Children of the Sea 01 - Sea Witch

Children of the Sea 01 - Sea Witch by authors_sort Read Free Book Online

Book: Children of the Sea 01 - Sea Witch by authors_sort Read Free Book Online
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own kind,” he advised. “Easier that way on everybody. ”
    He was right.
    Of course he was right.
    She sympathized with his story. And yet . . . She glanced at his throat. He did not wear the triskelion, the wardens’ mark, the sign of the prince’s elite. But Dylan was still the prince’s protégé, as much the prince’s creature as Conn’s hound. Had he issued his warning out of genuine concern? Or to further some agenda of his own?
    She left him, making her way down the tower steps to the sea caves under the castle. Chinks of light pierced the thick stone walls. Margred’s eyes adjusted to the gloom. The smell of the ocean rose from below like the smoke from a human fire.
    As she circled down the stairs, another selkie climbed up: Gwyneth of Hiort. Her bare feet left damp splotches on the stone. A red robe trimmed with sable wrapped her naked shoulders. The black fur contrasted pleasingly with her milky skin and blond curls, but the choice of garment was still somewhat shocking. The children of the sea generally wore no pelts but their own.
    Margred nodded politely. “Good hunting, Gwyneth.”
    Gwyneth smiled, revealing sharp white teeth between soft pink lips.
    “So it was. I went for fish and caught a fisherman—a trawler off Cape Savage.”
    “A handsome fisherman, I hope.”
    “Well enough. No staying power. Fortunately his mates supplied the stamina he lacked.”
    Margred raised her brows, amused. “You did the whole crew?”
    Gwyneth shrugged, making the red robe slip on her shoulders. “It was a small vessel. Besides, one man between your legs is the same as another.”
    Memory stirred.
    My name , the man had said, watching her with those sea green eyes.
    It’s Caleb .
    I thought we could spend some time getting to know one another .
    Margred flushed. But she was no hypocrite, to rebuke Gwyneth for saying what she had thought herself.
    The other selkie’s gaze turned speculative. “I hear you’ve had good hunting yourself. In . . . Maine, is it?”
    Feeling burst in Margred’s chest—possessive, protective. “You hear a lot at Caer Subai,” she said coolly. “And little worth listening to.”
    Gwyneth ran her tongue over her teeth. “I only say, if you found something tasty, you would not grudge a friend a bite.”
    Margred’s eyes narrowed. Caleb was hers . “Unless I were still hungry.”
    Gwyneth’s smile broadened. “Now you intrigue me.”
    “That was not my intention. Do not poach on my territory, little sister. Or I will bite you myself.”
    Gwyneth’s laughter followed Margred down the stairs.
    But the joke, she thought, was on her.
    Somehow the human Caleb had snared her, tangled her up like an unwary swimmer caught in a net. Why else would she decide to go back?
    Fleetingly, she thought of Dylan’s mother, who had drowned.
    Dylan’s warning rang in her ears: Because she ventured too close to shore.
    The sea boomed and echoed as Margred descended. Moisture gleamed on the old stone walls. The way widened to a tunnel. The stairs ended in a smooth slab of rock. Light penetrated from the cave mouth, revealing a series of high-ceilinged chambers, one opening into another, wider, deeper, each lined with chests and scattered with treasures.
    She picked her way to a sea chest bound and riveted in iron set on a ledge in the rock. Carvings of grain and apples chased around the rim.
    Shimmying out of her robe, she threw back the lid.
    Her pelt lay inside, silver brown and brindled in a pattern of fine dark spots, uniquely hers. She scooped it up, cradling the fur skin against her bare breasts with one arm as she bundled the velvet robe away.
    A fresh breeze teased her hair and ruffled the pelt in her arms. She raised her head to sniff the wind, shivering delicately.
    Dropping the lid of the chest, she followed the air current to the mouth of the cave.

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