Spy Glass Page 112

“It was nice of you to escort me,” I said. A few of his men followed us at a distance. Both Walsh and Galen had an armed escort at all times.

“It’s to ensure no one…harms you before the ceremony. Some of my wives get jealous.”

I’d bet, but he had given me a perfect opening. “I would think you’d be more worried about Galen.”

“Why?”

Gotcha. Now I had to tread through the loopholes with care. “Galen has Devlen now.”

He frowned. “So? Devlen knows quite a bit about blood magic.”

I cringed. “Did they tell you how addictive it is?”

“Of course. I’ve seen it for myself.”

“Last time Devlen’s addiction consumed him, he wasn’t content to wait for others. He’s clever and intelligent. Unparalleled with a sword…” I let the information sink in.

Walsh stopped. “Is Galen planning to double-cross me?”

“I can’t say.”

“Even if I order you to?”

“Not even then.”

He dismissed my concerns. “I have my guards, my clan members and my own considerable magic. There are only two of them.”

“Three of us.”

Alarm filled his thin face. In the twilight he resembled a ghost. “Why are you warning me?”

“I hate Galen and Devlen. If you kill them, I would consider it a perfect wedding present.”

He laughed with a harsh bark. “Nice try. I almost fell for it.”

Shoot. Time for a different angle. I silently thanked Mother and shrugged. “As long as you don’t mind sharing me.”

“What do you mean?” he demanded, yanking me close. “You’ve been ordered to my bed every night.”

“And to Galen’s every day.” I rubbed my belly. “I wonder who will give me a baby first?”

“You’re lying. Galen loathes you. He would never take you to his bed.” Walsh considered. “You shouldn’t be able to lie to me. He assured me of your cooperation.” His hard eyes bored into me. “Kneel.”

Since I wasn’t in his bedroom and this had nothing to do with the ceremony, I remained on my feet.

He grabbed my shoulders and shook me. “Did he order you to obey me?”

Magic blocked me from answering, but he already figured it out.

“Son of a bitch!”

Walsh didn’t waste time. “Take her to the bonfire, I’ll be there shortly,” he ordered one of his guards.

As the guard marched me to the beach, I hoped I hadn’t ruined anything Quinn might be planning by tipping Walsh off to Galen’s deceit. If Galen had been tired of playing in Vasko’s sandbox, he’d never put himself in the same position again.

On the beach, bright flames as tall as a man pulsed and flickered. A pit had been dug in the sand and the pile of driftwood snapped and popped. The firelight illuminated the fog, creating a fuzzy softness around the bonfire. Clan members had brought blankets to sit on. A few kids played in the gentle waves and others made sand castles. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think this was a large family picnic.

A dais had been set up with three ornate chairs. Purple silk screens boxed in the dais on three sides, leaving the one facing the sea open. My guard led me to the chair on the left.

“Sit,” he said, before taking up position nearby.

From this position, I spotted a couple tables filled with food and more armed guards patrolling the perimeter. Not all the clan members had come, and I remembered what Mother had said about staying in their cottage. A breeze blew onshore, pushing the fog in thickening swells. One minute I couldn’t see past the fire, and the next it was clearer.

Galen bounded onto the dais with Devlen a step behind.

“Where’s the groom?” Galen asked me.

“I don’t know.”

“What happened?” he asked.

I jerked a thumb at the guard. “Told him to escort me and said he’d be here soon.”

Galen glanced at Devlen, who gave him a slight shrug. Settling into the chair on the right, Galen inquired about my afternoon. “Did you have fun with the women?”

“No.”

He chuckled. “Come here.”

Devlen moved to stand behind Galen.

Although I wished to remain in my seat, my body complied. Galen yanked at the scarf, uncovering my arms. Lines of red welts striped my skin.

I glanced at Devlen. Anger flashed in his eyes.

Galen admired the damage. “Is it still tender?” He rubbed his hands along my arms, inflaming the cuts.

I jerked back and grabbed the scarf.

“Keep it off,” Galen said, pulling it away from me.

Walsh arrived with six guards. It seemed the guards outnumbered the clan. A couple followed Walsh. He introduced them to us as Minister Heath and his wife, Nancee.

I wasn’t the only one confused by the Minister’s presence.

Galen asked about them. “Don’t you usually use a Bloodrose member?”

“Yes I do. But I wanted this one to be official and legally entered into the record books.”

Bile rose in my throat.

“When did you decide on that?” Galen demanded, his ire evident.

I wondered if Walsh had already suspected Galen, and the couple was his insurance nothing would happen tonight.

“As soon as I set eyes on my bride.” Walsh took my left hand and brought it to his lips. “I sent the Minister a letter right away.” He turned back to his guests. “I’d also like to get married first then have our meal.”

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