Chapter 2

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My heart stopped.

Curled in a corner, her dark hair curtained her face. She didn't move at my approach, yet I knew she felt my presence. I heard her heart kick up, beating in an identical rhythm to mine. It was the same each time. Our separation, whether it was hours or days, caused amplified reactions between us.

I paused at the bottom of the steps. If I closed my eyes, I could see Angel coming out of her house, the sunlight streaming through her hair and picking up the red highlights. And she'd be wearing those little shorts she loved. I might have loved them more. They did crazy things to her sun-kissed legs, which did crazy things to me. There were a number of things about her that caused my belly to turn inside out.

Her scent. Her smile. Her laugh. Her sharp tongue.

The usual icy guilt drenched my insides. I had to fight every basic instinct to zap across the room, throw open the door, swoop her up in my arms, and take her far, far away from here. My fists balled at my sides and a shudder rolled through me.

Then her head lifted. Letting out a shaky breath, I walked toward the bars of her confinement, careful not to get too close. "You're awake."

She stared right through me.

No life glittered in her eyes. She was just an empty shell with no one home.

My stomach knotted.

I'd come to expect the crimson glares, so to see her blue eyes made me a little dizzy. "Angel," I called softly.

"Chase?" Her voice was hoarse and confusion clouded in her expression. Slowly, her eyes traveled over the room, and I felt her blood pressure rise.

This was only the second time I'd seen the clarity in her eyes since that night she'd killed her father. I was suddenly afraid this moment was going to slip away before I had the chance to savor it, because who knew how long it would be until the next time? I could only hope it would be sooner rather than later.

My thrill at seeing her overrode my common sense. Before I processed what I was doing, I moved, shutting myself inside with Angel. It was only a blink, and the only reasonable explanation for my stupidity was she made me do stupid things. "I can't believe it's you," I said, framing her pale face.

"Who else would it be?" The hoarseness in her voice caused a twinge in my chest, for I knew it was from screaming.

Her beauty struck me hard, like a bolt of lightning. She was the most beautiful creature I'd ever seen. As soon as I touched her face, I knew I was in trouble. My heart hammered inside my chest. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. It felt as if it had been a lifetime since I'd been able to feel her skin. It was still as soft as I remembered.

Then I was kissing her.

My lips were fastened to hers in a hard, desperate kiss. I pulled her close, not thinking. In seconds we were wrapped up in each other, the gloomy room disappearing, which tended to happen when we kissed. Her arms secured around me, fingers running along the back of my neck and leaving scorching tingles trailing from her touch.

Deep down, I knew everything wasn't hunky-dory. She wasn't magically better, but how convenient the mind worked to get what it really wanted.

And oh, I wanted her.

There was no denying that every fiber of my body wanted this. It had been weeks since my lips had touched hers, and the hunger came on swift and strong. I ached inside. Ached for the physical touch of her skin, of her soft, berry-flavored lips.

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