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“No, Briar.” Sandry gently tugged the spindle away from him. “You need to keep some tension, or the yarn will pull apart.”

“Yeah, I see that,” Briar said, gritting his teeth. “How did you and Lark make this look so easy?”

Sandry’s giggle sounded a bit like a snort. She set the spindle down and patted Briar on the shoulder. “Believe me, I was just as bad when I started.”

“I remember!” Briar grinned at Sandry, flashing white teeth in his tan face. “Didn’t Lark promise to teach me back when we were kids? Can you imagine how bad I would’ve been?”

Sandry gave him a look. “My recollection is that you did try to learn … it must have been such a disaster you blocked it out!”

He pushed her jokingly and she fell sideways onto Daja’s homespun rug. Briar burst into laughter at her surprise.

“Oh, that’s how it’s going to be?” Sandry said.

“Should I be scared?”

Sandry’s wicked smile was the answer, as she kicked away the spindle and tackled Briar in one motion. He made a muffled “oof” as she pinned down his arms and the velvet of her trailing sleeve caught in his mouth.

Briar could have thrown her off, but he didn’t want to hurt her. And there was a gleam in her eyes, strange and unfamiliar but not, Briar decided, a bad sort of gleam. He stared back up at her and raised an eyebrow.

“You’ve always got to make things into a challenge,” Sandry said.

“That’s why you love me.” There was very little space between them.

“You know,” she said thoughtfully, “maybe it is why.” She kissed his cheek and stood up. “We’ll work more on the spinning tomorrow.”