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Chapter One, Page Three
When the others rode off, Jonah fixed his gaze back on me. My blood froze. Could he see me from that distance?
Not wanting to find out anytime soon, I tore off toward the sound of the river.
My slippers weren’t made for running in the forest. Neither was my maid’s dress. I should have stolen Elion’s clothes. Trousers would’ve allowed for easier climbing.
Damn, I didn’t plan my part of the escape very well. The guys gave the signal and I ran.
The sound of Hounds barking and growling pushed me faster. My heart hammered in my head, throat, chest. My muscles burned.
I came to a drop off and skidded to a stop. No. I must have taken a wrong turn. Glancing over the edge, I sagged in relief at the sight of the river below. The distance down wasn’t too bad. Climbing was an option. Jumping was another. However, I didn’t know how deep the water was.
The baying and growling faded in the distance. Another shudder of relief rippled through me. I wondered if Kieran lead them in a different direction. My heart ached at the thought. He risked his life for me.
What was I doing? Running. God, I was so weak.
A tear slid down my cheek.
Just then a twig snapped and I spun around, meeting the heated, angry depths of Jonah’s stare. My heart sank to my feet. His dark red hair fell in waves to his shoulders, adding to his lethal beauty.
Taking a step back, I held up my hand. “You will have to kill me because I’m not going back.”
He dismounted from his horse, then stalked toward me, his features not altering. Hazel eyes bore into me, challenging me. But he said nothing as he prowled closer, a predator stalking his prey.
I didn’t have much interaction with Jonah. He was the king’s private guard. I tried to stay as far away from my step-father as I could. “Don’t come any closer. I’ll jump.”
He paused in mid-step, but it was brief, then flicked his gaze behind me. With speed that no man should possess, he was in front me, his large hands on my wrists. Fear froze me place. He glanced over the edge before returning to hold my tear-filled gaze.
“Goodbye, princess.” His eyes darkened like a storm brewed from deep within him.
Then he shoved. Confusion filled my brain. It took me a few moments to realize he pushed me off the cliff. I wasn’t prepared for the free fall or the freezing temps of the river. Water went up my nose and I struggled to gain control over my body. In a panic, I gasped in a mouthful.
I tried swimming to the surface but the current was too strong. My lungs burned for air. The rushing water jerked me from side to side and rolled me with the currents. I slammed into something. Pain exploded in my head, then darkness enveloped me.