Black Moon Draw (Chapter Eight, page 2 of 14)

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"I'm not here for the long term," I manage. "I'm going home."

"No one who leaves the edge of the world ever returns."

"I'm sure someone goes back." It's not clear if we're talking about the same place - the real world, where I came from - or this ambiguous location I can't quite figure out.


"But if people come from there, then there has to be a way back."

"There is."

"You know it?" I ask. "You know how to get me home?"

"I do. But why would you want to go now that you are free?"

Free? "Are we talking about the same thing?"

"The edge of the world from whence you escaped the slave lords that rule the seas."

At this, I turn and face him, too surprised to be self-conscious. Thank god he's got the kilt back on and is finishing up sponging down his shapely arms with a wet rag. He's studying me with eyes that glimmer purple and green in the lantern light.

"You did not come from the edge of the world," he assesses.

The Red Knight's warning returns. I'm not supposed to reveal where I'm really from. The way he said it makes me think battle-witches as a whole come from somewhere other than the edge of the world, that it's some kind of conspiracy. If the edge of the world is filled with slave traders, then I definitely don't want to return there.

"Where did you come from?" he asks in a low, careful tone, one I instinctively know to be afraid of.

"I have to go home," I say, distraught.

"You are home." His tone is firm enough that I look up. "That medallion marks you as mine and belonging to my kingdom."

A thrilled flutter goes through me, until I recall he's got a woman a million times more beautiful than me. He's claiming me like he might a horse and nothing else. Touching the medallion, I start to pull it off. "If I give it back, can I leave?"

"If you take it off, I'll do more than take off your hand." He's gone tense, his piercing eyes gray with emotion and perfect body ready to snap me in half. I'm not sure how I can be turned on when I know what he is.

I drop the medallion and lift my hands. "Okay. I'm leaving it on."

"I do not believe you understand your situation. What is mine remains mine unless I choose to give it up." He starts towards me, the effortless way he moves and commands the room around him rendering me temporarily frozen. I should back away or run or something, but it's so hard with someone who embodies the most beautiful, most terrifying animal magnetism I've ever known.

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