Tuesday Teaser 2/7/17: Victoria’s Cat Part 6
It’s Tuesday!! Yay!!
I’ve been going back through Victoria’s Cat and I see one major problem. There hasn’t been much interaction between the hero and heroine. In other words, Victoria and Marty have barely spoken. That is going to change when Marty takes her and her brother and cousins on a tour of Omaha, but … I think I’ll need to find a way to get them a little private time sooner. But there is no way for them to do that with all her relatives hanging around. Can you imagine Marty sneaking up to her room? Like Eagle and Stone wouldn’t hear him? Dang it, I’ll have to think about it. Meanwhile, here is the rest of chapter four. 🙂
Marty hefted the twenty-five-pound slab of bacon in its waxed linen bag higher on his shoulder. “Come on,” he said to his nephew. Ray was only a year younger than he was, so they were more like brothers than uncle and nephew. “Mrs. Renee needs this bacon to finish making breakfast.”
“Mmm,” sighed Ray, licking his lips and hefting his own sack of bacon to his shoulder. “I love eating her bacon. Or anything else she makes.”
They left the butcher and hurried up the street. Marty cast a teasing glance at his nephew. “Do you think that marrying Patia will let you eat Mrs. Renee’s cooking every day?”
“No.” Ray sounded hopeful. “But I’ll get to eat it sometimes, and Patia learned to cook from her aunt. Even if Patia cooks only half as well it’s better than what I make.”
“Have you set a date for the wedding?”
“Actually, we’re still just courting. Dad thought I should wait until after all this business here in Omaha is settled before I asked her to marry me.” He was quiet for a minute. “I wish we were already married. We could be here on our honeymoon.”
Marty cocked a brow. “With her brother in the same house?” He shook his head. “With his wolf hearing you never have any privacy. Some honeymoon that would be.”
“That’s a good point.” Ray gave an exaggerated shudder. “No, thank you.”
They paused on the curb to allow a car to pass in a billow of suffocating fumes. The early morning air was brisk, but spring was here. Dawn had broken while they were in the butcher shop and now the golden light of morning made everything seem new and fresh. It would be a beautiful day for the tour he was going to give to the woman he wanted to marry. Just remembering his first sight of her last night made his heart beat faster. Ray must have read his mind, or maybe he just scented his excitement. His nephew nudged his forearm.
“So, when are you proposing to Miss Victoria?”
“As soon as I’m sure she wants to marry me.”
Ray skirted an icy puddle on the sidewalk and smirked at him. “Even though her father told you he would never allow his daughter to marry you?”
“Yeah.” His mouth compressed in a flat line when he remembered Wolf’s Shadow and a bunch of the other wolf clan men confronting him at the gala in January. He had gone outside the old sports center where the gala was traditionally held to cool off after vigorous dancing and found himself in the center of a ring of threatening men. Shadow had told him Victoria was off limits and if he didn’t break off his courtship there would be trouble. He’d said Victoria wasn’t interested in marriage to him. He had acquiesced only to avoid trouble at the gala. “Yeah, even though. It’s Vic’s decision. I’m betting she’s not the woman to let anyone else make the decisions for her. If she wants to marry me, she will.”
At least he hoped she would. Her father’s concerns about his fitness to be a husband were invalid. That was his politician-polite term for it. Stupid was the better, if not wiser, word. And if Vic asked, he’d tell her so.
As they walked up the drive to the Limit’s gate, Ray shook his head. “I don’t get it. When I spoke with Taye Wolfe about courting his daughter, he was okay with it. But Shadow won’t let you court Victoria? I have the same, uh, issue that you do. So why will Taye accept me as a son in law, but Shadow won’t accept you?”
“Because your intended father-in-law is sane and reasonable, unlike the father of the woman I want to marry.”
Ray slanted a look at him. “Ah. That must be it.”
“Do me a favor, Ray. On the tour, try to get me a little time alone with Vic. You know, talk loud and keep the men’s attention on you.”
“I’ll try.” Ray laughed out loud. “This is going to be a very interesting morning.”
The breakfast buffet was scrumptious. Victoria always enjoyed breakfast. It was the most important meal of the day, and a woman of her height and figure needed plenty of calories to maintain her curves. She enjoyed this breakfast, too, but half of her attention was on the table behind her where Marty and Ray sat with Jon and Tanner from the Brotherhood Commune. All the small square tables were full. This time the delegates and their escorts from the Wolf Clan did not push tables together to sit as a group. Victoria sat with her brother, Colby, and Sand at the table nearest the open staircase. Rock, Quill and others were at other tables around the reception room turning dining room.
Over the clatter of cutlery and the morning chatter in the dining room, she couldn’t make out many words from Marty’s table, but the tone of his voice when he chatted with Jon and Tanner was friendly. Ray sounded reserved but pleasant. Marty couldn’t like those two idiots, could he? If he did, he would lose serious brownie points with her.
Her brother’s hearing was far sharper than hers. Eagle, seated on her left, paused in chewing and cocked his head as if listening. Colby, on her right, did the same. She was dying to know what they heard, and she didn’t have to wait long to find out. Eagle and Colby threw down their forks at the same time and leaped to their feet to face the table behind.
“No!” they snarled in unison.
Sand, the fourth person at the table, stood up more slowly, but only watched the two younger wolf warriors without speaking. Victoria jumped up too, to see what was going on.
Jon rose to his feet, face set. “No? What do you mean, no?”
“No, you’re not going on the tour with my sister,” Eagle snapped.
The arrogance in the tilt of Jon’s head almost made up for his lack of height. “There is no law against it. If I want to go, what will stop me?”
Victoria’s eyebrows climbed up her forehead. Was he blind? Or just stupid? Anyone who knew anything about the clan knew that her menfolk lived for opportunities to crush would-be suitors. Almost entertained, she folded her arms and waited for her brother’s reply.
At six feet and five inches, Eagle was nearly a foot taller than Jon. He stepped close, kicking a chair out of his way. To give him credit, Jon didn’t retreat.
“I’ll stop it, moron.”
Colby stepped up beside Eagle. “And I’ll help him.”
Tanner jumped up. “You can’t do that!”
He might have said more, but a voice from the door rang out with authority. “Stop,” said Renee.
Incredibly, Jon proved he was indeed the moron Eagle had called him. “I don’t listen to a cook,” he said, flicking his fingers dismissively toward Renee.
An awful silence fell, laden with a combination of shock, horror and disbelief. Victoria simply gaped at the fool, waiting for thunderbolts and lightening to strike him down. Thunderbolts and lightning in the guise of Hawk. All over the dining room she saw the men of the clan stand and prepare for battle. Hawk advanced like grim death on the table where Jon stood.
He was cut off by Ms. Mary. The tiny, frail lady took dainty, tottering steps right in his path without seeming to notice him. Even an enraged mate of the wolf clan gave way before a lady, especially an elderly one. Her lined face was set into an offended frown as she shook a finger in Jon’s face.
“I’ve never heard such rudeness,” she announced. “If you wish to remain a guest in this house, you will apologize at once, young man.”
Jon cast an angry look around the room. The men of the clan stared back, a silent promise of retribution. For a long minute, no one moved. Victoria wondered if Jon even realized what a colossal blunder he had made.
Into the silence, Stone spoke in Lakota. “I wonder if this is how he treats the women at his village? Perhaps that is why he must come all the way to Omaha to find a wife.”
Colby snorted with reluctant amusement. Rock gave a harsh bark of laughter, and Sand showed his chipped tooth in something not quite a smile. Jon’s square face turned red. Victoria was sure it was rage, not embarrassment. He turned stiffly toward the door where Renee stood. Hawk shifted half a step to block his mate from the younger man’s line of sight.
Victoria stared as Jon’s face underwent a transformation from sullenly angry to charmingly rueful. He lifted his hands with puppy dog eyes. “I am so sorry,” he said with every appearance of sincerity. “I’m a bear first thing in the morning. I shouldn’t have let my temper get away from me like that. Please forgive me.”
Renee jerked her chin down once, and disappeared back toward the kitchen. Hawk gave Jon one long, hard look, and then followed his mate. One by one, the men of the clan returned to their breakfasts, but Victoria noticed they positioned themselves so they could still see Jon. Last of all, Eagle and Colby came back to their table and sat down.
Ms. Mary patted Jon’s arm. “There now. That’s better. You have a nice breakfast, my dear.”
The clatter of forks and spoons and the murmur of voices rose again as the elderly left the dining room, but the noise was more subdued now. Victoria could clearly hear Marty say that maybe the Allerton boys could ask their father to give them a tour of Omaha. The leader of the Falls City commune had been to Omaha many times. A few minutes later, he and Ray excused themselves and came to Victoria’s table.
“Good morning, Miss Victoria,” Marty said warmly. He nodded at Colby, Eagle, and Sand. “We can leave on the tour anytime you’re ready.”
She waited for one of the men to make some protest, but they were silent. Maybe they were comparing Marty and Ray with Jon and Tanner and deciding that Marty was the far lesser evil. Cheered greatly by that thought, she smiled at the man she planned to marry.
“I can be ready in ten minutes.”
“Perfect.” Not being a fool like Jon, Marty nodded again at the men. “We’ll meet you in the foyer.”
“Ten minutes,” Victoria agreed. She watched him saunter up the stairs and tried to keep her pulse steady. The way he moved made her mouth water. The curse of having wolf warriors for watchdogs was that they could smell when she was excited. She turned back to the table. “Are you coming, Sand?”
He shook his head, biting into a piece of toast. “I’ve been in Omaha before. But Colby and Eagle are going, aren’t you?”
Both young men nodded eagerly. “She won’t be alone with the Madisons.”
She dabbed her mouth with her napkin. “But better the Madisons than the Allertons?”
Colby looked sour, but admitted, “Much.”
Victoria, as she went to up to her room to freshen up, chalked up a major victory in her campaign to win approval for her marriage to Marty Madison. Jon truly was a moron extraordinaire, but his idiocy had done wonders to show what a good choice Marty was. She smiled as she combed her hair. Now to move on to the next skirmish.