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The Singer Elizabeth Hunter 2022/7/22 11:38:29

“Tell me where you go,”she asked after they had sated their bodies on the forest floor. “When you leave me here, where do you go?”

The moss was a thick green carpet at his back, and the night birds sang overhead as he cradled her on his chest.

“I’m not sure,” he said. “I don’t remember, exactly. I only know you’re not there. But you’re here when I sleep.”

“Hmm.” She closed her eyes and traced her fingers along his collar. “I miss your markings.”

“I have some back.” He raised his left arm and she trailed her fingers along the black ink. “I will write more for you.”

“Are yours still there?”

She smiled up at him. “Of course, silly. They’re always here.” She lifted his hand and put it over her heart. “And they always will be. Kiss me.”

He kissed her, and her lips were honey to his tongue. Far too soon, she pulled back, and in the low light of the misty forest, he could see them—his own marks—glowing in the darkness. Gold magic swirled on the skin over her heart. It shone on her shoulders. He sat up, twisting her until she sat in his lap with her back to his chest. Then he leaned back on his arms, staring at the intricate letters that trailed up her spine, over her neck and shoulders.

“So beautiful,” he murmured, stroking the magic that he’d used to claim her. “I love seeing these on you.”

“I know.” She was smiling as she looked over her shoulder. Her gold eyes, he realized, were almost the same color as her mating marks.

“Nothing.” He kissed her again, pulling her closer before he laid them down again on the moss.

“Reshon?” she whispered against his chest.

“Come back now, brother.”He felt the hand slapping his cheek and he bolted awake.

“Ah.” Leo was grinning. “There you are. You were dead to the world.”

“Hmm,” Malachi grunted, blinking the image of his mate’s bare shoulders away.

“Where are we?” he asked in a rough voice.

“Twenty kilometers outside Belgrade. You’ve been sleeping for almost four hours. Rhys is stopping for petrol, then it’s your turn to drive.”

He nodded his head, swiping a hand over his face to rid himself of the misty dream. Then he slapped his cheek and said, “Get me some tea and I’ll be fine.”

The three men stopped at the all-night petrol station, stretching their legs as they walked to the small shop to get coffee for Malachi and a bottle of water for Rhys.

“Don’t you want anything?” Malachi asked Leo.

“No.” The blond man shrugged. “If I sleep, I sleep. I’m not tired though, so I’ll probably keep you company.”

“That would be good,” he said. It was true. There was still an underlying tension between Malachi and Rhys, as if the man resented Malachi for the loss of his memories. With Leo, however, there was only a cheerful acceptance. Malachi decided it would take more than death, resurrection, and amnesia to rattle the goodwill of the optimistic scribe. Plus, Leo was a font of information.

“Tell me more about the council,” Malachi asked when they were back on the road and Rhys was snoring.

Leo frowned. “I’m not sure where to start.”

“How was it formed? Has there always been one?”

Leo nodded. “Well, for as long as anyone knows. The stories say that before they returned to heaven, the seven cardinal Forgiven chose seven scribes and seven singers to guide their children. So, that’s where the council came from, according to tradition. They say there are written records from the beginning, but no one ever sees them, of course. Maybe the Chief Scribe in Vienna. According to Max, he sees everything. If there is one Irin scribe who knows the whole of our history, it would be the Chief Scribe.”

“The written history, that is.”