The Warlord's Secret (CHAPTER SIX, page 2 of 31)

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Anger crossed through eyes as green as spring buds. She pushed back the hood on her cloak to meet the man's gaze. Vara's jaw clenched hard enough for muscles on either side to tick. He searched her face silently.

"I learned of your desire for your father's kingdom," she started.

Surprise registered across his chiseled features, and he took a step forward.

"We are not allies, though we are both enemies of the same man!" he snapped. "What a foolish creature you are! My father would gift me his kingdom if I brought you to him."

The creature stirred within her, sensing the threat.

"You won't," she replied.

Vara's hand dropped from his sword hilt, and he stared hard at her.

"I am not your ally," he repeated.

"I have no allies," she said in a hollow tone. "But I have something your father wants, and I have something you need if you are earnest about saving your people."

"I need nothing from you I cannot take when my father defeats your kingdom," he assured her. Vara turned to leave.

"Your father's madness is near its end," she whispered. "Have you never wondered why your lands are barren and your people plagued? Do you wonder if the madness will take you?"

He paused.

"Hilden told you of my father's madness?"

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