Smoke and Fire(8)

By: Donna Grant

“Unless you’re caught again.”

That was exactly what he’d been thinking for weeks now. “Aye,” he replied in a low tone.

“How were you caught to begin with?”

Ryder hesitated. Kinsey might know of him, and she had already seen the Dark, but why get her involved more? Though she was already fully involved if someone—and he hated to think it was Ulrik—had sent her to Dreagan.

“I need to know,” Kinsey said. “How else can I help you? You said you have enemies. Tell me.”

“You doona need to know more than you already do.”

“Why?” she pressed.

Ryder ran a hand through his hair. “Because it’s no’ safe.”

“Am I safe if I return home?”

He met her gaze for a long stretch of silence before he grudgingly said, “Nay.”

“And I’m not safe here.” She said it flippantly and turned to the monitor.

He grabbed her chair and swung it around to face him. “I’ll die before I allow anyone to hurt you.”

Her face softened. Her unusual, beautiful violet eyes regarded him before she nodded. “That I do believe.”

“Good.” He released her and allowed her to turn the chair back to the screens.

“Tell me,” she insisted. “Those people with red eyes in Glasgow. What were they? I thought they wore contacts and colored their hair. You called them dark.”

Ryder grunted. If only that were the case. “They’re Dark Fae.”

“Excuse me?” she asked and turned her face to him.

Her eyes were wide, disbelieving. This was why he hadn’t wanted to tell her anything. It was going to be a lot for her to understand and accept. Considering how violently she’d reacted to seeing him shift, he wasn’t expecting things to go smoothly.

“Dark Fae,” Ryder said. “There are two kinds of Fae. Light and Dark. Both are so beautiful that it’s almost like they’re no’ real, and both have magic.”

Kinsey nodded solemnly. “All right.”

“The Light have silver eyes and coal black hair. The Dark are the ones with red eyes and black and silver hair. Their eyes turn red the first time they do evil. The more silver in their hair, the more evil they’ve done.”

“Oh. Okay,” she said. “Why were the Dark killing humans?”

“They feed off your souls while having sex with you.”

She rolled her eyes. “Like I’m going to let that happen now that I know.”

“First, the Fae can use glamour to disguise themselves. Second, you willna be able to resist them. They’re a drug to humans. I’ve seen women strip in the middle of the street to allow a group of them to have her.”

“One came after me. I remember that.”

Ryder did as well. He relived it in his dreams every time he closed his eyes. It was one reason he didn’t sleep often. “I wasna going to allow that to happen.”

“So you showed yourself to me.”

“Aye.” And what had he gotten for those efforts? Kinsey running screaming in terror from him. But at least she hadn’t been attacked by a Dark.

In Ryder’s opinion, that was more than a good trade.

“Why are you and the Fae fighting?”

He rocked back in his chair and laced his hands behind his head. “Once, a verra long time ago, there were the Fae Wars. It was us against the Fae—both Light and Dark. Eventually, the Light helped us defeat the Dark. The Dark are our enemy, but the Light have aided us. You’ve already seen one Light Fae today.”

“Who?” she asked with her head cocked.

“Shara. She and Kiril were the first to come running from around the side of the manor. The second couple was Rhys and Lily, and the third was Warrick and Darcy.”

She scrunched up her nose. “You know I’ll never remember their names.”

“I know,” he said with a grin.

She shook her head, but there was a ghost of a smile on her lips. “Shara was beautiful. Then again so were Lily and Darcy.”

“Shara is the only Fae mated to a Dragon King. The other women you see are mortals.”

“Excuse me?” Kinsey interrupted him with wide eyes. “Did you just say ‘Dragon King’?”

That was one thing Ryder planned to ease into. He could talk forever about their enemies. It was his hope that he could keep her occupied with those stories and not get into who he was. But he slipped up.

Kinsey always did that to him.

He was so at ease with her that he forgot to be cautious and consider his words. It had been that way from the moment they first spoke to the other.

“I did,” he confessed.

She raised both brows as she held out her hands. “And you’re just going to leave it there? I don’t think so. Spill.”

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