Hunted by Ashley Stoyanoff, now you can read online.
The wind whipped through Amelia’s hair as the door opened. She felt alive; pure adrenaline pumped through her body. It was a dizzying and exciting kind of rush. One she had never experienced before.
Mitchell’s hands grasped her shoulders so tightly that she winced. He whimpered, and she was pretty sure she heard a shriek, a sound that she had never before heard from him. She glanced over her shoulder and reached up to squeeze his hand. She couldn’t stop the burst of laughter that erupted from her belly.
The sounds of her laughter were drowned out by the rumbling engines of the plane and the windstorm that blustered around them, and she wondered how on earth she had heard his shriek. Then she noticed his slightly pink cheeks and the emanating feelings of embarrassment, and she realized she was feeling it through the bond.
You’ve got to be kidding me? she sent through her sidesplitting laughter, as she took in his ghostly complexion. You’re scared?
We’re really, um, high, Mitchell whimpered into her mind. He sounded like a scared little child, and he took a few steps back, pressing his body firmly against the wall. I don’t think I can do this. What if my parachute doesn’t open?
Oh, honey, Amelia said, crossing the short distance between them and caressing his pale cheeks. She smirked, dropping her thoughts to a gentle whisper. You know you’re a vampire, right? Even if it doesn’t open, you’ll be fine.
She felt Mitchell groan. You really aren’t helping, love.
Suddenly the plane hit a bit of turbulence, jostling them around, and he screeched, an ear piercing, little girl kind of sound. He pulled her into his arms, holding onto her so tightly, as if she was the only thing that could save him—his stable rock.
She squeezed him back just as firmly, feeling the fear tremble through his muscles and the panic that he pushed into her mind. She stood up on tiptoes and kissed the tip of his nose. Now, this is new, she pushed the thought to him. I think I could get used to being the strong one.
He chuckled, or at least that was what Amelia thought he was trying to do. It sounded more like a gurgling sob. He rubbed his nose, side to side against hers. In case…In case… He shook his head, as if he couldn’t bear to finish the words. His lips twitched up into an unconvincing smile. I love you.
Amelia almost laughed again. Who would have thought that Mitchell, of all people, would be scared of heights? Or scared of anything for that matter. But before the giggles could explode, he silenced them with a hungry kiss. His lips worked over hers with such an urgency and fierceness that Amelia was quickly swept away, forgetting the plane, forgetting the wind, forgetting everything around them. It was just them. Together. Nothing else in the world mattered. Not a single other thing existed apart from him.
“If you’re going to jump, you’ve got to do it now,” the coach shouted, ruining the moment.
Reluctantly, Amelia pulled her lips away, panting. She locked eyes with Mitchell. “We don’t have to do this,” she yelled, although it floated through the air like a hushed whisper, thanks to the almost deafening wind blowing around them, and she tried to hide the disappointment in her voice.
His gaze shifted quickly to the open doorway, and then back to her. He took a shaky breath, cupped her face with his soft and clammy hands, and a scared thought trembled into her mind, Can you push me out?
Amelia grinned and nodded in response. Her heart swelled and jumped around in her chest. How had she gotten so lucky? How many other men would jump out of a plane, just because their girlfriend wanted to?
“Guys, you really have to jump, like now,” the coach shouted again.
Mitchell visibly shivered. What if I land on a twig and it pierces my heart? He sent the thought through their bond, and she could tell he didn’t trust his voice.
I’ve got it covered, honey, Amelia sent back, coating the thoughts with a soothing tone.
How? he breathed.
Amelia leaned into him, stretching up and brushing her lips against his ear, as if she was going to whisper a secret. But even this close and with his enhanced hearing, she knew she would have to yell to be heard over the noise. We’re going to land in the lake. That’s why he’s rushing us.
Mitchell looked more horrified than reassured. But what if we get tangled in the ropes, what if our parachutes drag us underwater, what if…
Amelia cut off Mitchell’s rambling thoughts and again reassured him, Shhh…We’ll be fine.
It had taken some arranging, but using her magic to pull on Mitchell’s power of persuasion, she had managed to arrange for them to jump alone, over a lake. They wouldn’t have an instructor, and they didn’t have to be secured together, although, she planned to use a little magic to keep them together as they fell through the sky.
He took her hand, lacing their fingers together, and inched towards the opening. Don’t let go? he said, as if it was a question.
Never, Amelia answered, and she meant it. Never again would she let him slip away. They locked gazes, and together, they jumped.
Amelia was the first to scream as they tumbled, but it wasn’t from fear. Mitch, you’re going to break my hand, she sent in a panicked rush.
He loosened his grip to a bearable tension and sent a blast of shame through the bond. I didn’t want you to know I’m such a wuss, he sent.
With her free hand, she pulled him closer to her, lacing their hands together with steamy golden strands of power that wrestled against the wind that tried to rip them apart. You’re not a wuss, she pushed the thought to him. You’re the strongest person I know, and I love you, Mitchell Lang.
He gave her a genuine smile, and for just a second, the fear vanished from his eyes. Bright, warm sunshine poured through the bond. Amelia soaked it up, basking in his love. The emotions wrapped around her, seeped into her skin, and filled her soul. Mitchell leaned closer and kissed her with just a light peck, and then he cleared his throat and yelled, “Can we pull the cord?” The fear crept back onto his face.