As part of the blog tour for this fantastic book, I am thrilled to share an exclusive extract!! I have already posted my review so check that out too!
Sedge surfaced, shaking the water out of his whiskers, and scrambled up on to the bank. There was a thick mat of flattened reeds he remembered here, hidden, but warm in the sunshine. He peered cautiously around the tall stems, and then leaped on to the reed couch, rolling luxuriously to squeeze the water out of his fur. Then he curled up in the sun, and started to lick his coat back into shape.
The river was high again. Too high. He could hear the soft lapping of the water close up against his nest, and in late spring, the reed mat should be high and dry. He had spent weeks learning the river levels by rote, and they had stuck.
He was probably missing another lesson right now. Sedge chuckled softly to himself. Teasel would be searching for him. He should be learning his eddies and currents, or migration patterns, or star reading. Instead he was sunning himself on a pile of reeds, and no one knew where he was.
Teasel might haul him before his mother when he eventually sneaked back, but he didn’t care. Or just now he didn’t. Sedge rolled over, turning his pale underside to the warm sun, and closed his eyes, letting the heat seep through his fur and banish the chill of the water. Greenriver flowed snow-laden from the mountains, and the waters were shaded by trees for much of their course. Even this late in spring, the river was cold. His breath whistled, and his paws sagged gently on to his front.
A fly whined close by Sedge’s nose, and he flipped a paw at it sleepily, trying to get back to his gentle doze. But it was no good – he was awake again, and the guilt was nibbling at him, chasing away the sunlit sleepiness. He twisted upright with a wheezy little groan, and sloped reluctantly back through the reeds to the edge of the river, sliding down the muddy bank. Sedge slipped into the cold green water with hardly a splash. On the surface, a few bright bubbles popped, and then the young otter was gone.
He surfaced a little way up the river, only his eyes and nose showing. He wasn’t far from the holt, and he didn’t want to be seen, not yet. If he could sneak back inside without being spotted, he could claim that he had been helping out in the storerooms all the time, or visiting the elderly otters gossiping and dozing on the sandbank.
He wouldn’t want to lie, exactly. But he could let Teasel think he’d been at his heir’s duties, couldn’t he? No one needed to know that he’d slipped away. All he wanted was a little time to himself, without the watching eyes and the whispers, and the sense that everyone, everywhere, was measuring him up and finding him wanting…