It’s not often that a book grabs me so completely. I’ve read books that were absorbing, but never any that were quite so visceral as Evenfall. I’m not going to go on too much about it because I imagine I fangirled quite enough in my review. This scene is from fairly early on in the book, and it was a moment where both Boyd and Sin’s defenses momentarily dropped.
Boyd didn’t know how long he’d been asleep before he heard it, or even whether it was a dream. He only knew that an unfamiliar sound caught his attention and that he felt mildly disoriented.
Opening his eyes, he listened closely with his brows furrowed down slightly. When he realized what direction it was coming from, he rolled his head discreetly and peered through the darkness. It took him a few moments to discern what it was.
When he realized it came from Sin’s bed, the surprise jerked him awake.
Sin was curled in a tight ball on his bed as though he were trying to protect himself. Despite that, the muscles in his face and body were twitching oddly. A soft, incoherent exclamation fell from his lips and he unwound himself from the ball abruptly.
He extended one of his arms away from his body and one hand dangled off the bed, the fingers twitching and tensing. He muttered in Chinese softly in his sleep, his voice low and strained.
Boyd shifted and pushed himself up on one elbow, his eyebrows drawn down as he stared. Sin so often seemed silent and still, like a statue, that it was disturbing to see him so obviously distressed.
“Sin?” he asked loudly, hoping to wake him.
The word did nothing. In fact, whatever nightmare Sin was having only seemed to progress in intensity. His head turned back and fourth, black hair splaying against the white sheets of the bed. His face turned towards Boyd and moonlight shone across it, showing a vulnerable, naked expression that bordered on fear.
Boyd sat up, looking at him with actual concern. He didn’t know what to do; it was almost alarming to see Sin in this state. The man was usually so controlled that Boyd never knew how many layers there were before his true opinion would show.
But in this case, with Sin asleep, Boyd knew everything he was seeing was the truth. The fact that Sin sounded terrified made Boyd get out of bed. Even if Sin hadn’t been making noise, Boyd wouldn’t have been able to go back to sleep in good conscience.
Boyd threw his legs over the side of the bed and padded across the room toward Sin’s bed. He’d seen the way Sin hadn’t seemed to react much to Lydia when reliving a nightmare but he’d been drugged at the time.
“Sin, wake up,” Boyd said loudly, lightly touching the hand dangling in front of him.
The reaction was immediate.
Sin’s eyes snapped open; wild and filled with madness. Seemingly without transition, Boyd was suddenly thrown across the room. He smashed into a table so hard that it flew a few inches off the floor, crashed against the wall and fell over. He crashed into the floor; his vision clouded and he couldn’t properly breathe. Everything that was on the table clattered around him in a spray that peppered his body. His bag fell down next to him, spilling its contents.
Before he could even understand what had happened, violently strong hands were on him. He was yanked back and flipped ruthlessly, slammed onto his back. His head cracked against the hardwood floor and pain shot down his neck.
Boyd’s eyes fell shut of their own accord. When they snapped open a breath later, Sin’s face was less than an inch from his own, and there was no recognition in it at all. Fear and surprise overcame Boyd. His heart stumbled. Green eyes blazed at him with the same uncontrollable fury he had seen in the surveillance videos. As the words ‘automatic kill mode’ moved through his mind, he realized that Sin’s hands were now wrapped around his neck.
“Sin,” Boyd yelled as Sin’s fingers started to tighten. “Hsin! Stop!“
The response was unexpected. The heart pounding moment, feeling like it had been on fast-forward, suddenly stilled. Tension made the shadows in the room zero in on them while Sin faltered. Long, powerful fingers loosened slightly on Boyd’s neck. That shadowed face stared down uncomprehendingly.
Boyd didn’t know if it was the use of Sin’s real name or the plea that had gotten his attention but either way he took advantage of the moment.
“Stop,” he said urgently. His body was so tense it felt locked in place. He kept himself perfectly still, as nonthreatening as if he were dealing with a wild animal. “I won’t do anything–Just stop, Hsin. Don’t hurt me.”
Pale green eyes met honey brown and Sin’s brow furrowed as he absorbed the words. His hands remained poised on Boyd, ready to snap his neck in an instant. A long, tense moment passed in which the only movement was their chests rising and falling with their breath. Then sluggish awareness began to creep back into Sin’s eyes. The manic wildness slowly drifted out of his face and was replaced by an expression of confusion.
At first it seemed that Sin wasn’t even aware of what had happened but then his eyes widened and he scrambled backwards, lowering into a crouch. Panting and tense, his body was coiled tighter than a spring about to snap. He still didn’t look entirely back to himself and his green eyes flitted around quickly. He didn’t speak but appeared to be bracing himself, waiting for something to happen.
Tense and unwilling to move, Boyd came to two conclusions in quick succession. One, he still had no idea whether or not Sin would attack him. Two, he was almost positive Sin had only stopped when he had made it known that he was not a threat. There was only one thing he had that could possibly be considered a threat, and it was what Sin seemed to be waiting for.
Moving as fast as he could so his motions were not misunderstood, Boyd pulled the small remote out of his nearby bag. Sin tensed, eyes narrowing but his face turned into a study of complete shock when Boyd threw the remote at him. Sin caught it in midair, the action almost an unconscious reflex as their eyes stayed locked.
“Take it,” Boyd panted roughly. “I don’t want it–I’m not here to hurt you.”
For a long moment the only sound in the room was of their labored breathing as they stared at each other. For the first time since they’d met, Sin’s face was completely open and his thoughts were clear.
Emotions Boyd hadn’t even been positive Sin ever felt were aimed at him. Shock, guilt and fear dominated his slightly widened green eyes and parted lips. The moment stretched at they stared at each other, the chaos of the last few minutes adding to the panting of their breath and eyes locked on each other. But it didn’t last long and everything snapped back to normal speed.
Sin abruptly ran out of the cabin. He was there and gone so fast that it seemed liked he’d disappeared in the blink of an eye.
Kindle location: 3434 of 21534
It was after this that Sin and Boyd developed this tiny smidgen of trust and formed the beginning of their friendship.