The Girl With The Iron Touch Page 28

’’What am I?’’

She grinned. ’’A pain in my posterior.’’

He smiled, too, crinkles forming around his eyes. ’’I like your posterior.’’

’’Yours isn\ too shabby, either.’’

’’Answer the question.’’

’’I thought I had.’’

’’Finley.’’

She sighed. Was he really going to make her spell it out? ’’I don\ know.’’

’’Ah.’’ He started to step back, but she held tight.

’’You\ e so many things to me,’’ she continued, refusing to let him go, tilting her head so she could look him in the eye. ’’You\ e my friend. You\ e the person I trust most in this world. You\ e my family, my protector, and someone I want to protect. You\ e my conscience, and you have this annoying ability to vex me to no end, but you also make me feel like I\m the most amazing girl in the world.’’

’’You are the most amazing girl in the world.’’ He said it so simply, so honestly, her throat seemed to close in on itself.

’’I hope you still feel that way six weeks from now.’’

’’I\ll feel this way six years from now.’’

Was he saying he loved her? No. It was too soon for that, wasn\ it? And love was so terrifying. Love meant expectations, and the fewer he had of those toward her the better. She rarely lived up to expectations. In fact, she usually ran away from them. She just knew...she knew that the thought of a world without him in it terrified her. She would go to the end of the earth for him. She\d go into hell itself for him.

With her arms wrapped around him, Finley backed toward the bed. Once there, she sat down on the mattress.

’’Boots off,’’ he ordered with mock severity.

She lifted her foot. ’’Go ahead.’’

He surprised her by unlacing and removing each boot. Then, he grabbed both her legs and swung the lower half of her onto the bed, so that she fell onto her back on the mattress. He removed his own boots and moved to join her.

’’Lock the door,’’ she said.

For a moment he simply stared into her eyes. Then, he did as she requested, turning the key in the lock so no one could walk in unannounced. No Sam. No Mrs. Dodsworth.

When he joined her on the bed, she snuggled against him. When he kissed her she melted into him. And when he unfastened her steel corset she didn\ stop him. In fact, she tossed the bloody thing on the floor.

Griffin\s hand slid under her shirt. He stared into her eyes as he touched her. Finley flushed, but she didn\ look away.

’’Is this what you want?’’ he asked.

She nodded, unable to speak. She\d never been certain of anything in her life. She\d also never been more afraid.

He kissed her again, taking away the fear. Other things joined her corset and boots on the floor until there was nothing between them, and then there was no such thing as him, or her. They were one.

Afterward, they lay together under the blankets. He kissed her eyelids, her forehead and her cheeks. Little butterfly kisses that made her smile.

’’Tell me you don\ regret it,’’ he murmured.

Finley opened her eyes and raised her gaze to his. She smiled. ’’I don\ regret it.’’

Griffin smiled back. ’’Good.’’ Then, he pulled her closer and kissed her on the mouth. ’’Stay with me?’’

As if there was anywhere else she\d rather be. ’’Of course.’’

He fell asleep before she did. Finley watched him for a while, committing every line of his face to memory. If she ever lost him her heart would break. This change in their relationship made her feel even closer to him, but it also deepened her fear. He may not want to talk about Garibaldi, but that didn\ mean she couldn\ think about the bastard.

Emily and Sam were home. They were safe. The Machinist had been stopped, his creations turned over to Scotland Yard. Griffin had his Aether disruptor thing, and would make more. They were good. For now.

But someday Garibaldi was going to come back for him. Someday there would be another fight, and there was no way of knowing what Garibaldi would do, or when. And no way of knowing just how strong he would be.

But there was one thing Finley did know: Garibaldi could not have him. Griffin King was hers.


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