From Book Four. Enjoy!
“Jessa!” A woman’s voice carried over the sand and water, hard and urgent. Aydan noted the glint of something shiny and mean-looking in the woman’s hand and tensed, preparing to bolt away if she must. “Get away from her!”
“She’s not going to hurt me, Mama,” Jessa answered, but she stood up and stepped away obediently. “She’s been hurt and needs help. Look.” She held out the rope for her mother to see. “Her hands were tied with this. She said a bad woman hurt her.”
The woman yanked the rope out of the girl’s hand and pushed her behind her, shielding both her daughters with her body. She was tall, her dirty blonde hair pulled into a knot at the base of her neck. Her face was pretty—soft eyes, and a mouth that Aydan supposed would be lovely when she wasn’t grimacing. Like her girls, she was dressed in summer linens, but an apron covered her dress.
“Who are you?” she demanded. “And where did you come from?”
Aydan swallowed hard, trying to decide how to answer those questions. She settled on a lie and hoped like hell the woman couldn’t feel emotions. “My name is Emily,” she answered. “Emily Fulbert.”