“That’s not true,” Mak said in his deep, rumbly voice that was as smooth as melted chocolate. I just looked at him, feeling like a total idiot. “I think you’re just a little shy.”
He had that right. “I…I’m not certain why someone would have a problem with me. I just go to work, and classes, then come home to help my family where I can. In my spare time, I throw pottery and work in the garden. Or go to dance class. I’m practically invisible.”
“People see you, Jume,” he said. He still held my left hand. The printout was in my right. His fingers were warm and strong—and comforting.
“Perhaps, it has something to do with what you do for Theo?” Kellis said, moving closer to me. She sent Mak a look—one that had him giving her a smirk in return. But he let go of my hand.
I am not so sure that I wanted him to.
“Maybe you saw something you weren’t supposed to?” Kierce asked. “Does anything come to mind?”
“I’m just the secretary. I make sure he has the appropriate files when he needs them. But other than the name on the tab, I don’t ever read the files. That’s for his law clerk to do.”
I’m a nonentity at work. That’s what I wanted to say. But I didn’t want Mak to look at me like that. Like I am invisible.
He wasn’t my Rajni of course. But he was the first male I can ever remember being this attracted to. In fifty years or so. If this was even a fraction of how a Rajni bond feels, then I am almost happy I don’t have a male of my own.
It would just be far too intense. I’m not sure I can handle intense. Not really. I’m barely handling being invisible.
Then again, if this was the way it was with destined mates, maybe I am missing more than I could have ever realized?
Grief for my future threatened, but I have to stay focused. Someone is trying to kill me. I know that I am most likely fated to die young—but I am not ready for that to happen anytime soon.
Far from it. In my quietest, most private corners of my heart, I have dreams of being a famous potter someday. Like Alaun and her books, I want to create beauty that people love. I’m not ready to die just yet.
“Maybe. It’s hard to tell. Like I said, I’m just the secretary. Theo has been acting as his own law clerk since Mishja left to care for her babe. It’s just the two of us in the office now. And there’s not been anything more than petty thefts and fights on Theo’s schedule for weeks. They did have a secret meeting last night—Theo, the dhar, Cormac Jareth, and Aodhan Adrastos. I left before they were finished. But…they’ve done that before. I fetched them drinks and cookies and put the phone on hold. That’s it. There was nothing unusual about anything.”
“We’re going to keep looking,” Mak said. “In the meantime, you go nowhere without a warrior to protect you.”
“I’ll be staying with her,” Kellis said. “She’ll be well guarded.”
Kierce put one hand on Kellis’s shoulder. “That’s a good idea, but there will still be a warrior assigned to your sister. Until we figure this out.”
I tried not to wince at that. Why do the males of our Kind believe females are incapable of protecting ourselves?
I wanted to sigh at that. Of course, I understood. All anyone has to do is look at the two males in my home to understand. Me and Kellis combined don’t weigh what just one of these males does. Even if we added Alaun’s weight to the scale as well.
They are both well-muscled and strong, close to four hundred pounds apiece.
Very, very dangerous.
And sometimes, males are criminal. Targeting females. Assaults on females still happen in our city. Every year, there are at least three that I can think of.
Maybe a big warrior following me around for a few weeks won’t be such a bad idea after all.