For a small, undefined stretch of eternity, my brain ceases to function, disintegrating into a billion fragments and barely putting itself back together before my heart attempts to rupture my chest; the lone muscle pounding like a hammer inside me, pumping more blood than it can probably handle far too quickly.

A second later, a multitude of tingles erupt inside my lower belly, fanning out in a collective hum in between short bursts of intense tickles.

“Butterflies”, girls often call them.

These aren’t butterflies.

These are blind, oversized moths, fluttering in a rabid, uncontrollable frenzy, colliding with each other to produce absolute chaos inside my body.

And it’s all conjured by a single look from the devastatingly handsome man in front of me.

Crow black hair.

Sinful, distracting lips.

Insane build.

Impeccable posture.

Tall as a mother.

And his eyes…

Oh, my God, his eyes!


I can’t even voice my awe, the words stuck in my throat. In fact, I think I may have lost the ability to speak all together.

I find myself blinking rapidly, my eyelashes fluttering in tandem with the crazy moths in my belly, and I can’t control it. It’s like my eyes are trying to make sure they’re not deceiving me, or themselves.

Holy cow, he’s hot!!! I think to myself. Like, illegally, irresponsibly hot!

He obviously doesn’t notice my silent praise, advancing toward me with a scowl on his lovely face.

“What are you doing here?” he demands, his voice insanely deep. “Who are you?”

I’m too stunned to speak…to move…to do anything but stare at him like a frickin’ idiot.

In a few strides he’s in front of me, towering over my significantly smaller frame with both immeasurable sex appeal and unspoken threat oozing from his body. “I asked you a question,” he snaps, narrowing his eyes at me.

I just keep staring in awe…which, apparently, does nothing but infuriate him even more.

His eyes go deadly, their sockets shadowed by a callous, unapologetic glare. A full fledged scowl quickly follows, tainting his striking features.

He looks unbelievably menacing.

His imposing, overwhelming presence makes me extremely uncomfortable—somewhat frightened even—and yet, I still can’t bring myself to look away.

So we just keep staring into each other’s eyes: something I find bizarre and weird because I normally can’t maintain eye contact to save my life, even with people I know—and certainly never with eyes like his.

Not that I’ve ever seen anything remotely like them before: a striking gradient of teal, sapphire, and cornflower blue, each vibrant hue bleeding into the next, creating an astonishing mesh of color laced with a unique, crystalline quality.

Like twin galaxies…

I’ve never seen anything like them: so surreal and intense and…


Really, really sexy.

I’ve seen my fair share of gorgeous eyes before but his are just…stunning.

Beyond exquisite.


Shit, did I mention they were sexy?

Oh, my God…I can’t believe how much I’m getting turned on.

This stranger is yelling and glaring at me like I just killed his family dog and all I can do is stand here dumbfounded, getting all hot and bothered and unable to take my eyes off him.

Ugh, what the hell is wrong with me?!

There’s dead silence for a moment, and I wonder why he isn’t saying anything all of a sudden.

He’s obviously creeped out by the way you keep staring at him, you dunce, the voice in my head scolds.

Waves of embarrassment heat my cheeks at the realization, and I quickly avert my gaze from him, feeling unbelievably awkward. I continue to stand there for God knows how long, feeling the heat of his own scrutinizing eyes on me.

A long, uncomfortable pause ensues, stretching on for way too long.

Abruptly, his deep voice reverberates in the room.

“You find me attractive?” he says quietly.

That stuns me.

Reflexively, my eyes dart upward, reflecting my utter shock as I meet his breathtaking gaze again. I blink rapidly against the tidal wave of confusion that engulfs me, even more surprised to find that his previously hard glare has softened somewhat and become more neutral.

I stare at him with both astonishment and embarrassment, blinking rapidly as his words replay in my head.

Oh God, did I end up saying what I was thinking of him out loud? I fret, panicking internally. I don’t remember saying anything, though.

“You’re right,” he says, his voice seemingly deeper. “You didn’t actually say anything. But you did think it.”

I can’t help but stare at him with what I’m sure is the most quizzical expression my face can muster.

Ummm…come again?

“I’m pretty sure you heard me the first time,” is his response, cocking his perfect eyebrow almost sarcastically.

My eyes grow wider than they ever have, stretching to their limit, and then some.

Oh, my God…

H-He can read my mind?

How…how on earth is that possible? I-Is he a soothsayer? One of those palm-readers, maybe?

“H-How…how do you know what I’m thinking?” I stutter like the confused idiot I am at the moment, verbalizing my scrambled thoughts.

He replies in a matter-of-fact tone. “I can read your energy. You’re pretty transparent.”

My eyebrow arches without my permission.


What the hell is that supposed to mean?

I am so not transparent. Hell, last time I checked, I was pretty darn opaque.

“I meant transparent in terms of your expressions and body language,” he says, gesturing with his large hands, “not your physical appearance—”

“I know what you meant,” I interject, cutting him off with a roll of my eyes. “And would you stop reading my mind? It’s rude.”

He shrugs nonchalantly. “It’s not like I’m trying to pry,” he says. “You’re practically screaming the words.”

I fold my arms over my chest in annoyance. “You are prying,” I retort. “I haven’t said anything.”

“No, I’m not,” he insists. 

“Yes, you are,” I counter.

“Am not.”

“Are too.”

“Am not.”

“Ugh. What are you, five?” I blurt incredulously, surprised that someone so charismatic and ominous can also be this childish. “Fine. Since I’m practically screaming the words,” I mock, repeating his earlier remark, “then cover your ears or something.”

He chuckles at that.

Gosh, he has such an attractive laugh…

Ugh, I need to stop with all that!

Get it the fuck together, Eli. He can read your mind, remember? That means he can tell you’re as hot as a horn dog for him, you know. Have a little self-respect. 

Okay, I need to get out of here before I make a complete ass out of myself in front of this mind-reading, suit-wearing, beautiful stranger.

I take a step forward, trying to walk past him but, as soon as I do, he stops me in one effortless motion, cornering me against the pulpit with his arm.

In an instant, I find myself trapped between the marble podium and his large, muscled body.

I look up at him questioningly, unable to stop myself from admiring how good his suit looks on him up close.

God, he’s big…

I shake my head in frustration with myself as soon as the thought forms.

I really need to get a grip and stop with all this eye-candy-ogling madness and focus.

He speaks again, his voice remarkably calm and quiet this time, gentle even. “I’m sorry for yelling at you earlier, but this is private property and you, my dear, are trespassing.”

I try to keep a straight face and not look like I’m about to instantaneously combust from his piercing gaze and super close proximity.

“I didn’t know I was,” I say, feigning aloofness. “In any case, I’ll be on my way now.”

To think I’d be told such a thing in my own dream of all places!

Avoiding his gaze, I try to step forward again, hoping he’ll get the hint that he’s crowding me and move out of the way.

Homeboy doesn’t budge.


Series Navigation<< The Basilisk’s Creed: Chapter FourThe Basilisk’s Creed: Chapter Six >>
  • Fascinated
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  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid

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