Swamped Chapter 33 Page 17

You consider reading your father’s book. You didn’t have a lot of time to look at it back at the Marsh Fortress, what with all the running and hiding.

So when the wagon calms down a bit and you can spare your one hand, you take off your pouch and open it up, then pull the book out.

“Hang on, is that the book Rider was making all the fuss about?”

You’re taken aback. You look around and see Yvonne at your feet. She doesn’t seem to be bothered by the motion at all.

“Um, he said it was important, yes,” you say. You feel a little bit embarrassed.

“Well, don’t just pull it out like it’s any old book! You don’t want it getting lost in this mess if we hit a hard dune and you drop it, do you?”

“It’s my father’s,” you try to explain. But Yvonne’s already climbed onto the bench.

“You’ll probably have trouble putting it back with that one hand of yours. Here, I’ll hold the pouch open and you can stick it back in.”

“But I haven’t seen my father in years! This book is all I have!”

“Look, it’s real easy to lose things in the desert. Everything looks the same around here, and sometimes the wind picks up and just blows things all over the place. I was there when Rider was looking for that book, and after all the trouble it caused, I don’t want it just falling to the floor. Keep that thing in your pouch, it’s for the best.”

Reluctantly, you put it away as Yvonne helps you with the pouch.

“What’s the book about?” Starling suddenly asks. You nearly forgot she was there.

“Something about forbidden romance,” Yvonne says with a shrug. She doesn’t seem bothered by it, but you feel more than a bit embarrassed to have it worded that way.

“More specifically, between a desert prince and a commoner,” you explain quickly. “Or at least, that’s what I saw at a quick glance.”

“Huh. Never took Rider for the historical romance type,” Starling muses. “He always seemed like more of a modern romance fan to me.”

Over on the other side of the wagon, you can see Rivers chuckling to herself quietly. At least she’s not piling on, but you really don’t feel ready for this conversation.

Maybe you can change the subject.

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