“You look beautiful.”
Libra stood very still. “I do?”
“Mm-hmm. In that coat, you really do look like an angel.”
“I’m no angel.” Just a visitor from another planet with abilities that would terrify you.
Brendan's eyes narrowed, but the corners of his mouth lifted. “Oh, I know that. I’ve seen you play Slap Jack.”
She laughed, the tension easing. “I play to win.”
“I’m glad. I like a little friendly competition.”
“Then you’ll like me.”
“I already do.”
Her heartbeat picked up. “I like you, too.”
His smile grew. “I know.”
Something about the way he said it triggered an alert. “How do you know?”
He gazed at her, the angle of the midday sun burnished his hair with gold. “I’m an empath.”
“An empath? You mean you’re compassionate?” She’d seen evidence of that in his dealings with Lelindia.
“I try to be. But it’s deeper than that. I can literally feel what other people are feeling.”
He could… Fear drove her backward. “You can—”
“Whoa, whoa.” He reached for her, grasping her upper arms and halting her retreat. “Please don’t be afraid.”
Impossible request. She trembled under his touch. He could sense her feelings? What had she been telling him without even knowing? What had she revealed?
“I’m sorry, Libra.” He drew her closer.
She was too terrified to resist.
“I should have told you sooner.” He tucked her against his chest, resting his cheek on top of her head. “Please don’t be afraid of me,” he whispered.
His heart was beating almost as fast as hers. Which made her realize he was scared, too. Scared that she would reject him because he had an ability she didn’t understand.
Oh, the irony.
“I would never, ever hurt you.” It was a plea. And a promise.
She drew in a slow breath, her muscles relaxing as the warmth of his body and the sound of his voice soothed her fears, melting them like hot wax. Slowly, tentatively, she slid her arms around his waist, snuggling her head against his chest.
His breath released on a sigh, his arms tightening around her. “Thank you, Libra. Thank you for your trust.”
Gryphon had asked if she trusted him. She hadn’t known the answer then, but she did now. She couldn’t explain why, even to herself. But understanding he had a special ability made her feel more connected to him, not less. To her, he shone like a star, lighting her world.
It made no sense. But it was real.