Of Triton Page 55

Rachel shakes her head. “I can’t find much about this island as it is. I’m not sure what kind of communications they have, but I’m guessing satellite phones or something. What I can do though, is create a distraction at the closest airport to them, which is…” Her fingers move deftly over the keys. “Puka Puka Airport in the Cook Islands. If I make landing conditions unsafe there or screw around with their flight schedule, and say, the next five closest airports around them, they won’t be able to export your friends until we’ve had a chance to get to them. Better make the first attempt count though.”

Emma nods. “We will. And did you get the life jackets we talked about?”

“Life jackets?” Galen says. He doesn’t like Emma and Rachel making plans together. Not because he thinks they’re being devious, but because he doesn’t like feeling left out. Not to mention that when Emma is making plans without him, they’re usually reckless. The only reason she’d keep a secret from him is if she was doing something he didn’t approve of, or didn’t want him to interfere with. After all, her motto is “Better to ask for forgiveness than permission.”

Galen despises that motto.

“I cleared out the sporting goods store this morning,” Rachel says. “I took what was on the shelf and made them cough up their stock in the back.”

Galen tenses up. Emma laughs. “Don’t be jealous, Highness. Rachel still loves you more than she loves me.”

“Aww! You guys are fighting over me?” Rachel says, pinching Galen’s cheek. “That’s so adorable.”

“I’m not jealous,” he says, trying not to sound pouty. “I just don’t know why we would need life jackets.”

“We don’t,” Emma says, wriggling around on his lap so she can face him. Secretly, he’s delighted. “But humans do. And if my job is keeping the humans safe, then I should be prepared, right?”

But Galen is too distracted by the close proximity of her mouth to be bothered with the words coming out of it. She must recognize it, because she leans forward as if giving him a chance to make good on his craving. It’s all the invitation he needs.

He captures her mouth with his. Life jackets, islands, and airports are forgotten. The only thing that exists is her lips on his, her body pressed into his. Suddenly the creaky office chair is transformed into their own little world.

“Uh, I’m just going to get more wine,” Rachel says. He didn’t mean to make her uncomfortable enough to leave. Not good. The last thing we need is privacy and free rein to do as we please. He tries to end it, to pull away, but Emma won’t have it. And it’s difficult for him not to indulge her.

Her kiss is hungry, as if long deprived. As if they didn’t already spend the morning doing just exactly this, making up for the lost time they were apart. Triton’s trident, I could do this all day. Then he catches himself. No, I couldn’t. Not without wanting more. Which is why we need to stop.

Instead, he entwines his hands in her hair, and she teases his lips with her tongue, trying to get him to fully open his mouth to her. He gladly complies. Her fingers sneak their way under his shirt, up his stomach, sending a trail of fire to his chest.

He is about to lose his shirt altogether. Until Antonis’s voice booms from the doorway. “Extract yourself from Prince Galen, Emma,” he says. “You two are not mated. This behavior is inappropriate for any Syrena, let alone a Royal.”

Emma’s eyes go round as sand dollars. He can tell she’s not sure what to think about her grandfather telling her what to do. Or maybe she’s caught off guard that he called her a Royal. Either way, like most people, Emma decides to obey. Galen does, too. They stand up side by side, not daring to be close enough to touch. They behold King Antonis in a polka-dot bathrobe, and though he’s the one who looks silly, they are the ones who look shamed.

Galen feels like a fingerling again. “I apologize, Highness,” he says. It seems like all he does lately is apologize to the Poseidon king. “It was my fault.”

Antonis gives him a reproving look. “I like you, young prince. But you well know the law. Do not disappoint me, Galen. My granddaughter is deserving of a proper mating ceremony.”

Galen can’t meet his eyes. He’s right. I shouldn’t be flirting with temptation like this. With the Archives on their way—or possibly here already—there is a distant but small chance that he and Emma can still live within the confines of the law. That they can still live as mates under the Syrena tradition. And he almost just blew it. What if it had gone too far? Then his mating with Emma would forever be blemished by breaking the law. “It won’t happen again, Highness.” Not until we’re mated, anyway.

“Um. Did you just promise not to kiss me ever again?” Emma whispers.

“Can we talk about this later? The Archives are obviously here, angelfish.”

She’s on the verge of a fit, he can tell. “He’s just looking out for us,” Galen says quickly. “I agree, we need to respect the law—”

At this her fit subsides as if it was never there. She smiles wide at him. He can’t decide if it’s genuine, or if it’s the kind of smile she gives him when he’ll pay for something later. “Okay, Galen.”

“Galen, Emma,” Nalia calls from the dining room, saving him from making a fool of himself. “Everyone is here.”

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