Spy Glass Page 87

Releasing the air in a rush, he said, “Damn it, Opal. I’m sorry.”

“Are you really? Or did Eve make you come?”

“I am. I was mad and had jumped to conclusions.”

“Heck of a jump.”

“No it wasn’t. You didn’t trust us with your plans. Why would we trust you?”

“I trusted you with my life, Nic. Remember all those early mornings?”

“Yeah, well…I said I was sorry.” He held out the package to me. “Peace?”

I sheathed my sais and took it. Warmth radiated under the wax paper. Curious, I peeled back an edge, releasing a yummy scent. Ian’s stew. My stomach growled. “You’re forgiven,” I said.

With those two words he returned to his old self. “Are you going to tell us more about this new assignment?” he asked.

“Is Eve waiting outside?”

“No. She thought I should talk to you myself or you’d think she made me apologize.”

“Did she?”

His face creased into his wounded puppy dog expression. “No. She just explained a few things, made me remember you aren’t the killer type.” He hooked his thumbs on his weapon belt. “When I get mad my brain turns off.”

“Tell me something I don’t know.” I smirked. “And Eve’s right, I’m not the type to murder my husband. He committed suicide. Poor guy had rotten aim.”

I laughed as Nic sorted it out.

“I knew it was you!” He rubbed the stubble on his chin. “But if you didn’t kill those prisoners, who did?”

“Finn.”

“You’re sticking with that?” Nic asked.

“Yep.”

He grunted, but didn’t comment.

The stew cooled in my hands. “Come upstairs. I’ll give you a few more details about our trip to Ognap.”

Nic shook his head. “Tell us tomorrow. I wasn’t planning to stay.”

“Oh.”

He smirked at my disappointment. “I know I haven’t been that supportive of your…new interests. So I brought you another peace offering.”

“A mug of Ian’s mulled ale?”

Nic didn’t answer. He opened the door and disappeared.

While he was gone, I tried to guess—a new weapon, a bottle of Ian’s house wine—but none of them came close.

Nic returned with Devlen.

22

I STEPPED BACK AND I THINK I GASPED. “HOW…? When…?”

Devlen stood in my front room. Devlen. He wore civilian clothes. His hesitant smile faded and he glanced at Nic in uncertainty.

Nic said, “We can sign prisoners out for a few hours at a time. Only the ones who have earned a ton of trust. Your guy here stopped a riot at Dawnwood. He received major points with the prison along with a nasty gash and death threats from his fellow inmates. He’s being housed in protective custody—a special wing of the prison.” He looked at Devlen. “I hear they have real beds in there. It’s pretty nice, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” Devlen said, but his worried gaze was fixed on me.

My muscles had petrified. I couldn’t move or speak.

“Anyway, I thought you two would like to catch up. You have three hours before he has to return,” Nic said. “I’ll be back then.”

“Opal, are you okay with this?” Devlen asked in concern.

More than okay. That was the problem. I nodded and forced myself to relax as Nic left. Devlen didn’t move. An awkward silence filled the air.

“Come upstairs,” I said to Devlen. “I need to heat this up before I starve to death.”

A tentative smile flashed as his blue eyes shone with hope. My insides liquefied and pure willpower kept me from tossing the stew aside and…what? Why could I be so rational about him when I was with Kade, yet when he stood mere feet from me, my heart acted like a teenage girl with her first crush?

With effort, I concentrated on moving my feet without falling as I led him through the factory.

“Grab a lantern,” I said to break the quiet. “I didn’t light a fire upstairs.” Which meant Nic’s peace offering would have to wait.

As expected, darkness covered the upper rooms. I lit a couple more lanterns while Devlen crouched next to the hearth and stacked kindling. His quick and sure movements reminded me of his skills with a sword. A chill zipped along my skin and I rubbed my arms. Still damp from my workout, my practice tunic smelled rank.

I hurried to the washroom to change and rinse off as much sweat as possible with a sponge and small bowl of water. At least my extra tunic and dark brown pants were clean and dry.

By the time I returned, Devlen’s fire blazed on top of a bed of coals and he had transferred my stew to an iron pot. He sat close to the flames. The bright light illuminated his sharp features and the scar on his neck. He wore a plain white shirt half tucked into black pants. I wondered if he’d borrowed them from one of the correctional officers.

I perched on the edge of the hearth, joining him.

“I miss having a fire at night,” he said.

“Why?” I asked.

“It reminds me of my childhood in the plains. At night, the elders would gather around the fire and tell stories. It was the best part of the day.”

“Were they Story Weavers?”

“Yes.”

“Did you have a large family?”

“No. My mother died in childbirth and my father was always busy. He was one of the leaders of the clan. He only became interested in me when I developed magic, which just fueled my desire to irritate him as much as possible.” Devlen added another log. “Things might have been different if I had a big family like yours.”

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