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Mad didn’t watch to see where Kenzie hid. If he knew, he might give her away, not that there were many options in his quarters. He pulled on a long tunic and wiped at the blood on his neck. There wasn’t much of it, and hopefully Tyze wouldn’t ask questions. There were plenty of reasons a man on Guerran might be bleeding.
Why did he tell her to hide? She’d been ready to use that knife. She wasn’t his woman, wasn’t his mate. Whatever madness had taken them over the night before couldn’t influence his decisions. He didn’t normally allow people to get away with holding a knife to his throat.
But if it weren’t for Tyze’s terrible timing, Mad’s cock would be buried to the hilt in Kenzie.
For some reason he liked her knives. He wanted to see her use them again. But not on him.
He couldn’t think about her while Tyze was in front of him. His face would give him away, and the man would do whatever it took to drag her before Jadirel. The king got what the king wanted, and once Jadirel had his hands on Kenzie, he’d suck her dry of her energy before he let her go.
Power brimmed inside of Mad, and for the first time in a long time, his soul didn’t hunger for Krudare. He’d fed on the energy he and Kenzie created while they fucked. She didn’t seem any worse for wear. But he needed to be careful. It couldn’t happen again. No matter how much he wanted her.
Tyze pounded on the door again. Before long, he’d try to break the thing down.
Mad hoped he’d bought enough time for Kenzie to hide. There weren’t many options in his quarters. Under the bed or in the wardrobe, he’d guess. Perhaps out on the balcony. He couldn’t check. She was a clever woman, he had to trust her. She’d survived this long without him.
Mad opened the door and nearly got pounded in the head by Tyze’s fist. The man pulled back just in time.
He looked like he hadn’t slept. His face was gaunt and he was low on energy. If he fought Mad, Tyze would know Mad was stronger than usual. So it couldn’t come to that.
Tyze shouldered his way past Mad and looked around the room. “The girl from the pit, where is she? The guards said you took her for the king.”
Mad really hoped Kenzie didn’t hear that part. Her knife was sharp. Maybe if he kissed her, she’d give him a chance to explain.
“She wasn’t happy to return to King Jadirel,” Mad said, not exactly lying. “Her knife stings. She nearly gutted me.” He would have lifted his tunic to show where Kenzie’s knife had left him bleeding, but the wound was barely clotted, and he didn’t want to show Tyze his dick.
Tyze narrowed his eyes and looked around the room again, staring into emptiness as if it would reveal secrets. “She’s human, hardly a match for you. I’ve seen you fight.”
“She took out Baryn with no trouble.” Mad could beat Kenzie in a fight, but he’d pay for it in blood and pain. And he didn’t want to fight her. Not when there were more pleasurable options.
“You’re not Baryn.” Tyze yanked Mad’s wardrobe open, his free hand prepared to grab for a fleeing woman, but Kenzie wasn’t hiding there.
Mad didn’t look at the bed. He was crazy for trying to protect her, but he didn’t want Tyze to take her to Jadirel. She was right; he didn’t like the exile king, and he certainly didn’t want her in the man’s clutches.
But would he fight Tyze for her? Would he openly oppose Jadirel?
He was scared to think too hard about it. The answer could be yes. And a yes was suicidal.
“Are you done chasing shadows?” Mad tried to sound bored, as if this invasion of his privacy was nothing more than an annoyance.
Tyze looked into Mad’s bathing room and then scowled back at Mad when it was empty. Did the man expect Kenzie to be hiding in the plumbing?
She had to be under the bed. When Tyze turned away, Mad tried to see if he could spot her. He kicked a dirty tunic towards the gap under the bed, hoping to block it so that Tyze couldn’t see. She had no place to run.
His axe was on the other side of the room, right by his small kitchen area, which consisted of a cold storage box for his food and a small area he could light a fire to boil water or heat food.
Mad walked to the kitchen as casually as he could. “Would you like tea?” he asked Tyze as he poured water into the kettle and started the flame.
Tyze scowled at him and looked in the wardrobe again, this time pulling out Mad’s clothes and throwing them on the bed. “I don’t have time for tea.”
“Do you have time to put my clothes back where they belong?” he asked dryly.
Mad let the water boil. It was another potential weapon against Tyze. But the bed was between them, and if Mad bent over and grabbed his axe, it was a declaration of intent. He couldn’t touch an obvious weapon while Tyze was looking for Kenzie.
Tyze sank to his knees beside the bed, and Mad held his breath. The kettle boiled and he grabbed the handle, ready to throw the whole thing at his opponent.
Then Tyze stood up with a frustrated grunt, clearly disappointed. And empty handed. “If you see that human, bring her to the king. You’d be doing yourself a favor. She’s not worth your life.”
Tyze stomped out of Mad’s room, and Mad carefully closed the door behind him after setting down the kettle.
Tyze had looked everywhere in the room. The whole of the balcony was visible from beside the bed, so it wasn’t like he had to go outside to see that no one was hiding there. Still, Mad retraced the man’s steps, looking in the wardrobe, the bathing room, and under the bed.
Kenzie wasn’t there.
He was on the third floor of this building. Climbing down from the balcony was suicide. Mad stepped onto the balcony and looked around, as if the human would appear out of nowhere.
She wasn’t hanging from the side of the building.
But there was a smudge on the railing that surrounded the balcony. And another smudge on the drainpipe.
Mad looked up. It wouldn’t be impossible to make it to the roof. Was that where his human had gone?
He retreated back into his rooms and saw her clothes half hidden in a pile of his own leathers. If Tyze had been paying attention, he might have noticed them, but he’d been so focused on finding the woman herself he’d ignored evidence that she’d been there.
Mad sent a prayer of thanks to the stars. That was one small favor.
He pulled on his own clothes and his leathers and then spread her clothes on the bed, searching through her pockets for any hint of her.
Orion was a big city, but Mad knew it well. His human couldn’t hide from him forever.
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