Marcus found Regan standing at the top of one of the
numerous cliffs that barricaded the Watchers' complex,
staring down at the sea, her features pinched with
concentration. The rain had finally stopped, but dampness
still hung in the salt–laden air. A thin mist hugged
her feminine figure, making moisture bead on her skin. She
looked intangible, as elusive as the fog encompassing her.
Regan was so strong and capable, he sometimes forgot how
delicate she was.
The sight of her standing so close to the edge triggered
all his protective instincts, and something else—the
forbidden desire to touch. "Penny for your thoughts," he
said, burying his fists in his jacket pockets, where they
wouldn't be tempted to stray.
She smiled but didn't turn to look at him. "Is that all
"You drive a hard bargain. How 'bout a quarter?"
She laced her arms across her chest as the sun slowly
set behind red–hued clouds. "What's going to happen
to him, Marcus?"
He didn't have to ask her who she meant. Ever since
they'd found Ben cowering in that kitchen, the boy had
dominated her thoughts, maybe even her heart. Marcus had
never believed it was possible for their kind to love, but
recently he'd been forced to revisit that assumption. He'd
seen it firsthand with Jace and Lia, and now he was seeing
it again with Regan. Maybe one didn't necessarily need to
have a soul in order to love. Maybe just the echo of it was
enough, similar to a phantom limb that continued to throb
long after it was severed.
"Cal hasn't come to any decisions yet," he told her.
A brisk breeze blew, sending her curls rioting around
her face. Again, he was seized by the urge to reach out to
her, to smooth back her hair, to run the pad of his thumb
across her mouth.
A mouth meant to be kissed.
He gave himself a mental kick, focused his attention on
the churning waves below. He had no business kissing Regan.
No business even thinking about it. When he'd taken the
blood vow, he'd made a conscious choice to swear off sex,
same as all those who bore the Watchers' mark.
Only Jace and Lia seemed exempt from this oath, and
Marcus couldn't for the life of him figure out why. He'd
seen Cal punish his followers for far less a crime. If
there was one thing his leader demanded, it was absolute
Regan picked up a pebble, then flung it over the cliff
into the restless ocean. "Do you believe in destiny?"
The question took him off guard. "I'm not sure. I know
Cal swears by it."
"I didn't ask about Cal. I asked about you." She ran her
fingers through her hair, exactly as he'd imagined himself
doing. "Cal's always preaching about fate, and for the most
part, I believe him. But deep down, there's this inkling of
doubt, and it gets me thinking sometimes. If everything
really is preordained, what happens to free will? Does it
even exist or are we just being strung along?"
"When did you go all philosophical on me?"
She inhaled deeply, drawing his attention to the gentle
swell of her breasts. Ignoring the kick beneath his ribs,
he looked past her, fixing his gaze on the rocky shore
"I don't know," she said. "I've been having this feeling
lately, like there's something I'm supposed to do, but I'm
not sure what that is. I only know it involves Ben. He's
He'd been having the same feeling, but he refrained from
telling her. The last thing he wanted was for her to grow
even more obsessed with the boy. In their world, obsession
and impulsiveness often spelled disaster.
"Regan, you need to trust Cal to do the right thing. You
know the drill—no Watcher can deviate from the plan.
If you do anything, anything that compromises the mission,
you will be labeled a Rogue. And you know better than
anyone how the Watchers deal with Rogues."
They hunted them down and exterminated them. The idea of
that happening to Regan tore a painful strip out of him.
He'd spent too many years training her, working alongside
her, fighting to keep her alive, to lose her now. Had she
been capable of reading his thoughts, she would've argued
that she was the one always bailing him out of trouble, and
she would've been right. She'd saved him more times than he
could count. They were a team, more in tune than most, able
to regenerate each other with nothing more than a touch,
thanks to the Watchers' bond.
The truth was, he couldn't picture his life without her.
Losing the battle, he clasped her arms and turned her to
face him. "Promise me you won't do anything stupid."
She tensed at his touch, inclined her head to look at
him. "Define stupid."
Those sweet–looking lips hovered inches below his,
too damn appealing to ignore. Right there and then,
standing at the edge of a deadly overhang ensnared by
Regan's smoky gaze, Marcus understood the precise meaning
He was tempted to demonstrate, but he didn't. Releasing
her, he secured a safe distance between them. "Just think
before you act. That's all I ask."
She visibly deflated, and he could've sworn
disappointment momentarily flittered across her face. Above
them, the sun's dying rays struggled to pulse against a sky
determined to suffocate them. Regan grabbed another pebble
and sent it whizzing through the air with a note of
finality. "Thinking is overrated."
A bitter laugh rumbled in his throat. If he wasn't so
damned disciplined, he would've agreed.