By the end of the second day, Ellen had decided that Mr. Giles was the weirdest thing under the Council roof. He’d managed to find an odd balance that the rest of the people hadn’t quite reached, between father and mentor, passion for the fight and practicality, and hope for the future and world-weary acceptance. If he’d been a hunter, he’d have burned out by now.
That kind of even keel was just strange to her. Strange and slightly alluring, which may have been what tipped him from odd to weird because it’d been a long
time since she’d looked at a man and wondered.
Just because she wondered, of course, didn’t mean she wanted to slam straight into him on her way into the library.
“Blessed hell,” he muttered, arms outstretched, but still not escaping his sloshing tea.
Ellen winced, hand fluttering up to swipe at the mess on his formerly crisp white button down before balling it up and forcing it to her side. “Sorry. Should’ve watched where I was going.”
He gave her a grin and said, “And here I thought I was the Watcher of the two of us.” She snorted in bemusement and his grin stretched to a smile. “I know. Awful, wasn’t it? The children forever despair of me.”
She grinned at him, shifting a bit. “Yeah, well. Riding herd on this houseful can’t give you a lot of time to practice your come-ons.”
“Oh, I’ve plenty of time,” he said, shrugging. “But rarely the desire to.”
He gave her a not wholly unfamiliar look that most men managed when they were themselves considering.
“Oh,” she said and, damn her hide, blushed to the roots of her hair.
He sighed. “It appears I’ve overstepped myself.”
“No,” she said, just a bit hurriedly. “Just…it’s been a while. And I was pretty sure I wasn’t your type.”
His eyebrow rose as he said, “Lovely ladies with spines of steel are certainly my type. That you’re of a similar age, know about the supernatural, and that you take the size and extent of my ‘houseful’, as you put it, with a grain of salt makes you especially appealing.” Her jaw sagged a bit and his hand raised, fingertips lightly pressing against her arm. “We’re really not that different, you and I. We may have taken two different roads, but we’re both at that place now where we’re watching our children set fire to the world.”
Ellen swallowed, then threw caution to the wind, stepping into him, leaning up on her toes, and kissing the breath out of him, hand knotted in his shirt. His tea cup shattered as he pulled her tighter against him, hand splaying across her back.
Ellen was a mother, not a saint, which was fortunate because she’d hooked her a fella that had lips made for sin.