His iceberg blue eyes studied himself in the mirror. Briefly, his gaze darted to the woman behind his right shoulder. His long platinum hair was pulled into a neat bun at the back of his head. His beard was braided with a steel ball at the end. He wore his favorite tailored suit.
“You’re sure about this look, Carina?” he questioned.
She smiled and nodded. “I’m sure. It will certainly make an impression on the Master’s new pet.”
He turned to study her carefully. “You sound a tad jealous. It doesn’t suit you.”
She folded her arms over her chest and shifted her weight. “I’m not jealous. I just don’t understand what makes her so special.”
Caulder shrugged and headed for the door. “I suppose I’ll find out soon enough. Thank you for your assistance. I appreciate it.”
She dismissed it with a wave of her hand and followed him out of his room. While he made his way to the balcony, she headed for the kitchen.
He leaned against the railing and stared out over the citadel grounds. At last, he found the petite, fiery woman sparring with Krzysrek on the patio. He watched with a touch of amusement. She was holding her own against him. On occasion, it looked like she was holding back, pulling her punches. He nodded, impressed.
At last, the two left the patio and headed inside. He assumed they were preparing for the evening meal. It was getting toward the time, so he made his way down and took the seat he hadn’t occupied in nearly a year. One by one, the others filed in.
For a dainty woman, her presence was unmistakable. Her verdant gaze traveled the room, settling on him for several moments. At last, she inclined her head to him and took her seat.
Milan entered last. He sat and let his gaze travel slowly over the table. At that, he stood and called for silence.
“Gentlemen, another soldier has completed their training and joined our ranks. I want you to welcome Petra to the Nex Addo.”
A murmur rippled through the men. After a moment, Sasha began applauding. The others took their queues from him and a loud cheer arose. It was silenced on Milan’s order.
“She and Caulder will be enforcing my will in Zagreb for the foreseeable future,” he continued. “We will be having the traditional celebration tomorrow night.”
This announcement needed no motivation. A raucous cheer and cat-calls went up. It slowly died off. Milan sat. The meal began.
He saw Sasha lean over and say something to Petra. Throughout the meal he watched them converse. He finished eating shortly after those near him. At that, he stood and made for the door.
“Caulder?” called a strong feminine voice behind him.
He stopped, in the hallway, just outside the door. Patiently, he waited and studied her as she approached. He towered over her.
As she drew close, she extended her right hand. “It’s an honor to work with you.”
A slight smile turned up the corners of his mouth. As he shook her hand, he reached out and patted her head.
“You too, little sister,” he replied, then turned and walked away.