“Lightweights. Can’t handle their liquor,” he shrugs and I flood with relief. Thank goodness for that poison. If they hadn’t blacked out, who knows what they would’ve done. “Let’s leave,” he adds and I nod eagerly. I follow Revenge out on the street and then I clasp his hand so hard it’s probably a little uncomfortable for him.
But his touch is the only thing reassuring me right now and I’m relieved he’s not trying to squirm out of my grip or telling me to slow down because I’m practically running down the dirt path. My heart’s pounding in my chest and I gasp when Revenge pulls me to him and then I feel his lips on my hair.
“Easy lamb,” he rasps and his own heart is beating surprisingly steady against my back. Why is it beating so steadily? “I’m here.”
I gulp. “And thank goodness you are,” I whisper, “Rev, I’m so relieved you aint tried picking a fight with them. There’s no way you could’ve beat them.”
His teeth grind. “I could have.”
I shake my head. “Please, there were three of them...just no way.” I stroke his arm, surprised by his belief in himself. “You did the right levelheaded thing to lay low. It’s what I would’ve done.”
“You’re a little girl,” Revenge says, sounding like I just insulted him and I raise my brows.
“Aint no shame. Fear is fear and back there you werefrightened.” A growl rumbles in Revenge’s chest and I look at him in surprise. “What in the world? You sounded like an animal just now.” Concerned about wounding his male pride again, I take his wrists and kiss his palms.
“These are a farmer’s hands, not a warrior’s,” I say gently to make him feel better, “and they still turn everything they touch into gold.” I beam up at him but Revenge looks like he’s struggling against some deep urge. Anaggressiveurge as if he wants to tear his shirt off and rip out one of the trees by its roots or something.
It’s probably what happens to a male when other men threaten him and the woman he’s with and I don’t blame him. It must’ve been hard for him to sit back and let them act that way toward us. At least it didn’t escalate things and we got away unharmed, which is the important thing.
Sighing, I tightly hold on to Revenge’s arm as we hurry back home and I can’t help but glance over my shoulder. What if we get followed? As soon as we’re back at the farm, I all but drag Revenge into the house (or its more like him letting himself get dragged) and biting my nails, I go straight for the kitchen.
“Please sit,” I urge, nodding at one of the chairs and I drag a hand through my hair. “You must be as distraught as I am. I’ll make you some tea.”
“Tea?” Revenge rumbles as if he has never had a cup of tea in his life. I nod, reaching for a pot.
“It’ll calm the nerves.”
“I don’t need my nerves calmed. Unless it involves you letting me take your clothes off. That’ll calm me.”
Twitching, I pretend I didn’t hear that because I don’t know what to do when he talks like that. Whenever he uses those kinds of words, Ifeelthem in my body. I’m not used to that kind of talk, or any of that kind of stuff. When I don’t respond to his request he sits but there’s an aggressive streak to his mouth that’s not fading.
He still looks like he wants to break something and I walk over to him and take his face into my hands. “You’re a brave man,” I purr and he lifts his chin.
“Am I?” Something flickers in his eyes. “A brave man would have killed those men.”
It shames me to say this but I feel a thrill down my spine at the thought. At the thought of Revenge avenging me, at the thought of him not letting anyone disrespect me or him or...I swallow, stroking his face and at least this he likes. At least this seems to make him a little more tranquil.
“I like you the way you are, Rev,” I murmur. “I doan need a hero. I just need you.”
“What if I wanted to be your hero?”
A small smile curls my mouth. “You sweet. A sweet, sweet man.”
“You’re wrong about me,” Revenge says, taking my hands away from his face but he does it in a way that doesn’t make me feel rejected and he stands, pulling my hands down to his chest. “But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like your blind devotion.”
Blind devotion. He has it. He has all of it.
At the thought of anyone taking him away from me, I sway and dig my fingers into his shirt before turning away from him and I kick the rug and point at the floor.
“This is what I wanted to show you. We’ll hide in this hatch if we need to,” I say. “They could come at a time when we’re the least prepared.” I swallow. “There’s a shotgun down there. A loaded one. I saved it for emergencies...” When Revenge turns, I cry out, “Where you goan?”
“We’re not hiding down there. Ever,” he says in a chilling voice and I panic, desperately throwing myself at him and I slide down his torso, holding onto his legs to stop him from moving.
“You can’t leave,” I shriek, “can’t leave me alone...”
My eyes widen when he clasps me around my shoulders and he lifts me to my feet and holds me so close I can’t breathe and I die a little bit in his arms. “Why would I leave?” he groans. “What did I tell you?” I jerk when he cups me between my legs. “What did I tell you about this?”
I gasp, my lids fluttering. “That its y...yours.”