Annmar scrunched back into her pillow. This wasn’t a cat. The face was too pointed, never mind the sleek body three times as long as it was tall. Yet when she looked into its face, the familiar eyes belonged to…
Eyes squinting, the animal’s ears pressed flat. Its head sank, giving a little jerk up and down.
Had he…nodded? “That is you.” Daeryn. This was a polecat. Her drawings had been correct, but not the same as seeing one uninjured, acting normal. Or as normal as a polecat in someone’s bed would act.
She pressed her fingertips to her temples. Oh, Lord, just stop thinking already. But her head didn’t hurt, her vision wasn’t cloudy, and neither were her thoughts. She lowered her hands and looked around to confirm they were alone before fixing her gaze on…him. “What are you doing in my room?”
His shoulders lifted.
That was a shrug. He half-crouched and jumped to the foot of the bed, then to the floor, all before she knew that’s what he had in mind. He disappeared behind the end of her bedstead.
She half-sat up, and as she started swinging her legs around, a hand pulled down the extra quilt that hung on the end of her bed. Annmar gasped and scooted under her covers. A moment later, Daeryn’s tousled brown hair came into view. The quilt swung through the air, and he stood, the fabric draped over his shoulders and held closed in the front.
He squinted at her, his expression the same as the polecat’s, looking very sleepy. “Sorry,” he muttered. “Didn’t mean to surprise you.”
What was she supposed to say to that? He’d been in her room. Sleeping in her room. In her bed! Oh, Lord, what would Mother… Nothing. Mother wasn’t around to worry about anymore, as Mary Clare had pointed out. Annmar had no one to answer to, Blighted Basin society included. Their lack of rules completely befuddled her. How did these people function?
Still. This was highly improper. She glared at him, and he seemed to shrink beneath the quilt, drawing it closer to his body. He was likely naked.
She heated, the blush running from her chest up over her face and…down. Thinking of it just brought on more heat. Mercy, in her bed. Had he been…
“You…uh, you haven’t been in…here as…” She swallowed.
His eyes widened, and he shook his head vehemently. “Only as a polecat.” He took a step back. “I wouldn’t do that… Not to you.” He turned and walked to the door. “I’ll leave.”
Yes, he most certainly was naked under there, and a part of her was curious. She was nineteen, a grown woman. Her first look at him had been brief—she swallowed—but good. “Hold on a minute,” she gasped.
He paused in the open doorway and half-turned to face her.
“I don’t understand what you’re doing in my room.”
His brows and shoulders lifted at the same time. He looked as confused as she felt when he stepped out and closed the door.
Laurel Wanrow loves misty mornings, the smell of freshly dug earth, petting long-haired guinea pigs and staring at the stars. She sees magic in nature and loves to photograph it.
Before kids, she studied and worked as a naturalist—someone who leads wildflower and other nature walks. During a stint of homeschooling, she turned her writing skills to fiction to share her love of the land, magical characters and fantastical settings.
When not living in her fantasy worlds, Laurel camps, hunts fossils and argues with her husband and two new adult kids over whose turn it is to clean house. Though they live on the East Coast, a cherished family cabin in the Colorado Rockies holds Laurel’s heart.
Visit her online at www.laurelwanrow.com.
Don't miss Volume One, in The Luminated Threads series, The Unraveling:
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