Smoke and Fire(2)

By: Donna Grant

“Ulrik is behind this.”

“Or the Dark.”

“Or both,” Dmitri said.

Ryder nodded in agreement. “Someone sure wants to keep it out there for the mortals to keep seeing and discussing. I can no’ keep it off YouTube, documentaries are all over the place, and the news channels continue to talk about whether dragons are real.”

“We are.”

Ryder cut him a hard look. “No’ to the humans.”

“What about all the dragon experts out there?” Dmitri asked sarcastically.

Ryder finished off the donut before he said, “Dragon experts my arse. They doona know what they’re talking about.”

“Which is what makes things interesting. Right up until they unearthed that dragon skeleton.”

Ryder gave a shake of his head. “Doona remind me of that. I thought we’d gathered all of them. How the hell did we miss it? More importantly, how many more did we miss?”

“There were a lot of dragons killed in the war with the mortals. I’m no’ surprised we missed one. Need I remind you we didna have a lot of time, either. We went into hiding here from the mortals.”

“Aye. Just something else for the humans to have on us. It has to stop sometime.”

Dmitri folded his arms across his chest. “I’m going crazy no’ being able to take to the skies at night. First we were sentenced to only fly at night, and now no’ at all. We’re dragons, Ryder. We’re supposed to be able to fly, but with the world watching us, we can no’ even do that.”

Ryder couldn’t respond because his eyes were glued to a screen to his left. That camera was pointed to the parking lot of the distillery.

Since they were closed to tourists for the winter, the red Fiat had caught his attention for two reasons. One—because the car made him think of Kinsey. And two—because it wasn’t one of the government cars the agents of MI5 drove.

Then he could only stare in shock when the car door opened and he spotted long dark hair pulled into a high ponytail. Kinsey. Even with her back to him, he knew it was her.

His heart missed a beat. What was she doing at Dreagan? Had she pieced it together? The last time he saw her, she’d been running from him. Ryder could’ve caught her, but he’d remained behind and killed the Dark Fae ravaging Glasgow.

Since he left her three years earlier, he’d watched her from afar, making sure she was safe. Weeks ago, he was the closest he’d been in years. Now … now she was at Dreagan.

His palms began to sweat and breathing became difficult. Kinsey was at Dreagan. Ryder didn’t know whether to be excited or furious—but he was leaning to the side of thrilled.

“Ryder?” Dmitri said his name.

He held up his hand to Dmitri, not bothering to look at him. As if Ryder could. His gaze was riveted on the woman he’d been in love with for four years.

Even as he began to think of all he would say to her, there was a niggle of worry. What if she was working with Ulrik or the Dark? What if they sent her there to use him for information?

Ryder’s enthusiasm dimmed. He didn’t want to believe Kinsey would do that, but a gut feeling wasn’t enough. The world of the Dragon Kings was in chaos. There was no room for mistakes—of any kind.

Kinsey looked around the parking lot, her eyes searching.

He stared at her heart-shaped face, his heart clutching at having her so close again. How many times had he caressed her cheek or stared into her large violet eyes? How many times had he kissed those plump lips or simply held her as they watched a movie? Each time he saw her, she got more and more beautiful.

After a moment, she closed the car door and started toward the distillery. Ryder’s gaze immediately lowered to her amazing ass and the denim that only showed it off more. The black blazer was casual over the white tee, but like always, she looked amazing.

Dmitri whistled. “Who’s that?”

Ryder’s gaze moved to the next screen and saw Tristan near the gift shop. He opened the mental link between all Dragon Kings and said his name.

Tristan responded immediately. “Aye?”

“There’s a woman coming toward you. Her name is Kinsey Burns. Doona let her leave.”

“All right.”

Tristan left the link open as he smiled and greeted Kinsey after he turned the corner and saw her. Ryder could only watch the monitor and try to decipher what it was Kinsey wanted.

“She said she’s here for the job we ordered with the new monitors,” Tristan said. “What do I tell her?”

“I already installed those monitors weeks ago.” Ryder hesitated. Kinsey was terrified of seeing him in dragon form. If she knew he was here, she’d never have come. Not after the way she’d looked at him. “Kinsey wouldna come here on her own. We need to know who sent her.”

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