Matt pulled back from the kiss first, and his cheek rested against hers, and for several moments, there was only the sounds of their breathing.
Shay’s eyes flickered up to look at him. “Matt?” she whispered.
She heard him swallow. “I love you so much, Shay. I’m so sorry.”
A smile spread across Shay’s face. “Matt!” she exclaimed and threw herself against him, even with her hands bound behind her back. They both tumbled backwards onto the cushions, and Shay would have rolled off if Matt’s hand hadn’t looped around her waist.
He drew her back on top of him, and she bent her head to kiss him once more.
The kiss was warm and sweet as his one hand continued to hold her waist as she other wound into her hair, and then it became white-hot and fierce, sending small shivers of pleasure up Shay’s spine.
Shay broke away with a gasp and, tasting salt water on her lips, realized she was crying. “I thought you hated me,” she got out in a choking sob. “I didn’t mean to leave you.”
“Shh,” Matt said, brushing a strand of hair behind her ear. “It’s alright. I could never hate you. . ."
Just then they heard voices and a loud crash. Shay froze, and her eyes went wide, a mirror image of Matt’s own face.
“We have to get you out of here,” Matt said, drawing Shay up with him as he sat. He stood, taking her by the upper arm to also help her to her feet, but Shay pulled out of his grip as she stepped back away from him.
Shay shook her head. “I can’t just leave. She’ll come after me again. I have to . . . I have to kill her, Matt.” She tilted her head to the side. “I have to kill her,” she said again, as if coming to the full realization of it. “Don’t I?”
Matt sighed and looked away at the far wall. “I had hoped you wouldn’t say that, but yes, I suppose you do.”
Shay turned around, holding the hands that were bound behind her back out to him. He understood what she was asking, and the metal of the handcuffs clinked together as they fell to the ground. Her wrists were bruised and bleeding from all the abuse they’d been through over the past few days, but Shay paid no attention to them.
Shay looked at Matt. “I’ll lead Kendall and the others away from here. Take them,” she said, pointing at the girls on the ground, “through the garage and load them into the Hummer. Then get them out."
Matt began to protest, but Shay went up on her toes and pressed her lips to his, and the words that had been forming were lost.
Shay pulled back an inch so their noses just skimmed one another’s. “This is something I have to do on my own,” she whispered.
“I don’t want to lose you.”
“You have to trust me,” Shay told him. She pecked him once more on the lips.
“I do trust you,” Matt said, and Shay could see the but forming. “But that doesn’t guarantee your safety.”
Shay drew herself up, trying to make her small, fragile-looking body seem powerful and strong. “I am a Daughter of Hecate,” she said matter-of-factly. “I have gone up against vampires and werewolves and even other witches, and I am still alive, despite the odds that have always been stacked against me. I have beaten Kendall’s black magic before, and I can do it again. I need you to believe that, because I do.”
Matt hesitated a moment, and then he nodded. “Alright.” He cupped Shay’s chin once more and bent so his lips fit tightly against hers. Shay bathed in the taste of him and the small tiny sparks of pain where his other hand knotted in her hair. When he pulled back, he murmured against her lips, “But I’m coming back for you.”
“Isobel and Ivory are still hiding out in the basement,” Shay said, although it was just a shot in the dark. They might have moved somewhere else since then. “Get to them if you can, but if not stay hidden and stay safe.”
“What are you going to do?” Matt asked.
“I,” Shay said, and there was a wicked glint in her green eyes, “am going to be a very bad witch.”
“I love you,” he told her.
“I love you, too.” She brushed her fingers along his jaw line and smiled up at him. Then she fled past him without a glance back, knowing that if she did, she might choose to leave with him now and ruin all chances of stopping Kendall.
She’d promised him she’d be safe, but her new plan guaranteed the opposite outcome.
What Matt didn’t know was that when she’d said she loved him, what she’d really been saying was goodbye.
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