Kinked (Elder Races, #6)(10)

Grym drew his gun and said, “Yes, my lord.”


Quentin held his side as he limped down the hall, cataloguing the damage from the fight and that monstrously powerful kick. He guessed he had three broken ribs, maybe more. Whatever the damage was, it was the size of Dragos’s boot. His left knee was wrenched badly and he couldn’t bend it. The kneecap felt wrong, like it had been dislocated.

He had also done something exceedingly rare for him. When he had landed against the wall, he had been ass over teakettle, completely out of control of his fall. Usually his fast reflexes saved him from that kind of damage, but not this time.

When he added his bruised, throbbing groin and the claw marks on his back to the list, he was actually more hurt now than he had been throughout all of the Sentinel Games, but for a Wyr of his robust health the injuries were minor. He would want to get his ribs wrapped after Dragos yelled at and maybe fired them, but he’d heal just fine.

His gaze slid sideways. Grym walked between him and Aryal, his Glock pointed casually at the floor.

Aryal walked stiffly, her expression grim and mouth tight. One side of her face had already purpled from his punch. As Quentin watched, her gaze slid sideways toward him. The narrow-eyed glance she gave him was filled with pure evil. Then she looked down at Grym’s Glock, and her expression turned unhappy.

“You’re doing a really good job,” Grym told her, his voice mild and encouraging. “I know what you want to ask, so I’ll answer right now and save you the temptation. Dragos told me to shoot you if you said a word, so yes, I would do as he ordered. He didn’t say where to shoot you though.”

Aryal threw up her hands in a silent question.

Grym told her, “I’d probably tag you on your foot.”

Her mouth turned down at the corners. She shook her head and pointed to her forearm, while Quentin scratched the back of his head and stared at them. They were discussing in all seriousness which body part Grym was going to shoot?

“Okay, not your foot,” Grym amended. “I’d tag your arm. Satisfied? And the point is that you would deserve it. You both would. He really lost it with you. You’re lucky he didn’t shatter your spines and put you in traction for a month.”

Quentin took a deep breath. Both Aryal and Grym turned to him. Aryal looked hopeful while Grym just waited. He let the breath out again silently and Aryal’s face fell.

Grym said, “If that was meant as a question—yes, Dragos has put people in traction before.”

This was the most Quentin had ever heard Grym talk before. They made their way through the outer offices into Dragos’s massive corner office.

Quentin had only been in Dragos’s office once before. His lip curled as he looked around.

Compared to the ostentatious luxury throughout the rest of the Tower, the office was almost Spartan. Mostly the room was empty floor space. There was a huge desk and chair, with two more chairs positioned in front of it, a plain mahogany table pushed against one wall, and original multimedia artwork hung on the two interior walls. The two corner walls were floor to ceiling windows, framing one of the most expensive skyline views in the world. French doors led out onto a balcony patio.

Quentin moved to put his back to the one of the interior walls, crossing his arms and leaning against it for support. He watched as Grym shut the door and Aryal limped over to ease back against Dragos’s desk.

Grym registered Quentin’s position with a quirk of his black, straight eyebrows then walked over to Aryal. He still hadn’t holstered his gun.

The harpy was scowling at the floor, her head bent. Grym flattened one hand on the desk by her hip and leaned on it, angling his head to look into Aryal’s face.

Grym said to her in gentle voice, “You make people crazy. You do realize that, don’t you?”

Aryal made a face then winced and fingered her swollen bruise.

“Your wildness is actually one of the reasons why so many people love you in spite of the headaches you cause. Why Dragos loves you, even though I know he’s never said it. Some Wyr are more tame than others, but we all recognize something of our own wildness in you. Did you know that too?”

Quentin’s gaze narrowed, frowning as he listened. Grym talked quietly, the pitch of his voice clearly intended to exclude Quentin. But the other sentinel could also have talked to her telepathically, so he intended for Quentin to witness but not participate.

Aryal looked up at Grym, questions shimmering in her eyes.

Gripped by a compulsion he couldn’t control, Quentin cheated. Don’t worry, he said to her telepathically, you’re still quite rotten and plenty of other people dislike you intensely.

Renewed fury blazed in her face. She started to push away from the desk, but Grym slammed his hand down on her shoulder and held her in place. Then he glared at Quentin suspiciously and pointed his Glock at him.

Quentin didn’t want to laugh. His ribs sent a stabbing pain right through his chest. He couldn’t believe Aryal didn’t return fire telepathically. Perhaps she didn’t trust herself once she got going. He sure as hell didn’t trust her. She was crazypants at the best of times, let alone when she got angry.

He also hated the appearance of intimacy that Grym had created, and the obvious deep affection Grym and Aryal had for each other. Not only did it speak of long years of intimacy between them, but it highlighted qualities in Aryal that Quentin didn’t want to acknowledge might exist.

Thea Harrison's Books