Ciara had been asleep in the infirmary for a few hours when a noise
woke her. The doctor had been able to put her back together “good as
new,” but suggested firmly that an overnight stay would be good for
her, “just in case.” Ciara had agreed – there was really no point in
trying to argue with Dr. Caitrin anyway, certainly not with Luke
hovering over her – and had succumbed, once again, to unconsciousness.
“You shouldn’t be here.” Luke’s voice was quiet in the dark of the
“She told me I could.” Amadeus was trying to keep his voice down, but
he had less practice than Luke. “Here, on page two.”
“She did,” Luke confirmed, a moment later. “But that doesn’t explain
why you’re here.”
There was a moment of silence, and then she heard her new Kept say, rather unwillingly, “I want to see if she’s okay.”
“You broke her leg, her wrist, and at least five of her ribs, as well as puncturing a couple of her internal organs. I wouldn’t say she’s okay.”
“She challenged me!” he flared, and then, quieter, “Dr. Caitrin fixed her, right?”
“She did,” Luke murmured. “Amadeus…” his voice dropped down lower than Ciara could hear.
“Try me.” From the sounds of it, Luke was pleased with himself. “You can see her now.”
Ciara kept her eyes closed and her breathing even as Amadeus walked in, although she couldn’t keep her heart from pounding a bit. What had her orders said about this? Shit, did she want him this close to her?
Little late for that, she told herself sternly, as his hand rested on her arm. “Ciara?” he whispered loudly. Then, when she “didn’t wake,” “Damnit, Ciara.”
She opened her eyes, glad it didn’t hurt to so, and stared at him. He stared back at her, angry. “You’re fine, right?”
She couldn’t help a little smile. “You’re all packed up?”
“Couldn’t be here if I wasn’t. Damnit, those orders…!”
Her smile was growing a bit. Irritating him didn’t seem wise, but, then again, he was hers now. “I didn’t expect you to be happy if I won. It seemed safer to be thorough.”
“If.” He was only getting angrier. “Are you telling me you weren’t sure? Why would you risk everything like that?”
“Why did you?”
He grumbled incoherently for a moment. “I didn’t think I could lose.”
“I was betting on that,” she admitted. Quieter, she added, “I’m told that Kept are happier if there’s physical contact.”
He leered, but his heart wasn’t in it. “This is what it takes to get into your bed?”
“Yes.” The bed was narrow, but wide enough. She scooted to one side, and patted the space next to her. “I didn’t want to be your pet, Amadeus.”
“So you arranged things so I’d be yours.” He sat down on the bed gingerly.
“Well.” She took his hand in her own. “From what I’m told, there’s some negotiation as to the exact role a Kept plays.”
“Meaning what?” He didn’t snatch his hand away, but his shoulders were still stiff and angry.
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