Scent of Magic Page 3

“For you. I’m the one that’s going to have to deal with Belen, Quain and Loren.”

“I’m sure Ryne’s keeping them busy with his genius military tactics that will stop Tohon.” Which was the reason I’d given up my life for him.

Kerrick relaxed his arms and moved to sit next to me. He pulled me close. “At least I won’t have to act like I’m sad and missing you.”

“You mean you’ll go from moody, sullen and distant, to moody, sullen, distant and sad? The guys won’t suspect a thing,” I teased.

“Don’t start.” He tangled his fingers in my hair. “You were the reason for all those...”

“Temper tantrums? Grumpiness? Irritability?”

He tilted my head until I gazed up at him. A dangerous glint shone in his eyes. “You didn’t make it easy.”

“True, but neither did you.”

“True.” A hint of a smile. “I guess we’re meant to be together.”

“Surprisingly,” I agreed.

“Not to Belen. Once he forgives me for lying to him, he’s going to gloat.”

Belen had been his loyal friend, bodyguard and all but his older brother ever since Kerrick was born. It made sense that he could read Kerrick better than anyone.

“When did he figure it out?” I asked.

“Well before I did.” Kerrick gazed at the fire. “I think he made a comment after you escaped and I saved you from the mercs.”

An odd time. Kerrick had been furious at me. “And when did you...agree with him?”

“My feelings started changing after you healed Belen and we were at Mom’s.” He returned his focus to me. Cupping my face with his other hand, he said, “You had me tied in knots. You saved Belen’s life, and I wanted to kill you and thank you at the same time. And during those nights when we didn’t know if you’d live or die, I went from being angry to worried to frustrated to scared all within a single heartbeat. If you had died, I would have killed you.”

“You know that doesn’t make sense, right?”

“Nothing about that time made sense.”

“You kept me from dying. Did you know that?”

He tilted his head in surprise. “No. How?”

“You gave me the energy to heal myself. If you hadn’t stayed with me and held my hand, I would have gone into the afterlife.”

“And here I thought it was Mom’s tonics.”

“Good thing the Lamp Post Inn is on the edge of the forest.”

“That’s why I like it. I can still access my power there. That and her desserts are the best in the Fifteen Realms.”

“I’ll make sure I try some when I’m there.”

All humor fled his face. “But I won’t be there to watch your back.”

“Then I’ll have to be extra careful.”


“Yes.” I leaned forward and kissed him. He was right. What I planned to do was dangerous, but these were dangerous times. And I needed to become Noelle’s older sister again before I resumed being Avry the healer. Plus my decision allowed me the freedom to just be a regular person. Someone unnoticeable, who blended in and didn’t attract Tohon’s attention.

* * *

When we reached the border road between Vyg and Pomyt that night, Kerrick had a few last-minute instructions. “Stay in the forest on the east side of the border. Better to go through Pomyt Realm than to get caught in the middle of any skirmishes in Vyg. You’ll be safer traveling in the daylight.”

I nodded, even though I knew to stay out of Vyg and to avoid Zabin until I was disguised. He needed to tell me. Plus if he didn’t lecture me, I’d worry he was following me as he had when I’d surrendered to Tohon. His forest magic had camouflaged him, and I’d never seen him until he appeared without warning in the garden.

Kerrick had been livid since he’d seen me kissing Tohon. Under the influence of Tohon’s life magic, I hadn’t had a choice. His powers had filled me with an unnatural desire and smashed my willpower to dust. After Tohon had left, and still reeling from Tohon’s display of dominance, I’d been grabbed by Kerrick who had then confessed he’d be upset if Tohon lured me away.

“Avry, are you listening to me?”

“Yes. Vyg bad. Pomyt good.”

“Avry.” His aggravation was clear.

I smiled. He was rather handsome when he was annoyed. Before he could launch into another lecture, I handed him Flea’s juggling stones for Belen, the letter and necklace for Noelle and the pouch full of Quain and Loren’s favorite herbs for them.


“It’ll help with the ruse that I’d died.”

“How do I explain the extra time it took for me to catch up to them?”

“You’re supposed to be grieving, so it should be obvious even to Quain why. But if anyone asks, just give them that stony stare and they’ll back right off.” I met his gaze. “Yes, that one.”

“I’m not happy about this,” he said, but he handed me a pouchful of coins. “There should be enough in here for a couple months.”

He wrapped me into a fiercely protective hug before kissing me. His magic shot through me. If I were a plant, I’d have grown roots.

I pulled back before I changed my mind and stayed with him. “I’ll see you in Zabin.”

“You better.”

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