“You think my first instinct is to protect you. Because you’re small, or a girl, or a Stiff. But you’re wrong.”
He leans his face close to mine and wraps his fingers around my chin. His hand smells like metal. When was the last time he held a gun, or a knife? My skin tingles at the point of contact, like he’s transmitting electricity through his skin.
"My first instinct is to push you until you break, just to see how hard I have to press.” he says, his fingers squeezing at the word break. My body tenses at the edge in his voice, so I am coiled as tight as a spring, and I forget to breathe.
His dark eyes lifting to mine, he adds, “But I resist it.”
"Why…" I swallow hard. "Why is that your first instinct?"
"Fear doesn’t shut you down; it wakes you up. I’ve seen it. It’s fascinating." He releases me but doesn’t pull away, his hand grazing my jaw, my neck. "Sometimes I just want to see it again. Want to see you awake.”