Part of her wanted to ask to see his abilities, but another part of her resented the fact Darius still had them. She knew it was silly, but she was jealous of his parents’ actions to protect him.
She had no idea who or what was a Feiru Master, but before she got the chance to ask, Darius pressed a cotton ball to the needle’s entry point, eased the needle out, and taped the cotton ball to her arm. He looked up and patted her arm. “If there’s a way to bring back your elemental fire, rest assured that DEFEND will find it.”
“How did you…”
Darius smiled. “There are eyes and ears everywhere in this house. Remember that.”
And then he was gone before she could ask another question; that seemed to be a pattern with the men in this house.
Kiarra was skeptical that Darius’s words would come true, about bringing back her elemental fire, but secretly she longed for it. Every time she’d been allowed to use her fire during supervised observations inside the AMT, the flames had felt like old friends, caressing her skin and comforting her in a way nothing else could.
But she longed for the return o
f her fire for a much more important reason than simple nostalgia; with elemental fire, she wouldn’t have to rely on Jaxton or his men for protection. At the end of her three-month trial, she could leave and defend herself against the AMT enforcers.
After thirty minutes of searching her room, Kiarra was convinced Jaxton or one of his men had stolen the rules and regulation book Neena had given her, and she wanted it back.
She stood at her door, trying to work up the courage to open it. Having met Marco and Darius, Kiarra wasn’t afraid of bumping into one of Jaxton’s men. Each time she met them, she was able to strengthen her tolerance of interacting with people again.
So what was keeping her standing like an idiot in front of the door? The clothes Neena had brought for her to wear.
The tight jeans, long-sleeved purple t-shirt, and knee-high boots felt like an advertisement that screamed: Stare at my boobs and ass, you can’t miss them. After spending her entire adult life trying not to catch the eye of the AMT guards, drawing attention to herself was counterintuitive.
But as she darted a glance toward the window, Kiarra remembered that she wasn’t inside the AMT any longer. Jaxton and his men might stare, but they most likely wouldn’t touch her without consent.
This was another step in her training. She could do this.
Kiarra took a deep breath before opening the door and heading down the stairs, toward the front room. She remembered seeing a bookshelf when she’d talked with Neena yesterday—maybe she’d get lucky and find the DEFEND book there. She needed to start learning the rules. Not only because she wanted to become less reliant on Jaxton, but also in case she decided to stay and work for DEFEND past her three-month trial period.
Careful not to make a sound, Kiarra peeked into the front room and breathed a sigh of relief when she saw it was empty. Late afternoon sunshine streamed through the windows, allowing her to scan the bookshelf without flicking on the lights.
Most of the books were nonfiction. The topics ranging from geology to history to psychology, with a few fiction titles tucked away on the bottom shelf. But she didn’t see Neena’s book or anything about DEFEND or its rules and regulations. She would’ve loved to find a book on the history of the AMT compounds or Feiru legends, but again, she came up empty-handed.
So much for trying to become less reliant on Jaxton. She’d just have to confront him about it the next time she saw him.
Kiarra bent over and scanned the fiction titles on the bottom shelf. Reading had been one of her sanity-sustaining techniques inside the AMT, but all of the titles had come from a pre-approved list to ensure that the inmates wouldn’t get any ideas about escape or revolt. The thought of reading something that might not be on the approved AMT reading list made Kiarra a little giddy.
She finally plucked one with “Highlander” in the title and started to read the back cover when a voice behind her said, “The steamy ones are tucked away in the back.”
Jaxton had been planning to read more about post-traumatic stress disorder on his tablet when he’d stepped into the front room and seen Kiarra bent over, her lovely, heart-shaped ass on display.
Jaxton leaned against the doorframe and watched her. He knew what Kiarra was looking for, but to give her the book outright would be too easy. Instead, he would use this opportunity to work on the emotional side of Kiarra’s training. If she was to be effective in the field, she needed the ability to control all of her emotions, and Jaxton had the perfect plan to test it.
After making a comment about his sister Millie’s sexy romance stash on the bottom shelf, Kiarra jumped up and turned around to face him. He waited to see if he’d be dealing with the hesitant AMT inmate or the woman from his training session.
Kiarra’s brows drew together. “You shouldn’t sneak up on people. It’s not very nice.”
Excellent, he had the woman from the training session. “I wasn’t sneaking, you just weren’t paying attention. Another rule for self-defense is—”
“To pay attention. Yes, I get it.”
At least she wasn’t hesitating at everything he said or did, which was progress. He walked over to the bookcase. “What’re you looking for, pet?”
She looked at him askance for a second before she said, “Neena gave me a book to read, but it’s not in my room.”
He plucked a book from the topmost shelf and held it up. “This one?” Kiarra reached for it, but he held it up out of her reach. “Everyone who works for DEFEND knows the rumors about Neena’s personal copy of the rules and regulations book. Supposedly it gives clues about her overall plan for the organization. My question is, why she would give it to you?”