Once I stopped singing, it hit me again how achingly tired I was. My eyelids weighed ten tons each. Figuring I’d more than proved my point to Lachlan, I decided that now was the time to let the exhaustion take over.
I couldn’t see changing into my PJs under these circumstances, so I settled for taking off my shoes and socks and exchanging my jeans for a pair of loose, beat-up workout pants. Then I climbed into the small but relatively comfortable bed. It was dark out, and I’d turned off the overhead light, but there was too much of a chill in the air to turn the fireplace off. I fell asleep staring into the silent, flickering flames.
It was still dark when I woke up, completely disoriented. For the first few moments, I couldn’t figure out where I was, but it didn’t take much time for the memory to rush back. My head felt thick and heavy, and everything around me felt unreal. I glanced at my watch and saw that it was two a.m.I flopped over onto my other side, sure I’d be asleep again in seconds, but then I heard the sound of footsteps outside my door.
Belatedly, I realized that I’d heard some kind of thud, and that’s what had awakened me. I’d thought that it was some remnant of a dream, but as I heard the grating sound of the bar being raised, I decided it hadn’t been a dream after all.
I quickly sat up, scrambling to disentangle myself from the covers. Perhaps I’d heard more than I remembered, or perhaps it was just a premonition, but I felt certain the person opening my door wasn’t Lachlan. Seconds later, I was proven right when a man pulled open the door and stepped into my cell.
I stopped struggling with the covers, unable to keep myself from staring. Standing in the doorway to my cell was probably the most gorgeous guy I’d ever seen. He was tall—though he’d probably look like a midget next to Lachlan—and slender, with really long blond hair that draped his shoulders like a cape. It was too dark in the flickering firelight to tell what color his eyes were, except that they were very light—and had the distinctive upward tilt of the Fae. He’d probably have been too perfect to be truly gorgeous if it weren’t for the slight unevenness of his nose, which looked like it had been broken at least once.
He looked younger than most of the Fae I’d seen, though he was older than me. I wondered if he had a baby face, or whether he was really a Fae teenager. I supposed there was such a thing, even though Fae adults became effectively ageless.
He broke into a crooked smile, and I realized that I was staring at him like I was some twelve-year-old meeting the Jonas Brothers. I mentally shook myself by the scruff of the neck and managed to get the covers out of the way. My bare feet didn’t much like the cold stone floor, but I wasn’t about to take my eyes off the Fae long enough to put my shoes and socks on.
“Who are you?” I asked when he just stood there grinning.
“My name is Ethan, and I’m here to rescue you.”
O-kay. Maybe I was dreaming after all. The fog in my head thickened as I tried to figure out which of my million questions I should ask first.
Ethan was still grinning. Guess he was really enjoying my witty dialogue. “Unless you find your present accommodations to your liking and wish to stay.”
“Just grab her and let’s go,” said a girl’s sharp voice from the other room. I couldn’t see her with Ethan blocking the doorway. I wondered where Lachlan was.
Ethan cast an annoyed glance over his shoulder. “I’m trying to show some courtesy,” he said. “You have heard of courtesy, haven’t you?”
The girl called him a couple of names I won’t repeat, and I felt a surge of disappointment. Despite the less-than-friendly exchange, there was a familiarity to their dialogue that suggested they were pretty chummy. Then I rolled my eyes at myself. Why on earth would I care?
Ethan turned his attention back to me. “We really should get going. We haven’t got much time.”
I managed to tear my eyes away from him to pull on my socks, thinking furiously the whole time. Was there any reason I should go with this guy? (Other than that he was a hottie, that is.) I had no idea who he was or why he wanted to rescue me—if he really was trying to rescue me—and Aunt Grace had warned me I was in great danger. Of course, I trusted Aunt Grace about as far as I could throw Lachlan.
I bit my lip, stalling by retying my shoelaces. I’d thought to myself earlier that if I wanted to escape, I’d need an accomplice. Had fate finally taken pity on me and sent me exactly what I needed? Or were Ethan and his girlfriend the real bad guys? Just because he was gorgeous didn’t mean he wasn’t rotten to the core. Then again, if they were the bad guys, I wasn’t going to have much choice in the matter. There were two of them, and only one of me. Maybe I should try screaming?
Ethan took a step closer. “You’ll want to come along with us quietly,” he told me, and there was a hint of warning in his voice. “If we had more time, I could gently persuade you that you can trust us, but that will have to wait until we get you out of here.”
I glared up at him. Somehow, he didn’t look quite so hot anymore. I jumped when the girl entered the room and shoved Ethan aside. She was also Fae, and she looked even younger than Ethan, maybe even my age. If she’d had that distinctive bump on her nose, she’d be the female version of Ethan, with the same long blond hair, slim build, and light-colored eyes.
“Hey!” Ethan protested as he stumbled, but the girl ignored him, muttering something under her breath as she advanced on me.