Home > The Billionaire Dragon's Secret Son (Howls Romance #10)(7)

The Billionaire Dragon's Secret Son (Howls Romance #10)(7)
Author: Harmony Raines


Then it withered, the memory of what this woman had stolen from him returning. She was dangerous and he could not afford to let his guard down. He could not let her see that he would lay down his life for her, for them both if needed. George pulled up a barrier around his heart. He could not let her in; he could not let her ruin everything. Not when he was so close to having it all.

Ah, of course. She had been sent here to do whatever it took to stop him. If that meant using their child, she was willing to do it, and his heart hardened further. Along with another part of his anatomy. She might be here to trick him, but he sure was going to indulge his many fantasies while she was under his roof.

“I came here to ask you to protect him,” she said.

“Of course you did,” he said with a mocking smile.

Tears threatened once more, and he was tempted to believe her. But she had fooled him once, he reminded himself again.

“I swear it’s true.” She took hold of the child’s small hand, and held it tight.

“From who?” he asked. “Don’t tell me you have stolen from other people who now wish you harm.”

“Charlie is hungry. Maybe we can talk while he eats.” She inclined her head slightly to the left, and he read its meaning. Whatever she had to say, she did not want to say it in front of the child. Because she didn’t want him to be afraid—or because she didn’t want him to hear? She had only asked for protection for the child. Was she planning on dumping him and then running off to have a carefree, childfree life?

Not happening. George was old-fashioned; he believed a child needed both parents. And besides, she was his mate. He was willing to use any means at his disposal, even emotional blackmail, to make sure she stayed. Their family might never be a perfect one filled with love. But breeding another child with her would be a great pleasure, and Charlie needed a sibling. He did not agree with only children.

George smiled at himself. For a man who had grown used to a solitary existence in his adult life, he sure was opinionated on family. He’d never admit it to anyone, but a family was the one thing he wanted more than anything. A mate and a herd of children was what he craved. He would gladly have traded the Heartsfire Blade for that, he admitted to himself. If she had come to him and asked for it, he would have given it to her if she needed it. His clan would have understood. But to have it stolen, by his mate, that was hard to live down. Betrayal at its worst.

“Let’s go downstairs and see what we can find in the kitchen,” George said, glancing down at the small child who still looked at him as if he were the bogeyman. He was going to have to work hard to win the child over, since George had no idea what his mother had told Charlie about his father.

“Thanks. OK, Charlie?” she asked. Charlie nodded. “We’re going to get something to eat.”

“And then we can go home?” Charlie asked.

“No, Charlie bear. We can’t go home.”

“Because of the bad men?” he asked.

“We’re safe here.” Poppy picked him up, kissing his cheek. “Yes, George is going to keep you safe.”

“What about you, Mommy?” Charlie asked. The small child clung to her as she followed George back down stairs.

“Mommy can take care of herself,” she said, but her voice held a lie. Whoever was out there, whoever had forced her to seek refuge with a dragon, scared her. George made it his business to find out who and why. In fact, he was going to make it his business to find out everything he could about this woman. Starting with her name.

“Who are you?” he asked her abruptly. They had reached the kitchen and he switched on the lights, making Charlie blink and rub his eyes.

“My name is Poppy Madison,” she answered.

“Is that your real name?” George asked, as he went to the fridge and took out a covered plate that held the dinner Alfie had prepared for him. He placed it in the microwave and began to heat it.

“Yes.” Poppy sat Charlie on a chair and came closer to him. “I promise you, that while I’m under your roof, I won’t lie to you.”

George looked at her sharply. “Who did you steal the blade for?”

“Please. I can’t tell you,” she insisted.

“Then you have broken your promise,” he accused, as the microwave pinged.

“No,” she said, sounding tired. “There is a difference. I am not lying to you.”

He let it go. This was not the time to force her to tell him the truth. There would be time for that later, when the child wasn’t around. He removed the plate of hot food and placed it on the table before Charlie, and then fetched a knife and fork for his son, who bent forward and sniffed the food.

“What is it?” Charlie asked.

“Steak. Potatoes. Broccoli and green beans,” George answered, peering over and looking at the food. Alfie was right, it did look dried up, but still good enough to eat.

Charlie pulled a face. “What is steak?”

Poppy hid a smile. “It’s meat. And you are going to eat it. So let’s cut it up and then you can feed yourself. Then you need to sleep.” She pushed the child’s unkempt hair out of his eyes. As she did so, George paused to take a real hard look at them both.

Poppy’s hair looked as if it hadn’t seen the inside of a salon for months, years even. Her clothes were well worn, and mud-stained. On her feet she wore hiking boots that were also well worn. Charlie’s clothes were no better, but they were in better condition than Poppy’s. Wherever these two had come from, wherever Poppy had been in the last five years, it was not living the high life on money earned from stealing the dagger from him.

If he didn’t know better, he would guess they had been living rough. As he watched his son eat, he made coffee, allowing his anger and surprise to begin to dissipate. They were here, in his life. He needed to embrace this chance.

Instead of forcing her to tell him why she had stolen from him, he should try to win her over. She was, after all, his true mate. Bonded to him in this world and the next.

Since she stole the Heartsfire Blade from him, he had been single-mindedly trying to get it back, and trying to track down the woman who stole it. Now she was here, confusion threatened to consume him. Should he try to tame her, or control her? And then there was the other question that hammered in his brain every time he caught the scent of her.

How was he supposed to control himself when he craved her so completely?

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