Slumber Page 36

“Who did that?” He bit out.

Not really caring if I got Jesper in trouble, I told him. Kir cursed profusely before softening his expression as he took in my fright. His fingers were gentle on my skin as he stroked my cheek.

“I’ll kill him for that.”

I shivered, pulling away when his gaze dipped to my mouth. “Please don’t.”

He quirked an eyebrow, drawing back. “You don’t want me to punish him for beating you?”

I smirked. “I think I punished him enough.”

Kir laughed. “I forgot how bloodthirsty you can be. What did you do to him?”

I told him and Kir laughed harder until I joined in.

Wiping tears from his eyes, he sighed, appearing relaxed for the first time. “Oh I have missed you, little Rogan.”

Smiling sadly, I shrugged. “It’s been a long time, Kir.”

“It has,” he agreed. “But we went through a lifetime together in only a year.”

As we both remembered, a chilly silence fell over the room. I flinched, still hearing his screams as the Captain of Guard lashed him over and over again with the horsewhip.

“Do you dream about it?” he asked me so quietly I almost didn’t hear him.

I looked away, my teeth clenched tightly together. I gave him an imperceptible nod.

His rough hand clasped mine and I turned slowly to look at him. “No one understands, Rogan. How could they? No one understands but you.”

I nodded, feeling as if the last eight years were melting away and I was huddled in Kir’s arms as we cried together by a campfire, the Guard ignoring us as we sobbed in a grief only we could understand. In Silvera we saw one another once or twice a month but I remembered how empty I felt when I heard he had run away, like some of kind of bond had been snapped. “You left me,” I whispered.

His features hardened as if he was in pain and he grasped my hand tighter. “I had to get away, Rogan, please understand.”

“I do,” I replied softly. “I do.”

“You could stay. Here. With me.”

Shock froze me and I stared back at him wide-eyed.

His mouth quirked up at the corner. “It’s not such a strange request, Rogan. We were close once. We loved one another as children.”

I felt pin pricks of tears at those words because they were true. We had clung to one another with a fierceness born of our grief and protected one another whenever we could. “I can’t stay, Kir. Haydyn needs my help. I can’t stay.”

“She is ill then?”

Biting my lip, I gripped his hand tighter, pleading with my eyes. “Please don’t tell anyone.”

His eyes widened and he cupped my cheek. “I would never do anything to hurt you.”

I believed him.

But…

“What about Wolfe?” I drew back a little, feeling as if I were drowning in a riptide of memories and sorrow… and affection.

Kir frowned. “What about Wolfe?”

“You seem surprisingly friendly with him considering you had to live with his family for a year.”

I watched him closely as his eyes narrowed, his mouth thinning. “I have no problem with Wolfe. He was a good lad when we were young. As much a victim as we were.”

W-w-what? I struggled to breathe evenly.

My heart began thudding in my chest. How could Kir… what did Kir know that I didn’t? How could Kir forgive when I couldn’t? “What do you mean?” I was desperate to know, I needed to know.

He leaned in close to me, his expression quizzical. “Why do you care?”

“I-I… I…” I had no answer for him. And even if I did I would have been distracted by the heat that sparked to life in his eyes, his mouth descending towards mine. Kir was going to kiss me! My heart flailed as if it were being strangled. Was I going to let him?

“Boss.”

Kir pulled back, his eyes closed tightly, muttering curses under his breath. He whipped around and I followed his gaze to the door, completely shaken by what I’d nearly let happen.

Jesper was grinning at us knowingly. “The Hawks want to talk to you, Boss.”

“The Hawks?” I queried, confusion wrinkling my brow.

Kir smiled and pulled me to my feet. “My gang are called the Hawks.”

I threw him a sardonic look. “Why? Because you always catch your prey?”

He grinned wickedly. “Always, beautiful Rogan. Always.”

I rolled my eyes at him and he laughed, and by the way Jesper’s mouth fell open in surprise I was guessing it was something Kir didn’t do often.

“I’m sure Wolfe will be finished with the tub. Why don’t you go along and check and I’ll be back soon with some food.”

I nodded and we headed down the hallway together. When he and Jesper disappeared around a doorway, I was so in a stew about what had almost happened I forgot to knock, and just barged into the room.

“Oh,” I gasped as Wolfe stood before me shirtless, droplets of bath water falling from the strands of hair at the nape of his neck to his shoulders, running in tantalising rivulets across his muscled abdomen. He was beautiful. My gaze followed the trickle like a magpie with a diamond… and then I gasped again at the raised scar on his lower stomach. “Oh m-” I cut off at his growl as he wrenched a shirt on over his head, covering what I had just seen.

Wolfe had been branded.

A dark horseshoe burn scar branded his lower stomach. Who would do such a thing?

“Wolfe-”

The door burst open slamming into my back and I stumbled forward.

“Oh, Rogan, I’m sorry.” Kir righted me as he came in, patting my shoulder in apology. “It’s just we have a problem.” He slammed the door shut.

“What kind of problem?” Wolfe refused to look at me.

“I’m about to have a bloody mutiny on my hands if I don’t hand you over to Solom.”

I paled, instinctively wanting to edge closer to Wolfe. Reminding myself I was an independent woman, I stiffened my spine. “So what do we do?”

Kir’s gaze pinned Wolfe to the wall. “I’m sorry, brother, but I had to.”

Panic made my heart gain tempo. “Had to what? What’s going on?”

“Does she know? About your…?”

Wolfe nodded stiffly.

Kir relaxed then. “I know you tried to keep it hidden, but it was the only thing I could barter with.”

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