Herd Mistress (In Deception's Shadow Book 2)

Herd Mistress (In Deception's Shadow Book 2) by Lisa Blackwood Read Free Book Online

Book: Herd Mistress (In Deception's Shadow Book 2) by Lisa Blackwood Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lisa Blackwood
familiar, and I think I know where we are. There’s a hidden
stash of supplies in a cave nearby. We can start a fire and get warm at the
very least.”
    Her fingers touched the rock embankment, and she
sighed in relief. With solid ground under her feet, she felt like she might
actually live through this night. Shadowdancer stepped up behind her, close
enough she could feel the heat from his body. He tapped her left shoulder and
pointed up at what must have been the path he’d taken to get down to the tree.
    The path wasn’t exactly an elegant stairway, but it
was climbable. She struggled up the incline and knelt at the top of the
escarpment to wait for Shadowdancer to make the climb. He took the hand she
offered, and he heaved himself up and over the ledge to rest next to her for a
moment. His shoulders shook as he shivered.
    If she had some dry clothes, or even her cloak, she
would have given them to him, but she had nothing to offer except thoroughly
wet leathers. She eyed his broad-shouldered frame with the realization he
wouldn’t fit into anything of hers anyways.
    “Come here.” She took his arm and placed it over her
shoulders and helped him to his feet. Her free arm naturally found its way
around his waist. If it had been anyone other than Shadowdancer, it would have
been awkward, but he was her friend. “The cave isn’t far. I have an old chest
there with a few emergency supplies and nice warm blankets.”
    His eyebrow arched up in silent question.
    “You didn’t think Lamarra and I were just going to sit
back and meekly accept never seeing Ashayna again, did you? Had she and Crown
Prince Sorntar not come for an unexpected visit, we would have gone ahead with
our plan to go looking for Ash ourselves. No one steals a member of the
Stonemantle family and gets away with it.”
    Shadowdancer snorted with humor.
    “Yes, looking back, our plan wasn’t very…detailed.”
    Sorsha continued to ramble, talking of meaningless
things to occupy her mind and distract Shadowdancer from his exhaustion as they
climbed the sloping escarpment. As she promised, her secret lair wasn’t far,
but it still took them half a candlemark to make the journey.
    By the time the cave entrance came into view, her body
was numb with cold. She could only imagine how much worse off the Santhyrian
must be. She paused briefly before the cave’s dark maw, wondering if something
else big and predatory had decided to make her lair its home. She hoped not,
and was honestly too tired to care.
    The cave proved both empty and blessedly dry. She made
straight for the back of the small cave where a chest sat half hidden behind a
ridge of rock. After tossing the lid back, she rooted around inside until she
found two blankets. She handed the blankets to Shadowdancer and he immediately
wrapped himself in one.
    After quickly loosening the ties with shaking fingers,
Sorsha pulled her wet leather outer vest over her head. The sodden material
landed with a damp thump. She peeled the clammy leather of her breeches down
her legs and kicked the mess into a corner. The damp cotton of her underclothes
would dry fast enough, but her stout shirt stuck to her like a cold wet lump.
The shirt joined her leathers on the floor. She’d arrange them closer to the
fire pit to dry once they got a camp fire burning. Naked from the waist up, she
hugged herself to preserve what heat she still had. Which, by the chattering of
her teeth, wasn’t much.
    A soft blanket landed on her shoulders and
Shadowdancer folded the heavy fabric around in front, under her chin. He didn’t
let go, instead standing with his chest pressed against her blanket-covered
back, his arms encircling her, his chin resting on her head.
    “Thank you,” she stammered. “I don’t think...ever been
so cold...my entire life.” It was tempting to simply stand there; the effort to
move almost too much, but they needed a fire. Her teeth continued to chatter,
making speech difficult. “Fire…we must

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