Smoke and Fire(4)

By: Donna Grant



Was it his chiseled jaw or penetrating gaze? It could be his mouth and the wonderful things those lips could do to her. She knew there was a possibility it was his body, honed to perfection without an ounce of fat anywhere.

But he wasn’t human.

She needed to remember that.

“What are you doing here?” she demanded.

For a moment, he didn’t move as he looked at her. Then he sat back in his chair and swept his hand from one side of the room to the other. “This is my domain.”

She was damn good at her job, but Ryder exceeded her talent by miles and miles. “You asked for me specifically. Why? Because you had to talk? You could’ve just called instead of going to such lengths.”

“I didna send for you.”

There were few times in her life where Kinsey experienced full-on, please-let-the-floor-open-up-and-swallow-me embarrassment. Today, right at that moment, was the worst she’d ever suffered—to a degree that nothing would ever compare.

She wanted to shrink away and disappear, to stop looking into his hazel eyes and trying to figure out what was going on. What did Ryder mean he didn’t send for her? Someone had. She didn’t just show up on a whim.

The room began to tilt. Kinsey blinked rapidly. She wouldn’t faint. She’d never fainted in her life, and she certainly wasn’t going to do it in front of Ryder. Hadn’t she experienced her embarrassment quota for the next forty years?

Beside her, Tristan cleared his throat. “Kinsey, I think there might’ve been a wee bit of a mistake.”

“There’s not,” she said and glanced over her shoulder into Tristan’s dark gaze. “And I can prove it.”

Kinsey pulled out her mobile phone and unlocked it before she went to her e-mails. She was scrolling through looking for the assignment she’d received last night when a chair squeaked.

Her gaze snapped to the man sitting near Ryder. How hadn’t she seen him? Just like Ryder and Tristan, she could tell he was tall by the way he dwarfed the chair.

He gave a nod to her with the corners of his bright blue eyes crinkling slightly, as if he found the entire situation a tad amusing. Which didn’t put him in her favor at all.

The man was handsome, same as Tristan, but not devastatingly so like Ryder. Which was a good thing because Kinsey could barely think with Ryder near. She didn’t need two more disturbing her.

“That’s Dmitri,” Ryder said.

Dmitri’s dark head bowed again. “Hello.”

“Hello,” she responded automatically. Kinsey suddenly felt like she was being caged in despite the fact that Ryder and Dmitri were sitting. All eyes were on her, waiting to hear what she had to say.

She shifted uncomfortably as a sudden thought struck her. Ryder was a dragon. Were the others?

Her heart missed a beat as fear shot through her. What the bloody hell had she walked into?

“Kinsey?” Tristan urged.

She found herself looking at Ryder. In his hazel depths she could see that he knew where her thoughts had taken her and why she was scared, yet he said nothing. As if he were giving her time to take it all in and calm down.

Calm down. She nearly snorted aloud. Like that was going to happen.

After finding the e-mail and pulling it up, her hand trembled when she handed the mobile to Ryder over the monitors. Their fingers brushed, and she sucked in air at the sizzle that raced along her skin.

Her nipples hardened instantly. She hastily looked away, but she found both Tristan and Dmitri watching her carefully. All she could hope for was that they didn’t see how much Ryder affected her.

Hell, for that matter, she hoped Ryder didn’t know how he shook her.

She was scared of him now, but that was getting mixed in with the desire he always brought out in her. It jumbled up inside her, making her unsure of which one she felt more.

Fear. It had to be fear.

Ryder set aside her mobile on the table and tapped the black metal tabletop. Instantly, a keyboard appeared. It was integrated into the table, the keys emitting a bluish glow to highlight them.

She almost rushed around the screens to take a look at such technology, but she managed to stop herself. Those keyboards were in the works, but as far as she knew they were years from being ready for the public.

Then again, Dreagan wasn’t the public.

Kinsey managed to remain where she was, but she watched Ryder like a hawk. His fingers flew over the keys while his gaze was riveted to a screen. A few more punches of the keys, and he stopped to read.

Dmitri’s brow rose as he looked at the screen. Kinsey watched Ryder’s lips flatten. He keyed in something else in quick succession.

Whatever popped up had him frowning. He stared at the computer for a long time before his gaze slid to her. There was doubt in his eyes—and a healthy dose of anger.

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