Tremaine burst through the door, slamming it shut. He fused the knob and trapped the sound with the same spell. When he turned toward Robert, the rage on his face sent a thrill of fear down Robert’s spine.
“You happy with yourself?”
Robert stood, meeting his glare. “What on earth are you talking about?”
He growled. “You scared the fuck out of Liz by not coming home and sending that cowardly text. Why? Because you’re pissed about my past? I gave you those files thinking you could see the bigger fucking picture. Now you want to accuse me of what? Treason against the Council? Draecyn’s the bastard who sent me on the goddamned case to begin with.”
Robert drew in a slow breath, trying to gather his words. He’d never seen Tremaine this angry before. Generally, he was levelheaded through the worst of times.
“Nothing?” Tremaine spat. When Robert didn’t answer, he snarled, “Really think I could do all that?”
Robert stepped around the desk, anger flickering to life. “You tell me, Tremaine. What am I supposed to think? You handed me stacks of files without warning me what was in there. Of course, I’m going to question every single thing.”
Tremaine shook his head in slow motion, his brown eyes fading to gold, flashing with light. “You question what side I was on, then fucking question me like a man. Don’t hide away from Liz. You didn’t see the look on her face when she asked me if you got tired of her and wanted to give up.”
“I’ll never give up on her.” An array of emotions splintered through Robert as he took a step closer, narrowing his eyes. “Yes, I made one bad decision. I gave her what I thought she wanted nearly twenty-two years ago. Never again.”
“Then why didn’t you come home?” Tremaine demanded.
He growled in frustration. “I was so twisted up trying to make sense of everything I read and couldn’t come home to see you wrapped around her, which I knew you had to be.”
“Do you think I wanted to go so deep into HARP? Think I wanted to do all that shit? Tell me something, Robert, why do you think Draecyn sent me? No one else could get into HARP’s ranks. Draecyn knew I was the only one with any kind of chance of getting intel because he was the only one who knew who my real father was.”
Robert’s heart sank. And they were right back to what he had finally realized a second before Tremaine barged in. “Because you’re half druid?”
Tremaine’s hands trembled a moment before they fisted. He stepped closer until he was an inch from Robert’s face. “Exactly. I didn’t choose the assignment. It was chosen for me. And yeah, they expelled me… technically, but I kept Draecyn in the loop. Did you skip his files?”
“You could have warned me what was really in there.”
“So you could question if I was just saying that to keep you in our bed? No. Thank. You. I gave you every last shred of the files so you could see what happened and draw your own conclusions. Apparently, that was the wrong fucking move.”
Robert’s jaw clenched. “Last night, after reading the final files, my head was swimming with a million details I didn’t understand. This morning they clicked into place, forming the bigger picture. I needed time to process.”
“Next time, man up and call me. Tell me to fucking leave so you can go to Liz and not break her to pieces when she starts wondering if you really love her.”
“Of course, I love her. I’ve always loved her. I didn’t want to fight in front of her when I was so lost in the details I couldn’t see the truth. Now back off.”
Tremaine inched closer, his eyes lasered on Robert’s. “You want to lose Liz?”
Robert shook his head.
“Me? I’d understand that. Is it too much now? If so, it’s too damned late to get rid of me. I’ve always loved Liz, and I love you, but right now you disgust me. I’ve never done a damned thing to make you doubt me like this.”
Robert attempted to shove him away, but Tremaine didn’t move. Frustrated, he hissed, “Had you waited ten more minutes, I would have been past the doubt. I needed time, Trem.” He reached for his phone to call Liz.
Tremaine caught it and threw it across the room. “Fuck that. Stop and talk to me! Tell me what I have to do to convince you I’m not part of HARP?”
“I know you’re not. There’s still a million questions on the tip of my tongue, but I get it.”
“Promise you won’t do that to Liz again,” Tremaine insisted.
“I swear it, and I’m sorry.” He met Tremaine’s golden stare. “Do you hate me now?”
“You know better. I love you. You’re a piece of my soul. I can’t have you thinking I’m that scum.” He closed the distance, looking into Robert’s eyes with deep intensity.
Desire washed through Robert. He gripped the back of Tremaine’s neck and pulled him in for a bruising kiss. Then he hissed into Tremaine’s ear. “I love you too.”
“Prove it,” Tremaine growled, reaching behind Robert to shove everything off the desk. Files fell to the floor, books, journals, everything, even the phone.
Their mouths collided, tongue’s dueling, teeth gnashing. Robert stood, and Tremaine pushed his jacket off, then gripped Robert’s shirt, ripping it open. Buttons flew across the room.