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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

A pleased flush warmed her cheeks. But hadn’t Kaz always believed she was dangerous?

Inej balanced her elbows on the railing and rested her chin in her palms. “I’ll go home first, though.”

“To Ravka?”

She nodded.

“To find your family.”

“Yes.” Only two days ago, she would have left it at that, respecting their unspoken agreement to tread lightly in each other’s pasts. Now she said, “Was there no one but your brother, Kaz? Where are your mother and father?”

“Barrel boys don’t have parents. We’re born in the harbor and crawl out of the canals.”

Inej shook her head. She watched the sea shift and sigh, each wave a breath. She could just make out the horizon, the barest difference between black sky and blacker sea. She thought of her parents. She’d been away from them for nearly three years. How would they have changed? Could she be their daughter again? Maybe not right away. But she wanted to sit with her father on the steps of the wagon eating fruit from the trees. She wanted to see her mother dust chalk from her hands before she prepared the evening meal. She wanted tall southern grasses and the vast sky above the Sikurzoi Mountains. Something she needed was waiting for her there. What did Kaz need?

“You’re about to be rich, Kaz. What will you do when there’s no more blood to shed or vengeance to take?”

“There’s always more.”

“More money, more mayhem, more scores to settle. Was there never another dream?”

He said nothing. What had carved all the hope from his heart? She might never know.

Inej turned to go. Kaz seized her hand, keeping it on the railing. He didn’t look at her. “Stay,” he said, his voice rough stone. “Stay in Ketterdam. Stay with me.”

She looked down at his gloved hand clutching hers. Everything in her wanted to say yes, but she would not settle for so little, not after all she’d been through. “What would be the point?”

He took a breath. “I want you to stay. I want you to … I want you.”

“You want me.” She turned the words over. Gently, she squeezed his hand. “And how will you have me, Kaz?”

He looked at her then, eyes fierce, mouth set. It was the face he wore when he was fighting.

“How will you have me?” she repeated. “Fully clothed, gloves on, your head turned away so our lips can never touch?”

He released her hand, his shoulders bunching, his gaze angry and ashamed as he turned his face to the sea.

Maybe it was because his back was to her that she could finally speak the words. “I will have you without armor, Kaz Brekker. Or I will not have you at all.”

Speak, she begged silently. Give me a reason to stay. For all his selfishness and cruelty, Kaz was still the boy who had saved her. She wanted to believe he was worth saving, too.

The sails creaked. The clouds parted for the moon then gathered back around her.