[This post is from Matt’s point of view.]
Hecate’s hand tightened around his. The pressure wasn’t surprising, though the intensity of it was. Matt’s gaze drifted to her, taking in lips drawn into a fine line, a jaw tightly set, eyes stormy.
“What is it?” he murmured, brows knitting as he looked at her.
She swallowed, then took a slow breath. “I’ll do it if I have to.”
He blinked. “Do what?”
“Call them,” she whispered. “Call the dirae. Try to take control. I’ll try if we all think it’s necessary.”
Her grip on his hand was white-knuckle. Matt swallowed hard. “No,” he murmured. “No, you won’t call them.”
Phelan shot him a worried look, one that Matt ignored as he shifted around to face her, his free hand brushing stray strands of hair back from her face. “None of us are going to ask you to do that unless the circumstances are beyond extreme. We all remember what facing the lampades did to you. It’s not an option.”
She reached up, letting go of his hand to cradle his face between both of hers. “We might not have a choice,” she whispered. “We didn’t when the lampades hit us. We might not when they come. Because we all know that they’ll come. There’s no doubt, Matt. They’ll come. We all know that.”
He squeezed his eyes shut. She leaned into his chest and he wrapped his arms around her, holding her tightly.
“We need to figure out who that cloaked man is,” Phelan murmured. “Maybe that’ll give us leverage.”
“Or none at all,” Gideon said, his tone grim. “Has knowing helped before?”
“Only somewhat,” Phelan said. Matt opened his eyes fast enough to catch his friend’s scowl.
“Well, we’ll have to hope that this time, if we can figure it out, it will give us an advantage,” Matt said quietly, resting his cheek against Hecate’s hair. “Knowing something is better than nothing.”
“Sometimes,” Phelan agreed, then sighed. “Sometimes.”