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Ushara bit her lip. "Should I go?"

"I'd love to toss this at you, but I better do it since I'm her blood basha. Be right back."

He used his extrasensory powers to find Thia inside the ladies' room. Her sobs would have been evident even without his heightened Andarion hearing.

shit. It figured she'd find the one place he couldn't follow.

Clearing his throat, he knocked on the door. "Thia?"



The sobs lowered, but remained constant.

Jullien sighed in irritation. "If anyone other than my niece is in there, speak up, 'cause I'm coming in!"

He paused for an answer, then reached for the controls. Before he could open it, Thia did.

Her eyes glistened as her lips quivered. d.a.m.n, he'd never been able to stand seeing a female cry. Cupping her cheek, he gently wiped her tears away. "You miss your paka?"

With a ragged breath, she shook her head. "Sorry, Basha. I just ... I wasn't expecting them to be so nice and welcoming."

He laughed at her words. "Yeah, the one thing about the Altaans ... anything worth doing is worth overdoing. You want me to scatter them?"

Sniffing, she licked her lips before she spoke again. "Can I ask you something? Will you be honest?"

Almost afraid of that question, he nodded. "You can ask anything. But I warn you that I'm terribly blunt. Shara gets onto me all the time for it."

"I'm good with that. My dad refuses to answer most questions. It's like interrogating a hostile war criminal. He just stares at me like an alien lifeform ... and my stepmother is so polite it's irritating. I swear she dances away from topics she doesn't like even better than she dances onstage."

"Well, no worries there. I definitely don't fall into that latter category. No one has ever called me polite."

Wiping at her eyes, she offered him a bashful smile. "I know some of the background with you and my grandmother. And Aunt Tylie and Grandpa Aros. But I wanted to know if you ever felt out of place while you lived with them?"

"Only every minute of every single day."

Sniffing, she dabbed more at her eyes. "That's why I wanted to come stay with you. You're the only one who doesn't tell me how lucky I am and how great my parents are. That I should show more gratitude toward them all. I mean, I know they love me, and they are great most of the time, but I'm tired of being treated like I'm some fragile object that they're afraid is going to crack if they say or do the wrong thing. I just want to find someplace where I belong."

"I can definitely relate to that. And I promise you, no one here will treat you like you're fragile. Tavali pull their own weight."

To his further shock, she walked herself into his arms. "Thank you for letting me come here. I hope I didn't offend them."

"Nah, trust me, precious, that wasn't offensive. They tolerate my contentious ass and I'm hard to get along with on my best days."

She laughed. "You really don't mind training me?"

"We're family, Thia. You'll always be welcomed wherever I am. And once you're Tavali, you'll never be without a home."

ALSO BY SHERRILYN KENYON.

THE DARK-HUNTERS.

Night Pleasures.

Night Embrace Dance with the Devil.

Kiss of the Night Night Play.

Seize the Night Sins of the Night.

Unleash the Night Dark Side of the Moon.

The Dream-Hunter Devil May Cry Upon the Midnight Clear.

Dream Chaser Acheron One Silent Night Dream Warrior.

Bad Moon Rising No Mercy Retribution The Guardian.

The Dark-Hunter Companion.

Time Untime.

Styxx Dark Bites Son of No One.

Dragonbane Dragonmark.

THE LEAGUE.

Born of Night.

Born of Fire Born of Ice Born of Fury.

Born of Defiance Born of Betrayal Born of Legend.

CHRONICLES OF NICK.

Infinity.

Invincible.

Infamous Inferno Illusion.

Instinct Invision.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR.

New York Times bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon is a regular in the #1 spot. This extraordinary bestseller continues to top every genre in which she writes, including manga and graphic novels. More than 70 million copies of her books are in print in more than one hundred countries. Her current series include The Dark-Hunters, The League, Deadman's Cross, Chronicles of Nick, h.e.l.lchasers, Mikro Chasers, and The Lords of Avalon. Her Chronicles of Nick and Dark-Hunters series are soon to be major motion pictures. You can sign up for email updates here.

end.





CHAPTER DISCUSSION