~ The Ride ~ pg 2

But care, he did. His heart held more than desire… it held love that would not allow her to come to harm. He tore his eyes away from her, growling at himself. He would not put her in danger! He would not let this tether have any power over him! It was a deliberate and pain-staking walk back to the house where he was met by three busy Birchwoods and one overwhelming Nivia. She stood barking out orders to the men with her directions on how to both pack for the trip and set the house up for her absence.

“Where ‘ave you been?” Chink demanded, stopping mid-task to scowl at him. 

Nivia rapped him on the knuckles for it. “Pay attention, stubborn man! These chicken feeders need to be tight enough to last a whole week or they will gorge themselves to death before the sun hides behind the mountain.”

“We went for a walk together,” a low voice came from behind him, making Civyl jump. Alex stood there, just a foot away. He fixed Civyl with a steady gaze that communicated loud and clear. Just as Civyl had followed Fiora, so Alex had followed Civyl. His eyes dropped to the sword buckled at the man’s waist before returning to Alex’s gaze and they gave each other a nod. Civyl understood perfectly. Alex would not have hesitated to use his sword if he’d thought Civyl any threat to Fiora. He was both relieved and offended. This man was invading his privacy… but he was protecting the woman he loved, still true to his non-binding promise to never leave them alone together. As Alex shouldered past into the room, Civyl had a disturbing thought. Had Alex been watching him… or Fiora? Had he seen Fiora? ...there on the bank? Bile rose in the back of his throat at the thought, but he forced it out of his head. He couldn't allow himself to go there or he would never be able to make this trek with them.

The End

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