FOREVER KNIGHTS: #14 Broken Birds

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The Albino Thief

Albino man? Bast asked quizzically.

He walks on all fours. He’s stolen from Acharius before and I didn’t get a chance to kill him.

Shame. Bast responded.

We need to get the artifacts to WaterRose. Rhyers suggested.

Great idea! Bast agreed. When?

Soon. What are we missing? Rhyers needed to know. So I can go get it.

The Lombardy Crown.

The Iron Crown of Lombardy? Rhyers mentally corrected. Wondering what someone would want it for.

No idea. Bast annoyingly answered his thoughts.

Rhyers knew it had been made from the nails that had assembled the sacred cross. They’d been melted down and formed into a small crown with gem inlays and intricate floral designs.

It’s so small it was hardly a crown. Any idea where to look? Rhyers questioned.

I’m not sure. I’d start with wherever you found the necklace.

The small cross. Rhyers remembered. Lady Farthington’s. Again.

The woman with the trysting mansion? There was a frown in Bast’s voice.

Yes.

Good luck. Bast wished.

“Ebony!” Rhyers called.

She tossed open the door with a dark look.

Sam on her heels.

She quickly took in the view of him sitting on the edge of the bed shirtless.

Shit. I forgot I was changing.

“I need your help.” He turned his head to tell her.

Her expression softened. “With what?”

“A mission.”

“I’ll go.” Sam said.

“No.” Rhyers shook his head. “You’ll stay here until we begin to see what suffering you’re going to endure being away from the lair.”

Sam’s brow knitted and he obviously wanted to argue but restrained himself.

He knows it’s the better decision for now.

Giving Sam a long look she stepped in the chamber and closed the door between them.

“I hate that he looks so hurt.” Ebony chewed her lip. “Why can’t he come?”

He’s a Firoque now. And it’s a sacred artifact. And I can’t retrieve it and watch him with you at the same time.

“He doesn’t feel well.” Rhyers said dismissively. “We need to retrieve something.”

The crown of Lombardy.

Ebony turned and pulled a shirt from the armoire to hand it to him. “Like we did the necklace?”

My near nakedness bothers her? Though it occurred to him it was rude he had expected her general disregard for convention to force her to prove she didn’t mind.

He gave her a thoughtful look. “Yes. Like that.”

“Where are we going?”

She’s not going to like it.

“Farthington Hall.”

“What!”

“I know.” He gave her a sympathetic look. “Not your favorite endeavor.”

“I’m not seducing her again. It’s your turn.” She stomped a foot and crossed her arms impudently.

Fine.

He lowered his head in deference. “As you wish.”


Farthington Hall, Mane Country

“I don’t want to go in there.” Ebony was standing out front with Rhyers. Shaking her head ferociously. Making black curls bounce free of their careful pinning. She looked radiant in a black dress with gold embroidering on the skirt.

Me either.

He caught her by the upper arms. “We’re going in.”

“No, we’re not.”

“Well, Christophe is going.” He straightened and looked down his nose at her.

“Don’t you give me your snobbish look, Bodin.”

“Fine.” He deflated. “What will get you moving in that door?” He pointed to it a bit impatiently.

We’ve been having this argument for far too long already.

Footman were beginning to stare.

“You kissing me. Right now.”

What’d she say? He shook his head, startled. Rearing back.

Not a chance. Here? For everyone to see? Why?

But before he could take a step away. She caught the collars of his expensive overcoat and yanked him down to her. Smashing her lips into his.

No gentle kiss like the one we shared before. This one is to make a point.

Ebony molded to him and his hands involuntarily moved to frame her hips. Pulling her closer.

Ebony pulled back from him. “Oh, Bodin…” She whispered in a steamy voice.

His puzzled expression dissolved into a dry one. “Rebecca Parson is in eyeline with us, isn’t she?”

“Just walked behind you.” Ebony said cheerfully. Rounding to follow Rebecca Parson and Eva into the Ballroom.

He groaned aloud. She kissed me to annoy another woman. Of all the reasons to kiss a man…That’s got to be the most ridiculous!

“Don’t you start now!” She said. “You’re getting your way. I’m going in there.”

“You called me Bodin.”

Not Christophe.

“Yes, I did.” No shame in her voice.

“Guess there’s no taking off this wig now.”

Damn shame. I was looking forward to that.

“Not tonight.” She blinked cheerfully. “You’ll have to seduce her with it on.”

Not possible.

“I’m not sure it’s possible to seduce any woman with this thing nested on my head.”

“Then how’d you seduce all the rest?” She demanded over her shoulder.

“Who said I did?”

“Well you-I thought-I-”

“You assumed, Ebony.” He leaned to tell her.

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