How about the scene in MESMERIZED when Andrei comes face to face with Piper for the first time in ten years. It’s a turning point for both Andrei and Piper as they’re both faced with a complicated past and an uncertain future…
MESMERIZED by LAUREN DANE
Copyright 2011, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, The Berkley Publishing Group
Releasing April 5!
He’d approached the compound in the same trajectory he had earlier. The light was lower now, having been several hours later, but the memory of that time when he’d had to force himself to patiently wait for the right opportunity to get up into that tower brought a cold sweat.
And then, as shots rang out all around her, he had to force the quiet so he could take out each and every threat to her. Knowing she was down there. Knowing that a movement to the left or right could have gotten her head blown off.
It was over. She was fine, and there was no reason to let his boyhood love for Piper Roundtree get in the way of getting his job done. And if it put him in a position to keep her a little safer, even for a short while, then that was all right, too.
Piper stood in a doorway, leaning casually there as she watched Andrei approach. “I imagine you’d like to clean up.” She handed him a drying cloth and some soap. “Through here.” Pointing, she pushed herself upright and led him back through the cool, dim house.
He nodded his thanks, needing the time to get himself together.
He’d been surprised by the place, he had to admit. The bathing area he used was spacious, the water warm and copious. A lot of houses, including the one he’d grown up in, didn’t have indoor plumbing at all. He hoped he’d helped, even a small amount, to give them a better quality of life, and here he was faced with evidence that he had.
It had been a stupid thing, sending the packets of credits. He should have disappeared totally, though it wasn’t mandatory to do that and be a member of Phantom Corps. He knew they needed the credits. They would have simply because it was Asphodel and want was a common way of life there.
He’d had them, and he’d given them freely. Still would. They had built something here, and he’d support that when he could. And yes, he supposed he could admit to himself it kept a link with her. Even though he shouldn’t. He couldn’t let go all the way.
Piper tried to remain casual about his being there. She shouldn’t be upset. After all, he’d been her friend. Had been a friend to her family. He couldn’t have left the way he had without some measure of pressure. Asphodel had been a dead end for him anyway. She understood that. Her head got the logic of it quite well. Her heart wasn’t as logical.
Kenner tossed himself into a chair at the table, across from where she sat. “Don’t pretend you’re not off balance.”
She shoved a mug of kava at him, regretting how nice she’d been to make it for him to start with.
“Of course I’m off balance. It’s not every day a horde of Imperialist troops breaks into my compound and tries to kill me and my people.”
He looked at her over the rim of the mug. “This is how you’re going to play it? With me?” He shook his head. “I was there. I remember what it was like when he left.”
They’d thought he had been taken to a work camp. Or worse. He’d been arrested, both he and Kenner had been, for a bloody fight at the tavern in the portal city. The man who’d tried to rob them and the man’s two friends had ended up in a medi-clinic.
Kenner had been sent home because Taryn had signed off for him. But Andrei had no one who’d claim him.
She’d railed then. Had cried and screamed at the unfairness of! Andrei being there when Taryn had been willing to sign off for Andrei, too. But they hadn’t let him, and Andrei’s mother had been murdered only two seasons before, so there was no one to help him.
They hadn’t let anyone in to see him, which had made matters even worse.
Then he’d been gone, and no one would say where. The guilt of that, of him being alone when he needed her had lay in her heart every day since.
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