Dark Witch (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy 1) - Page 40

“I do indeed.” In her smooth way, Branna turned to put the kettle on. “She’s a good friend to me, and one you can count on.”

“I liked her right away, another click, I guess. She showed me around before Boyle got there, and I met Mick—you probably know him, too.”

“I do, yes.”

“He’s so funny and full of stories. I already have a little crush on him.”

“He’s a wife and four children, with the first grandbaby on the way.”

“Oh, I didn’t mean . . . You’re teasing. Anyway, it was great, just so great. Even though Boyle was in a bad mood.”

“He’s known to have them.” Branna put cookies on a plate, chocolate ones today.

“He came riding in, like something out of a movie, him on that magnificent horse. Both of them so pissy and handsome and, well, tough. And he’s cursing the horse. I’m pretty sure the horse was cursing him right back. His partner—Fin, right?—bought him, and had him sent to Boyle. And he’s just spectacular.”

“The horse, you’re meaning.”

“Yeah. Well, Boyle’s not too shabby. In fact, I had a couple minutes of . . .” She drummed her hand against her heart. “Just looking at him. Too bad about

the moods, because, really.” She grinned, rolled her eyes, fanned her hand. Then her eyes widened. “Oh God, you aren’t— You and Boyle aren’t a thing?”

“Romantically? No.” With an easy laugh Branna began to brew the tea. “He and Connor have been mates since boyhood, and for that matter, we’ve been friends longer than I can remember. He’s a fine man with a hot temper, but like Meara, one you can count on, thick and thin.”

“Good to know, and I guess he had reason for the mood today. Alastar was giving him a bad time, and he’d bitten one of the stable hands. Kicked one, too, I think, and—”

“Wait.” Branna gripped Iona’s arm to stop the flood of words. “You said Alastar? The horse is Alastar?”

“Yes. What is it? What’s wrong?”

“And Fin, he bought the horse, had it sent?”

“Yes. Meara said Fin was still traveling, but sent the horse ahead a couple days ago.”

“So.” She took a long breath, laid her hands on the counter for a moment. “He knows.”

“Who, and what? You’re freaking me out, Branna.”

“Fin. He knows you’re here. Or he knows the three are here, together. That it’s to begin. Alastar, it’s said, was the name of Teagan’s horse. He was her first guide.”

“Alastar. I didn’t know, but . . . it was like we recognized each other. There was something there, but I thought, I guess I thought it was just he needed me, needed someone who understood him. Alastar. Teagan’s horse. You don’t think it’s coincidence.”

“That you would come, and so would this horse? And Boyle all but bringing him to you this morning? I bloody well don’t, and add in Finbar Burke and there’s no mistaking it.”

“How would he know about me, or the name of Teagan’s horse?”

Branna set teacups down with a clatter. “He has power.”

“He’s like us? Fin?”

“He’s like no one but himself, but he comes from the blood, as we do. He springs from Cabhan, the black sorcerer.”

“Wait a minute. Wait.” She tried to take it in, even pressed her hands to the sides of her head as if to hold it all in. “The evil guy, the one that Sorcha killed—or mostly killed? This Fin is descended from him?”

“He is.” Eyes flashing, face grim, Branna shoved impatiently at a loosened pin in her hair. “He bears the mark, and it was Teagan who marked Cabhan. He has power, and the blood.”

“He’s evil?”

In an impatient gesture, Branna waved a hand in the air, then poured the tea. “Sure there’s no simple answer to a question like that. He’s harmed no one, and I would know. But he’s of Cabhan, and the time’s coming ’round. He sent the horse so we’d know.”

Tags: Nora Roberts The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy Fantasy
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