Their hostess, Tessa stood by the door, beautiful in pink and gold. She held out her arms and beamed at Violet, “I am so happy you came to my party, Vi! I was worried when you were away for so long. Were you surprised to hear about my engagement?”
Violet took Tessa’s hands and stood on tiptoes to kiss her delicate cheek. “I’m happy to see you, Tessa. And, I’ve brought my friend, Taranis. He’s the reason I stayed away.” She tugged Athanor forward, and watched as Tessa’s eyes widened in alarm at the sight of his dark intense figure.
Hiding his inner amusement, Athanor elaborated on her fake story, “I rescued Violet after she was abandoned by her Grand Master.”
Horrified, Tessa gasped. “Poor Violet, what an awful experience! Abandoned on a strange planet. I know you hated your obnoxious Grand Master.”
Violet smothered her laughter at Tessa’s earnest words of outrage. She whispered in her friend’s ear, “Isn’t he gorgeous!” and felt the tickle of Athanor’s mental laugh.
“Come and meet my fiancé, Phineas Wilmot. He’s a professor at the Academy.” Tessa said, beaming with pride. She led them to a sturdy man with straw colored hair and moustache.
Professor Wilmot greeted Violet with unusual enthusiasm. “I have looked forward to meeting you, Violet, since the day Tessa told me she was friends with two pawns. You are almost the last of the pawns on my list to interview.”
Carefully choosing her words, Violet said, “Professor Wilmot, are you interested in the secretive Grand Masters rather than their pawns?” She sensed Athanor’s instant alertness.
You should read Book 1 to learn how Violet met Taranis/Athanor. I'm grateful to Corrine Kilgore for the cover.