Fragment Friday (nearly missed it, didn’t I?)
Enjoy 🙂 [Background: Layla and Sanjar have gone horseback riding.]
Carefully, Layla sneaked a glance at Sanjar. His hips rolled with the horse, as fluid as breathing. The reins hung limp from his hand. She recalled Jiro’s comment the night before. “Is it true, Bahadorens think they can ride through anything?”
A smile quirked the corners of his mouth. “That’s because we can. Anything but sandstorms.” He could be distant, and the intensity she often saw in his eyes made him a little intimidating, but when he smiled like that, Layla wondered why he didn’t do it more often.
She urged Kiraz into an easy gallop. “Let’s go a little faster.”
Sanjar picked up his pace. “Not much more,” he called, “there could be rabbit holes.”
Of course. She didn’t want to lame her horse trying to prove something.
The wind plastered her veil to her face, playing among the loose waves of hair beneath her braids. Sanjar pulled even. He caught her eyes, and a smile so mischievous it stole her breath broke across his face. He surged ahead, laughing at her shriek of frustration. ‘Not much faster’ her eye!
“Hie!” Layla let Kiraz loose. The mare leaped into her stride, gaining ground on Sanjar with exhilarating speed. The grass whipped by in a blur. She raced into the lead just as a pair of quail burst up out of the grass.
Kiraz screamed. She kicked into a thundering gallop across Sanjar’s path.
Wind stung Layla’s eyes. Her veil sucked into her nose and mouth, sliding to whip across her vision. She clawed at the fabric. The wild pace jarred her bones. She couldn’t see, couldn’t breathe. Each bounce slipped her farther off the center of her saddle. She tried turning Kiraz’s head by pulling the right-hand rein, but the animal barreled on. Tears blurred the last of her vision. One more slip, and death would catch her.