Slumber Page 27

She cocked her head curiously, her eyes washing over me as she gripped them tighter. “What happened to you, girl, to make you so afraid of the future?”

“Well for a start I was kidnapped by the Iavii.”

Vrik smothered a chuckle behind me as Selena glared.

“We won’t hurt you, girl. No. You fear something else.”

“You said you can’t read minds.”

She laughed softly, condescendingly, like I was a small child before a teacher. “I don’t need to read minds to know that a young, intelligent, pretty girl with her whole life ahead of her should be excited at the prospect of the future. You clearly aren’t. So why are you frightened instead?”

“I’m not frightened by it. I’d rather live it when it comes, than know about it now. A piece of information can change a person. I’d hate to change the way I’m supposed to live my future.”

Her whole face lit up into a wide grin and she nodded, pleased. “What a wise thing to say.”

I exhaled heavily, acting the spoiled brat in the hopes it would get me out of there. “Can I go now?”

“No.” She tugged harder on my hands and I lurched forward. A sick feeling swirled in my stomach as Selena closed her eyes. She was still for so long, my heartbeat getting louder and louder, I was sure they must hear it in this tiny, sparse tent. Finally, Selena grinned. Her eyes popped open. “Nothing to fear,” she assured me. “You’ll marry one of the Glava and be very happy about it.”

I scoffed and pulled my hands free. “Doubtful, madam, as I have no intentions of marrying anyone. Ever,” I emphasised. I began to feel better. Perhaps she wasn’t really one of the Glava after all.

Selena shrugged. “I’m never wrong.”

Wolfe was right. This was nonsense. I rolled my eyes and pulled away from her. “Can I go now?”

Seeming to laugh at me, which irked and unsettled me, Selena nodded and Vrik strode forward frowning. He grabbed my arm and I winced. I was going to be covered in bruises from where he kept gripping me.

“That’s it?” he hissed at Selena. “Nothing about an agreement? About land?”

She shook her head, holding her hands up. “You know I only get what’s most important to them.”

“And you determined marriage?” I snorted and turned to Vrik. “You might want to purchase yourself a new reader, because this one is definitely broken.”

Growling at me again, Vrik forced me forward and out of the tent. Wolfe was nowhere to be seen. My heart stopped and panic seized my chest. “Where’s Wolfe?” I asked and received no answer. Vrik tried to pull me back towards the house but I wouldn’t let him, digging my feet into the ground. “Where’s Wolfe?”

“He’s fine,” Vrik snarled and used both hands to pick me up and put me down in front of him. He pressed his hands into my back and pushed me forward. I struggled all the way.

“Damn it, tell me where he is?!”

“He’s fine,” he reiterated, “Now get yer ass in this house before I do good on my earlier promise to shut ye up in a way that I’ll definitely enjoy, but ye won’t.”

A flood of rage took over that I should be so vulnerable to this man, and I elbowed him deliberately as he pushed me forward. “Just tell me where he is?”

“Having a better time than me probably.”

I stilled, my heart now thumping so hard it made me ill. Was Wolfe off with the gypsy girl whilst I was being mauled? Irritated beyond rationality I kicked back and caught Vrik in the thigh. He yelled and yanked my head back by my hair as he forced me - kicking and shoving me - into the house and down the cellar stairs.

“Where’s Wolfe?!” I screamed for the millionth time and was again ignored as I was thrown into the cellar.

I landed with a painful grunt, my ribs hollering in my pain as they impacted with the stone floor.

I heard a curse and then Wolfe’s face hovered over mine. “Rogan, are you alright?”

He was here? In the cellar? I groaned and relaxed, thumping my head against the hard ground. “Ouch.” I was such an idiot. They’d brought him back to the cellar to wait on me. Wow. I was terrible at this ‘being kidnapped’ situation.

“Rogan?” I felt his fingers on my face and my heart stopped. My eyes flashed open and my heart lodged somewhere in my throat at his close proximity. I could see the hints of gold striations in his blue eyes, his dark lashes enviably long. Suddenly I felt a strange queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach and squirmed at the concern in his face. Distrusting it, I pulled back with a flinch and watched the concern melt to his usual blank arrogance. “I take it you’re fine.” He sighed and moved away from me.

“Yes, I’m fine.” I struggled to a sitting position, willing my heart to slow. I pushed my skirts back down into some semblance of modesty. Not that it mattered. I was torn, smelly and unwashed. Feeling Wolfe’s unwavering gaze I stopped fussing and glared at him. “What?”

“Nothing.” He shrugged. “I’ve just never heard you say my name before.”

“What?”

“You were yelling ‘where’s Wolfe?’ over and over again.”

I flushed, not wanting him to misunderstand. “I thought they were separating us and we have a better chance of escape if we’re kept together. And you’ve heard me say your name before.”

Wolfe shook his head, smiling wryly. “No. It’s always Captain or Stovia or Captain Stovia. Then there’s Vikomt – you usually spit that one at me.”

Uncomfortable for reasons unknown and not wishing to have anything that could qualify as an actual conversation with him, I decided to ignore his questioning. “Well, Vikomt, how do you suggest we get out of this?” I gestured around the cellar. “Now that we know they have a Glava and a Dravilec in their hands.”

Something flickered in Wolfe’s eyes at my question, something akin to disappointment, and then he looked away. I watched him pull himself together and then he cleared his throat, “I’m wondering how many more of the mage they have here. I’m hoping they’ve not been…” he threw me a mystifying look before he continued quietly, “Collecting them.”

My throat worked at the memories but I refused to drop my gaze. I knew my eyes hardened, however. I saw it in the way Wolfe’s eyes blazed back at me. I didn’t know what his look meant, but I guessed it could only be anger at his own memories of his own destroyed family.

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