Key of Light (Key 1) - Page 99

Something that might have been regret flashed across his face. “I know it. Look, let’s step back a minute. Flynn’s important to both of us, and this is important to Flynn. That woman out there’s important to him, and she’s important to you. We’re all connected here, whether we want to be or not. So let’s try to figure it out. He was in and out of here in about three minutes flat this morning. I didn’t get much more out of him then, or when he called last night, than that Malory’s in trouble. Fill me in.”

“If Malory wants you to know, she’ll tell you.”

Hand her an olive branch, he thought, and she rams it down your throat. “Still a hard-ass.”

“It’s private stuff,” she snapped. “Intimate stuff. She doesn’t know you.” Despite a thousand vows, she felt her eyes fill. “Neither do I.”

That single tearful look punched a hole in his heart. “Dana.”

When he stepped toward her, she snatched a bread knife off the counter. “Put your hands on me again, I’ll hack them off at the wrist.”

He stayed where he was, slid his hands into his pockets. “Why don’t you just stick it in my heart and get it over with?”

“Just stay away from me. Flynn doesn’t want Malory left alone. You can consider this your shift, because I’m leaving.”

“If I’m going to be guard dog, it would help to know what I’m guarding against.”

“Big, bad sorcerers.” She yanked open the back door. “Anything happens to her, I’ll not only jam that knife in your heart, I’ll cut it out and feed it to the dog.”

“Always were good with imagery,” he drawled after she’d slammed out.

He rubbed a hand over his stomach. She’d tied it in knots—something else she was damn good at. He looked at the coffee she hadn’t touched. Though he knew it was foolishly symbolic, he picked up the cup and poured the coffee down the sink.

“Down the drain, Stretch. Just like us.”

MALORY studied the paintings until her vision blurred. She made more notes, then stretched out on the floor to stare at the ceiling. She jumbled what she knew in her head, hoping it would form a new, clearer pattern.

A singing goddess, shadows and light, what was within herself and outside herself. To look and see what she hadn’t seen. Love forged the key.


Three paintings, three keys. Did that mean there was a clue, a sign, a direction in each painting for each key? Or was there a compilation in the three paintings for the first key? For hers?

Either way, she was missing it.

There were common elements in each portrait. The legendary subject matter, of course. The use of forest and shadows. The figure cloaked by them.

That would be Kane.

Why was Kane in the portrait of Arthur? Had he actually been there at the event, or was his inclusion, and Rowena’s and Pitte’s, symbolic?

But still, even with those common elements, the Arthurian portrait didn’t seem part of what she was certain was a set. Was there another painting, to complete the triad, of the Daughters of Glass?

Where would she find it, and what would it tell her when she did?

She rolled over, examined the portrait of young Arthur once more. The white dove at the right top. A symbol for Guinevere? The beginning of the end of that shining moment?

Betrayal by love. The consequences of love.

Wasn’t she dealing with consequences of love now, within herself? The soul was as much a symbol of love and beauty as the heart was. Emotions, poetry, art, music. Magic. Soulful elements.

Without a soul, there were no consequences, and no beauty.

If the goddess could sing, didn’t that mean she still had her soul?

The key might be in a place where there was art, or love. Beauty or music. Or where the choice to keep them or discard them was made.

A museum, then? A gallery? The Gallery, she thought and bolted to her feet.

Tags: Nora Roberts Key Fantasy
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