Into the Woods (part 3)

“Dearest one, come back.” A gentle touch on her cheek, a warm fingertip gliding down her neck and arm, a hand closing around hers. Warmth, luscious warmth. “Please,” the voice—soft, coaxing. Lips brushing her cheek, hair, forehead. “Don’t leave me.”

She opened her eyes. Kneeling before her in the gathering twilight was a man, dark hair and eyes, handsome to look upon. He smiled. “I thought I’d lost you.” He helped her to sit and gave her food and drink. He built a fire in the middle of the grove as the night creatures began their song. He told her stories that made her laugh and brought tears to her eyes.

When the last of the iciness left her toes, he stood and reached for her hand. “Dance with me,” he said and helped her to her feet. He hummed as they waltzed among the trees, then the night creatures’ song became their music, then even that disappeared—she was aware only of his strong arms and gentle, smiling eyes as their bodies swayed in unspoken rhythm.

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