Jace raised his eyebrows at Rowe. He glanced around the room. “Everyone relax. Rowena doesn’t realize what she is suggesting. Off you go.” His tone was patronizing. Jace waved his hand at her. He resumed his conversation with Gray. The room carried on. However, Rowe stood impervious to his dismissal. She leaned in. “The Jace I loved would never turn down a game. Even more, a game with a wager”, Rowe purred in his ear. Jace stopped mid-conversation. He spun around. “Unless you are afraid”, she bated. Rowe turned to walk away.
Jace countered, “It is not I who should be afraid.” Rowe faced him with a smooth expression. He glanced over his shoulder at Gray. “What kind of wager did you have in mind?” Rowe replied, “If I win, you will let me and whoever else, leave for good.” Jace pursed his lips. “No one will ever leave me.” Rowe gave a brittle laugh. Jace widened his eyes at her. He peered around the room.
Dahlia shook her head. “Never”, she crooned.
Rowe was unsurprised. “What will I get when I win?” Rowe took a deep breath. “Me, forever”, she answered.
“Lass, you don’t know what you are doing”, Oisin cried. “Quiet”, Jace ordered. “No, she must know what she is getting into”, Oisin argued. “She does old man. That is enough!” Jace snapped his fingers.
Gavin marched over to Oisin. “Get off me!” Gavin released him.
Oisin staggered toward Rowe. “I lost my Cait to this monster. I gamble more than I should. He beat me at poker several times. When I could not repay him, Jace used my wife as collateral. He had Cait killed. Jace owns me now. I will never be able to offset the debt I owe.” Oisin stopped talking at once. He made an awful choking sound. He fell to the floor. His body shook violently.
Rowe rushed to Oisin’s side. His body went limp. She placed her hand over his gaping mouth. He was not breathing. “Oisin get up.” Rowe shook him. He did not respond. She shouted, “Oisin!” He lay motionless. Rowe found a needle- size dart in his neck. She plucked it out. Rowe found a needle- size dart in his neck. She plucked it out. Rowe recognized the dart at once. Jace fashioned these after meeting Dahlia. Her poisoning Abrafo, years prior, inspired him. These weapons attested to Jace’s fascination with discretion.
“Amazing, isn’t it? What one drop of poison will do”, Jace marveled. He stood over Oisin and Rowe. “Consider your debt repaid, Oisin.” Rowe glared at Jace. “You did this?” He nodded at Gavin. “Get rid of him.” Gavin pulled Oisin’s lifeless body to the bedroom. Rowe took advantage of the group’s diverted attention. She hid the dart in her pocket.
Gavin reentered the front room. Jace extended his hand out to him. Gavin looked confused. “Give me the dart”, Jace ordered. “I don’t have it.” Gavin looked around him. “It must have fallen out.” Jace struck him. “Find it!”Gavin instructed Aspen to assist him. The brothers surveyed the room.
Jace redirected his attention to Rowe. “Your offer is tempting. And I do love games.” He stroked her hair.
Gray took a step forward. Gavin stopped looking for the dart. He proceeded toward Gray. Aspen was unaware. He continued to look around for the dart. Jace glanced back. Gray stood eye to eye with him. “What is this? Do you not approve Gray?” Jace taunted. Gray did not respond. Jace drew nearer to Rowe. “I didn’t think so. You know Rowena; you should pick men who fight for you. Like me.” Jace leaned in. “I know what game we will play. A competition of who is the better man. Let’s play Ransom.”
Copyright © 2014 SarahHardy. All Rights Reserved.