Home > Valley of Silence (Circle Trilogy #3)(20)

Valley of Silence (Circle Trilogy #3)(20)
Author: Nora Roberts

“Hmm.”

“I wasn’t the worse for it,” Moira said with a laugh that had some nerves at the edges. “Not really. Just a little looser in my manners, so to speak, and more determined in my mind. I wanted air and some quiet, so I went up, out on one of the battlements. There he was.”

She pictured it again. “He might have gone anywhere, and sure I could have gone somewhere else. But neither of us did, so we both ended up in the same place, at the same time. In the night,” she said quietly. “With the music and the lights barely reaching us.”

“Romantic.”

“I suppose it was. With the rain that would come before dawn just beginning to scent the air, and the thin slice of moon very white against the sky. There’s a mystery to him I keep wanting to pick at until I find the pieces of it.”

“You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t find him fascinating,” Glenna said. They both knew what she hadn’t said. He wasn’t. He wasn’t human.

“He was being all stiff, the way he can be with me, and it was irritating. And well, I’ll admit, challenging. At the same time... It comes in me sometimes, when I’m with him. The way knowledge does, or magic. Something rising.”

She pressed a hand to her belly, then drew it upward toward her heart. “Just... pulling up from the center of me. I never had strong feelings, in this way, for a man. Little flutters of them, you know? Comfortable and interesting, but not strong and hot. There’s something about him that compels me. He’s so... ”

“Sexy,” Glenna finished. “At the outrageous level.”

“I wanted to know if it would be like it had been the other time, the only time, when we’d both been so angry and he’d taken hold of me. I told him to do it again, and wouldn’t take no for an answer.”

She cocked her head now, as if puzzling it out. “Do you know, I think I made him nervous. Seeing him flustered a bit, and trying not to be, that was as intoxicating to me as the wine had been.”

“God yes.” On a long breath, Glenna picked up her tea. “It would be.”

“And when he kissed me it was like the other time, only more. Because I was waiting for it. For that moment, he was as much caught as I was. I knew it.”

“What are you looking for from him, Moira?”

“I don’t know. Perhaps just that heat, just that power. That pleasure. Is it wrong?”

“I can’t say.” But it worried her. “He’d never be able to give you more. You have to understand that. He wouldn’t stay here, and even if he did, for a time, you could never have a life with him. You’re stepping onto dangerous ground.”

“Every day from now till Samhain is dangerous ground. I know what you’re saying is good, solid sense, but still in my mind and heart I want. I need to let them both settle a bit before I know what should be done about it next. But I do know that I don’t want to go into battle stepping back from this only because I’m afraid of what it could be, or what it couldn’t.”

After a moment’s debate, Glenna sighed. “It may be good solid sense, but I very much doubt I’d take my own advice if I were in your place.”

Reaching over, Moira took Glenna’s hand. “It helps, being able to talk to another woman. Just to be able to say what’s in my mind and heart to another woman.”

I n another part of Geall, in a house shrouded against even the weak and watery light, two other females sat and talked.

It was the end of their day, not the beginning, but they shared a quiet meal.

Quiet because the man they were draining was beyond protest or struggle.

“You were right.” Lora leaned back, delicately dabbing blood from her lips with a linen cloth. The man had been chained to the table between them as Lilith wanted her injured companion to sit, to eat, rather than lie in bed and sip from cups. “Getting up, having a civilized kill was what I needed.”

“There, you see.” Pleased, Lilith smiled.

Lora’s face was still badly burned. The holy water that bitch of a demon hunter had hurled at her had wreaked terrible damage. But Lora was healing, and the good fresh meal would help her get her strength back.

“I wish you’d eat a little more though.”

“I will. You’ve been so good to me, Lilith. And I failed you.”

“You didn’t. It was a good plan, and nearly worked. It’s you who paid such a high price for it. I can’t stand to think of the pain you were in.”

“I would have died without you.”

They had been lovers and friends, competitors and adversaries. They had been everything to each other for four centuries. But Lora’s injuries, the near end of her, had brought them closer than they’d ever been.

“Until you were hurt, I didn’t know how much I loved and needed you. Here now, sweetheart, just a little more.”

Lora obeyed, taking the man’s limp arm, sinking her fangs into the wrist.

Before the burns, she’d been pretty, a youthful blonde with a swaggering style. Now her face was raw and red, riddled with half-healed wounds. But the glassy glaze of pain had faded from her blue eyes, and her voice was coming back strong again.

“It was wonderful, Lilith.” She sat back again. “But I just can’t drink another drop.”

“Then I’ll have it taken away, and we’ll sit by the fire for a bit before bed.”

Lilith rang a little gold bell, signaling one of the servants to clear. The leftovers, she knew, would hardly go to waste.

She rose to help Lora across the room where she’d already had pillows and a throw placed on the sofa.

“More comfortable than the caves,” Lilith commented. “But still I’ll be glad to be out of this place, and into proper accommodations.”

She settled Lora before she sat, regal in her red gown, her hair piled high and gold as she’d wanted to add a touch of glamour to the evening.

Her beauty hadn’t diminished in the two thousand years since her death.

“Do you have pain?” she asked Lora.

“No. I feel almost myself. I’m sorry I behaved so childishly yesterday morning, when that bitch flew over on her ridiculous dragon-man. Seeing her again just brought it all flooding back, all the fear, the agony.”

“We gave her a surprise though, didn’t we?” Soothing, Lilith smoothed the throw, tucking it around Lora. “Imagine her shock when her arrows met Midir’s shield. You were right to talk me out of killing him.”

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