Throwing a Rock at Me
“A rock?” Using the ground for leverage, Disseus leapt back to his feet, body arcing as he landed smoothly on his heels.
“You’d throw a rock at me?” he stalked toward her, until her words stopped him.
“Yes. You act like a disgruntled child than I throw rocks at you.” Her words were calm but her look should’ve blackened the sky.
“Disgruntled child? I’ll sh-I’m going to jerk you off that horse!” Growling he reached up and caught her upper arm already tilting her in the saddle to do just that.
Leaning down nose-to-nose with him she hissed. “Go ahead. It won’t make you seem less a child.”
Snarling in his throat, he released her instantly.
They glared at each other so violently they nearly bared teeth.
It was Lon that dared break the silence. “Disseus I think perhaps we should pick up Almora.”
Because of my temper? Disseus’ head spun.
For a moment Lon regretted speaking.
“Why do we need the Dread? She is only beneficial if I…am struggling.” He glanced at Nim through the corner of his eyes, noting she stiffened at his reply.
So the high and mighty seductress was uncomfortable at the mention of another female?
“Had you thought you’d be the last?” He nearly smirked when she winced as the barb hit home.
“No.” She said softly.
What! He gave her a startled look and nearly argued before catching himself. Lips tightening, he looked at Lonnix.
“I think perhaps this will be a journey where you’ll require her...services.” Swallowing hard, Lon refused to meet the woman’s probing look.
“I agree. I enjoy Almora’s company immensely.” Disseus purred. Not bothering to look at Nim.
“As do I.” Lon said quickly. Trying to mask the innuendo.
Striding back to Onyx, Disseus hopped smoothly onto the horse’s back. Straightening his cloak behind him. Steering the reins steeply to one side he veered into the woods.
It’s only a few hours ride to Almora’s cottage.
“We’re going into unmarked territory?” Nim asked. Worried.
“It’s the only way to the Dread’s cottage.” Lon whispered in answer when it was clear Disseus would not.
Almora and her two younger sisters ran out the door in greeting.
The young women bounded up, squealing as they hugged Disseus.
Laughing he caught their waists and smiled as they chattered excitedly. Looking from one to the other, he nodded.
But there’s no understanding what either of them is saying. They’re talking simultaneously and too fast. He chuckled at their exuberance.
Almora herself was a buxom blonde, wearing a low bodice with fat gold ringlets pouring down her back. Her skirt flared over wide hips.
Nim rolled her eyes Heavenward. “Of course she’d look like that.”
Thinking she was talking to him for the first time, Lon responded with a longing sigh. “Like what? A goddess?”
Nim tossed him a black look. “Blonde. She looks blonde.”
“Yes. There’s that too.” He cleared his throat.
As Disseus approached her, Almora’s gaze fell and her cheeks reddened as she dipped into a half curtsy. “My Lord Disseus.”
So formal today?
Leaning over her hand, he gave it a soft kiss.
She leaned close, but Nim still caught her whisper as Almora peered up at Disseus from beneath sooty lashes. “You know this journey is going to break my heart.”
“I’m always kind to it.”
“Not this time.” She shook her head.
“You’ll not be able…” She sighed mournfully and tossed a quick look over his shoulder at Nim.
What about her?
“That one has the hissing tongue of a viper and is as willing to turn on you and draw blood.” He murmured to her.
I know that for a fact.
Lonnix watched Nim stiffen as Disseus’ voice grew louder.
“I know what you’re doing.” Almora murmured quickly.
Using her to pretend like Nim doesn’t have every ounce of my attention this journey.
I should be ashamed. But I’m not.
He nodded. “I’d never wish to deceive you.”