Cloak & SilenceBy: Sherrilyn Kenyon
The League_ Nemisis Rising 07
“I’m telling you, Ture, he will come for us.”
Ture scoffed bitterly at Zarya’s blind optimism and devotion. “Honey, the only one coming for us is death, and I just hope the petty bastard stops on his way here and brings us a biscuit…. Sooner rather than later.”
Zarya rolled her eyes at Ture’s acerbic tone and facetious humor. She wasn’t sure at this point how long the two of them had been held. Since there were no windows in hell, she couldn’t judge night from day, and while they slept between their torture sessions, she had no idea for how long. It never seemed to be more than mere snatches that were interrupted by severe pain and utter misery.
Her entire body aching, she winced at the sorry condition Ture was in. He’d always been so fastidious with his appearance. Never so much as a strand of dark reddish brown hair out of place.
But today that hair was matted with blood and gnarled with tangles. His gorgeous face was bruised with one eye swollen completely shut. Someone had left a perfect image of a handprint in the form of a bruise along his chiseled jawline. Worse were the handprints where he’d been choked.
Guilt racked her. But for her and her stupidity, he wouldn’t even be here. It’s all my fault.
Under no circumstance should she have asked him to don a Resistance uniform. For that one favor to her, the League had assumed him to be one of her men and no matter how much she tried to tell them the truth, no one listened. They continued to torture him for information he didn’t have, and her for information she refused to give.
“I’m so sorry I got you into this.”
Ture wanted to curse Zarya for her naive stupidity in thinking she could pull off a peace mission between lunatics. He really did. But as he looked at her and saw the sincerity in her gaze— her agonized guilt over the pain she’d caused him— his anger vaporized. In all the universe, she was the closest thing to family he’d known in a very long time. And that was how he’d gotten caught up in this mess.
For her, he would do anything.
Sighing at his own epic stupidity, he opened his arms to her and she quickly accepted the invitation for a hug.
In spite of the pain caused from her body touching his, he held her to his chest. She tucked her head beneath his chin like his sister had done when she was a little girl just returning from her treatments. How he hated his own weakness. Mara had been everything to him and he still mourned her. Zarya reminded him so much of her that he, who had sworn to let no one back into his life, had been an utter fool for her from day one. He was that way with any woman in pain.
A sucker to the extreme.
And the last thing he wanted to do was lose another family member he loved.
“You have to tell them what they want to know, Z.”
“I can’t. They want me to give them the names of the Sentella High Command.”
The Sentella was the only organization in existence that truly threatened the League’s iron grip on their United Systems. They alone could break the League apart and free the governments that lived in fear of the League’s tyranny. But this wasn’t about the freedom of people who wouldn’t spit on them if they were on fire.
This was about their own survival. The League interrogators had already killed her once. Next time, they might not revive her.
He brushed the bloody hair back from her face. “You need to think of your baby, honey. You’re lucky you haven’t miscarried already.”
Still, she held on to a blind hope he couldn’t even begin to fathom. “Darling will come for us. I know he will.”
Ture ground his teeth at her childish devotion. Not once since they’d been taken had it faltered. She honestly thought her boyfriend would come risk his own life and free them from this hellhole.
How he wished he could believe it, too. But he knew better. “Heroes aren’t real. They don’t come charging in to save their damsel. Trust me. They vapor trail off at the first sign of trouble, leaving you behind to face the invading army all by yourself, hoping they’ll burn the house down on top of you so they don’t have to deal with you again.”
“No, Ture. Those are selfish assholes. A hero doesn’t give up or give in. Ever. Darling told me he would crawl naked through Kere’s fiery and frigid domain, over broken glass, just to hold my hand, and I believe him.”
“Men will say anything to get into your pants, love. They don’t mean a word of it.”
She took his hand into hers and held it tight. “I’m sorry that you’ve never been in love with a man who really loved you back, Ture. But I’m telling you…I have seen what Darling and Maris have gone through for each other, and they won’t leave us here. They won’t rest until they’ve rescued us. I know it.”
Ture opened his mouth then closed it. There was no need in arguing. She had her delusions and he had his. Maybe there had been a time in his life when he’d been so blinded by love that he, too, believed such bullshit. But too many years of being bitch-slapped by selfish dicks had taken its toll on him.