Darkness on Fire

Darkness on Fire by Alexis Morgan Read Free Book Online

Book: Darkness on Fire by Alexis Morgan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Alexis Morgan
her parents. Although they’d been provided with effective new identities, her mother and father had become little better than recluses, only venturing out to work or buy necessities. She’d done her best to coax them into really living, but right up until their deaths, the fear of discovery had been too strong.
    And now she was going to meet two Kalith males. One of them was obviously committed to Penn’s sister, but how about the other one? What would he think of her? Would she act too human for them? She’d always wondered how she’d fit in with those of her own kind.
    “If you’re feeling better, we should get moving.” Penn offered her a hand up off the rock.
    As she accepted his assistance, she glanced down at his arm and gasped. A vicious scar, thick and jagged, transected his right hand and wrist. Without thinking, she reached out with her free hand to trace what had to have been a horrific wound.
    “Penn, your poor arm!”
    He immediately jerked his hand free, fury laced with what she guessed was embarrassment in his eyes. “Let’s get moving. We don’t have all day.”
    Figuring he’d prefer her silence to an apology, she stowed her water bottle and started off down the trail. As they walked, she couldn’t get the image of that scar out of her head. Judging from its size and location, Penn had come darn close to losing his hand to a sword blade. She didn’t have to ask how it had happened or whom he’d been fighting. It had to have been one of the Others, out-of-his-head crazy for the light of this world.
    Her heart ached for Penn, though she doubted he’d want her sympathy. Was this the reason he hadn’t been out in the field other than to schlep equipment for his sister? She had so many questions.
    She said quietly, “The entrance is just behind that cluster of bushes and boulders jutting out of the hillside.”
    Penn knew he was being a jerk, but Jora’s horror when she spotted his scar had pissed him off big-time. He should be used to it by now; he still occasionally caught his friends looking at him with that same damn pity when they thought he wouldn’t notice. At least Jora had the excuse that she hadn’t known about it. The other Paladins had been there when the whole thing had happened.
    When she started forward, Penn blocked her way. “Just a minute.”
    He set down the duffel and pulled out her sword and handed it to her. “I’m hoping we won’t need these, but I’ve been around the barrier long enough to know we don’t want to be caught unprepared.”
    Even after all the practicing he’d done, hefting his sword with his left hand still felt strange. Drawing a deep breath, he braced himself to tell her the truth.
    “Look, I’m right-handed, but my wrist and hand haven’t healed enough for me to hold a sword very long. I’ve been training with my left, but it’s been an uphill battle.”
    “Are you okay with guns?” Her matter-of-fact tone made it easier for him to answer.
    “Crack shot with both hands.” He kept his eyes pinned on his sword. “I’m getting the mobility back in my hand, but I’m still working on regaining the strength.”
    “I’m glad for you.” Jora gave him a brief smile before turning her attention back to her own weapons. “Ready?”
    “As I’ll ever be.”
    Working with a female, even one as confident and competent as Jora, seemed strange to him. Ordinarily he and his buddies automatically traded off taking point and watching each other’s backs. But he didn’t want Jora to be the first one through the cave entrance, and he was just as reluctant to have her trailing along behind him.
    She stopped when they reached the boulders. “There’s a nook just inside the entrance where I usually stash my pack. Some of the passages are pretty narrow, and it will be easier to maneuver without them.”
    “Makes sense.”
    He followed her inside and tossed his bag down beside hers as they waited for their eyes to adjust to the darkness. The

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