Kissed by Fire(59)

By: Kimber White

“You got it,” Finn said. He put a fifty dollar bill on the table and made his way out. As he walked through the front door, he held it open for a woman on the way in.

My eyes went instantly to her. She was tall, thin, with wavy dark hair that hung to her elbows. She said something to Finn. Probably just a polite thank you, but something about it stirred my dragon.

Get your hands off her! My dragon raged. What the hell?

Finn caught my eye and raised a skeptical brow. I managed to settle myself quickly enough. Finn shrugged me off and went out the door.

Dammit. I really did need to get some air. I didn’t seem able to move, though. I studied the girl. The clerk behind the counter gave her a smile and tossed her a canvas apron. She caught it midair and tied it around her waist. She took a rubber band from her pocket and wound that gorgeous dark hair into a bun on the top of her head.

A vision flashed through my mind. I wanted to see her hair spread beneath her as I hovered above her.

I shook my head to clear it. She went behind the counter and manned the cash register. She pasted on a bright smile. She had smooth, ivory skin and wide brown eyes. She had a no-maintenance beauty that made her stand out even though I sensed it wasn’t her intention at all.

Time stood still as I watched her. She took orders with a patient smile and ready humor. Her long fingers were a flash as she worked the computer and called things out to her coworkers behind her.

She was so focused on her work, she didn’t catch me staring. I knew that wouldn’t be true forever. I should go. My dragon itched to get out. I needed to fly. I would cloak myself over the city, but it had to be now. Staying in one place too long was dangerous. I’d seen all there was to see at the church across the street. I could come back later and watch things at night.

“Can I take that from you?”

My brown-haired beauty stood beside me. Her innocent smile heated my blood. She reached forward, grabbing the empty plate in front of me. Her pinky brushed my wrist. It was nothing. Just the slightest touch. But, my vision went white. I looked quickly away, hoping she hadn’t seen my dragon’s green flame swirling behind my eyes.

“Thank you,” I said. “I’ll get out of your hair. You probably need the table.”

“Oh, I wasn’t trying to rush you along.”

Her voice had a smoky quality to it. I wanted to hear my name on her lips. I shook my head, once again trying to clear it. She wore a little plastic name tag over her left breast. Grace. Her name was Grace. Over and over again, I said it in my head. Slowly, I rose to my feet. Her eyes went up and up, taking in my formidable height. At six foot five, I towered over her by more than a foot.

Her tongue darted out and she licked her lips. God. I had to get the hell out of here.

Smiling, I said something useless. Grace kept her smile and turned back toward the front of the restaurant.

Blood pooled in my palms. My talons came out. Coughing to clear my throat, I quickly went toward the front door. As I pushed it open, two men, nearly my size, brushed past. My dragon flared with alarm.

They were dark-haired, just like Grace. I heard a distinct growl from one of them as he got within a few inches of me.

Wolf shifters.

I bit my tongue, drawing blood. I fought to keep my dragon inside. They knew there was something different about me. Their own preternatural instincts flared. But, they would never guess what I was. There were no such things as dragons anymore as far as they’d ever been told.

I stood frozen for a moment and let the two shifters pass. They went back to whatever conversation they’d been having before their brush with me. I should have kept going too. But, one of them called to Grace. Smiling, she turned to them and waved. They took a seat a few feet away from her.

Something was different. The larger of the two shifters looked agitated. I tracked his line of sight and my dragon rumbled.

I saw his wolf eyes flash. Predatory. Wild. He was staring straight at Grace. There was no mistaking it. He was watching. He was waiting. She had no idea. And I knew in a flash of certainty that I couldn’t let her out of my sight.