your taste is to be commended, demon boy person. Alas, you've got the wrong mark here. I've got nothing to bring to the mommy table."
He only tilted his head at her. Then he solemnly held out his hand as if he wanted to give her something.
Sabine did like to be given things. "What is it? Let me see." She rolled her eyes. "I'm tied here, clueless-I can't hold out my hand."
He laid something on her knee, something tiny and white. Sabine had noticed that he'd been missing his bottom fang. Not missing anymore!
And he'd obviously been saving it for a long time. "Oh, that's just not right." Her face screwed up into an expression of distaste, and not just because it was disgusting. "Don't you know you can get gold for that tooth? What's wrong with you?"
Rhydstrom had never thought he would be so happy to see a female's jealousy. Sabine was jealous of Durinda. Over the past two days, she'd displayed it repeatedly.
This was an indication that his female might truly feel something for him-an indication he'd never expected.
Again the puzzle deepened.
Rydstrom did spend most of the days with the demoness since she helped him organize the upcoming portal crossings. They were arranging groups based on destination. Most would go to one of a few Lore-rich cities like New York or Savannah. For extra money, one could give the portal keeper exact coordinates.
There were difficulties inherent in assimilating so many Lorekind into human societies. If a thousand demons suddenly showed up in Savannah, someone was bound to notice.
As he worked with his people, preparing them for this new world, he grew shamed that he'd resented
them, resented his responsibility. He found them to be industrious, hardworking, and down to earth.
Durinda was an invaluable help as they readied for the exodus, but Rydstrom also enjoyed her company. She was someone from his past who shared memories of Tornin from better times. He liked talking to her about the castle, recalling it in its glory, trying to erase what he'd witnessed of the court just days ago.
They also talked of Mia, Zoe, and Cadeon. Durinda said one of the reasons she was so protective of Puck was because he reminded her so much of Cadeon at that age. He did Rydstrom as well.
He remembered his brother as a towheaded little boy. His new horns had driven him crazy, itching as they grew. He'd run them against everything, even against the walls of the castle, leaving little gouges, all three feet high.
Rydstrom had never thought he'd miss Cadeon, but he did. Through the centuries, they had battled against others together, and routinely against each other. Before Sabine, Cadeon had been the only one who could provoke Rydstrom's ire. He gave a laugh. The two of them would get along perfectly.
But even with the contention between Rydstrom and Cadeon, they rarely separated. They were so often together that many in the Lore simply called the two of them The Woede. Cadeon presently lived in his pool house.
Today Rydstrom had learned that many rebels were rallying because of his brother's continued success in his quest for the sword. He was proud of Cadeon- shocked-but proud....
Rydstrom and Durinda shared another commonality. She was reluctantly journeying off-plane to marry a male she refused to believe was hers. "At least he's convinced we are a pair," she'd said. "I'm not certain at all. We have absolutely nothing in common. I don't think two more dissimilar beings could be paired."
Durinda had no idea.
Rydstrom and Sabine were nearly complete oppo-sites. But now there was no doubt that Sabine was his. Although Rydstrom burned to bed his sorceress again- and for her to carry his mark-he would take things slowly, earn her trust.
Rydstrom was in this for no less than eternity.
Every day she was here, Sabine grudgingly grew more attracted to the demon.
Now as she watched him readying to go out, she realized she hadn't truly seen him as a potential mate until he was out of his chains. She respected power, was attracted to it, and he'd been powerless. Now he was so commanding, so delightfully in charge. People gazed at him in awe whenever he went out.
Yet even when he was among many, he still seemed . . . lonely. Kingly demon, holding himself off from everyone.
Unfortunately, Sabine's increased attraction wasn't mutual.
Each day Rydstrom spent more time with Durinda, leaving Puck behind to irritate her. They must figure that the boy would be safe from her influence since he didn't speak English. And she couldn't get the little
punk to leave. He would shyly enter her tent, bringing her a "gift" each time. One day she received the husk of a dragonfly, the next day, a rock.
Rydstrom still took Sabine to the hot springs each morning. When they passed Durinda and her clique- draped in the same stupid long skirts that they'd forced on her-the demoness acted very familiar with Rydstrom, which made Sabine bristle.
And each night, he still held her tightly in bed. Because she was sleeping five or six hours a night, she had multiple nightmares. Whenever she woke, he was there, tenderly stroking her hair.
Last night, he'd rasped, "Shh, baby. I've got you." That made her toes curl every time she recalled it.
But he'd made no move to get sexual with her again, even though she'd felt him erect, pressing against her back. His self-denial disconcerted the hell out of her, and she wished she could talk to her sister about his behavior. Lanthe was a love guru. She would understand what Rydstrom's game was.
Gods, she missed her sister so much. They'd never been separated for this long. But just as Rydstrom had promised, he'd arranged for her to write Lanthe.
That second night, the demon had brought Sabine a piece of parchment and a quill. Though if she'd thought she would have an opportunity to get free, she'd have been mistaken. He'd released one hand and pinned the other behind her, glancing over her shoulder as she wrote.
"Just tell her I'm taking you off-plane," he'd said. "This won't get to Tornin until after we've gone."
"She'll know you're going to New Orleans. Omort will send assassins there." "Yes," he'd said simply.
When she'd finished and Rydstrom had retied her, she'd said, "I was almost moved to hug you for this, Rydstrom, but alas, armless hugs lose a little something. So instead, I'll do you a favor. I'll help you with your brother."
"Cadeon and I are beyond a sorceress's help. Besides, I did this for you because you were cooperative about the teens' punishment. Then for you to grant me a boon back? I don't want us to get into that habit."
"Because you and I are ... we're together" She recalled thinking, Are we together, and what exactly does that mean? She had zero experience with relationships. "Oh, no matter, then," she'd said airily. "I was just going to tell you something that might lessen your resentment over the past." He'd gruffly said, "Tell me, then." "The fall of Tornin would've happened regardless of