“Seriously?!” I said the moment I set a foot on the last step of the tavern, having hit my limit of waiting in the room for three Scottish shifters to come back and get me. Of course, when they told me they had something important to do before we left, I didn’t think it was sitting around a table drinking and having a jolly old time in a pub!
“So, Hell’s literally no different than being topside, other than the fact that there isn’t a game on some flatscreen to swear at?!” I snapped the second I made my way over to their table, making all three guilty faces turn to me at the same time. This after their shoulders bunched, tensing at the sound of my voice. I swear I didn’t think I would be starting this journey feeling like a nagging wife to three sexy Scots who I could barely understand at the best of times. Okay, so admittedly, only two looked guilty, the other one, however, raised a brow before frowning and switching the roles of annoyance by standing, taking me by the top of my arm and saying,
“I thought I told ye tae wait in th' room.”
“Aye, that you did shifter boy, something I have been doing this last hour whilst pacing a patch in the floor and chewing my Gods be damned nails off, and why did I do this… all so you gits could have a beer!” I snapped, first taking the piss out of his accent, making him roll his eyes and say,
“We ur an' a' better acquainted wi' Hell than yer lass.” I shook my head a few times as if this would help in understanding him, which of course it didn’t. No, it just made me look as if I had some weird tick or hadn’t yet mastered the girly art of flicking my hair out. Either way I followed it up with,
“Alright, now once again, only with a little less Scottish.” He released a sigh and pulled me closer, now only putting a few intimidating inches between us.
“We. Know. Hell. Better. Than. You!” he said, over pronouncing each word like my brain was the size of a pea and I ate checkers in my spare time. So I pulled back a little and snapped,
“Oh right, so what is this, a chance to get a taste of some good ale before we move on… high up on the Hell’s version of Tripadvisor is it?” Then I yanked my arm from his grasp so I could fold them across my chest, wishing I was wearing a slightly more kick ass ‘take no messing’ outfit and not looking like some bloody damsel from a regency romance novel. Gods, but what was next, kilts, bare chests and claymores?
“I dinne know whit that is!” Trice argued making me roll my eyes, something I knew I would never have gotten away with if it had been Lucius. Gods, but how I missed him. He must have been going crazy with worry!
“It doesn’t matter what it is, all that matters is getting back to that sodding castle before Lucius kills who I am assuming is a brother he cares about, considering he made him ruler in his absence… you know, the one he is currently keeping in his dungeon and no doubt beating the shit out of right now!” I snapped making Trice release yet another sigh, something that I was beginning to think was a newly developed habit around me. Then he snapped back,
“Oh aye, th' one he cared sae much aboot that he kept it fae you… aye lot o' care there!” he said sarcastically.
“I am sure he had his reasons,” I answered with a level of bravado in my tone that I definitely didn’t feel. Because the truth was that I had been asking myself this question the whole time I had been left upstairs after the brothers had told me to wait for them. This was after first discovering the colossal mistake shortly after Gryph and Vern had turned up.
Because Trice was right…Why hadn’t Lucius told me about his brother? Why keep something like that to himself? I couldn’t understand it. But then again, he also hadn’t told his brother about me either. Especially not in the beginning, that much was obvious or why else would he have had me thrown into a prison after first arriving.
Had he been ashamed of me?
Had the thought of admitting his Chosen One was human too hard to face down here? Would admitting it down in Hell end up as some kind of stain on his rule as King? The thoughts had me pausing my steps more than once when upstairs. Had that been the real reason for his brutal act in front of his kingdom, a large part of that I now knew included his brother?
It was a painful thought and one that had quickly overtaken the reasons he had given me, which had been and always seemed to be so that he could keep me safe. But surely as King he would have had the power to do that, just declaring me his… wouldn’t that have been enough?
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