He stepped back and watched. For a minute he thought most of them were all too steeped in fear to do anything. Luke looked smug, and Kalv was about to call them all a bunch of spineless eunuchs until one stood and picked up his hat, then another, and soon seven men had left and went out the door. Not bad, some balls after all. Luke still stood with a red face but silent as the men he was paying off left. Over and over again, no matter how many years passed, bullies always back downed when faced with someone bigger who didn't fear them.
"Oh by the way, I like this diner, so I plan to be eating here a lot," he said and turned to the waitress. "Take this down. I like pancakes, doll, lots of 'em, and bacon on the side. Coffee hot and sweet, no creamer."
"Got it, honey." The waitress beamed up at him. "My name is Sally, by the way."
"Nice to meet you, Sally. You know what? How about you get me that order now while I wait for Ginna?" Kalv gave her a charming smile. He turned his attention back to Luke. "I don't want you ruining my appetite. You and your men need to leave. Don't make me have to show you the door."
Luke picked up his hat. "Boys, let's roll. We'll take this up later, somewhere more private where we can talk with him nice and proper."
"I look forward to it." Kalv sat at the counter and winked at the man who owned the diner. "I hope to meet some nice people in here when I come on by in the morning."
"From your lips to God's ears." The old man beamed and set his coffee down in front of him. "Hot and sweet like you said, nice to meet you...um?"
"Kalv," he said and took a sip from the cup. "Good coffee."
"Kalv, hmm, strange name. I'll go check on your breakfast." He turned and went through the double door to the kitchen.
"So I've been told," Kalv murmured and thought about Ginna. Her chocolate eyes and full lips were made for kissing. Thing about her made and his heart give a sudden thump, and his hand shook from the feeling of it. Love is not on the menu, he warned himself sternly and waited for his breakfast.
He walked out later and saw Ginna crossing the street to the diner. She looked upbeat, and a smile hinted her lips.
"So there I was talking to the deputy when in walked one of my old farmhands letting me know he and the boys were heading back to work. Then Adam calls and tells me to come pick up my steaks and whatnot, and it's already around town that my new man put a boot to Luke's ass." Ginna looked up at him. "Whatever you did, thanks."
"No problem at all. I told you I would help," Kalv said. "Let's go pick up that meat. I feel like having a steak tonight."
"You know he's going to start a war, right?" Ginna said as she slid into the passenger seat of the car. "No one shames Luke for long without him trying to get you back."
"Are you scared?" Kalv asked. "You know I won't leave anything unfinished or you in danger. It will be settled."
"I wouldn't be scared even if it wasn't. I've never been afraid of him," Ginna answered. "He's just a little boy who thinks Daddy's money is going to keep him out of trouble. Besides, you need someone to have your back, dragon."
She nudged his shoulder with hers when she said it, and Kalv couldn't resist. He framed her face with his hands and brought her into his kiss. Desire burned through him when he felt her lips on his. He watched her eyes widen for an instant and then close, and a soft sound of arousal escaped her lips as she opened beneath him. Her acceptance fueled his ardor, and Kalv sent his tongue deep into the recesses of her mouth to taste her. Ginna clutched the front of his shirt as they kissed. His passion burned in him like the fire of his dragon breath, and he wanted to do nothing more but claim her as his own. Make her your mate. The thought ricocheted in his head and his heart thumped in quick succession. Kalv pulled away and stared at her for the longest of moments before starting the truck. He glanced at Ginna when he thought she wasn't looking and saw her run her fingers across her lips as if she could still feel his kiss. By the gods don't let me fall in love again. It seemed that was already out of his hands since his once-still heart now beat steadily in his chest, trying to regain a rhythm he thought long gone.