Dying Wish: A Novel of the Sentinel Wars

Free Dying Wish: A Novel of the Sentinel Wars by Shannon K. Butcher

Book: Dying Wish: A Novel of the Sentinel Wars by Shannon K. Butcher Read Free Book Online
Authors: Shannon K. Butcher
Tags: Fiction, General, Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal
care.
    Jackie grabbed her suitcase from the bed of the truck, and hurried inside, not waiting to see if Iain was keeping up.
    She checked in and headed right to their ground-floor room, which wasn’t nearly large enough now that she was standing in it with Iain right behind her. She could feel the heat coming off his body, hear his slow, even breathing.
    He dropped a duffel bag on the floor and went directly to the window. He shoved the sheers back and pressed against the glass.
    “What are you doing?”
    “Testing to make sure it’s airtight. I don’t want the Synestryn to smell you in here.”
    “Smell me?” She did not like the sound of that at all.
    “It can happen, especially if you bleed. Since I didn’t think you’d want me inquiring about your menstrual cycle, I thought I’d be safe rather than sorry.”
    That news left her standing there, going numb from the feet up. “You’re telling me that once a month the monsters can smell me?”
    “At least that often. Unless you’d like to actually pick a man whose luceria you
want
to wear. You could use magic to mask your scent, and to protect yourself if one of the demons did find you.”
    The way he’d said that made her blink in confusion. “How did you know I didn’t want to wear your luceria?”
    “You’re not exactly a master of subterfuge, Jackie. Any more than I’m a fluffy white bunny. You picked me because you knew you wouldn’t like me, so you wouldn’t be tempted to take pity on me and do the one thing you don’t ever want to do: become a part of my world.”
    He was a lot more astute than she gave him credit for. “That’s not exactly right.”
    Iain went to the door and engaged both locks. Then he opened his bag and began pulling out items. “No?”
    “I picked you because you were the only one who knew the score.”
    “And what score is that?”
    “I’m not like you. I’ll never be like you.”
    “Wrong. You don’t want to be like us. You are, but you’re going to fight it, kicking and screaming, every step of the way.”
    “You make me sound selfish.”
    He shook his dark head. “No, just childish. But you’re young. You have centuries to grow up and do the right thing. I just hope you do so before any more of my brothers die.”
    Jackie stood there in shock, reeling from his talk of death, his insult, and the thought of living that long. He’d worded it so casually, so matter-of-factly, that she had to face it.
    He grabbed a change of clothes, a toothbrush, and razor. “I’m going to shower while the sky is still light. You should be safe for the few minutes it will take me to clean up. Then I’ll stand by and guard you while you sleep.”
    She watched him disappear into the bathroom, her feet rooted to the same spot.
    He was right. She was so concerned about what she wanted that she hadn’t really spent any time considering how her decision would affect others, beyond her certainty that she’d let them down. Her pain had blinded her. She was so wrapped up in getting over what she’d endured that she didn’t stop and think about what the men who’d saved her had endured every day. For centuries. Only there was no rescue for them unless she was the one doing the saving.
    It wasn’t what she wanted. This world. The demons and magic.
    Did that matter? It didn’t seem to matter to Iain. He did what needed to be done and didn’t even bring his wants into the equation.
    Could she do that? Could she truly be that selfless?
    She’d already given up two years of her life. Howcould they ask her to give up the rest of it as well? Especially now that she was starting to realize just how long that was going to be.
    Then again, how could they not ask her to do it? She was special, as much as she hated that fact. She was the only woman they’d ever found who could partner with any of the men. She hadn’t asked for this burden, but she’d always been responsible in the past. Could she really turn a blind eye to so much

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