The new maid made me so uneasy that I sent both away whenever I could. Where I had appreciated the. steady comfort of the quiet maid’s presence and enjoyed the conversations with the talkative one, this new maid seemed to be constantly watching me, even while I dozed.
“Don’t you need help babysitting?” the strange maid asked as I ushered them both to the door. I would have like the quiet one to stay, but couldn’t think of a reason that would only excuse one and not the
I’m perfectly capable,” I said and said goodbye at the door.
I was just about to close it when a voice called out. “Piper!”
I knew that voice. Julian.
Maybe I could pretend I hadn’t heard him?
I started to close the door again, but he caught it. He wedged his way into the partially opened door and
smirked at me like he knew exactly what I was doing.
“That’s not very nice, Piper.”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
His smile only grew. “May I come in? We have a lot to talk about.”
I wasn’t sure we had all that much to talk about, actually, but I couldn’t tell him that since he was a
prince. “Fine.” I pulled back the door all the way, letting him inside. I left it open behind us.
Elva was under her blanket fort, coloring with crayons.
“What did you want to talk about?” I asked.
I blanked. He had to be joking, but it was so hard to tell with him. His grin didn’t waver one way or the
other. He always just said things and then watched me react.
What about me?
He shrugged and walked to where we’d organized the sewing machines. He glanced through some of the fabric swatches He stopped on one, part of which I had used to make Nicholas’s wrist guard.
really hoped he didn’t make the connection
He peered at it a moment, then moved on. Again, his smile hadn’t shifted. He was insufferably good at
“To boost public support, the royal family has recently been investigating the underground trade of
wolves and their gifts,” he said. “I’m part of this investigation.”
The blood drained from my face. My throat suddenly dry, I had trouble swallowing.
“What does that have to do with me?” I asked, my voice small
He picked up another swatch of fabric, this time satin, and ran in through his fingers.
“Nicholas claims that you left the Academy on your own accord, but we both know that’s not true.”
“1… don’t know what you mean…”
Julian continued like I hadn’t said anything. “You were involved with the underground trade, and left the
Academy out of guilt for what you’d done.”
He wasn’t asking any questions. He already knew. I didn’t know how, but he knew.
“The information I’ve gathered shows that you sold your wolf in exchange for a significant sum of
money.” He lowered the satin fabric. Turning, he looked at me. “This act carries a heavy punishment, if it’s
discovered by the royal family.”
My stomach dropped. Was my secret truly so easy for him to uncover? And if he was so sure about it,
why hadn’t I been cast out already, unless –
If it’s discovered by the royal family.
He’d said if.
I immediately stepped toward him. “You can’t tell anyone. Please. Elva needs treatment and if we are
out on the street –”
“You wouldn’t be on the street, Piper. You’d be in prison. Or worse. Elva, however…”
I fell to my knees. “Please, Julian. Don’t do this to her.”
Julian rolled his eyes. “Get up, Piper. Don’t act like this.”
He walked to me and reaching down, lifted me up onto my feet again. “I would just like to know why. Your
bren’t the type to do underhanded things. I want to know how this happened.”
I didn’t know what to do. I could lie, but… He already knew the truth about everything else, maybe he
knew this too. Maybe this was a test.