Lord Drayden turned to me and held out a large, brass key, his face inscrutable.
My hand itched to take the damned thing and run. But I’d never make it to Domick if this was a trick. “Why now?” I asked.
“Because you asked so nicely,” he teased, drawing closer. A dangerous smile lurked on his lips.
“And what do you want in return?” I asked, wary of any gift from this dark lord.
“Nothing,” he crooned. “What could I possibly want?”
Yesterday’s conversation immediately sprang to mind. My heart raced remembering him in the corridor, his nearness and heat. And lies.
“Showing generosity now won’t change my answer” I growled, anger pushing aside the butterflies in my belly. “Sharia told me…what you did.”
“Did she?” His face clouded and his voice promised punishment.
“Yes. I know what kind of deceitful monster you really are,” I said, letting my anger burn away my rising fear and my caution. “Your own queen feared you, hated you. She defied you and you killed her!”
He drew back as if struck, nostrils flaring. Then he seemed to grow taller, his eyes blazing, jaw tight. I’d never seen him so furious.
I trembled. “I didn’t mean to—“
“Take it!” he snarled, thrusting the key into my hand. “Take it and your mundane friend and flee this place if you like. But beware, little one,” he drawled. “There are snakes whispering in your ear and their words are as deadly as poison.”
STACY BENNETT is a fantasy author who lives in New Jersey dreaming of far grander horizons. Delighted by coffee, cats, and sunrises, she writes tales of broken souls and steadfast hearts.