CHAPTER 49

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"She's waking up," Tom said. "She's okay."

"Kota?" Sean yelled.

His voice rang like a gong in my head. "Yeah. I'm right here." I snapped my eyes open to see nine pairs of eyes staring down at me.

"D?" Sean asked.

"Okay, what the hell was that?" I rubbed my forehead with my fingers, but I didn't feel a cut or anything. "We kill the big bad demon, and he shoots liquid darts everywhere?"

"Are you okay?" Tom asked. His hand brushed the side of my face, then his fingers curled around the nape of my neck, pulling me forward.

"What'd that thing do to my forehead?"

Tom positioned himself beside me and draped his strong arm around my shoulders. "How do you feel?"

"Fine. Well, cold. We are sitting in a puddle of water, you know."

"Can I ask you something?" Tom said, looking deep into my eyes.

Fire licked the skin around my cheeks at the intensity of his stare. I nodded.

"Can you tell me how we met?"

"Tom, I-" Images of me bumping into him in the hallway on campus flashed in my brain. He held me steady. I thought his eyes looked like pools of chocolate. "Oh my gosh, I remember. Tom. I remember everything."

"Come on." He helped me up.

"How? How-those lights coming from Tarakona, were they memories?" I glanced at Sean. "Sean, do you remember?"

His gaze shifted to his feet. "Yes." His voice quiet.

I looked to Tom. I saw him again. The real him. No haze of not remembering. I remembered everything. Our first kiss. Melace and Patronus. Our wedding. Everything. I jumped at him and wrapped my arms around his neck. I curled my legs around his waist and pressed my lips against his, then nuzzled my face in his neck.

"Tom," I said with a sigh. "My Melace. I remember everything. Oh my gosh. I feel everything."

He threaded his arms around my waist and squeezed me tight. "Thank God."

I wasn't sure how long he held me, but too soon he loosened his hold. I slid down his wall of muscle, each fiber of my being felt every ridge of his chest and corded stomach. A wave of dizzy tilted my vision.

He gripped my left hand with his and pulled it close to his chest. He rested his other hand on my chest, and I followed suit. Let's go home.

I pushed myself up on my tip-toes and pressed my lips against his. "Please."

"So those were memories floating around?" Jordan asked as he turned and led the pack in the direction of the base.

"Doubt it. I think they were souls," Briana said. "I mean, he devoured souls, right?"

I stayed under Tom's warm wing while they debated.

"Why'd Dakota only lose a few months then?" Shelly asked.

"Sean interrupted the soul-suck too early." Briana shrugged. "Before he could do a complete drain, that's what I think."

"What was he?" Gertrude asked.

"He called himself Tarakona. Killer of the Patronus," I said.

"Um. Adams might know more," Sean said as he trailed behind the group.

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