Tuesday Teaser 12/15/15: Olivia’s Mate
Oh, my gosh! Christmas is only TEN DAYS AWAY!!! Are you going crazy getting ready? I still have to quilt and bind a table runner gift, bake cookies, take my mom shopping, clean the guest room/sewing room/ office for my brother who will be staying with me, and decorate. But not tonight. Tonight I’m relaxing.
Kit, however, isn’t relaxing. He is being interrogated by Stone under Colby’s antagonistic eye. 🙂 Enjoy!
Kit stood outside the gate to the Plane Women’s Eatery. Big lazy snowflakes filled the air and collected on his hair and shoulders while the guards moved slowly to open for him. They had never been friendly, but tonight they bristled at him. Literally. One was in wolf form, his hackles raised and his teeth showing. Kit knew he had somehow offended Olivia. He just didn’t know how. His offense obviously annoyed her entire family.
He nodded to the guards as they let him pass. Olivia’s uncle Hawk was at the front door to let him in. The Alpha, Des, stood in back of the entry, arms folded, brows pulled down. He was another of Olivia’s uncles. Justin and his mate had taught him about human family relationships. An uncle was the brother of a person’s parent. So Des and Hawk were the brothers of either Olivia’s father or her mother.
He followed Des down a corridor to a different room than before, this one smaller. There were three couches pushed against three of the walls, with small tables and chairs scattered about. Just about every seat was taken. Most of the people in the room were men, but he saw five women there. A quick glance around showed him Olivia wasn’t there. Fear gripped its icy fingers around his heart. What had he done to offend her so badly that she wouldn’t see him?
The sound of his mate’s voice melted the fingers’ clutch and he turned back to the doorway. She came in with her cousin Colby behind her and a man he didn’t know beside her.
“Kit,” she said, smiling. “Sorry I wasn’t here when you came in.”
“That’s okay.” He felt the relief leap into his smile. “I just got here a minute ago. How are you?”
She walked to a small square table and beckoned him over. “Sit down, Kit,” she said. “Meet my uncle Stone.”
Kit shook the other man’s hand. He wasn’t young, but neither was he old. He wore his hair the way many of Olivia’s kinsmen did, in two long black braids. His eyes were light brown instead of inky black, but they held a watchful expression as he accepted Kit’s hand and gave it a vigorous pump. They all sat down at the table. Kit wished Colby would’ve chosen somewhere else to sit. His eyes were not only watchful, but anger smoldered there as well. Was that just Colby’s usual dislike, or was it related to whatever Kit had done to offend Olivia?
He sat opposite her at the small table and smiled at her beautiful face. There was something there but he wasn’t sure what it was. Excitement? It wasn’t that cautious, almost fearful, look she had given him on the sidewalk yesterday. Her uncle Stone sat at her right hand and her cousin Colby sat on her left. A quick glance around the room showed him that most of the people there weren’t staring this way. Some were playing cards and others were working on some sort of handwork. Talk was quiet and the tone was casual. Nonetheless, but he could almost taste suspicion and anger on the air. Kit was sure they were straining their ears hear everything he and Olivia would say. They were all related to Olivia in some way.
“How many uncles do you have?” he asked her.
She counted on her fingers. “Well, there’s Taye, and Shadow, and Des. Hawk, Red Wing, Quill, Sand, Snow, Sky, and Stag. Oh, and Snake, Raven, Lobo, Standing Bear, White Horse, and Matt, but Matt’s more like a cousin, I guess.” She screwed up her face and looked at Colby. “Who am I forgetting?”
“Never mind,” growled Colby, looking from her to the uncle. “Get on with it.”
Stone leaned forward, catching Kit’s attention. “Do you love Olivia?”
Another protective male relative. Kit didn’t mind answering that question. He would say it as many times as he needed to. “Yes, I love her.”
Stone looked over at Olivia and gave a brief nod. “I’m glad to hear it,” he said. “What would you do to keep her safe? If the only way to save her life was for you to die, would you do it?”
He felt no hesitation. “Yes. I would do anything to keep Olivia safe.”
The other man lifted one eyebrow and gave a very subtle nod to Olivia. Her face lit with a smile so beautiful Kit caught his breath. Every time he saw her she was more lovely and more precious to him. If he could see her smile at him like that every day he would be the luckiest man in the world. A faint sniff sounded from one of the couches against the far wall. Kit sent a quick look in that direction and saw the woman named Marissa raise a finger to swipe a tear away. Alarmed, he glanced quickly at the woman’s mate. Making a woman cry couldn’t be good. Her mate would want to punish Kit now. But the man, Red Wing, didn’t look angry at all. He wore a tender smile as he slipped an arm around his mate’s shoulders.
“How about happy?” Stone tapped a finger on the table to bring Kid’s attention back. “What would you do to make her happy?”
“Anything. I want her to be happy.”
Colby slouched in his chair with a scowl. “Yeah?” The younger man sneered. “Would you brainwash her to make her think she was happy even if she wasn’t?”
There was dead silence in the room. Kit shifted in his chair when he felt everyone staring at him. “Brainwash? What is that?”
Colby jerked upright, his chair scraping on the floor. The anger that had been smoldering at the back of his eyes was now a fiery blaze. “Like you don’t know.” Breath whistled between his clenched teeth. “You’ll stare deep into her eyes and tell her she’s happy and she’ll believe you because your magic will force her to.”
No one had touched him, but Kit felt like Colby had just sucker punched him. “I would never, never do that to her.”
Both Colby and Olivia looked at her uncle.
“Truth,” he said.
Colby sneered again. “But you could if you wanted to.”
A tiny spark of anger pricked Kit. “No, I couldn’t. I can’t make people change their emotions. I can’t make people love me, or think they’re happy.”
“You can force people to do other things, things they don’t want to,” Colby accused bitterly. “Like surrender.”
Oh. The reason for the anger and suspicion became suddenly clear. “I didn’t want you to get hurt.” He looked at Olivia pleadingly. “I told you I wouldn’t do it again. I promise, I never will.”
Again, all eyes went to Stone. “Truth,” he said.