Chapter 6

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Dannon leaned on the stone terrace of the Château, twisting the fine stem of his wine glass between his fingers. The sun had set, the last of the light retreating behind the trees that bordered the gardens. He could hear frogs singing and cicadas chirruping and the occasional whirr of a bat, snatching at moths drawn to the light from the open doors.

He liked it here, was even considering putting in an offer on the Château, as he had discovered it was for sale. Once Corin became king he would reopen the gates between their worlds, he was sure. If a war with the Light Fae didn't intervene before that. The news that had reached him about the state of Solastire, the Light Fae's Kingdom, was disturbing to say the least. The queen had been set to send him there, disguised as Light Fae to investigate, before news of Anaïs' existence had overridden that in urgency. Their people were dying. To have such a healer as a descendent of Le Guérisseur, if she possessed anything of her grandfather's powers, that was worth almost anything. If she did he would be forced to take her with him though, back to Alfheim - whether she liked it or not.

He pushed such unwelcome thoughts away. There was too much that troubled him about his own world. The imminent war and the queen only a part of it. It would be good to have a permanent place here, a place to escape Audrianne. He snorted at his own stupidity. He really wasn't so very naive. There was no place in either world where he could manage that. He thought back to the look on Anaïs' face when he had accused her of having less than pure motives. He had been prepared for anger but the hurt in her eyes had unsettled him. That hurt seemed to be burnt behind his eyelids and branded on his own heart. She was so obviously incapable of such behaviour, so open in her desire, to help, to mend, to heal and soothe that his words had appeared obscene to him the moment he had spoken them.

It had been necessary though, he had needed to see her reaction. He still needed to know just what she was capable of. But his reasoning seemed as paltry now as the first hundred times he repeated it. He had hurt and infuriated her and was still no closer to the truth.

Damned annoying woman.

But his thoughts still wandered back to how her eyes had lingering on his mouth, to the invitation he had seen there. If he'd not spoken those words he might be in her bed even now. Heat prickled over his skin as desire flared to life and he remembered that tantalising gold curl, nestled against the milky skin of her cleavage. He sighed as a warm breeze stirred the trees and cooled his overheated flesh.

Now though he would have to go back and let her torment him some more as only the old man had a chance to gain her trust now. The thought of those soft hands massaging his flesh again though ... He acknowledged that he'd been spending far too much time thinking about those soft hands, and the lush curves that had brushed against him when she had squeezed past him to fetch his drink.

He tried to return to his first impression of her. A little too short and too plump for his tastes, that usually ran to slender and willowy. Hard as he tried though, it appeared his tastes had done a complete about face. He wanted to dig his fingers into her luscious curves, to cup that succulent behind and run his tongue between the generous mounds of her breasts. She was simply as delicious and tempting as the decadent desserts she kept insisting he try and made his mouth water just as badly.

Off limits, off limits, he repeated to himself. Damn and blast.

***

Late the next morning the old man sat in the sunshine at the table outside the boulangerie, bearing a huge bouquet of yellow roses when Anaïs rushed out the door. She had a handbag slung over her shoulder and looked a little harassed. Stopping in surprise, she stared at him as he held up the flowers.

"From my idiot grandson," he said, holding the flowers out to her in his gnarled fingers. "He wanted to apologise but he said if he brought them himself you would likely do him some damage."

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