Predatory Marriage — Chapter 103. Look At Me, Leah (1)
Translator: Atlas / Editor: Regan
Blain was pleased by her submission, though not by her attitude.
“As you like, sister.” He smiled. “You wait here. I’ll get you the biggest one.”
He left, leading the attendants and horses into the woods. As soon as she was sure he was gone, Leah looked around. The Kurkans were also on horseback, ready to leave. She noticed they carried no riding crops; they knew how to handle horses without such tools. The most unruly hunting dogs had intentionally been given to the Kurkans, but they did not need to persuade them with food or yell at them to make them obey. As the hunters watched with amazement, the unruly dogs obeyed the slightest whistle and pat, as if they had been perfectly trained from the beginning.
The attendants watching were astonished and frightened by the sight. But they knew that the Kurkans’ control was based on their kinship with beasts. Their outward appearance was human, but the Kurkans were a completely different people.
Leah had been watching with everyone else, and when she turned, her eyes met those of Ishakan. She quickly averted them, returning to the barracks assigned to her rather than watching him leave.
She told the other ladies to relax in another tent opposite, while she rested alone. She had wanted a break before she went hunting with the falcons, but Cerdina had called for her. It had been a long time since they had been alone together. The mere thought of having to endure that woman once again instantly drained Leah’s energy.
Alone in her tent, she pulled a handkerchief from her breast. It was a different handkerchief than the one she had given Blain. This one was made in Estia, pure white and embroidered with gold thread in each corner. She cherished it and often carried it with her, but today she brought it to give to Ishakan.
But in spite of her intentions, she had missed her opportunity. She had been put off by the stares following her, watching her every action. Leah gripped the handkerchief in her hands, filled with regret.
I’ll give it to him, no matter who sees us, she thought. For the first time she wanted to act without having to worry about what others would say, though she knew better than anyone else why she couldn’t.
Leah stopped. Looking at the handkerchief, the frustration and unhappiness welled up in her and she wanted to throw it away, tear it to pieces. But no matter how upset she was, she was the princess. She put the handkerchief away.
Someone suddenly hugged her from behind, startling her so much she couldn’t even scream. Her eyes widened and her breath sped as the person spun her around with a large, firm hand. One arm held her around the waist as he bent his face close, eager and impatient to kiss her.
She accepted this kiss unconsciously, almost reflexively, stumbling backward over something and falling onto a long couch. Both her hands were pinned by the much stronger hands of her aggressor and golden eyes looked at her, full of satisfaction.
“Hi.” Ishakan smiled, bending until they were nearly nose to nose. “Are you surprised?”
He licked her flushed cheek and Leah let out a gasp. Her heart was beating so wildly, it seemed about to burst from her breast any moment. She was surprised, but another impulse seized her as well, and she had to bite her lip to keep from saying anything dangerous.
“You have something for me, don’t you?” he asked. He was goading her to get her to give him what she had brought for him. Maybe the Gypsies weren’t the only ones with tricks and spells up their sleeves. Sometimes it seemed Ishakan could read minds.
“Yes,” she confessed, low. “I have something for you.”
She tried to reach for the handkerchief hidden in her breast, but Ishakan wouldn’t let go of her, and she had to give up, imploring him to let her go with her eyes. He only smiled.
“Let me grab it.”
He easily held both her wrists in one hand. Leah had always been aware of how big his hands were, but in this situation the difference was even more shocking. His other hand moved to freely caress her skin, his leather glove sliding smoothly over her neck and down to her chest.
“I think you hid it well…. here…”