I really do love these characters… They’re so perfect for one another, and such an unexpected delight to work with. Jordan is definitely his father’s son — romantic to the core — and Daria is her mother’s daughter, completely unconcerned with anything that impedes the dictates of destiny and the human heart. 🙂
I know the subject matter of this story touches on something considered highly taboo in most Western society. It’s not a debate I have any intention of opening up. This story involves cultural division, between the Western world, and a culture in which Western taboos don’t apply.
I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed the writing…
“Complicated” — Excerpt from RENEGADE (Project Prometheus, Book ) —
“We can’t.” Jordan grasped her shoulders, setting her away from himself. God help him, he wanted to — he’d dreamed about it for years — but he knew better. He resigned himself to being alone, six long years ago.
She didn’t look so resigned. In fact, she looked pissed. “Why not?”
He sighed. “Daria, you’re my best friend.”
Her eyes narrowed. “Best friends do not leave without saying good-bye. Best friends do not go away and never write or call. Best friends do not break your heart.”
She had him there. Jordan forced himself to remove his hands from the smooth, soft skin of her upper arms, before he gave in to the desire to stroke her, to pull her close and never let go. Clearing his throat, he moved away, and stared out the window to avoid meeting her gaze. “Yeah, well, things got… complicated.”
He heard her moving, and jumped when her warm hand landed on his back, the heat of her searing him even through his t-shirt. “Love is never complicated, Jordan.”
His answering laugh was hollow. “Daria, you were twelve.”
She blinked, her dark eyes full of confusion. “You were seventeen. So what?”
Jordan groaned and dropped his head against the cool glass. He should have seen this coming. Daria was her mother’s daughter. She was raised in a world where the lines Western society held as black-and-white were blurred to the point of almost not existing. Of course she didn’t see what the problem was.
“I was five days from turning eighteen, Daria. Someone should have locked me up and thrown away the key for even thinking about you that way. I had to leave. I couldn’t risk our friendship, couldn’t risk…”
“Losing me.” The words were a whisper-soft murmur, before her arms slid around his waist from behind, and he felt the press of her body full along his back, her cheek resting between his shoulder blades. It was a hell he wouldn’t have traded anything in the world to avoid. “Oh, Jordan, don’t you see? We lost each other, anyway. You left, and the light went out of my world. Did you not miss me, even a little?”
That shook him to the core. Not miss her?
“God, Daria.” He turned in her arms, wrapped her in his embrace and soaked up every molecule of her presence, let it warm all the cold, lonely places in his soul. Tipping her face up with one hand, he stared into her eyes, let her see the hungry wolf prowling his soul. “Don’t think I didn’t miss you. Not even for a second. I’d die for you.”
Her hand raised, stroked his cheek softly, then down to rest above his heart. “But you will not love me.”
He dropped his head, nuzzled his way beneath the dark wings of her hair, and breathed in her unique scent, like frankincense and the summer breeze. Gently, he nipped her neck, his heart stuttering at her tiny gasp. Then, against her ear, he murmured, “I will always love you. In three months, when you turn eighteen, you come find me, and you’ll see just how much.”