Home > The Dragon Finds Forever (Nocturne Falls #7)(5)

The Dragon Finds Forever (Nocturne Falls #7)(5)
Author: Kristen Painter

He put the rolling suitcase on the bottom step and hobbled to the side. “Not yet. Soon. Maybe we work on that.” If he had to do this therapy, he should at least get something out of it.

“What? Oh, yes. Definitely.” She smiled quickly.

“Good. Get settled, and then we start.”

“Right now? Today?”

“Is there reason to wait?” He wanted this over as soon as possible.

“No, I suppose not.” Her smile thinned a little. “I just thought we could start fresh tomorrow. Bright and early and all that.”

He realized she might be tired from traveling. Not everyone had the constitution of a mythological being. “Tomorrow morning is fine.”

“You’re sure?”

His leg was aching anyway. “Tomorrow.”

“Okay. Thank you.” She hesitated. “I realize you weren’t expecting me, so I’m happy to pay for takeout for dinner.”

He almost laughed. “No takeout. I’m making steaks. There is enough.”

“You’re sure? I know I’m here because the League sent me, but it’s not really fair that you have to put me up and feed me too.” Her mouth scrunched to one side. “Although I guess the check you’re going to get will more than cover whatever costs you incur because of me.”

“Da. I mean, yes. Is no problem.” He sighed and corrected himself. “It is not a problem.”

She smiled. “Thank you. What time should I be down?”

“Whenever you like. Dinner is at seven.”

“Okay. See you then.” She went up the steps.

He stood there, admiring the view until he realized what he was doing. Then he frowned and turned toward the kitchen to get the steaks out. She was pretty. And she smelled nice. But she was a temporary distraction.

Nothing about her being here changed the fact that his perfect record had been broken. That for the first time in his entire MMA career, he’d been injured by an opponent so severely it had cost him the fight. No amount of therapy was going to erase that black mark.

Not from his record. And not from his soul.

Monalisa dropped her bag on the enormous bed and looked around as she unzipped her jacket. The room was large enough to have a sitting area, which was a massive leather chair and ottoman in front of French doors that led to a small balcony. The grouping had a plush throw and a reading lamp, making it a very cozy little spot. The bedroom also had its own fireplace. On a chilly winter day like today, she couldn’t imagine a better place to be.

The overwhelming effect was all very masculine, but considering that it was Van’s house, that was understandable. The view through the windows was incredible. The sun was starting to set, streaking the sky with orange and pink over the Georgian hills.

She draped her jacket over the bed’s footboard, then gazed at the colorful sky for a few moments before going back to unpacking. Her toiletry kit was on top. She took it into the connected bath and flipped on the light.

The space was a study in granite and wood. A real man’s bathroom with double sinks, an enormous soaking tub, and a walk-in shower that probably could have held several people.

Or one dragon shifter.

She frowned as a thought came to her. Acting on impulse, she walked to the medicine cabinet and opened it.

Shaving supplies, a couple bottles of men’s cologne, and a black leather grooming kit.

This wasn’t a guest room, this was Van’s room. He’d already admitted the stairs were a no-go.

He must be using the guest room. Which was probably on the first floor.

Okay, this was a little weird. She was going to be sleeping in his bed. And showering in his shower.

It gave her a strange sense of intimacy that she hadn’t counted on. Granted, it wasn’t like he was sharing the space with her, but still. This was his room. His sanctuary. His private space. It made her feel worse about everything she was here to do.

Which was saying something, since she already felt pretty bad.

She put her bag on the vanity and stared at herself in the mirror. She didn’t look like a fake. Or did she? She peered closer. What did he see when he looked at her? Did he buy that she was a rehab therapist?

Or did he see what she really was? A woman kept under her father’s thumb for so long that all she knew was how well her gifts could be used for nefarious purposes. A woman without any real skills. A woman who was so desperate to be free that she’d ruined Van’s life once already. And now she was here to ruin it again.

She closed her eyes and dropped her head. If Van knew who she really was, he hadn’t let on. There’d been no spark of recognition in his eyes when he’d opened the door, so he either had no idea or he was really good at hiding his reactions.

And if he did know who she was and hadn’t said anything, was he plotting some kind of retaliation? Had he let her into his house only to give himself time to plan his revenge?

She opened her eyes and stared at herself again. If so, she’d have no choice but to use her powers against him.

There’d be no happy ending for either of them. Just for her father, who would once again get what he wanted.

They were both his pawns. Both deadly, dangerous creatures unable to use their gifts to save themselves.

She snorted softly. In that way, she and Van were a perfect match. A new image filled her head. One where she and Van stood side by side in front of her father. Like a team. Like friends. Like people who cared what happened to each other.

Wait. She shook her head. That wasn’t what she’d meant about them being a match. Not in a romantic sort of sense. Not in any kind of friendly way, really.

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