Lexi Meets Mikos – This is the first time she actually meets and talks to him – before she’s seen him but they never actually met.
A soft click, the sound of a door opening, came from behind her. Lexi lurched to her feet. On the way up, her knee slammed into the underneath of the heavy wooden desk. “Shit!” Pain stabbed her knee followed by a tingling sensation. She staggered backward and knocked into the chair with the back of her heel. Damn it!
She bent over, vigorously rubbing the abused spot then glanced up and froze. What a picture she must make. Ass in the air, rubbing her knee and her mouth hanging open like a big-mouth bass. So what. All she could think was one word. Wow. Her imagination deserved a standing ovation.
The man standing in front of the wall wasn’t GQ handsome like copper-haired, perfectly featured Jackson McKay. No way would this man be mistaken for a pretty boy. His rugged features had too much strength. And way too much arrogance in the stubborn set of his square chin.
From beneath his navy t-shirt and blue jeans, power fairly screamed from his pores. Inky hair gleamed in the soft lights, the wavy thickness begging to be touched. A whisper of a beard etched his strong jaw. Broad shoulders completed the picture. Everything about the man seemed bigger. Imposing. Confident.
And familiar. Very familiar.
Lexi straightened and reversed a half step. Something clicked, and a memory ripped through her mind. Her hands reached out for support, grabbing onto the back of a large side chair. Fingertips dug into the velvet. She’d seen him. At Blush.
The night she . . . died.
A migraine crashed into existence, wiping out all thoughts of her banged knee and heel. She clutched at her chest; the spot over her heart. A cold shiver traveled down her spine, pooling at the base. She remembered. The shot. The punch of the bullet into her chest, shredding skin and splintering bone. Tearing straight into her heart. She’d died.
Lexi sucked in a deep breath and held it. With trembling fingers, she lifted the bottom hem of her red t-shirt. A quick scan showed unmarked skin. She pawed her fingers across the smooth surface. Not a single mark. Or scar. No blood stained her skin or her t-shirt. Not a damn sign that anything had happened. Just an expanse of olive flesh that mocked the vivid memory stealing her breath away.
She exhaled in a rush. Impossible. Yet she distinctly remembered the shot. Make that shots. And dying. The agony. The ice cold. Finally, the lack of feeling. Of anything.
Lexi lifted her gaze to meet the dark eyes of the man standing before her. Except him. She remembered him.
And his wings. Big, dark.
“I’m pleased you’re awake,” he said. His even tone matched the flat expression on his face as if he didn’t realize the import of what happened. Of what she’d seen.
“Who-,” her throat clenched cutting her off. She swallowed heavily and began again, “who the hell are you?”
He bent in a half bow. A slight smile pulled at the corners of his lips when he looked up. “My name is Mikos Tyomni.”
His voice, low and whisky smooth, eased through her body. A shudder started at her toes and worked its way up to her fingertips. When goose bumps lifted the hair on her arms, she glanced down. Sonofabitch. Where had those come from?
“How are you feeling?” he continued.
“How do you think I feel?” Lexi shoved aside her mimic of a statute. “I don’t know where I am. I think I died and somehow I can talk to a rock, and . . . ” She froze, her tirade trailing off.
Too many impressions whirled through her mind. The migraine bored down hard, pressing in like a vice over her skull. She’d died, come back to life, woke up in a strange room, talked to a rock and now the poster boy for power and charisma cocked his head at her, his expression fascinated as if he could almost hear her jumble of confused thoughts.
He moved toward her. His seemingly stalking pace struck another familiar chord. She sucked in a hiss. This can’t be real. He can’t be real. If he was real then so was her death.
After making sure the desk remained between her and the man, Lexi looked wildly around the room. Could she reach the wall filled with a wide assortment of blades and medieval weapons? Not likely.
Moving on, her darting gaze caught a flash of silver from the corner of her eye. She lunged and snatched up a metal letter opener. What a freaking cliché. Still, when she pointed it at him, he stopped.
“I’m not going to hurt you,” he said.
Uh, huh. “You were there. In the audience.” She swallowed again. “Outside.”
He nodded, his face shuttered. Not a dream. Not going insane. Something else entirely. Confusion tightened her dry throat. Like a broken record, she kept going back to her vision. She’d seen the wings. Hadn’t she?
“Will you please put down the letter opener?” he continued.
“When you tell me what happened to me. And why I’m here.” She gestured around the room. “Wherever here is.”
“You are in my home and are perfectly safe. If I wanted you harmed, I would have already done so.” He jerked his head at the couch. “While you were sleeping.”
Damn, he had her there. She set down the letter opener but kept her fingers close. “Fine. It’s down. Now talk.”
“As to what happened. You died.”
Her head snapped back, and her hand flew to her throat. “How is that even possible?” she whispered.
“You wear the amulet.”
Her fingers slid down to cover the pendant. “This?”
He nodded. “It saved your life.”
“You are a defender,” he continued when she didn’t say anything further, “descended from an ancient line of hereditary champions charged by the Light with the protection of the human race against the powers of darkness. I’ve been assigned to help you fulfill your destiny.”
At his words, Lexi’s whole defensive posture deflated like a popped balloon. Good god. She had a destiny?
She barely had a life.