Smoke and Fire(3)By: Donna Grant
“You know her?” Tristan asked in surprise.
“Aye.” It was something Ryder had kept from all those at Dreagan—especially Con. “Bring her to me.”
Tristan agreed and severed the link.
Ryder sat back and blew out a breath, feeling a flutter of nerves. He laced his fingers behind his head and only realized then that Dmitri was still in the room. He slid his gaze to Dmitri.
“What are you up to?” Dmitri asked. “You know that lass. I could see it on your face. If you have Tristan bring her up here, you’ll feel Con’s wrath.”
Ryder dropped his hands to the arms of his chair. “That occurs all the time, and I do know Kinsey. I’m no’ yet sure why she’s here. But I aim to find out.”
“Meaning?” Dmitri urged.
“We were lovers three years ago. Until I realized that I’d fallen in love with her. I didna want anyone to know that our spell preventing us from feeling deeply for humans no longer worked with me.”
Dmitri leaned forward, his brow furrowed deeply. “That was around the time Hal fell in love with Cassie.”
“Cassie arrived at Dreagan right after I returned from Glasgow.”
“All right,” Dmitri said as he rubbed his jaw. “So you fell in love before Hal. No’ a big deal.”
Ryder lifted one shoulder in a shrug. “I suppose no’. No’ compared to her seeing me in dragon form a few weeks ago when I was in Glasgow to protect the city from the Dark invasion.”
Anger crackled through him every time he thought about how close Kinsey came to dying that night. If Ryder hadn’t been there, she would’ve been taken by the Dark, her soul drained. “There was a Dark after her. I shifted into human form to help her. Unfortunately, she saw it all.”
“And?” Dmitri pressed with a brown brow raised.
Ryder looked at the screens, following Kinsey from one to the other as Tristan walked her to the manor. “I’ve never seen anyone so terrified before.”
“Of the Dark?”
Ryder wished. That night still haunted him. No matter how many times he thought over what happened, there hadn’t been another way to save her. “Of me. I can still hear her scream before she ran away.”
“So she doesna know you’re here?”
“I doona believe so. She’d rather walk through the fires of Hell than be anywhere near me.”
Dmitri sat there for a moment before he gave a slow shake of his head. “You’re having Tristan bring her to you, are you no’?”
“That … could be a bad move.”
“It probably is.” In more ways than one.
But he wasn’t going to pass up the chance to talk to Kinsey one more time. Perhaps he could explain everything. It was a long shot, but he was hoping to have that chance. He knew he’d never have her in his life as he wanted, but the thought of her fearing him cut him deeply.
His only hope was that Con didn’t discover she was here until after Ryder had spoken with her. Because once Con found out about Kinsey, it wouldn’t be long before Con learned she’d seen Ryder shift. That would lead to Con wanting to have Guy wipe her memories.
Ryder’s thoughts halted when he heard Kinsey’s voice with Tristan’s as they approached. He wiped his mouth to make sure there was no more powder on it. Then he looked to Dmitri for confirmation that he had gotten it all.
Panic struck as he looked down at his clothes. He was in an old Def Leppard concert tee and his favorite pair of faded jeans. Not exactly how he’d have dressed had he known he might see Kinsey. But there wasn’t time to change now.
“Here it is,” Tristan said as he came to the doorway.
A second later Kinsey emerged. “Wow,” she said as she looked at all the monitors. “I should’ve expected to see so many screens. I gather the security system here is state of the art?”
Then her gaze landed on Ryder.
He couldn’t move as he stared into her violet eyes, remembering what it was like to hold her in his arms each night, to feel her lush body beneath his. The hours of conversations they’d had about the future and her dreams.
He’d missed her more than he thought was possible. It physically hurt for him to be so close to her and not go to her.
“What are you doing here?” she asked in a voice filled with shock—and worse—alarm.
Kinsey felt as if she’d been run over by a train. Her heart began to knock against her ribs. There was a rushing in her ears, and she was sure her knees were going to buckle at any second.
How was it even possible that she was staring into Ryder’s hazel eyes, that were a beautiful mixture of green and gold? His blond hair was cropped short on the sides with a little more length on the top. It didn’t matter if his hair was long as it used to be or short, he still took her breath away.