Dance of the Gods Page 4

Moira lowered the weights, then used her forearm to swipe her brow. “I’ve been up for a bit. You’re wanting to use the room?”

“Yeah. Plenty of room in here for both of us.” Blair walked over, selected ten-pound weights. “Not hunkered down with the books this morning.”

“I…” On a sigh, Moira stretched out her arms as she’d been taught. She might have wished her arms were as sleek and carved with muscle as Blair’s, but no one would call them soft any longer. “I’ve been starting the day here, before I use the library. Usually before anyone’s up and about.”

“Okay.” Curious, Blair studied Moira as she worked her triceps. “And you’re keeping this a secret because?”

“Not a secret. Not exactly a secret.” Moira picked up a bottle of water, twisted off the cap. Twisted it back on. “I’m the weakest of us. I don’t need you or Cian to tell me that—though one or the other of you make a point to let me know it with some regularity.”

Something gave a little twist inside Blair’s belly. “And that sucks. I’m going to tell you I’m sorry about that, because I know how it feels to get slammed down when you’re doing your best.”

“My best isn’t altogether that good, is it? No, I’m not looking for sorry,” she said before Blair could speak. “It’s hard to be told you’re lacking, but that’s what I am—for now. So I come up here in the mornings, early, and lift these bloody things the way you showed me. I won’t be the weak one, the one the rest of you have to worry about.”

“You don’t have much muscle yet, but you’ve got some speed. And you’re a frigging genius with a bow. If you weren’t so good with it, things wouldn’t have turned out the way they did last night.”

“Work on my weaknesses, and on my strengths, on my own time. That’s what you said to me—and it made me angry. Until I saw the wisdom of it. I’m not angry. You’re good at training. King was…He was more easy on me, I think, because he was a man. A big man at that,” Moira added with sorrow in her eyes now. “Who had affection for me, I think, because I was the smallest of us.”

Blair hadn’t met King, Cian’s friend who’d been captured, then killed by Lilith. Then turned, and sent back as a vampire.

“I won’t be easy on you,” Blair promised.

B y the time she’d finished a session with the weights and grabbed a quick shower, Blair had worked up that appetite. She decided to go for one of her favorites, and dug up the makings for French toast.

She tossed some Irish bacon into a skillet for protein, selected Green Day on her MP3 player. Music to cook by.

She poured her second cup of coffee before breaking eggs in a bowl.

She was beating the batter when Larkin strolled in the door. He stopped, stared at her player. “And what is it?”

“It’s a—” How to explain? “A way to whistle while you work.”

“No, it’s not the machine I’m meaning. There are so many of those, I can’t keep them all in my brain. But what’s the sound?”

“Oh. Um, popular music? Rock—of the hard variety.”

He was grinning now, head cocked as he listened. “Rock. I like it.”

“Who wouldn’t? Not going for eggs, this morning. Doing up French toast.”

“Toast?” Disappointment fell over his face, erasing the easy pleasure of the music. “Just cooked bread?”

“Not just. Besides, you get what you get when I’m manning the stove. Or you forage on your own.”

“It’s kind of you to cook, of course.”

His tone was so long-suffering, she had to swallow a laugh. “Relax, and trust me on this. I’ve seen you chow down, cowboy. You’re going to like it as much as Rock, especially after you drown it in butter and syrup. I’ll have it going in a minute. Why don’t you flip that bacon over?”

“I’m needing to wash first. Been mucking out the stall and such, and I’m not fit yet to touch anything.”

She lifted a brow as he strolled right out. She’d seen him slip out of all manner of kitchen duties already. And she had to admit, he was slick about it.

Resigned, she turned the bacon herself, then heated a second skillet. She was about to dunk the first piece of bread when she heard voices. The newlyweds were up, she realized, and added to the batter to accommodate them.

Effortless style. It was something Glenna had in spades, Blair thought. She wandered in wearing a sage green sweater and black jeans with her bold red hair swinging straight and loose. The urban take on country casual, Blair supposed. When you added the pretty flush of a woman who’d obviously had her morning snuggles, you had quite a package.

She didn’t look like a woman who would rush a squad of vampires while she bellowed war cries and swung a battle-ax, but she’d done just that.

“Mmm, French toast? You must have read my mind.” As she moved to the coffeepot, Glenna gave Blair’s arm an absent stroke. “Give you a hand?”

“No, I got this. You’ve been taking the lion’s share of KP, and I’m better at breakfast than dinner. Didn’t I hear Hoyt?”

“Right behind me. He’s talking to Larkin about the horse. I think Hoyt’s a little put out he didn’t get to Vlad before Larkin did. Coffee’s good. How’d you sleep?”

“Like I’d been knocked unconscious, for a couple hours.” Blair dipped bread, then laid it to sizzle. “Then, I don’t know, too restless. Wired up.” She slanted Glenna a look. “And nowhere to put the excess energy, like the bride.”

“I have to admit, I’m feeling pretty loose and relaxed this morning. Except.” Wincing a little, Glenna massaged her right biceps. “My arms feel like I spent half the night swinging a sledgehammer.”

“Battle-ax has weight. You did good work with it.”

“Work isn’t the word that comes to mind. But I’m not going to think about it—at least not until I’ve gorged myself.” Turning, Glenna opened a cupboard for plates. “Do you know how often I had a breakfast like this—fried bread, fried meat—before all this started?”

“Nope.”

“Never. Absolutely never,” she added with a half laugh. “I watched my weight as if the, well, as if the fate of the world depended on it.”

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