Key of Light Page 55

He was soaking wet. His hair was drenched, his skin beaded with water. Like a man who’d been out in a storm, he thought, and lowered himself to the seat of the toilet as his legs gave way.

Not just a nightmare. He’d been inside Warrior’s Peak. He’d been out on the parapet. And he hadn’t been alone.

This was more than a quest for magic keys. More than a puzzle to be solved with the promise of a pot of gold at the end.

There was something else here. Something powerful. Dark and powerful.

He was going to find out what the hell was going on before any of them got in any deeper.

He stepped into the shower and let the hot water beat on him until it penetrated the chill in his bones. Then, calmer, he downed some aspirin, pulled his sweatpants on.

He would go down and make coffee, then he’d be able to think. Once his head was clear, he would roust both of his friends and get their take.

Maybe it was time for the three of them to go up to Warrior’s Peak and get the truth out of Rowena and Pitte.

He was halfway down when the bell rang, and Moe raced out barking like the hounds of hell on speed.

“Okay, okay. Shut up.” Johnnie Walker hadn’t given Flynn a hangover, but the nightmare had stepped up to the plate and knocked one home. He grabbed Moe by the collar, yanked back as he pulled the door open with his other hand.

She looked like a sunbeam. It was his only clear thought as he stared at Malory. Dressed in a pretty blue suit that showed off her legs, she smiled at him. Then stepped forward, wrapped her arms around him.

“Good morning,” she said, and by pressing her lips to his drained even that single thought out of his mind.

His fingers went limp on Moe’s collar, then fell away from it to lift up, dive into her hair. The aches and dread he’d awakened with fell away as well.

In that one moment he felt as if nothing would ever be beyond his reach again.

Moe gave up trying to shoehorn himself between them, and settled on leaping and barking for attention.

“Christ Jesus, Hennessy, can’t you get your dog to . . .” At the top of the stairs, Jordan trailed off. Below him stood his friend and the woman, bathed in morning sunlight. And drowning in each other.

The fact was, even when Flynn eased back from the embrace and glanced up, he had the look of a man going under for the third time. Blissfully.

“Morning. Sorry to interrupt. You must be Malory.”

“Yes, I must be.” Her brain was a bit muddled from the kiss, but she was pretty sure she was staring up at a great-looking guy wearing nothing but black boxer shorts. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize Flynn had company . . . oh.” Her brain cleared. “You’re Jordan Hawke. I’m a big fan.”


“Hold it.” Flynn held up a hand as Jordan started down. “Maybe you could go put some pants on.”


“Come on back. I need to let Moe out.” Giving her hand a tug, Flynn managed to dislodge her from the spot she’d frozen in to stare at Jordan. But she dug in again at the living room entrance.

Brad was facedown on the couch, with one arm and one leg drooping off. He was dressed like Jordan, though his boxers were white.

It was interesting to note, Malory thought, that the scion of the Vane empire had an excellent butt.

“Slumber party?” she ventured.

“Guys don’t have slumber parties. We just hang out. Moe!” Flynn called the dog, who’d wandered in to lick the portion of Brad’s face that wasn’t smashed into the cushions. “Brad’s always been able to sleep through anything.”

“So it would seem. It’s nice to have your friends back in town.”

“Yeah.” He pulled her back to the kitchen. Moe beat them to it, and stood dancing at the back door as if he’d been waiting for hours. He streaked out the instant Flynn opened it.

“Why don’t I make some coffee?” Malory offered.

“Yeah? You’ll make it?”

“Just part of the service.” Since the coffee can was already on the counter, she measured enough for a full pot. “If you marry me, I’d make the coffee every morning. Of course, I’d expect you to take out the trash every day.” She tossed a grin over her shoulder. “I believe in sharing household chores.”


“And there’s the unlimited access to sex.”

“That’s a big plus.”

She laughed as she measured the water. “I like making you nervous. I don’t think I’ve ever made a man nervous before. Then again . . .” She switched the pot on, turned around. “I’ve never been in love with one before. Not like this.”


“I’m a very determined woman, Flynn.”

“Oh, yeah, that’s coming through loud and clear.” He stepped back even as she moved in on him. “I just think we should . . .”

“What?” She trailed her hands up his chest.

“See? I can’t remember once you start looking at me.”

“I take that as a good sign.” She touched her lips lightly to his.

“I’m already making a habit of this,” Jordan said as he came in. “Sorry.”

“It’s all right.” Malory brushed her hair back as she turned away to find clean coffee mugs. “I just stopped in to ask Flynn to marry me. It’s nice to meet another of his friends. Are you in town for long?”

“Depends. What did he say when you asked him?”

“Oh, he has trouble making complete sentences when I bring up love and marriage. Odd, isn’t it, seeing as he’s a journalist.”

“You know, I’m standing right here,” Flynn pointed out.

“Is that coffee?” Brad stumbled in, blinked when he spotted Malory, then stumbled back out again. “Sorry.”

Amused, she wiped out the mugs. “This house is full of attractive men, and I’ve seen all of them without their clothes on. My life has certainly changed. How do you take your coffee, Jordan?”

“Black’s fine.” He leaned a hip on the counter while she poured. “Flynn said you were smart, funny, and sexy. He was right.”

“Thanks. I’ve got to run. I’ve got an appointment to sign papers.”

“For what?” Flynn asked.

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