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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

“Should we scrape it?” she prompted.

He grinned at her, his smile sudden and jarring as a thunderclap, his eyes the near-black of bitter coffee. “We’ll be kings and queens, Inej. Kings and queens.”

“Hmm,” she said noncommittally, pretending to examine one of her knives, determined to ignore that grin. Kaz was not a giddy boy smiling and making future plans with her. He was a dangerous player who was always working an angle. Always, she reminded herself firmly. Inej kept her eyes averted, shuffling a stack of papers into a pile on the desk as Kaz stripped out of his vest and shirt. She wasn’t sure if she was flattered or insulted that he didn’t seem to give a second thought to her presence.

“How long will we be gone?” she asked, darting a glance at him through the open doorway. He was corded muscle, scars, but only two tattoos—the Dregs’ crow and cup on his forearm and, above it, a black R on his bicep. She’d never asked him what it meant.

It was his hands that drew her attention as he shucked off his leather gloves and dipped a cloth in the washbasin. He only ever removed them in these chambers, and as far as she knew, only in front of her. Whatever affliction he might be hiding, she could see no sign of it, only slender lockpick’s fingers, and a shiny rope of scar tissue from some long ago street fight.

“A few weeks, maybe a month,” he said as he ran the wet cloth under his arms and the hard planes of his chest, water trickling down his torso.

For Saints’ sake, Inej thought as her cheeks heated. She’d lost most of her modesty during her time with the Menagerie, but really, there were limits. What would Kaz say if she suddenly stripped down and started washing herself in front of him? He’d probably tell me not to drip on the desk, she thought with a scowl.

“A month?” she said. “Are you sure you should be leaving with the Black Tips so riled up?”

“This is the right gamble. Speaking of which, round up Jesper and Muzzen. I want them here by dawn. And I’ll need Wylan waiting at the Crow Club tomorrow night.”

“Wylan? If this is for a big job—”

“Just do it.”

Inej crossed her arms. One minute he made her blush and the next he made her want to commit murder. “Are you going to explain any of this?”

“When we all meet.” He shrugged on a fresh shirt, then hesitated as he fastened the collar. “This isn’t an assignment, Inej. It’s a job for you to take or leave as you see fit.”

An alarm bell rang inside her. She endangered herself every day on the streets of the Barrel. She’d murdered for the Dregs, stolen, brought down bad men and good, and Kaz had never hinted that any of the assignments were less than a command to be obeyed. This was the price she’d agreed to when Per Haskell had purchased her contract and liberated her from the Menagerie. So what was different about this job?