SE Smith: AN EXCERPT FROM CHALLENGING SABER:

Monday, December 21, 2015

“Don’t cry,” he grunted out as a feeling of panic began to rise inside him. “Don’t….” His voice died when the first tear escaped to course down her cheek. “Shewta! You are trying to rip my heart out, aren’t you?”

He sat down on the side of the bed. In the background, he could hear Carp quietly leaving them alone. He opened his arms when Taylor sat up. A deep sigh escaped him when her shoulders began to shake with her silent sobs. He awkwardly patted her back before he lowered his head and tightened his arms around her and rubbed his chin against her hair.

“Jesse… Jordan,” Taylor sobbed.

“They are safe,” Saber murmured. “Why did you leave? You were safe at the compound.”

Taylor pulled back to gaze up at him with watery eyes. He reached for a tissue on the tray next to the bed and held it out to her when she sniffed. He waited as she blew her nose and wiped her eyes.

“How were we supposed to know that?” Taylor asked stubbornly. “I heard Hunter say that Jesse was his Amate. I don’t know what that is, but it doesn’t sound good. We were going to try to head up to the cabin.”

Saber gently raised Taylor’s chin so she was forced to look at him. An amused smile curved the corner of his lips when she wiggled her nose at him and gave him a slightly suspicious glare. His thumb ran tenderly along her lower lip. He raised an eyebrow at her when she tried to bite it.

“Still trying to bite me, little one?” He asked with a soft chuckle.

Taylor’s lips twitched. “You bet, old man,” she retorted before falling back against the pillow. “I’m tired,” she admitted with a huge yawn. “So, Jordan and Jesse are okay?”
Saber nodded, seeing the pleading look in Taylor’s gaze. “I swear on my honor as a warrior,” he promised. “Sleep, my little warrior. I will look after you and keep you safe.” Taylor rolled onto her side and gazed around the room with a frown. She rolled back over onto her back and gazed up at him. He could see the confusion in her eyes.

“Where are we?” She asked in a hesitant voice.

Saber reached over and tenderly brushed her hair back from her face. She relaxed back onto the pillow at his touch. Something told him that watching over her was going to be a challenge to not only his patience, but to his control as well.

“We are on the Star Raider,” he murmured. “We are returning to Rathon, where my home is.”

“Oh,” Taylor whispered before her eyes began to droop. “That’s kind-of cool.”

Saber watched as her eyelids slowly lowered until they created two crescent moons against her pale cheeks. Within minutes, her breathing had deepened and he knew she had slipped into a deeper sleep. He glanced toward the door when he heard Carp pause outside of it.

“Good luck, Saber,” Carp replied with a slight grin. “I have a feeling you, Dagger, and Hunter are about to discover a battle that will take all your skills to win.”

Saber glanced back at Taylor’s relaxed face. Carp was probably right. One thing Saber knew, it was a battle he planned to win.