaginable pain had he suffered that could have caused such scars?
    His narrowed eyes, rapidly turning the deep, turbulent blue of a storm-tossed sea at dusk, gave her the answers: far too long and far too much.
    â€œNo, I took the tram,” he replied to the question she’d almost forgotten asking. “The tour guide was excellent. Did you know St. Augustine is the oldest European city in the United States, first visited by Ponce de León in 1513?”
    She smiled, gratefully accepting his unspoken offer of forgiveness. “I did, in fact. I’ve spent a lot of time exploring the city since we decided to establish this outpost here.”
    â€œIt still surprises me, when I think of it, to recall just how young your country is. Coffee?”
    She blinked. “What? No, I have some, thanks.”
    â€œI meant, may I have some? Coffee?”
    She felt the heat climb into her cheeks, where it would probably stay for the rest of the time Alexios was in St. Augustine. She was twenty-five, damnit, and a trained

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