Kimberly Derting

“I just . . . I just wanted to make sure you were . . . okay.”
He shoved away from the door as he took a long stride toward her, letting the door slam behind him. “I should be asking you the same thing,” he said, cringing, his voice filled with concern.
Violet knew how she looked. The bruise on her cheek had turned a strange combination of green, yellow, and purple. The swelling had gone down, but not enough for anyone else to notice. “I’m fine.” She hedged and then tried to shrug it off. “If you like bar-fight chic.”
His face darkened. “I wasn’t really talking about what’s on the outside.”
“You mean, like, it’s what’s on the inside that counts?”
Rafe grimaced, the ghost of a smile finding his lips. “Well, when you put it that way, it sounds sort of . . .”
“Sweet?”
“I was gonna say lame. But, yeah, that works too.”
“Yeah? Well, you look . . .” She was going to say better, but she practically stumbled over the word. He looked anything but better. If she looked beat-up, he looked downright thrashed. Even behind the bandages, Violet could see scrapes and mottled skin. “Terrible. You look terrible.” She moved closer to him on the landing as he unlocked the closed door. “But better than the last time I saw you, I guess.”
Rafe tried to laugh, but winced and grabbed his ribs. “Damn, V, I wouldn’t plan on a career in nursing if I were you; your bedside manner stinks.” His eyes clouded over when he saw her stroking the black onyx hanging from around her neck. “Krystal?” he asked.
“For protection,” Violet clarified.
“Um, yeah, I got one too. Mine’s for healing.” He tugged at the silver chain around his neck. He held up an irregular-looking stone that had been tucked beneath his shirt. It was cloudy—opaque—and Violet wondered at the mystical qualities Krystal believed it possessed. “I meant it’s from Krystal. Right?”
“Oh, yeah . . . right.” She nodded, realizing she’d misunderstood his question.”


Kimberly Derting, The Last Echo
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The Last Echo (The Body Finder, #3) The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting
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