Colin swept her up in his arms again. "See you back
at the house, Tom."
She swayed and bobbled with the herky-jerky motion. "You
can't carry me down the mountain. I'm too heavy. You'll hurt
"Only if you keep wiggling around."
He landed awkwardly, and her stomach dove. "Colin!"
She buried her head in his neck. "I'm scared."
"Don't be. I've got you." His breath was warm against
her ear. "Just stay like that, close to me. Keep as still
as you can; it'll help me balance."
He squeezed her tighter in his arms. "I'll keep you
She breathed easier locked against him like that. She heard
his heartbeat hammer from his exertion, and the steady drumming
"I could get used to this," he said.
She raised her head slowly. "What, carrying people down
all the hills and mountains in Valselo?"
"No." He smiled. "I could get used to having
you in my arms."
She felt tongue-tied. What should she say? Should she admit
that there was no place she would rather be? That she had
never felt so safe and protected? She wanted to trust him
but how could she after the sting of his display with Brianna?
"Wouldn't you rather have Brianna in your arms?"
"Brianna?" His baffled look gave her a jolt of
pleasure. "Why in the world would you think that?"
He hopped down, and for a moment her legs and shoulders flew
out of his hold. The freefall sensation was as unsettling
as it was exhilarating. She could do this; she could confront
"She said you were in her room this morning, and that's
why you missed breakfast. And she hung all over you on the
"I was in her room." Down, down some more, he didn't
break stride. "She twisted the knob off the air conditioner
and asked if I could help her put it back on. It took me two
minutes. I don't know why she couldn't do it herself."
He stopped short and caught his breath.
"Wait a minute," he said with a bemused expression.
Want more? Read Chapter 1 here