Chapter Five

The horses were moving at a slow walk through the grass and, as they came down the incline at the edge of the meadow, Reeve pushed hers into a trot. Will followed her when she turned back onto the bridle path and, as he leaned forward against the horse’s neck to clear under the branches that curved down from the embankment next to the trail, he smelled the leather of the saddle and the reins. He could feel the horse’s muscles as it bumped beneath him.

He called ahead to Reeve. “How far to the stables?” he asked, and she turned in her saddle and pointed through the trees. He could just see the beginning edge of a building and, as they drew closer to it, he heard voices and the raucous sound of a man’s belly laugh.

Reeve had pulled farther away from him on the trail. Will could see the trail sloping sharply down ahead of her and then opening onto a flat stretch of land that was both yard and driveway in front of the stables. Her horse was picking its way down the last few feet of the incline when Reeve pulled up the reins suddenly and turned him around. The horse skidded for a second and then regained its footing. She spurred him back up the trail.

Will pulled his own horse up. “What’s wrong?” he called.

Reeve came galloping up to him. “Did you tell him we were coming here?” Her words were icy and quiet, and she drew her lips tightly together.

“Him?” he said. “Who?”

“Him.” She gestured toward a man in a large hat who was standing with a group of people a little way off from the base of the path. “Blease.”

“No, of course not. Why would I tell him?”

“Will, I won’t speak to him.

“Reeve, he’s seen us.”

“I hate him.” Reeve flicked at her face with the back of her hand. “I hate that you work for him. If I’ve stood it—if I’ve stood it at all—it’s only because…I don’t know.”

“Reeve, what?”

“The story you told me. I won’t talk to him. The boy who was killed.”

They were looking silently at each other and Will realized he had no idea at all what she would do.

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