Seraphina DiPietro is wise in the ways of the world; she has to be, as she travels the California coast performing in pubs, bars & nightclubs. Most of the time, she can take care of herself & stay out of trouble- unless her kind heart overrides common sense. Stopping to check on a handsome stranger stranded roadside in the Mojave, she quickly learns he is trouble personified
…“Remain still,” he advised her, his smooth voice as soothing as she remembered, “attempting to rise too quickly may leave you feeling faint again.” Harrison placed a cold bottle of water in her hand, “You are elevated enough to drink this without having to move—but drink it slowly, or you may be sick.” Seraphina found herself obeying him without question, as though it was the most natural thing in the world to follow the commands of her would-be abductor.
The water was a little bit of heaven on her tongue, but Sera fought the urge to gulp it down. Slow and easy, she told herself, and gather your strength forwhat’s to come. Her grogginess was passing, but it might be best if she let him believe she was weaker than she felt. “You…you could have just left me there,” she told him, before taking a deeper draught of water, “Why didn’t you just leave me?”
The left side of his mouth quirked into the slightest of smiles, as though her question amused him. “Do I strike you as a man cold-hearted enough to abandon you to such a grim fate?”
Though Sera could imagine all sorts of potential danger he might represent, his mixed signals had her perplexed. Looking askance, she shrugged her reply, “I don’t…I don’t know what to think.”
Without warning or even asking permission, he laid a palm against her forehead, the tips of his fingers threaded into her hair. “You’ve cooled significantly, which is good.” His touch was so confident, the dark silk of his voice relaxing her and making her want to trust him against her better judgement. Harrison brushed his fingers along her cheek, seeking the pulse point on her neck. “Much better,” he murmured, allowing them to linger over the steady throb of her carotid artery, “Your heart was racing earlier, but it has slowed to nearly normal. Most fortunate for you, Seraphina.” He spared her a trace of an enigmatic smile, concluding, “You will likely be susceptible to any heat extremes in the coming hours, but I believe you have recovered sufficiently for us to continue on our way.”
“Us?” she repeated, shaking off the stupor she had fallen into; how easily he had lulled her into thinking she was safe in his company! His kind, solicitous tone, and gentle, ministering hands could not allay the fact that she was basically his prisoner. Defiant even in her weakened state, Sera had to challenge him, “And just where are we going?”…
Photo by @FransLanting // “Impalas Alarmed” A sense of danger is ever present on the African plains. This image visualizes fear by inferring it. A snort from one impala transformed a placid scattering of grazers into a scene of suspense. Their collective gaze points at something dangerous, real or imagined, hidden in the grass. Follow me @FransLanting to see what these impalas are watching for.
“If they touch you, I’ll kill them.” “If they want to hurt you, they’ll have to go through me first.” “Do you want to die? No? Then back off.” “Get behind me. I’ll deal with this.” “You’re safe while I’m with you, okay? That’s why I can’t leave.” “I can only hold them off for so long! Go!” “Don’t worry about me, worry about yourself! I’ve got this!” “Do you want to kick their ass, or shall I?” “Anyone that lays a hand on you will face my wrath.”