I had no choice. I ended up back in my suite. I took a long, hot shower—my room wasn’t glamorous enough to have a tub—and stayed there until the hot water heater was empty.
Demons had nearly killed me. Again.
Nowhere was actually safe. When am I going to finally realize that?
The hotel certainly isn’t safe for me.
I’m just warehoused here. Probably until the inevitable happens, and I end up on a demon’s piece of toast or something.
Even with the heat of the shower, I still had to fight the chills.
I’m going to die. And it’s going to be at a demon’s hands.
I’m going to die after having barely lived.
Well, Jumena Kerrann Woald wasn’t going to go out that way.
I dressed in the best vestis and pardus I have here at the Hotel of Dread. I fixed my hair in the most elegant style I could.
I am going out. I am going to be with people, my people. Whether they are Woald or not.
I may be destined to die, but I am going to enjoy every single minute I have until that happens.
There was no guard waiting at the end of the door now. Not until I stepped out of the elevators in the main lobby. There was a third guard. He introduced himself as Tol’s replacement.
I have to say that set me back a little. Tol had been replaced. The guard didn’t say it, but I just knew it was because Aodhan and Kierce and Cormac thought he had been derelict this afternoon.
To tell you the truth, I’m really starting to despise them. In so many ways.
This guard wasn’t nearly as friendly or open as Tol. He just stood with his arms crossed over his Jareth-green vestis and watched me. “Should you be out here now, female?”
Female? Apparently with this guard I did not even warrant a name. “I am Jume. Please u-use my name and not f-female. Most of us think f-female is quite rude, you know.”
He just watched me, from dark-gold eyes. As if he was judging me—and finding me lacking. His vestis and pardus and hasha were of the finest silk. His watch cost probably more than my family’s entire food budget for a year. So why was this male warrior merely a guard to me?
I don’t know. But I don’t like him. At all.
I most certainly do not trust him. It’s just a feeling I’m getting at the moment.
“I am going to treat myself to dinner in the restaurant on the second floor.” Where only the wealthiest of Dardaptoans could afford to eat. Well, Alaun had paid me two days ago. She’d included a bonus—the same she would have with Landrey—once the most recent book hit its initial sales goals.
I am going to celebrate tonight.
Celebrate that I am still alive, anyway.
I am not ready to be locked away in my cell for the night.
He just followed behind me, big and dark and hulking.
One good thing I can say about my enforced vacation at Hotel Dread: I am no longer intimidated by strong warriors watching my every move. I am almost starting to get used to it.