Blaze of Secrets (Asylums for Magical Threats 1) - Page 20

He would discuss Kiarra’s confession later with Taka. Right now, he needed to address Kiarra’s weaknesses and vulnerability as best he could. He’d best start at the beginning and test out her endurance and strength levels.

Kiarra was staring at their clasped hands, a mixture of panic and confusion on her face. He couldn’t allow her to retreat back to her AMT-conditioned persona, so Jaxton went into trainer mode and took a better grip on her hand. “No matter how big or strong a person appears, everyone shares the same delicate places on their body that, with the right amount of applied pressure or force, can buy you enough time to get away.

“Hands and wrists are delicate.” He adjusted his grip, taking hold of her wrist. “So when someone grabs you like this, you can break their hold in one of three ways…”

After demonstrating the three methods, Jaxton once again took hold of Kiarra’s wrist. “Now try it.”

She smacked the heel of her palm against his forearm to no effect. “Harder. In this situation, you want to inflict as much damage as possible, which requires greater force.” Kiarra hesitated, so he added, “Don’t worry, you can’t hurt me.”

His dismissal had the desired effect. Kiarra narrowed her eyes and swung hard. This time he actually felt a sting on his arm, even if she hadn’t managed to break free. “Better. But remember, your best weapon is surprise. Try something else, so I won’t brace myself for the same attack.”

Jaxton once again took hold of her wrist and noticed the faint sweat on her brow. After a scant fifteen minutes, Kiarra was already getting a workout.

The arm in his hand went slack and Kiarra began to teeter. Jaxton went to catch her, but Kiarra snapped into action, her free hand moving to his grip and prying his fingers back. He tightened his hand and moved his arm just in time to prevent her from succeeding.

He gave her wrist a gentle squeeze. “That was good, but can you do it under pressure?”

She raised her chin. “I will with practice.”

Jaxton smiled. “All right, pet, I’m taking off the kid gloves. Let’s try this for real.”

He spent the next hour demonstrating and making Kiarra perform escape techniques. Much like her fake fainting move, she surprised him by knowing some of the moves without instruction, claiming she’d seen them before inside the AMT.

He added “observant” to her list of strengths.

When fatigue started to slow her reaction time, Jaxton tossed her a towel from the side table and said, “That’s all for today. Make sure to do the stretches I demonstrated before bed, and meet me again tomorrow

, at the same time.”

Slightly out of breath, Kiarra wiped the sweat off her face and neck. Jaxton followed the movements with his eyes. Without the demands of training, Kiarra was morphing back into a woman, no longer a mere student.

The celibacy he’d enforced over the last year, as he’d searched for Garrett, was starting to take a toll.

Kiarra caught his eye and tossed the towel away. “I want one more go.”

With years of practice under his belt, Jaxton kept his face expressionless, unwilling to show Kiarra how she affected him. “I appreciate your enthusiasm, but one of the most important rules of training is to not overstretch yourself. An injury would only set you back.”

A look that Kiarra wouldn’t have dared give him a mere two hours ago, one of a face pinched in irritation, was in full force. He started to rethink his no-holds-barred approach.

Kiarra raised an eyebrow and said, “Are you afraid that I’ll best you?”

“You’re kidding, right?”

Kiarra walked toward him, her hips swaying like she meant business. “Come on, grab me.”

He coughed to cover his laugh. “Do you know what that sounds like to a bloke? Unless you want me to cop a feel, you’d better think of a different way to phrase that.”

Her cheeks flamed and Jaxton tried not to smile. Instead, he focused on her discombobulation. If she wanted one last go, he was going to make it authentic.

Rushing from the side, Jaxton managed to get behind Kiarra. He took her throat in his hands, careful not to hurt her but gripping her firmly enough so that she couldn’t pull away easily. She swung her left arm around, straight and firm as he’d taught her, and he was forced to lean back a fraction to avoid a blow to his head. As Kiarra twisted around, she chopped her right hand into the side of his neck, giving her the distraction she needed to run away.

Three steps away from Jaxton, Kiarra whooped as she jumped up and down in place. “I did it!”

Jaxton rubbed the sting on his neck and shook his head at her actions. “Lingering around, celebrating, defeats the purpose of temporarily disabling an opponent.”

Kiarra beamed. “Somehow I think I’ll walk away from this one unscathed.”

A second later Jaxton had her back pressed against his front, with one arm around her waist and the other around her shoulders. Kiarra was tense, her breathing ragged.

Tags: Jessie Donovan Asylums for Magical Threats Paranormal
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