Exclusive Excerpt from Twenty-One Arrow Salute
by Kasia Bacon
A lonely figure loomed behind the group. I took a few steps forward and recognised the only archer not participating in the fun by his mass of flaming auburn hair.
Smaller-framed than an average Highlander, Seinnés lay on his stomach, pressing his elbows on the grass and cupping his chin in his hands. His legs, bent at the knee and crossed at the ankles, rested in the air. He stared at the players while gnawing on a blade of grass, sporting a half-curious, half-wistful expression, the book in front of him forgotten.
He sure was pretty.
A large red mouth and lucent eyes the shade of pale fern stood out on his slender face. The pointy tip of one ear, tinged pink, peeked out through his bright hair. His colouring, bold and ostentatious, called to mind the image of the forest in autumn glory.
My earlier agitation ebbed away. An odd twinge jolted through my chest.
The more I looked, the more I enjoyed the view, astonished that Seinnés’ clean-limbed build and graceful looks had escaped my notice so far. But something beyond his beauty garnered my attention: his mellow features, stripped of their usual frostiness and contemptuous arrogance. Unaware of my scrutiny and folded in such a childlike pose, he came across as downcast and forsaken. So out of his element that I ended up fighting an odd impulse to comfort him. I couldn’t shake the thought that I’d stumbled upon him in a private moment of vulnerability when he’d dropped his guard and left himself exposed. And suddenly, watching him like that seemed wrong somehow—akin to stealing secrets—in every way more intrusive than ogling bare, soaped arses through a shroud of bathhouse steam.