Wherein Cari and Bryson have a “moment”

A quick excerpt from Brother’s Keeper

 

He reached a hand out to brush her curls from her face, but he said nothing. He’d wanted her to see the galaxy as he saw it. Now, maybe she did, however, he found himself conflicted, not relieved or satisfied. The look in her eyes hurt him. She looked fragile and just a bit afraid.

“I’m not a reporter. I’m no longer a princess, as you loved to call me. So, what am I? A rebel? A traitor?”

“You’re you.”

A fleeting anguish twisted her gentle expression into a fearsome frown. “That’s not enough, Bry. I have to have purpose. My work was what I had, until….”

“Until me,” he finished.

She shook her head. “As flawed as it all was, remember your speech in my penthouse that night. As screwed up as the world was, I thought I had a chance to change it. I believed in the ideas.”

Bryson caught the past tense. “What do you believe now?”

Slowly, she turned her face his way. “Burn it. Let it all go to ash. Start over.”

His breath caught.

Her vehement words were the inevitable outcome of everything he’d said to her, shown her, since meeting her, but, beneath that vehemence was desolation, like she was indeed standing by and watching her whole world burn, and so much more than that. Like she saw the inevitable destruction of every good thing she’d ever believed in, and maybe that was his fault.

“What are you going to do, Bryson?”

It was clearly a heavy demand, but he wasn’t sure what she was asking him to do or say. His expression must have shown that.

“Who are you? Paid assassin or revolutionary?”

He huffed in surprise. “You can’t be both?”

“I don’t think so. I don’t see how.”

He didn’t know what to say, how to respond. He’d, frankly, never thought of changing anything about what he did, except the circumstances of the brothers he was responsible for and minimizing the reach of men like Anton Zoolia. In fact, wasn’t his entire life comprised of small rebellions?

He killed for hire, but, also, for purpose. He avenged his men when he couldn’t protect them. He tried to see the long game of his clients, in order to stop the worst of it, by weighing the clients against each other and taking the jobs that countered the worst outcomes. It hadn’t exactly been a plan, merely his method of survival.

Cari reached up and hooked the back of his neck in her hand firmly. She smiled sadly. “You think about it. I’m going to bed.”

With those words, she dragged his mouth over hers. He plunged into her kiss like a diver. Their tongues danced together. His arms wrapped her close, as his hands slid over the body he fantasized about in the dark every single cycle. Every touch from Cari was an experience he treasured because it might not come again.

Somehow, he ended up with his hand buried in her hair and his teeth catching her bottom lip, reluctant to let even that small taste of her end. She pulled away, dazed but in control.

“You think about the question,” she ordered.

“And, what will you be doing?” He breathed out the words.

“I’ll be waiting.”

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