Home > The Billionaire Dragon's Secret Son (Howls Romance #10)(8)

The Billionaire Dragon's Secret Son (Howls Romance #10)(8)
Author: Harmony Raines


 

 

Chapter Five – Poppy


He watched her. And when he wasn’t watching her, he was looking at their son. She longed to ask him what he was thinking. Was he going to give them sanctuary?

That thought stuck in her head, and made fear creep though her body. He would give Charlie sanctuary, she had no doubt about that. How could he not, when he knew his blood flowed through the child’s veins? But Poppy? Poppy was simply the woman who had given birth to that child.

She chose to ignore the theft of the Heartsfire Blade. She was tired of going around and around in circles in her head, trying to decide if she should tell him all that she knew about the people who had made her steal it. It dredged up too many memories she had spent years trying to bury, shoveling dirt on all the hurt, pain, and betrayal she felt over the whole episode.

If she told George Lancaster she had been played, she would not get any sympathy. More likely he would pour scorn on her for being so stupid, so naive, so… trusting. Like a gullible fool, she had been sucked into one of her brother’s plots and schemes once more. Hadn’t she spent the whole of her childhood learning what a despicable human being he was, always willing to use others for his own gains?

“The boy should sleep,” George said, as he finished his coffee. He had made some sandwiches, which she had forced herself to eat. Not because there was anything wrong with them, but because her stomach churned with nerves.

Since they had slid off the road, she had been intently focused on getting here. From finding George Lancaster’s address, to getting on the bus, to making sure Charlie had food. Now that she was here, the consequences were starting to pile up. She had placed herself and Charlie in the hands of a man who was shrewd and deadly when it came to business. That much she had learned from searching the internet while looking for his address.

Meeting him had reinforced what she had read. He wasn’t the same man she had met five years ago. Yes, he still made her insides squirm with desire when he looked at her, and his body was still the same, muscles hewn from stone, that his expensive shirt could not disguise. But there was a hardness to his expression, and guilt swept over her. She had to admit to herself that she was the cause of that hardness. Stealing that damn blade had set them both on a path, hers to the top of a mountain, his to the top of an empire. Neither were paths they would likely choose if they were free to make their own decisions.

But no matter how many times she told him she was sorry, it was never going to be enough. She would have to make the best of the situation, and if he let her stay, she would learn to tolerate the snide comments, she would learn to shoulder the accusations he threw at her. Anything to stay with Charlie. The small boy, now half asleep in his chair, was worth every sacrifice she had made so far, and every future sacrifice she might have to make. Even the ones demanded by George Lancaster.

“Do you want to carry him?” Poppy asked, as Charlie nodded his head toward the table.

George looked at her as if she might have an ulterior motive—she’d get used to that, and she could not blame him—but where Charlie was concerned her motives were always pure. Poppy hoped to one day make George see that, but right now she was just too damn tired.

“It’s been a long couple of days, and I ache in every muscle,” she admitted. “I don’t want to risk dropping him.”

George nodded and moved to stand next to Charlie, who looked up at the big man, the stranger he had only just met. But instead of being shy, he raised his arms, and George lifted him up. Cradling Charlie against his chest, he looked down at the child and inhaled his scent. Was that why Charlie was so relaxed in his father’s arms? He could smell that they were family.

The sight wrenched her gut. Would she lose her son to his father? Two dragons… She reached out and grabbed the countertop, her knees weak. George moved fast, his left hand reaching out and grabbing her elbow to keep her upright.

“I’m OK.” Poppy inhaled deeply. “Just tired.”

“Come.” George released her, and she felt the loss of his presence as he turned his back on her and walked away with their son. It was the weirdest sensation for Poppy. She had been the center of Charlie’s world for so long, and he had been the center of hers. Now that had changed, irrevocably. It would never be just the two of them. Those days were gone.

No matter what happened, she could never run again, never take Charlie away from his father. As she followed George back upstairs, she accepted her fate, whatever it would be now she had handed her son’s safety over to George Lancaster. He would protect Charlie.

As George opened the door of what must be a guest bedroom, and laid Charlie down on the bed, she watched a wave of tenderness wash over his face, only to be replaced almost instantly by a hard, resolute expression. Poppy quickly took over, taking off Charlie’s shoes and his jeans, leaving him to sleep in his T-shirt. Then she kissed him goodnight and pulled the covers up over him.

George stood back, watching her, and when she had finished, he leaned forward and murmured, “Goodnight, Charlie.”

He left the room, pausing at the door, waiting for her to follow. Poppy took one last look at her son, and prayed he would be safe. If she had broken into the house, what if someone else did the same? What if someone kidnapped him? Was there anywhere safe in the world?

“He will be OK,” George said. “The alarm is on.”

Poppy nodded. “Good night, Charlie bear,” she whispered and then left the room.

George turned and walked down the hallway. Poppy stood watching him, not knowing what she was supposed to do. Did he want her to follow?

Realizing she wasn’t behind him, he stopped and turned to her. “Come. We need to talk.”

Obediently, she walked after him, her insides churning and her breathing ragged as she wondered what fate he had in store for her. She was at his mercy. Running wasn’t an option. Steeling herself to accept whatever punishment he might decide to issue for… well, everything, she followed him, only stalling when, instead of going downstairs, he stopped at his bedroom door.

“I thought you wanted to talk,” she said her voice high.

“I do.”

“Then maybe we should go downstairs… Maybe coffee.”

“You do not need caffeine in your system,” George insisted.

“I’m not so sure.” She took a step back, heading for the stairs.

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