“I’d said it before and meant it: Alive or undead, the love of my life was a badass.”
“I know how devastated you must be to miss me, but leave a message, and I'll try to ease your agony”
“Dimitri: "Why did you come here?"
Rose: "Because you hit me on the head and dragged me here.”
“You forgot another lesson: Never turn your back until you know your enemy
is dead. Looks like we’ll have to go over the lesson again the next time
I see you—which will be soon.
“You've asked me out tons of times."
"Not really. I've made inappropriate suggestions and frequently pushed for nudity. But I've never asked you out on a real date.”
“If your eyes weren't open, you wouldn't know the difference between dreaming and waking.”
“Roza." His voice had that same wonderful lowness, the same accent . . . it
was all just colder. "You forgot my first lesson: Don’t hesitate.”
“Okay, God, I thought. Get me out of this and I’ll stop my half-assed church-going ways. You got me past a pack of Strigoi tonight. I mean, trapping that one between the doors really shouldn't have worked, so clearly you're on board. Let me get out of here, and I’ll...I don’t know. Donate Adrian’s money to the poor. Get baptized. Join a convent. Well, no. Not that last one.”
“Bound by Love, But sworn to Kill...”
“No one had ever called me unnatural before, except for the time I put ketchup on a taco. But seriously, we'd been out of salsa, so what else was I supposed to do?”
“We need to be together."
"Why?" I asked softly. The word was carried away on the wind, but he heard.
"Because I want you."
I gave him a sad smile, wondering if we'd meet again in the land of the dead. "Wrong answer," I told him.
I let go”
“Oh God," I said. "I'm Zmey's daughter. Zmey junior. Zmeyette, even.”
“That's what I was supposed to say...”
“If he wants to tell you, he'll tell you. End of story, Rose. Besides, you certainly keep your share of secrets too. You two have a lot in common."
"Are you kidding? He's arrogant, sarcastic, likes to intimidate people, and—oh." Okay. Maybe she had a point.”
“You kill me, Rose," he said melodramatically. "Every day is agony without you. Empty. Alone. I pine for you, wondering if you're even still alive.”
“I nearly dropped the plate I held. "You've asked me out tons of times."
"Not really. I've made inapproprite suggestions and frequently pushed for nudity. But I've never asked you out on a real date. And, if memory serves, you did say you'd give me a fair chance once I let you clean out my trust fund."
"I didn't clean it out," I scoffed.”
“She says you're not awake until you're actually out of bed and standing up.”
“I look him in the eye. "I will always love you.”
“I'm like a fine wine. I get better with age. The best is yet to come.”
“Avery worries about her, too, so Lissa's in good hands. Avery's pretty amazing."
I gave him a scathing look. "Amazing? Do you like her or something?" I hadn't forgotten Avery's comment about leaving the door unlocked for him.
"Of course I like her. She's a great person."
"No, I mean like. Not like."
"Oh, I see," he said, rolling his eyes. "We're dealing with elementary school definitions of 'like'.”
“Okay," I said, clasping her hand. "I swear it. The next time I do something stupid that might get me killed, you can come along.”
“Life’s like that. As we grow and change, some things we’ve experienced before take on new meaning. It’ll happen for the rest of your life.”
“I can be a good friend, or a bad enemy.”
“P.P.S. Just because I like you, it doesn't mean I still don't think you're an evil creature of the night. You are.”
The voice caressed my skin, cold and deadly. Still scrutinizing his surroundings, Dimitri took one step forward. Then another. And then another.
I think it occurred to him to look up the instant I jumped. My body slammed into his, knocking him to the ground back first. He immediately tried to throw me off, just as I tried to drive the stake through his heart. Signs of fatigue and fighting were all over him. Defeating the other Strigoi had taken its toll, though I doubted I was in much better shape. We grappled, and once, I managed to rake the stake over his cheek. He snarled in pain but kept his chest well protected. Over it, I could see where I'd ripped his shirt the first time I'd staked him. The wound had already healed. "You. Are. Amazing," he said, his words full of both pride and battle fury.”
“What's that?" he asked, when I stood beside him again.
"Halos," I said with a grin. "For heavenly creatures like us."
"That might be a stretch.”
“Yet, it had been Dimitri’s gentleness and thoughtfulness mixed with that deadliness that made him so wonderful. The same hands that wielded stakes with such precision would carefully brush the hair out of my face. The eyes that could astutely spot any danger in the area would regard me wonderingly and worshipfully, like I was the most beautiful and amazing woman in the world.”
“When he finished, he drank from the cup. Everyone else did too, so I followed suit.
And nearly choked to death.
It was like fire in liquid form. It took every ounce of strength I had to swallow it and not spray it on those around me.
"Wh...what is this?" I asked, coughing.
Viktoria grinned. "Vodka."
I peered at the glass. "No, it isn't. I've had vodka before."
"Not Russian vodka."
“What happened? Did a house fall on your sister?" I asked. Maybe there was a benefit to our language barrier. She pursed her lips.
"You can't stay here much longer," she said.
My mouth dropped open.
"You...you speak English?"
She snorted. "Of course.”
“Over the course of my life I've been to lots of places. Shadowed places where things have gone wrong. Sinister places where things still are. I always hate the sunlit towns, full of newly built developments with double-car garages in shades of pale eggshell, surrounded by green lawns and dotted with laughing children. Those towns aren't any less haunted than the others. They're just better liars.”
“The truth can deceive as well as a lie.”
“I hate horses. I know people who think that they are noble, graceful animals, but regardless of what a horse looks like from a distance, never forget that it's as likely to step on your foot as look at you.”
“Isolation is the cruelest of punishments, and it had never occurred to me that I was something less than human because I wasn’t a man.”
“Come back with me, Aria. Be with me.”
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