Home > The Dragon Finds Forever (Nocturne Falls #7)(10)

The Dragon Finds Forever (Nocturne Falls #7)(10)
Author: Kristen Painter

Van ate another bite, but his appetite wasn’t there. He forced himself to eat, knowing his body needed the protein to recover.

He’d known he wouldn’t be able to fight forever. But he’d expected to last longer before his abilities began to fail him. He’d always thought his speed would be the first to go.

Not being able to concentrate? To maintain focus? He hadn’t counted on that.

It made him feel…washed up. Useless.

Like quitting was his only option.

Grom whined, drawing Van’s attention away from his troubles and back to reality. “What is it, pup?”

Grom got up and whined again.

“You have to go out?”

“I’ll take him.”

Van glanced back to see Lisa standing near the breakfast bar. Her plate sat on the counter, the steak only half eaten.

She’d had her dinner there.

He was a bad host. Not that he’d asked her to come, but still, his mother would be unhappy if she knew how he’d treated this woman who probably hadn’t asked to be sent here either. “Thank you. That is very kind of you.”

She gave a quick little half smile. “No problem. Where’s his leash?”

“Closet by the door.”

“Okay, I’ll find it.” She patted her leg. “C’mon, Grom. Let’s go outside.”

Grom looked at Lisa, then looked at Van and sat down.

Van pointed toward the door. “Grom, gulyat.”

Grom got up and trotted toward the door like he’d been told.

Lisa’s brows lifted like she was impressed. “Back in a bit.”

He watched her go. She was very pretty. And kind. Which was more than he’d been since she’d arrived. He sighed. Changing his mood wasn’t an easy thing to do, but he would do his best to be nicer. After all, she was just doing her job.

He leaned back, ignoring the game. It was only a few days. He would get through this. Then he could go back to being cranky and alone.

A few minutes later, the door opened and they returned. A happy Grom came running over to Van and started sniffing around.

Lisa closed the door. “He’s a really well-behaved dog. He did his business and came right back in.”

“For that, he gets a cookie. Jar on counter.”

“Okay. The one marked cookies, I take it?”


She got the treat out. “Here, Grom. Come get your cookie.”

This time, Grom went to her without hesitation.

Van snorted. Food apparently helped erase her stranger status in Grom’s eyes.

She finished up with Grom, then walked toward the stairs. “I’m going to head up. I know it’s early, but I’m a little tired from traveling. I’ll see you in the morning. Thank you for dinner.”

He nodded. “Good night.”

“Good night.” She climbed the steps, giving him another chance to admire her form.

He liked women. Loved them. But he wasn’t sure why he’d developed this sudden fascination with Lisa. Maybe it was just because he hadn’t been this near to a woman, other than Pandora, in a long time.

If so, that was a sad commentary on his life. Had he really been alone so long that the first pretty woman who entered his domain brought his desires to life?

He turned the sound down on the television.

As a dragon, he was two things. A protector and a destroyer. It made for a hard life at times. A life many chose to live alone because it was easier.

But those of his kind who had found someone to spend their days with…they were happy. He’d seen it with his own eyes in the lives of his parents.

He’d never really contemplated such a future for himself, and yet now, hours after Lisa had shown up, he found himself doing just that.

Pandora would have a lot to say about that. Which was why he wouldn’t be telling her a word of this.

He turned the television off, grabbed his crutch, and stood up. He took his plate into the kitchen. Lisa’s was already in the dishwasher. Appetite gone, he put the other steak away, then limped back out to the living room. “Grom, bed.”

The dog followed him into the guest room and settled onto the big cushion Van had brought along from the upstairs move, turning three times before lying down.

Van brushed his teeth and got ready for bed, chucking his T-shirt into the hamper. He sat down on the edge of the bed and went through the tedious task of taking off the brace, keeping his leg straight. He shucked his sweat pants, then stared at his injured knee.

Purple bruising was visible at the edges of the bandages meant to help with the swelling. Under that wrapping, he knew exactly what the skin looked like. Two large, matched semicircles of puncture wounds, the marks of Ronan’s bite.

The scars would look the same. Not angry and red, but they’d remain. A permanent reminder of the day he’d become…less.

He turned the light off and lay down on the bed, putting one arm under his head. He gazed up at the ceiling and repeated the ritual that had robbed him of a decent night’s sleep every evening since the injury. Reliving the fight. Each move of his, each move of Ronan’s. The pull to look up. The flash of light. The intense pain.

Then a new thought crept in, one he probably would have had sooner had he not been so wrapped up in his own misery. One that probably wasn’t going to help him sleep either.

Directly above him, the very pretty Lisa was in his bed.

Monalisa had never slept in such a large bed. Well, she wasn’t sleeping now, but that was the end goal. Exhaustion pulled at her, making her feel like she was processing everything at an incredibly slow speed, but somehow it wasn’t enough to help her sleep.

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