Spy Glass Page 114

No choice. I repeated the question.

“You were mine in all ways but one. And the thought of you sleeping with Walsh galled me. I don’t like to share. Now you’re legally joined to me.” Galen stood. “Come.”

I followed him to a cottage near the office building. The fog obscured most of the compound. We encountered no one, and the moist air dampened any sounds.

Dread slowed my steps and I lingered outside, peering into the dark fog. At this time, I would welcome a distraction. Perhaps a backup plan would be put into action. Something must have gone wrong during the bonfire. Surely, Devlen didn’t plan for me to marry Galen.

“Opal, come here now,” Galen called.

Despite my mind’s frantic screams, my body complied. He had lit a lantern and waited for me in his bedroom in the back. Galen lounged on the bed, but he sat up as soon as I entered.

“I can taste your fear. It’s an unexpected addition to the excitement. Don’t you agree?”

“No.”

“Doesn’t matter anyway. Take off your dress,” he said.

I peeled it off.

“I thought you were supposed to be na**d underneath.”

“I wasn’t comfortable,” I said. I wore a sleeveless shirt and white short pants. A knife, compliments of Mother, was tucked into my waistband.

“What were you planning to do with that weapon?”

“I was hoping an opportunity to use it on Walsh would present itself on our wedding night.”

Galen laughed. “You’re full of surprises.” But then he stopped abruptly. He clutched his guts as his face paled. “Did you poison me?”

“No. How many clams did you eat?”

He blanched, turning green. “Don’t talk about food.” Galen groaned and curled into a ball. Sweat dampened his clothes.

I suspected his food had been spiked with beach root. If the clan members planned to revolt while he was incapacitated, I shouldn’t be close enough to hear Galen’s commands. I moved to leave, but Galen ordered me to stay in the cottage. At least he was too sick to do anything besides shiver and moan all night.

The gray fog still clung to the compound in the morning. Galen felt better, but he dropped into an exhausted sleep. I had spent the night on the couch in the living area.

When a soft knock sounded, I rushed to open the door before another knock could wake Galen. Even when sound asleep, Galen could rouse in an instant. In that regard, he reminded me of Valek.

His guards had taken up position next to the door, but Devlen waited.

“Where’s Galen?” he asked.

The bodyguards seemed interested in the answer, so I crossed my arms and frowned at Devlen. “Sleeping.”

“He asked me to report to him this morning.”

“You’ll have to come back later. He had a strenuous night.”

The guards chuckled, but Devlen pushed his way inside. “I’ll check for myself.”

He peeked into the bedroom then pulled the divider between the rooms closed. He returned to the guards. “He’s fine. I’ll wait here until he wakes.”

This time the guards leered as Devlen shut the door. He leaned against it as if he would collapse without its support. Wearing the same clothes as yesterday, he gazed at me as if I might explode. Deep lines of weariness marked his face. His hollow bleary eyes a sign that he hadn’t slept.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t stop Galen from killing Walsh and marrying you,” he whispered. “Did he…have time….” He averted his gaze. “…have time to…”

“To rape me?”

He flinched as if I had slapped him.

“Why couldn’t you stop the wedding?” I asked, keeping my voice low despite my desire to scream at him. “Was it part of your plan for me…for him to consummate the marriage?”

“No.” He slid to the floor and dropped his head into his hands. With pure misery in his voice, he said, “He was supposed to get sick.”

Regret immediately bloomed in my chest. I knelt next to him. “Nothing happened. He did get sick.”

He gathered me into his arms and held me close. “Thank fate.”

“What’s been going on?” I asked.

“I can’t tell you.”

Gritting my teeth to keep from yelling at him, I tried another question. “Why did you let him kill Walsh and marry me?”

“A tactical decision.”

And then I knew. His answer was classic Valek. Last night was all part of a grander scheme that I knew nothing about. Which kept everyone safer except for the clues I’d already put together.

“What can I do?” I asked.

Devlen closed his eyes for a moment. “When the fog burns off, keep Galen busy.”

“You’re not serious. Are you?”

“I am. It’s critical that he is distracted when the fog lifts.”

“The fog…Kade’s here.”

He wouldn’t say anything. I understood, but for sand’s sake it was so frustrating. I had already guessed Valek and Kade were nearby. “Why doesn’t someone just assassinate Galen? Valek could—”

Devlen covered my mouth with his hand. “Don’t speculate out loud. I know this is difficult for you. Waiting and trusting others are not your best qualities.” He whispered in my ear. “There has been some discussion over Galen’s death. We’re worried his demise would also cause yours.”

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