Smoke and Fire(7)

By: Donna Grant

“Because I frighten you,” he said with a nod. “I understand, but you also need to realize that what you’ve seen is no’ something we want repeated.”

“Who would I tell?”

“Anyone. We’ve lived in secret for thousands of years. It needs to remain that way.”

She wrapped her blazer tighter around herself to ward off the cold. Kinsey looked out at the sleet that was turning into snow. “You still think I wrote that work order to get myself here.”

“Nay, I doona.” The shock on her face had been too real. “I contemplated it for a wee bit, but I realized it wasna you.”

“Damn right it wasn’t me,” she said with a lift of her chin.

Ryder fought back a smile. He’d always loved her fire, her spirit.

Her lips pursed briefly. “The question then is who sent me?”

“That’s what I need to determine. We’ve a lot of enemies.”

She turned to face him then, her arms crossed over her chest as her nose was beginning to turn red. “Someone knew about us.”

“That’s what I’ve concluded. Why else would they send you?”

“I don’t like this,” she muttered.

Neither did he. If she was innocent, Kinsey was a pawn in this vicious war. “I could use your help finding out who it is.”

Kinsey gave a quick bark of laughter. “No, you don’t. You’re the best I’ve ever seen with computers.”

“I’d like your help then,” he tried again. “The Kinsey I knew wouldna have passed up a chance to clear her own name.”

She looked away and remained silent for several long minutes. “Look, I don’t think it’s—”

The sound of Shara’s laughter as Kiril chased her through the snow from around the side of the manor interrupted Kinsey. Shara was quickly caught in Kiril’s arms, where they shared a passionate kiss.

Before the kiss could get heated, Rhys came around the house. Kiril released Shara right before Rhys tackled Kiril to the ground while Lily came to stand by Shara as they laughed.

“War!” Kiril shouted. “Some help.”

Warrick and Darcy walked arm in arm from around the manor. Warrick shook his head with a smile. “I’d rather stay right where I am. Dry.”

“Scared of me, huh?” Rhys said as he and Kiril tried to get the upper hand on each other in the snow.

Lily clapped her hands together and smiled at Rhys. “Come on, honey. Kick some ass!”

“Kiril, you can take him,” Shara cheered.

Ryder studied Kinsey as she watched the group. He was glad she’d been interrupted, because she had been about to leave. And that was something he couldn’t allow. He wanted her to think staying was her idea. Forcing her would only hurt his cause, not help it.

“You were saying?” Ryder prompted after a moment.

Kinsey cleared her throat and turned back to him. “I was saying that I don’t think it’s wise for you to look for these people on your own. They put me in the middle of it. I want to find out who it was.”

Ryder let her lie because it benefited him. He opened the door for her to return inside, sending a wave to the others as he followed her.

They managed to make it up to the third floor and back into the computer room without anyone seeing them. Dmitri was gone, but that’s how Ryder wanted it. Though he wasn’t sure how he would be able to remain near Kinsey and not pull her against him for a kiss.

Her kisses were breathtaking. Just as she was. He could kiss her for hours, and sometimes they’d done just that. The woman could seriously kiss.

“You can take this seat,” Ryder said, indicating the chair Dmitri had abandoned.

Kinsey set her bags against the wall and pulled the chair up to the metal table. Her gaze looked over the monitors. Ryder took a few minutes to point out the location of the cameras and the layout of Dreagan.

“It’s bigger than I imagined,” she said.

“Dreagan consists of sixty thousand acres. Up until a few weeks ago there was a no-fly zone over the entire estate.”

“Until the video was released,” she guessed.

Ryder sighed and sat back in his chair. “Everything changed then. MI5 patrols our land for the moment,” he said, pointing to several cameras that showed the agents.

“They’re looking for dragons.”

Ryder shrugged and tapped the table near Kinsey so that a keyboard appeared. He did the same in front of himself. “Hopefully they’ll be gone soon.”

“The video showed the dragon changing into a human. Didn’t they see that?”

“They did,” Ryder said. “They’ve asked us repeatedly to change into a dragon. We laugh and go about our business. They can no’ prove anything.”

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