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Authors: Jodi Meadows

The Burning Hand (7 page)

BOOK: The Burning Hand

Then surely the damage was already done. No matter how I felt about it, my reputation
matter. People of the Indigo Kingdom already had so little respect for me, and one day I'd have to marry for the good of Aecor—assuming I ever got back my kingdom and the wraith didn't destroy everything first.

“I'm shocked I have any reputation left to tarnish.” I
shrugged and jerked a thumb toward the music room door. “But to protect my delicate sensibilities, will you make sure he's dressed before we go in?”

James wrinkled his nose. “You think he's naked?”

“I told him to put on his clothes, but that was this morning.”

“Great.” James knocked on the music room door and entered.

A loud
hit the wall: wood crashing. “What are you? You don't belong.” The wraith boy's voice rose an octave. “Leave!”

I threw open the music room door to find the piano bench in pieces and a gash torn in the wall paneling. James stood just a step away from the demolished bench, his chest heaving. “Wil.” He spoke between clenched teeth. “I think you should send Ferris for more guards.”

The wraith boy's posture shifted with unnatural quickness. One moment, he was huge and hunched, ready to grab the piano and hurl it at James. The next moment, he resumed his normal size and shape, and bowed his head. “My queen. Hello.”

“What's going on?” I forced the shaking out of my voice, keeping it low and dangerous.

“This”—the wraith boy bared his teeth at James—“
is not what he says he is. He's deceiving you, my queen. He's not

I moved inside the room and stood beside James. Splinters of wood caught in my day dress, scraping the floor. “James is my friend, and he's in charge of palace security. If he sees you as a threat, he will not hesitate to force you to leave.”

The wraith boy sniffed. “Only my queen commands me.”

“And I would agree with him. Behave.” I spun and exited the room, head high, but my heart thudded painfully against my ribs.

James closed the door after him, softly. “This is a problem. No one bothered him last night once he hid under your bed, but what if they had? What would he have done?”

“I don't know.” My head buzzed with adrenaline. “What do you think he meant about you? You're not who you say you are? As far as I can see, you're the only one of us who is exactly what he says.”

“I wish I knew.” Worry and confusion crossed his eyes, but he said nothing more. I wasn't his confidant after all. “Give me a moment while I have the hall cleared. Then let's get this over with.”



is the author of the Incarnate series. She lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a cat, and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut. You can visit her online at

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. Copyright © 2015 by Jodi Meadows. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the nonexclusive, nontransferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse-engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books.

EPub Edition © October 2015 ISBN 9780062377074

ISBN: 978-0-06-237707-4

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