Counting Shadows (Duplicity)

Counting Shadows (Duplicity) by Olivia Rivers

Book: Counting Shadows (Duplicity) by Olivia Rivers Read Free Book Online
Authors: Olivia Rivers
Tags: english eBooks
I snarl, pointing to the door.
    Lor ignores me and stumbles closer. My heart beats faster as my predicament dawns on me: I Chose an Angel. An
Angel
. As in the natural enemy of human royalty.
    I curse myself for my stupidity. I should have given Lor some kind of herbal sedative to keep him down. Maybe passionflower, or lavender… Or hemlock. That’d have done the trick.
    Lor slams into the corner of my bed-frame and nearly falls, but steadies himself and keeps coming closer. I look for a weapon, but there’s nothing within reach. I’m backed up against the wall, and there’s no way I’d get past him to the door. So I stand straighter and glare right back at him, hoping to intimidate him.
    Bad idea.
    Lor reaches me and slams his hands against the wall on either side of me, just inches from my head. His muscles shake as he leans in close to me, eyes narrowed and lip curled into a snarl.
    “Where am I?” he demands, his voice a rumbling growl.
    Even through my shock, his voice sends an ache of familiarity through me. His accent is the same as Ashe’s killer, but also the same as… Ashe. He pronounces vowels elegantly, like each is a teacup that could be easily broken. The consonants flow together just as smoothly, and every word sends a sharp pang through me.
    Some inner part of me, a part I didn’t even realize was still there, wants to reach out and touch Lor. Feel that he’s really here, with me,
alive
. That part wants him closer, so that I can hear his strong heartbeat and feel his chest rise and fall with his breaths.
    But that part of me is a traitor.
    “You’re still in Irrador,” I answer. “In the capital, Kastellor. You’re in the royal castle.”
    He rears back and then slams forward again, his palms smacking the stone beside my head. I glance down, hoping to calm him by avoiding his furious gaze. My eyes settle on his side, where his bandage has fallen away and a stitch has burst open. He doesn’t seem to notice the blood trickling out of the wound and down his side.
    “I recognize you,” he hisses, his voice dark and not nearly as familiar now. “You’re that girl who was asking too many questions.”
    “My name is Faye, not ‘that girl’,” I say evenly. “And, yes, I visited you in prison.
    “Tell me what I’m doing here,” he commands, leaning in even closer. “What do you want from me?”
    I consider my options: Heel of palm to nose? That could kill him if I do it too hard, and I need him alive. Right hook to stomach? I’m not in the right position for it. Left uppercut to jaw?
    Perfect.
    I swing my fist up, just like Jackal taught me. Fist tight but not too tight, forearm clenched, momentum coming from the body. My punch strikes Lor precisely on his jaw.
    His head snaps back, and I get ready to bolt for the nightstand with my dagger in it. But the rest of his body doesn’t even flinch. He shakes his head, like a horse getting rid of an annoying fly, and then growls at me. The sound rips through the air, and I press myself closer to the wall.
    “Answer me,” he says. “
Now
.”
    “I Chose you as my Guardian,” I say, shaking my hand to get rid of the pain in my knuckles. “That’s why you’re in the castle. You’re in my chambers.”
    “Your Guardian?”
    “You’re my royal bodyguard now,” I explain.
    He blinks at me a couple times, his eyes widening. Then he throws his head back and laughs. “You’re kidding me, right? You picked an
Angel
to be your bodyguard? What kind of idiot
are
you?”
    “I’m a princess.”
    He stops laughing and gives me a critical look. With every passing moment, his arms tremble more.
    “You don’t want to kill me,” I say, and nod to the vambrace on his arm. It’s smooth black leather, and the swirling silver etchings form ancient runes across the surface of the vambrace. “That thing will kill you if you harm me or run away. It’s magic.”
    He snarls and glares at the vambrace. Then he glances back at me, a cruel smirk on his

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