A fascinating tableau awaited Barbara as she approached Raven’s house. Raven was sitting in the middle of his yard. Sammy stood behind him. A beautiful female dragon with gold wings stood beside Sammy.
Raven looked like someone had yanked him out of a washing machine’s rinse cycle.
“Well.” Ambrose leaned forward. “There should be a very interesting story behind this. If there isn’t, I’m going to be disappointed.”
“Hm. I’m willing to bet you won’t be disappointed.”
“Oh? You think so?”
Barbara pulled into the driveway and parked the car. She smiled at Ambrose. “Absolutely.”
He lightly traced her lips with his fingertip. “What are you willing to bet, love?”
The sound of his voice…the touch of his finger…the nearness of him…the heat of him… She kissed his fingertip. “I’ll tell you when we’re finally alone, kitten.”
“Ha!” It was an intoxicatingly warm sound. “You wonderful, provocative creature.”
She blushed. “Provocative? Who, me?”
He chuckled warmly. “Yes, and you know it.”
Someone knocked on Barbara’s window before she could think of a good zinger of a response. She looked and saw Raven standing outside her door.
He looked even wetter close up. Strings of water hung in suspended animation from his tuxedo’s elbows and his shirt’s cuffs. The rest of the tuxedo was just oozing water all over.
Barbara opened the window.
Ambrose leaned further forward. “So. What happened to you?”
Raven took a deep breath and exhaled. “If you must know, I went for a ride inside a dragon’s mouth.”
“What? Like a joyride? I didn’t realize you had that sort of mayhem inside of you.”
The string of water on his right elbow finally dripped all the way to the ground. “There was no joy to be had in that ride.” Raven said. “It merely had the advantage of getting me to my location in a fast and efficient manner.”
Ambrose shrugged. “Sounds like a joyride to me.”
“Where did you go?” Barbara asked.
“I went to Mark Caten’s residence.”
“What?” Ambrose said. “That’s where we went!”
“What? I do beg your pardon, sir, but I was of the understanding that you and Barbara had eschewed the notion of going there. I thought you were going on your honeymoon.”
“Well, that had been the plan. But we got thinking about it and talking about it.” Ambrose shrugged again. “I needed to know that Robin was safe. That he wasn’t trapped there.”
Raven quietly face-palmed. “Please tell me that you had the wisdom to at least keep Barbara in the car.”
“Nope!” Barbara said. “I went in with him.”
Raven lowered his hands to glare at Ambrose.
“It wasn’t his fault.” Barbara said. “I insisted on it. I didn’t want to lose him. I knew if Ambrose went in alone, I’d lose him. Something bad would happen to him and I’d never see him again.”
Raven’s expression relaxed. “I suppose I can understand that fear. Still, it was a great risk for you to go in as well.”
“I know. It was a risk I was willing to take and I would gladly take again.”
“Was Robin there?” Raven asked.
Ambrose frowned and shook his head. “No. Did you find any trace of him?”
Raven shook his head. “I thought there was something amiss about the one dungeon cell. Yet, when I went in there, I found nothing. Not a single trace. It was quite peculiar. I still do not understand it. Other than that detail, no. Robin was not there. I can only assume that he escaped with Isellta and they are currently….becoming better acquainted with one another.”
“Well, that’s a quaint way to phrase it, but okay.” Ambrose said. “By the way, your shiny new houseguest is back here with me.”