By slow, regretful degrees, Assefa pulled out of the kiss, remembering they’d shared their first in this very spot, about four months ago. Their eyes met, and Assefa knew Sanura recalled the same memory.
Her hands came to his cheeks, cupping his face, voice tender and sincere when she spoke. “Back then, you were so much of what I wanted and everything I was afraid to have.”
Damn, how did she do that? How did Sanura remove his heart from his chest, hold it in her hands and he still breathed, still lived? Because surely the woman would be the emotional death of him, so deftly did she manage her were-cat—effortless and without artifice. Sanura simply spoke from the heart, fighting for them the way she’d promised on her birthday.
Still, they’d neither completed the final part of the handfasting ceremony, nor Sanura accepted his binding bite, taking the witch as his eternal mate the way her fire spirit already claimed his Mngwa as hers. Half a mate bond. He her mate, but she not his in the way of their people.
Her heartfelt grin had Assefa smiling in return, unwilling to ruin the moment and Sanura’s confession with his foreboding thoughts.
They’d made it through the summer without any more deaths linked to them, Mami Wara, the water witch of legend, or the prophecy. But Assefa didn’t trust the silence, the lull in indirect attacks. Too many had died—Mr. Siddig’s girlfriend, Joanna Blackwell, as well as her brother and sister-in-law, Gayle and Callum Livingston, Assefa’s housekeeper and her husband, Detective Pilar Salazar and over a dozen African immigrants she’d massacred, driven by magical or godly means, no doubt, to commit the heinous crimes.
No, Assefa couldn’t bring himself to trust the quiet, to relax and enjoy being loved and in love, to plan for a future with the woman caressing his short curls, watching him with knowing and intelligence. If wasn’t a matter of if something would happen but when. The Day of Serpents would come, of that he was certain.
“We’ll be ready. And we’ll fight. Together.”
Yes, this woman was made for him, knew him, saw him in a way unexplainable by science and the laws of nature. Preternatural, magical, and prophetic—the fire witch and cat of legend, destined to save the world or die trying.
She was right. They would fight, not because they had no choice but because their protective nature, determined hearts, and sense of truth, justice, and morality would allow nothing else. Yet Sanura was also wrong. They were not ready. And he feared, no matter what they did or how well they planned, when the lull finally gave way to terror, to war, it would take more than togetherness, more than faith and fire to save the world, to save them.