Once again, Jill stopped herself from finishing a dangerous word, but it was too late. He heard the name in his head and in his heart, where it pierced him like a dagger. Rose. Images of dark eyes flashed through his mind, piercing eyes and a mane of equally dark hair. A body crackling with tension, beautiful in both its shape and the danger it presented. Adrian fumbled for another cigarette, looking down so that Jill wouldn’t see his shaking intake of breath or the grief and anger hi eyes would undoubtedly show.
She would be wherever Lissa was. And wherever Rose was, he would be there too. Rose and Dimitri Belikov were hardly ever apart at court. Adrian had gone out of his way to avoid them since Lissa’s Coronation and had only run into them twice.
The first time, they’d been on guardian duty, accompanying Lissa to a council meeting. Rose and Dimitri moved as almost one entity, like a matched pair of wolves or lions. Both weary and deadly as they studied their surroundings, taking no detail or person for granted.
The second time Adrian had seen them off-duty. They hadn’t noticed him. They’d been too wrapped up in each other, sitting outside on a sunny day. She’d leaned against Dimitri, looking content in a way Adrian had never seen (certainly not while he’d dated her). She’d said something that made Dimitri laugh, bringing a smile to the other man’s hard features, a smile that Adrian hadn’t thought was possible. Adrian still didn’t know which sighting bothered him most, the formal or the casual one.