This contains some adult content--you have been warned!
The Darkness of Glengowyn (Fire and Tears #2)
by Isabo Kelly
As Nuala waited on Einar, she checked her own body for injuries she might not have noticed. Her arm ached a little and a large bruise covered her upper biceps and shoulder, but otherwise, no cuts or broken bones.Her stomach growled as she returned to pacing.
“You’re hungry,” Einar said.
Surprised by his voice, she spun to face him. He was fully dressed again, his sword strapped back into place. Through the tear in his trousers she could see some of the green-blue silk of a bandage.
“A little,” she answered. “What supplies I had fled with my mare.”
“I’ve nothing either, I’m afraid.” He glanced at the front door, his scowl forming deep creases in his forehead. “I should have grabbed my saddle pack before we made for the city.”
“We didn’t know how much time we had or who might be nearby.” She might not be able to deal with him on an emotional level. But he was the fiercest warrior in Glengowyn. And he’d helped save her life. She wouldn’t allow him to berate his actions in the heat of battle.
She’d never allowed that.
His lips lifted, as if he was remembering the same fact.
Again, Nuala found herself short of breath. Einar was gorgeous when serious, but his smile, rare as it was, left her helpless against his male beauty.
His expression remained soft, the bare smile not faltering as they stared at each other.
Then her stomach growled again. The sound was loud in the quiet foyer and without meaning to, Nuala laughed. Surprised by her own outburst, she covered her mouth. “Sorry,” she mumbled around her hand. “I know we need to be quiet.”
“In that case, we should feed you or the whole of Sinnale will hear your hunger.”
She snorted again into her hand, trying to stifle her amusement. He smiled a little more at her reaction.
In an attempt to return to the seriousness of the situation, she said, “I can do without for a while. We won’t be hiding for long. Besides, where would we find food in Noman’s Land?”
“Some humans continue to squat in the buildings closer to Sinnale territory,” he said.
But he frowned and she knew he’d considered the same thing she had.
“We won’t be any more welcome by them than the border guards because we’re unknown elves.”
He nodded. “I can go out and scavenge.”
“No.” Fear tightened her throat. “I don’t think we should separate.” Though being around Einar was a kind of torture, letting him go into danger on his own was unacceptable. She didn’t care if he was the great and terrible Darkness of Glengowyn. If he got hurt, or worse killed, trying to find her food, she’d never survive it.
He was silent for a long moment. Then, “When I call an owl, I’ll see if he might bring us some food.”
“So long as it’s not a dead rodent.” She shivered, only half teasing.
“As you wish,” he said so seriously, she burbled out another repressed laugh.
“Until then,” he said, glancing at the front door, “rest. Take the sitting room. Try to sleep if you can. It will be a long night.”
“I’ll wake you in a few hours. You can watch while I rest.”
She was afraid he wouldn’t sleep, that he wouldn’t bother to wake her. He’d been known to remain awake for days in battle and he would consider this a similar enough situation. “Promise me you’ll try to sleep, not just rest,” she said, even though she knew it was futile.
“I would never promise you anything I might not be able to deliver.” His voice dropped to a quiet, deep octave.
The sound sent tremors of tingling sensation through her stomach and down to her core. Again, she wanted to step into him, forgo her duty to Glengowyn, risk her magic, risk everything she was to have him. To lay him on the couch and fuck him until the world ended around them.
Instead, she disappeared into the sitting room. She doubted she’d be able to sleep, but being near him eroded her will, and their situation was too precarious to risk giving in to the Shaerta. Or her years of yearning and love.
To Nuala’s surprise, she did nap for a bit, blissfully without dreams. When Einar woke her, it was twilight dark. “You let me sleep too long,” she accused.
“We can’t leave until it’s full dark. I’ll have time to rest.”
She sat up on the couch, a move that brought her level with his groin. Still half asleep, she allowed herself to stare as memories of his thick, perfect cock tormented her. Oh the pleasures they could give each other.
His growl startled her out of her erotic thoughts.
“Don’t promise what you have no intention of seeing through,” he muttered.
“Don’t I?” She was asking herself as much as him. They’d managed to avoid each other’s company for two centuries, despite living in the same city. She’d only glimpsed him on the rare occasions she was called to Court, and then there were so many others around, they were safe from this attraction between them.
Now, with no buffers, no royal leaders watching their every move, she was no longer sure she wanted to resist him. Denying herself his love all these years had slowly killed something in her. That something seemed to be stirring back to life, and she wasn’t entirely sure she wanted to sacrifice that part of herself again.
Why had the queen and king sent him to guard her? They must have known. Did they really think the centuries would dim her desire for Einar? Why did they tempt them this way if they valued her magic as it was?
She rose. “I’m sorry. That wasn’t kind of me. With you…” She waved a hand vaguely in the air, not sure how to explain.
“It’s the same for me. With you.”
None of the exhaustion he must feel showed in his face, but knowledge that he had to be tired after the fight and the injuries forced her away from their personal desires.
“I’ll keep watch. Try to sleep.” She gave him a level look, which brought out his slight smile, and she gave up. Shaking her head, she picked up her quiver and bow from beside the couch and draped them over her head to rest along her back, then headed toward the doorway and the window at the front door where she could keep an eye on the street.
Before she left the sitting room, though, Einar called her back. “Take my knife. Just in case. Though if you see anyone, let me know immediately.”
“I will.” She stared down at the knife, thoughts of the elf she’d actually killed rising up.
“I…didn’t realize you’d learned to throw knives,” he said into the silence.
“I’m not as good as I should be.” She shrugged. “Ulric insisted I learn. My talent with bow and arrow notwithstanding, he said I needed a second way to defend myself. Just in case.”
“Your cousin is a good man. I’m glad he was able to teach you.”
She slipped the borrowed weapon into her belt sheath. “I’ll wake you once it’s been full dark for a bit. Thank you for the knife.”
She was at the doorway when his voice made her pause again.
“He deserved to die, Nuala. Don’t regret killing the traitor.”
Without turning, she said, “I don’t. But the fact that I could, that I had to, makes me…sad.”
She left without saying more. This was not the time to discuss her regrets. There were too many anyway.