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  • Home > Laurell Kaye Hamilton > The Anita Blake Series > Wounded (Chapter 3)     
  • Wounded(Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #24.5)(3) by Laurell Kaye Hamilton
  • Tomas was trying to sit up straight, but he was in pain, hiding it, but hurting. He’d been almost as tall as Connie’s six-foot groom, though still willowy, with big hands and feet as if he hadn’t finished growing into himself. He was still pretty like his sisters, with heavy black hair spilling forward in a sort of bad-boy I-just-rolled-out-of-bed-like-this style, which I knew took a hell of a lot of hair product to pull off. Apparently, the men had gotten their hair done, along with the women; I liked that—even-handed worked for me.

    Micah Callahan, our other sweetie, was standing beside Tomas, and since he was five-three, my height, he didn’t have to bend much to talk to the young man. Micah looked elegant and dapper in his tailored black pinstripe suit. Nathaniel could have pulled off an American off-the-rack suit—it wouldn’t have looked as good as the Italian cut, but it would have worked—but Micah was swallowed up in American suits, even tailored ones. This suit, however, showcased his athletic build and musculature. He had that upside-down triangle going, like a swimmer, though his sport of choice was running. He’d already started tanning again from running outside, even though it was only May. He tanned dark, and he never quite stopped being dark, as if it were a blush across the perfection of his skin tone, made richer by the forest-green dress shirt, with its black tie and gold tie bar. He couldn’t wear silver for the same reason Nathaniel couldn’t.

    Micah leaned down a little farther, the movement spilling his dark brown braid over one shoulder. His black-lensed sunglasses hid his eyes completely and made his face look a little less sympathetic than I knew he was being as he got Tomas to talk. Micah was good at listening and helped a lot of people deal with trauma as the head of the Coalition for Better Understanding Between Human and Lycanthrope Communities, but he was also a survivor of the attack that made him a wereleopard. He had his own scary story to share with Tomas. Rosita had told me that she was worried that the boy wouldn’t talk about it, that he wasn’t eating right or sleeping well, and did I know anyone who could get him to talk. Connie was talking, why wouldn’t Tomas? Manny and I had both told her, Because he’s a boy, but that didn’t satisfy her, so I’d talked to Micah. He’d said if the chance came he’d try to talk to Tomas, but he wouldn’t force it at the wedding. Apparently, he’d found his chance.

    The music changed to something slower, and Nathaniel took my hand. “Dance with me.”

    It bothered me to dance in public, I wasn’t sure why, but it did. I used to refuse to do it, but all the men in my life seemed to love to dance, so what could I do? I let them practice with me in private and I got over it. “Sure,” I said, smiling, and steeling myself for that initial nervousness.

    He took my hand in his and led me onto the dance floor. I hung back a bit and was a little stiff as he tried to twirl me into his arms, but he got me into the circle of his arms, one hand in his, our other hands at the small of each other’s back. All right, his was at the small of mine. I couldn’t quite reach around and had to settle for the side of his lower back. It still meant we were closer than a lot of people on the dance floor, but not as close as the people who were doing the high school prom thing of pressing their bodies as close as possible and moving in little circles. We had daylight between us, because Nathaniel danced-danced. I watched his chest and shoulder area, not because the view was great, but for the same reason I might in a fight, because you have to move the core of the body before you can move the rest. I watched for the first movement, so I could move with his hands and arms, rather than be a step behind.

    I’d learned to follow him on the dance floor and trust that he would lead me through the dance. If I just trusted his body, his hands, his arm as it tightened and guided, the brush of his leg, all would direct me as surely as he did sometimes in the bedroom. There, sometimes I liked to lead, and he was good with that, too, but on the dance floor he was the boss, because he was so damn good at it.

    He glided around the dance floor, and if I didn’t overthink it but just followed his lead, I glided, too. Of course, the minute I thought that I missed a step; he was patient and swept me around for another turn, so I could catch up and come back to the circle of his arms as if it had all been planned.

    I finally gazed up into those amazing eyes of his and was able to just feel his body without having to stare at it. I could feel the sway of his body and go with it; a slight pressure of his hand and I knew where we were going. It was like magic to dance with Nathaniel; he could make almost anyone look good. He gazed down at me, smiling, face eager, his body so excited to move to the music. His enthusiasm was contagious—Nathaniel’s happiness was one of my happy thoughts. I loved seeing his eyes shining, lips slightly parted as he half-laughed and sort of glowed down at me, because I was dancing with him, and because he knew what it had cost me to learn to do it with him.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire