Thirsty Thursday is a weekly feature, hosted by Nikki & Keira @ Lazy Book Lovers, where we discuss all things swoon-worthy: from quotes, book covers, book boyfriends, and even that worth-the-wait book kiss.
This week is all about the almost-kisses, you know, those scenes that somehow leave the readers hanging and wanting more. I’m featuring Nalini Singh, one of my favorite authors in the paranormal romance genre, and her book, Archangel’s Blade, which is my favorite book so far from her Guild Hunter series.
Book: Archangel’s Blade
Character: Dmitri and Honor
Swoon Quality: How badass Honor is and how resilient Dmitri is
“Any word on the tattoo?” she asked instead.
“The three master tattooists we consulted were of the opinion that, regardless of the surface intricacy, it was an amateur job.”
“Damn.” It would make the doer so much more difficult to identify. “And those who might be loyal to Isis?”
“Her name appears dead, forgotten.” Turning to face her, he stopped in the shade of a tree with almost dainty branches hung with shivering leaves, the area around them relatively clear. “Whoever it is that seeks to resurrect her, he’s kept his intentions secret.”
“Devotion?” Her eyes locked with his, and in them she saw a thousand secrets, potent and swathed in velvet shadows formed of violence and pain.
“If he—or she—has revered Isis this long, he must consider her his goddess.” Too precious to stain with the scrutiny of those who might look on her with a more jaundiced eye.
“Perhaps.” Not breaking the intimacy of the visual connection, Dmitri touched his hand to the side of her face.
It was no longer strange, no longer jarring, the rough heat of his skin against her own. And though her heartbeat accelerated, it did so as any woman’s would at the caress of a man so sinfully compelling. The decision instinctive, she cupped his face in her hands when, an erotic rain of bitter chocolate and liquid gold cascading over her senses, he angled his head and bent to press his lips to her own.
A flicker of black, of nothingness . . . and she was on the other side of the clearing. Glancing down at the blade in her grip, then at Dmitri, she bit back a scream. “How badly did I cut you?” A harsh question, twisted through with anger and despair and a wrenching sense of failure.
He held up a hand painted red by a diagonal cut across his palm. “Nothing major.”
The same injury might well have cost a human man the use of the nerves in his hand. Shoving the knife back into her boot after wiping it on fallen leaves, she thrust her hands into her unbound hair, her chest heaving as if she’d run a mile. “Well, that answers that, doesn’t it?” The divide between dreams and reality was a gaping chasm.
A single thick drop of blood running down his fingers, to hit the ground in crimson silence, Dmitri raised an eyebrow. “It tells me only that I need to be faster.”
Her laugh was jerky, bitter. “You are fast.” A vampire of his age and strength could snap her neck before she ever saw it coming. “You’re letting me hurt you.”
“No, Honor. I don’t let anyone hurt me.” Black silk across her skin. “I was, however, looking at your lips, not your knife hand. Next time, I’ll strip you of your weapons first.”
The sheer arrogance of the statement cut through the barbed ugliness of her emotions to incite a languid heat in her veins.
“Yeah? Well, maybe next time, I’ll cut off that hand,” she said, though the sight of his blood, it did something to her, birthing a visceral repudiation.
“So long as you understand”—stalking closer, his finger brushing her lower lip, smoke tangible as a lover’s touch stroking her in places that made her gasp—“that there will be a next time.”
Aftermath: Honor’s been through hell and back having been abducted and tortured for two months by vampires so whenever she feels a little threatened her subconscious sort of takes over to defend herself. This is actually the second time this happened by I appreciate it so much because Dmitri’s not at all discouraged (he respects Honor’s strength and will to survive) and because Honor continues to fight for her future.
That’s it for me for this week’s edition. Which almost-kiss scenes made a lasting impression on you?
Don’t forget to check out Nikki’s and Keira’s picks this week here. My good friend Lorn @ Pakwanstripes is also doing this feature.