The Beautiful Ashes Page 31

Tomas and Costa exchanged another look, then Tomas let out a deep sigh.

’’No, Ivy. Adrian\s the last of another line.’’

’’Whose?’’ I asked in a steely voice, my glare daring them not to tell me.

’’Get out, both of you.’’

Adrian\s voice cut through the silence. Like before, he\d come in without anyone noticing. Tomas and Costa rose at once, leaving without another word. When I saw the expression on Adrian\s face, part of me wanted to follow them, but the rest wanted the truth so much, I didn\ care about the consequences.

’’Whose line are you the last of?’’ I said, refusing to back down. ’’Tell me now, or I leave that weapon lost, and after what I just heard, \lost\ is probably where it should stay.’’

He smiled, the seductive curve of his lips not taking away from the lethal hardness in his jeweled gaze. His jaw was shadowed from not having shaved recently, and that hint of darkness only made his high cheekbones look more pronounced, giving an edge to his already unforgettable features. Even in his bloody, torn clothes, I\d never seen him look more gorgeous, and for the first time, I was also afraid of him.

’’Haven\ you guessed?’’ he asked, his voice caressing the words like silk draping across daggers. ’’Who in history committed such a heinous act that it made his name forever synonymous with betrayal?’’

’’I don\ know,’’ I said, backing up as he came toward me with slow, stalking steps.

’’Yes, you do.’’

A rough, throaty whisper, and then he was in front of me, his arms a cage that blocked me in while the wall behind me made retreat impossible. Despite my fear, I shivered as he leaned down, his mouth only inches from mine and his hands sliding to rest on my shoulders. The last time we\d been this close, he\d almost kissed me, and God help me, I still wanted him to. My feelings for him defied logic, sanity or safety, and judging from the intensity in his gaze as he wound one hand through my hair, it was possible he felt the same way.

Then his mouth lowered, but not to my lips, though they parted in reckless anticipation. Instead, he kissed my cheek, whispering his darkest secret at the same time.

’’I\m the last descendant of Judas, and like my infamous forefather, my fate has been, and always will be, to betray the children of David.’’

Chapter sixteen

I felt like I couldn\ breathe. His mouth was still pressed to my skin, caramel-colored hair like rough silk against my forehead, breaths teasing my ear with soft heat. Add that to his revelation, and the wall was the only thing holding me up.

’’Adrian,’’ I began.

’’Don\ .’’ His hand tightened in my hair. ’’Everything that\s happened since we met only proves how entangled in our fates we already are. Judians and Davidians have always been drawn to one another, but then Judians betray and destroy Davidians. Thousands of years and countless betrayals later, we\ e the only ones left.’’

His hand stroked from my shoulder to my face, moving over it in a caress that made my skin burn.

’’Maybe being the last of our lines made what we feel for each other so much stronger. I\m not just drawn to you, Ivy. I\ve wanted you since the first time you touched me. It was as if you reached inside and claimed something that had always been yours.’’ He drew back to stare at me as if he was trying to memorize my features. ’’That\s why I thought you had to be a minion. Nothing but dark magic had ever felt so powerful, and when I touch you, it\s a thousand times worse. You\ e the light I can never have...and I\m the darkness you\ll never succumb to.’’

His hand dropped, leaving my skin feeling cold. ’’That\s why it would never work between us, so now you understand why I need to get away from you, Ivy. Before I betray you like everyone else in my line has betrayed Davidians. I refuse that part of my fate, and it\s not just to spite Demetrius anymore. It\s because I can\ stand the thought of hurting you.’’

Before my next breath, he was standing in the sanctuary entrance, the night surrounding him like a cloak.

’’So do what your ancestors weren\ able to,’’ he rasped. ’’Save yourself by never believing you can save me.’’

Then he was gone, leaving me with questions I had no answers to and emotions I couldn\ seem to control.

* * *

Tomas sat in the sanctuary with me, his cell phone screen providing a small circle of light. Adrian and Costa were on the roof, watching out for any unwelcome visitors. Even if Adrian wasn\ the only one who could see in the dark, he still wouldn\ have stayed down here. His decision to avoid me didn\ take into consideration my wishes on the subject.

For now, I\d let him get away with that. My emotions got in the way when Adrian was near, so this gave me a chance to separate fact from feeling. Unfortunately, that hadn\ helped.

Fact: Adrian had lived like a demon for many years. Feeling: with how he\d been brought up, he wouldn\ have known it was wrong. Fact: he felt doomed to repeat the mistakes of his ancestors. Feeling: to hell with them, everyone was responsible for their own choices. Fact: I didn\ want to be betrayed. Feeling: Adrian wouldn\ do it. Fact: I shouldn\ fall for a borderline psychopath with demonic daddy issues. Feeling: something special was brewing between me and Adrian, and it had nothing to do with Adrian being the last Judian or me being the last Davidian.

The sound of a car interrupted my thoughts. I ran over to the window, but Tomas said, ’’Don\ worry, it\s my friends.’’


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