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Hello, WIPpeteers and Readers. I’m sorry I’m running late today. Beloved has the day off. Yay! Just a heads-up, I don’t think I’ll be making the rounds today. Hopefully I’ll see everyone before the start of next week, though. 🙂

And now, my WIPpet. 11 paragraphs for November. This is very, very raw. I didn’t have a good chance to sit down and edit at all. This is the first of two WIPpets leading up to the highly anticipated fight scene. 😀 (I hope I don’t disappoint!)

We last left Arvid trudging off to do laundry after being rejected by her mother. She has since washed said laundry and ground more grain to fill her mother’s urns. And now…

She arrived at the stadium well before the sun to do some training. No one was there to spar with, of course. Then again, no one was there to gawk, either. She ran through the toughest obstacle course, dodging real blades and leaping across pits filled with real spears, seven or eight times before she heard voices.

As soon as the faint echoes of people walking in the halls reached her ears, she abandoned the obstacle course and ran for the trash heap exit as quickly as possible. Just short of slamming into him, she halted in front of Master. He stood between her and the door, hands clasped lightly behind his back, brows lifted. “Since the day you started training, with the single exception of the week you had ilk-poisoning, you’ve never missed your morning workout. Until yesterday. I don’t suppose you had ilk-poisoning again.”

Arvid, still sweaty and breathing hard from the exercise, dropped to her knees in salute. “I slept in, Master, and did not finish my chores until much later than usual.”

“Hmmm…”

Arvid glanced at the nearest trash bin. “The trash bin is full. I’ll empty it for you.”

Master lowered his knee to the ground. Arvid gaped at it. Master never, ever, ever knelt in front of a student. He lifted her chin, not exactly gently, but without angst. He bent his head until his eyes met hers. Arvid swallowed hard. Her heart thumped against her chest. It took every ounce of control to keep her breathing even. The voices, far too many of them, drew closer. Someone shouted her name. Hardly believing she dared to speak out of turn, she whispered, “Please, Master, let me go.”

Master’s eyes flicked to the approaching crowd. “If you leave now, they’ll know our little secret. Go wait in the steam room. I’ll get rid of them.”

Arvid nodded and sprinted to the Recovery rooms. Someone shouted, “There she is!” Dozens of feet pounded the dusty arena floor. Arvid abandoned her well-practiced sprint in favor of an all-out race of terror, running as if a bear chased her. She made it into the building. Without slowing, she grabbed the doorjamb of the steam room to swing herself inside. She slammed the door and shoved a bench in front of it.

With a sigh of relief, Arvid rested her head against the wall, eyes closed, letting her heartbeat and breathing return to normal. The hot, moist air sunk lazily into her lungs and clung to her skin. Behind her, the soft hiss of steam carried the smell of masculine sweat to her nostrils.

Arvid’s eyelids snapped open. Steam? Man sweat? She turned slowly, hoping she was wrong.

Nope. She was right.

WIPpet Wednesday is hosted by K. L. Shwengel. For novel excerpts from more authors, click on the appropriately labeled, smiley, little, blue fellow in the right-hand menu. To join, post an excerpt of your current WIP or a new WIP that somehow corresponds to the date. Then add your blog to the link-up so the rest of us will know where to find you.

Soldier gearing up for an elite training course.

Soldier gearing up for an elite training course.

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