Feel the Burn Page 37

The days of war with the Irons was over, so what did he care if that one-eyed prick came to—

“He’s with Annwyl. In the war room. Alone.”

Again, Fearghus shrugged. So the prick lost his head to Annwyl’s blade. He wouldn’t be the first nor the—

“She remembered his name.”

Fearghus blinked, surprised by that. “What?”

His brother shrugged, trying to appear innocent. “She remembered his name. And . . . what did you say, little one?” he asked his daughter. But she’d disappeared. While the twins continued to fight, the rest of them glanced around, trying to find the child.

Then, smoke swirled around Gwenvael and his daughter was back on his shoulders.

He squinted up at her. “I thought I told you only to do that when we’re alone.”

“Sorry, Daddy. I forgot.”

Fearghus glanced at Briec. The brothers had noticed the growing powers of Gwenvael’s Five, and they didn’t know what to say about it. It wasn’t like either of them could judge. Not after Fearghus’s twins had shown a willingness to kill from a few days after their birth and Briec’s sweet Rhi had been able to throw grown adults out of a room with a mere wave of her hand.

But what was missing from Gwenvael’s Five was something that had meant so much to Fearghus when his twins were growing up. The balance that Rhi provided them. The three together were powerful, but their energies combined kept them from being something he would eventually have to destroy.

The Five . . . they didn’t balance each other out. Instead, they seemed to work as one, and that created a power that concerned both Fearghus and Briec. Two dragons who rarely agreed on much of anything.

“Auntie Annwyl took the Rebel King gently by the hand and led him down the hall to her private chambers . . . while knowing his name,” Gwenvael’s daughter said.

Talwyn abruptly pulled away from her brother and glared down at Gwenvael as Rhi “tsk-tsk’d.”

“I don’t know why you’re looking at me like that. Her mother taught her to be so observant.”

“But Auntie Dagmar uses her knowledge for the right reasons,” Talwyn argued. “Not just to fuck with family members.”

“Oooooh,” the little girl chastised. “I’m telling Mummy you said a bad word.”

Talwyn took a step forward, tossing her hair off her face with a rough shake of her head.

“Do you know who I am?” Talwyn asked the child.

“Yes,” the little girl replied. “You’re the one my sister Arlais is going to kill one day so she can take your throne.”

Rhi and Talan exploded into laughter, but they also quickly turned away from Talwyn’s withering glare.

Talwyn swung back toward her young cousin, her roar shaking the castle walls.

The little girl squealed at whatever she saw in her cousin’s face or heard in that terrifying roar and disappeared in a flash of smoke.

Grinning, Gwenvael leaned forward and kissed Talwyn on the forehead. “Welcome home, little niece.”

Gaius stood beside the queen, both gazing down at one of the world maps she had spread across the thick wood table, in deep discussion about who might or might not be aligning themselves—and their armies—with Duke Salebiri.

He was just leaning over, pointing out a little-known kingdom behind Salebiri’s territory, when the door was thrown open.

Annwyl’s hand was on her sword before Gaius could blink—he hadn’t realized exactly how fast she was, especially for a human—but she quickly relaxed when she saw her mate standing there.

“Oh. Fearghus,” she said, before refocusing her attention on the map.

The black dragon’s dark eyes locked on Gaius, and that’s when Gaius noticed Fearghus’s two idiot brothers standing behind him.

Instigators.

True, it had only been Gaius and his sister when he was growing up, and they’d worked with each other, not against. But he’d had enough cousins who’d wanted him dead or, at the very least, truly annoyed, to immediately know what was going on here.

He could have been the bigger dragon. His sister would expect that of him. She was very big on etiquette, his Aggie, which explained why she was so annoyed by Annwyl and her queendom. Annwyl the Bloody had absolutely no etiquette outside the battlefield. She’d be the first to rattle off the rules of war. No killing of the innocent. No rape. No unnecessary destruction. How she had gone on and on before their first and only battle against his Uncle Thracius. But etiquette here? In her home? That was more limited and, to Gaius’s secret delight, much more flexible.

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