Black Moon Draw (Chapter Eight, page 1 of 14)


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I'm hungry, confused, and worried by the time I follow him through the throngs of milling, sweaty, smelly men of his kingdom into the trunk of an ancient tree. Once again I marvel at the idea that the trees voluntarily give them shelter. The interior of this one reflects the Shadow Knight's status as a leader. It's the size of my living room at least with half a dozen lanterns seated on boxes, a bed that almost looks comfortable covered with furs, and an area used for planning with him and his generals. Or whatever he calls them.

I enter and go to the sitting area, watching him nervously. Thank god his attention is elsewhere. There's a basin of water on a tree stump and he heads there. His head comes off, followed by his weapons. I watch him strip off weapons, astonished by the size of the equipment and how authentic the different pieces are. There's blood on the blade of his sword and I move away, squeamish.

He strips off his kilt. I freeze, staring at his naked backside.

His round ass, bulging thighs, the thick muscles of his back and shoulders . . . holy shit is he hot. Unnaturally so.

Glancing over his shoulder at me, he raises an eyebrow over one of those enigmatic eyes. They're dark blue again.

I quickly turn my back to him.

"You have never seen an unclothed man?" He's amused.

My mind is too occupied with the image of him naked for me to come up with a smart answer. I fan myself.

"You have naught to fear from me, lady, so long as you follow my rules. A battle-witch is only good to me if she is pure."

He has no idea how far from the truth that is. Maybe it's a defense mechanism started by these battle-witches to keep the barbarians from hurting them. If so, it's smart, and I'm not about to ruin it for any fellow witches. This man crushes armies and slaughters thousands to win wars. He isn't the kind who likes to be denied something he wants.

"Thank god you're betrothed." I flush at the disappointment in my voice - and the fact I said it out loud at all.

"Aye, there's that," he says shortly. He throws a wet rag across the space hard enough that it splats against the tree trunk wall.

"My god, she's perfect. How can you sound so . . . meh?" I ask.

"Not your concern," he grumbles. "I have never had a new battle-witch."

You can have me any way you want, honey. I banish the words, knowing they're not the right ones for this situation, even if I am sitting so close to a man that looks like that.

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