Byzantine Heartbreak

Byzantine Heartbreak by Tracy Cooper-Posey

Book: Byzantine Heartbreak by Tracy Cooper-Posey Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tracy Cooper-Posey
“I’m removing myself from the equation,” she told him.
    Ryan caught her arm as she turned away. “Not forever,” he said and he couldn’t help the questioning note that emerged.
    “Just until lamplight,” she told him.
    But he couldn’t leave it at that. He drew her back to him and kissed her. It was intoxicating. How had he lived without these kisses for a year? How had he lived with her and merely imagined what they might be like? His imaginings had been poor substitutes.
    “Ryan,” she protested breathlessly when he released her.
    “I’m sorry. I could find no other way to say it. And it had to be said.” He stepped away from her. “I hope your market day is a pleasant one.”
    Her smile was jittery. “Yes...well...” She turned and glided away, graceful and erect, her head held high, her shoulders square.

    Chapter Eight
    Salathiel was waiting for Ryan in his room. He wore his tunic from the day before, the sleeveless one that showed the muscles bunching and playing in his tanned and corded arms. The tunic was old and stopped above his knees.
    He was barefoot, still. He stood at the window, looking out over the shutters that covered the lower half of the open window. The dome of St. Sophia was visible, shining in the bright morning sunshine. It was going to be a dazzlingly beautiful day.
    Salathiel turned to face Ryan. “She sent you back.” He took a steadying breath. “Neither of us deserve her.”
    “Yet you just might get to keep her,” Ryan said, trying to keep the bitterness out of his voice. “She said she will return at lamplight.” He came to a halt in the middle of the room, unable to move any closer to Salathiel. Reluctance had suddenly mired his feet.
    Salathiel watched him slow and halt and pushed himself away from the window. “Ah, the testing moment, vampire.”
    Ryan frowned.
    Salathiel moved toward him. “You have been roaming the world for more years than you care to name even to me. Freedom is a heady taste. It’s like wine. It grows on the tongue. You’ve been free a good long while. And now, after going where you want, when you wish, for a year you have found your heart anchored and that has halted your wandering ways.”
    Salathiel moved behind Ryan and he could feel the man’s body, very close. He could feel the human’s heat. Ryan’s heart began to beat, all by itself. His body, still recovering from the sensations Nia had produced, began to thrum all over again.
    Salathiel was not much taller than Ryan. But he was tall enough to lean in from behind and murmur in Ryan’s ear. “Now you find yourself tied to a human.”
    The clip holding the tunic together on Ryan’s shoulder was pulled out, releasing the folds of fabric. It was enough to let the other side of the tunic slide down his other shoulder and on to the floor. Salathiel pushed the tunic away with his foot, leaving Ryan naked once more.
    Something fluttered out of the corner of his eye and he turned to see Salathiel’s tunic land on top of his own.
    Ryan’s pulse leapt.
    Salathiel’s hands settled on his hips and Ryan gasped at the contact. The heat from Salathiel was astonishing.
    “Your heart is committed,” Salathiel said, as he slowly drew around Ryan, to face him once more. His big hands stayed on Ryan’s hips, swivelling around as Salathiel moved. “But now that you stand on the brink, you’re wondering what you’ve let yourself in for, if you can stomach being held to one place, if you will hold with being human once more. If you can accept love.” Salathiel looked him in the eye. “Is that why you could not cross the floor, Ryan?”
    He was a glorious specimen of a man. He glowed with vitality, health and aliveness. His blue eyes snapped with fire and his flesh rippled with muscles.
      “I have lived so many lifetimes more than you, Lathe, that I’m afraid to tell you how many least you recoil in horror. So why is it that you, the human, is reassuring me ?”

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