“What are we supposed to do with her?”
The rumbling voice broke into her subconscious, pulling her out of the darkness. She blinked several times in an effort to clear her head. “Wh-who are you?” Her head throbbed, and she rubbed the knot at the base of her skull. “Where am I?” Worse, why couldn’t she remember what had happened to her?
“What is your name?” Another voice, an octave lower than the first one, asked before its owner leaned over her.
Her mouth fell open slightly. She didn’t recognize the man, and she wondered why he wore such startling blue robes. “I-I don’t know.” Her heart rapped against her breastbone. Why couldn’t she remember her name?
The man squatting next to her must have read the panic in her eyes for his voice softened even more. “You were hurt, but we do not know how. We are guessing it was a witch. The Coven of Matrid has been active. Do you know if you were hit by one of them?”
Coven? Witch? The panic intensified, and she tried to push herself up off a bed of scattered leaves, but her arms refused to cooperate. “I-who are you?”
“We should leave her. Now that she is awake, her kin will be able to sense her. They will take her home.” The first man didn’t sound anywhere near as pleasant as the second man.
“I will not leave her here to fend for herself when she doesn’t even know who she is, what she is. Suppose her attacker should return? She would be unable to fight.” The accented voice bore disapproval as warm hands slid beneath her legs and lifted her.
“What are you thinking? We cannot bring another wizard into the guild without approval.”
“You worry too much, Brother.”
Was she a wizard? How was that possible? Wizards were imaginary, weren’t they? Besides that, she didn’t feel at all magical. Wouldn’t she know if she could wave a wand and make things happen?
She scrunched her eyes shut and tried to think. Charlie. The name resounded in her head, and her eyes popped open. “I think my name is Charlie.” A breath of relief accompanied the announcement. At least she could remember something. That made her feel a little better.
Her savior tipped his head to one side. “You do not look like a Charlie, but it shall be your name for now.”
Her head lolled back against the man’s massive chest. Her heart beat a strange rhythm, and her head spun a little. What was happening? Could she be dying? If she really was a wizard, could she die? Why couldn’t she remember anything? The questions made her head hurt.
The air contorted around them, and she squeaked, clutching her hands in the silken robe. The trees and blue sky gave way to a luxurious bedchamber filled with flickering candles, gossamer silks draped over the windows, and a bed any sultan would have envied.
“Who are you?” Charlie whispered, her gaze now managing to focus on the man’s face. The cyclonic journey to the bedchamber had taken its toll, and she closed her eyes, trying to keep the nausea in abeyance. When she opened them, the man was watching her.
“I am Jensen. My brother and I found you unconscious in the woods.” He lowered her atop the quilting, plumping the pillows with a punch of his fist.
Charlie struggled to sit up, fighting the panic building within the walls of her chest. Strong hands pushed her against soft bedding. The mattress she lay on dipped beneath Jensen’s body as he sat beside her.
“Do not try to move yet. You are safe. We need to examine your injuries to determine if you require healing.” He sat down on the edge of the mattress, his strong hands running up her sides in a familiar fashion.
She batted his hand away. “What are you doing? Don’t touch me like that.”
“She sounds most ungrateful,” came an irate voice from the corner of the room.
“She doesn’t know what she is, Remy.” Jensen barked at the man over his shoulder.
“What I am? I’m a woman, clearly, but Remy is right. You’re only trying to help me. I shouldn’t be so cross.” Though the world spun a little crazily, Charlie managed to sound steady. “I should be thanking you. You likely saved my life.”
“Do you know why you were out in the woods alone?” He brushed the hair away from her cheek, and heat rushed to her face. “’Tis dangerous out where the witches hide.”