Taulan (Dragons of Preor Book 2)(8)By: Celia Kyle & Erin Tate
Theresa wiggled and twitched, small hands pushing against his chest while she tried to pry herself from his grip. “Unca’ Taulan, Unca’ Taulan, w’nna see.”
He lowered the wriggling girl to the sands. “Don’t go into the—“
He should have saved his breath. Because the moment he set her on the ground, she was gone. It was no more than twenty feet to the ocean’s edge, and she crossed it between one blink and the next. Had she been a human child, he would have caught her in the shallows.
But she wasn’t a human child—she was Ujal. So the moment her feet hit the ocean waters, she was gone.
Leaving him, as always, alone.
Until a high-pitched voice nearly shattered his eardrums. Two such voices, actually.
One young and fearful. “‘elp!”
One older and alluring, despite the rage filling each syllable. “Are you fucking crazy?”
No. No he was not. At least he did not believe himself to be. It was hard to say, in truth. Because as the human word fucking echoed in his mind, so did something else. Something ageless and unknown. Or rather, known.
It was the Knowing, and it brought Taulan to his knees.
Lana watched the events unfold as if it were a movie. The opening scene had a hot guy holding an adorable toddler, tickling her and laughing with the child. A pang totally unrelated to hunger struck her, one that begged for a perfect life that involved a husband and children. It wasn’t something she could waste time on. Not when her attention should rest solidly on feeding and clothing herself, on securing a roof over her head.
Which she could have if her interview went well and she prayed it did.
The toddler wiggled her way out of the man’s arms, and his deep baritone rose above the waves. It resonated against something deep inside her. She shivered with the sound and fought to squash the flare of desire that blossomed to life. She could ogle the hot man later.
The child darted for the waves. No, not just darted, she raced as fast as those short, chubby legs could carry her. And the hottie… did nothing but prop his hands on his hips and watch the kid disappear beneath the ocean’s surface.
The child didn’t come back up.
Lana took one step and then two, gaze darting between the man and where the girl vanished. He still hadn’t moved, and his inaction spurred her into motion. Even if the toddler could swim like Michael Phelps, she would still be no match for the tumultuous seas.
The pale face of the girl appeared between the waves, and Lana realized she was a good hundred yards out.
A strangled child’s voice had her digging for strength. “‘elp!”
How the hell did the kid get so far?
She lost her shoes between one step and the next, her suit jacket quickly following when she wrenched her arms free of the fabric. She couldn’t do anything about the skirt still encasing her thighs, but she’d worry about it once she held the youngster close.
Adrenaline fueled her race, the hormone sending her heart rate skyrocketing and blood rapidly pumping through her veins. It bolstered her muscles, giving her more strength and speed.
“Are you fucking crazy?” She snarled the words at the motionless man, furious that he’d allowed a toddler to…
Lana took a deep breath and dove into the waves. The current snatched at her clothes, weighing her down and tugging her this way and that. She yanked the fabric of her skirt higher up her legs until it bunched around her waist, leaving her free of its confinement. Air remained locked in her lungs, fueling her body as she swam into the salt water and toward where she’d last seen the child.
Something tickled her mind, pressing and pushing in on her thoughts, but she battered it back. Her focus had to remain on the toddler—on getting her to safety.
She surfaced and paused, gaze searching the turbulent sea. The bobbing head peeked above the water to her left, another fifty feet.
A deep breath in and then she was off, legs kicking and arms moving, body doing as her mind demanded. Her mind… Something still pushed and pressed. Thoughts? Memories?
What the fuck was that?
A recognition of…
Lana pushed the thoughts away and strengthened her mind.
She let soul-deep determination into every part of her body. She would get to the girl. She would save her. And no amount of interference would stop her. Not mental, not physical. So if an alien attempted to distract her with the weird knowing thing, they could try their games on someone else.