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Give me your blades,” he growled down at her.

Fear pounded in Elwytha’s chest, and she licked her dry lips. “You found no blades when you pawed through my clothes. The maid found none on my person. Perhaps that is because I have none.”

“I don’t trust you.”

She smiled. As well you shouldn’t. However, she said, “How can we have a marriage with no trust?”

“Come with me.” He forced her toward the door. “You will not return to this room.”

“But my clothes!”

“You will have new clothes. Clothes with no holes for pockets. Clothes that provide no access to the blade at your thigh.”

“Nonsense.” Unthinking, she struggled and then, to her consternation, he picked her up and tossed her over his shoulder. She cried out in fear and horrified humiliation. “Put me down!” She pounded on his broad back. “Put me down, you monstrous serf!”

He strode silently through the halls. She squeezed her eyes shut, unwilling to see the others witnessing her humiliation. “Put me down. Put me down at once!” she gasped. She bit her lip, trying to stop the weak tears of a woman, not a warrior. She sniffed and finally stopped struggling, and hung down his back. His belt about his jerkin was within reach. If only she could loosen it, she could cinch it around his massive neck! It was only a hopeless fantasy, of course.

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