Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)
He forced himself to rise and stride toward the blankets. But Nina held out a hand to stop him.
“Don’t even think about getting near me in those clothes. You’re soaked through.”
“You can keep our blood flowing.”
“I’m exhausted,” she said angrily. “And once I fall asleep, all we’ll have is that fire to keep us warm. I can see you shaking from here. Are all Fjerdans this prudish?”
No. Maybe. He didn’t really know. The drüskelle were a holy order. They were meant to live chastely until they took wives—good Fjerdan wives who didn’t run around yelling at people and taking their clothes off.
“Are all Grisha so immodest?” he asked defensively.
“Boys and girls train side by side together in the First and Second Armies. There isn’t a lot of room for maidenly blushing.”
“It’s not natural for women to fight.”
“It’s not natural for someone to be as stupid as he is tall, and yet there you stand. Did you really swim all those miles just to die in this hut?”
“It’s a lodge, and you don’t know that we swam miles.”
Nina blew out an exasperated breath and curled up on her side, burrowing as close as she could get to the fire. “I’m too tired to argue.” She closed her eyes. “I can’t believe your face is going to be the last thing I see before I die.”
He felt like she was daring him. Matthias stood there feeling foolish and hating her for making him feel that way. He turned his back on her and quickly sloughed off his sodden clothes, spreading them beside the fire. He glanced once at her to make sure she wasn’t looking then strode to the blankets and wriggled in behind her, still trying to keep his distance.
“Closer, drüskelle,” she crooned, taunting.
He threw an arm over her, hooking her back against his chest. She let out a startled oof and shifted uneasily.
“Stop moving,” he muttered. He’d been close to girls—not many, it was true—but none of them had been like her. She was indecently round.
“You’re cold and clammy,” she complained with a shiver. “It’s like lying next to a burly squid.”
“You told me to get closer!”
“Ease up a bit,” she instructed and when he did, she flipped over to face him.
“What are you doing?” he asked, pulling back in a panic.
“Relax, drüskelle. This isn’t where I have my way with you.”
His blue eyes narrowed. “I hate the way you talk.” Did he imagine the hurt that flashed across her face? As if his words could have any effect on this witch.
She confirmed he’d been imagining things when she said, “Do you think I care what you like or don’t like?”
She laid her hands on his chest, focusing on his heart. He shouldn’t let her do this, shouldn’t show his weakness, but as his blood began to flow and his body warmed, the relief and ease that coursed through him felt too good to resist.