The Girl In The Clockwork Collar Page 38

’’It was good of you to give him that money,’’ Finley remarked quietly, her voice barely audible over the thrum of the airship\s engines.

Griffin shrugged. Paying for the funeral was the least he could do, wasn\ it?

’’I don\ know about you.’’ There was forced brightness in her tone. ’’But I\m delighted to see the backside of Miss Astor-Prynn.’’

That actually brought a small smile to his lips. ’’I didn\ notice her backside. Was it nice?’’

She squeezed his fingers. ’’Ow!’’ he cried, but it hadn\ hurt not really. ’’Bloody hell, woman.’’

’’Take that as a warning, Your Grace. I can beat you into shape if need be. And don\ think you\ e going to be allowed to wallow in guilt with me around. I won\ stand for it. Do I make myself clear?’’

Griffin swallowed. She was rather ... attractive when she bossed him around. He was so used to being the boss himself that it was nice to have someone looking out for him. ’’Crystal,’’ he replied.

Finley smiled. ’’Good.’’

He gazed into her eyes, so bright when the light hit them. ’’Finley, I want you to know I trust you. I was a git, thinking you might prefer a life of crime instead of with me, Emily and Sam.’’

’’No, you weren\ ,’’ she corrected, surprising him. ’’Being part of Dalton\s gang getting his attention was fun at first. And then Whip Kirby put those irons around my wrists, and I realized the consequences of being an idiot. I don\ want that life. I want to be with you and the others.’’

A grin spread across his face at her half hearted amendment. He knew what she meant, and he meant it, too. It was all right if neither of them said it aloud. They both talked too much, anyway. Thought too much, too.

So instead of thinking about it, Griffin simply wrapped his arm around her waist, pulled her close and pressed his lips to hers. She tasted like the strawberries they\d had for dessert, and she smelled of fresh air and cinnamon. Her arms came up over his shoulders, around his neck, and she kissed him back.

Tesla might not have invented a machine for going back in time, but Griffin thought he\d just found a way to stop it.

A thousand years later, he lifted his head. Finley stared up at him. He stared back, and after a moment, they both began to smile.

’’It\s cold out here,’’ she said. ’’We should go in.’’

’’I suppose we should.’’

Then she came up on her toes and kissed him, and all thoughts of going inside and cold noses vanished for a while.

He held her hand when they returned to the inner cabin of the dirigible. Sam and Emily were waiting for them there. Griffin\s heart lightened at the sight of them. They both looked concerned when they met his gaze, and their worry warmed him. They didn\ think he\d done anything wrong. Maybe in time he\d agree with them.

’’About time the two of you came back,’’ Sam commented with his usual charm. He pointed at Emily. ’’She thinks we should all have some kind of wing contraptions so we can fly on our own.’’

Finley glanced at Griffin. ’’When we first came to New York, you asked me if I would like to know how it felt to really fly.’’

’’Such devices would be very beneficial,’’ Emily informed him.

’’My arms would get tired,’’ Sam countered.

’’They\ e for gliding, Sam. You don\ have to flap. How many times do I have to tell you that?’’

The image of Sam flapping wings attached to his arms like a chicken caused Griffin to laugh out loud. The three of them stared at him for a second and soon joined in.

’’Get whatever you need, Em.’’ Griffin wiped his eyes. ’’The expense will be worth it just to see Sam flap.’’

They laughed some more Sam possibly the hardest.

It was at that moment that he knew everything was going to be fine. If he could still laugh, then all was not lost.

He was going to be all right after all.


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