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Chapter 4

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The Island girl—his Given—pointed the sharp tip of her metal spear right at his throat. Weysh blinked at it, bewildered.

"What does this mean, Given?" she demanded.

"En? It means we're bonded through the will of Byen."

How could she not know that? He took her in, not only the heady scent of her, but her stance and her attire. White paint made strange marks all over her body, and her shirt was nothing more than a swath of yellow material that wrapped around her middle and looped over each shoulder, leaving her arms bare and showing a tantalizing hint of her midriff. A brown leather skirt hugged her hips. It was far more skin than he was used to seeing a woman show in polite society, not that he was complaining. She didn't look like any Islander he knew, certainly not like his cous- ins. Where had she said she was from? Weysh's eyebrows shot up. Did she say the Moonrise Isles? Well, that would be why she had no concept of Given. In fact, she continued to glare at him in obvious confusion.

"It means we'll be married soon," he clarified.

Her eyes went wide, then angry. "Lunacy," she said. "I refuse to wed you, Dragon."

"What? You can't say that." Weysh turned to Harth. "Can she say that?"

Harth shrugged. "Apparently so."

Weysh turned back to Yenni. "Look, lovely, I'm sorry if I've done anything to offend you, but we're Given—it's natural that we should be familiar with each other, en?"

"What do you not understand? Stay away from me!"

"Oho!" shouted Harth, that ass boil. He was probably enjoying every second of this mess. Weysh tuned him out.

"Don't you have a mouth on you," he said, and then he was distracted by her mouth. A small mouth with full lips he very much wanted to kiss.

"I am leaving. Follow me and you will regret it."

He raised his hands in surrender. "All right, lovely. As you say."

She jerked her spear away and marched off, her hips swaying hypnotically as she disappeared down the whitestone path, bound for the sharp spires of Lelond Hall.

"Watcher above, Weysh!" cried Zui, and took off after his Given. Weysh wanted to run after her, too, but it was best to give females space when they got like that. For now he'd make do with the scent of her. It still clung to his nostrils like perfume on his sheets the morning after he'd taken a woman home. He wasn't even in dragon form and he'd been able to catch her scent from yards away. She smelled like flowers. No, soil! No. Sun? Meat? Grass? Hmm . . . no. She smelled like . . . forever.

A goofy grin spread across his face. He'd resigned himself to his fate, sure that due to the circumstances of his birth, he was a severed dragon, Givenless. But then here she was, like a summer squall. He wanted to shout it across the square. He'd met his Given!

Slow clapping brought his mind back from among the clouds.

"I must say, well done, Weysh."

As was often the case with Harth, Weysh couldn't tell if he was being serious.

"Erm, thank you?"

"Yes, that's the fastest I've ever seen you incite a woman to murderous rage."

"She'll come around," Weysh grumped. "She must. Others do, and she's my Given."

Harth opened his mouth as if to say something, closed it, opened it again. "You're sure?"

Weysh gave one firm nod of his head. "Absolutely. It's her scent, Harth. It's like . . . it's . . ."

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