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Tuesday Teaser 2/9/16: Olivia’s Mate

     Well, it looks like I might be getting to the end of the overtime at work.  I think that would be lovely. I’ve been just a little under the weather for about three weeks, but Sunday I felt really awful. Today I felt awful too. I made it through the whole 8.5 hours at work, muttering that as soon as I finished X I would punch out.  It’s not fair, is it? I mean, when criminals are sentenced to prison time doesn’t the time they’ve already spent in jail reduce the length of their sentence? Since I’ve had this coming on for three weeks, shouldn’t I have a sentence reduction? *pout*  Actually, cough, sneeze, blow nose, and repeat.

     Anyway. I’m sure I’ll be feeling better soon. Part of me hates giving up the overtime on the paycheck but the rest of me is throwing a party. More writing time!!! I’m very close to finishing the rough draft of Olivia’s Mate. I think I can say confidently that you will have the whole polished and edited story in your hands by April 29 at the LATEST.

Now that I’ve said that, knock on wood.

     Here is the next little bit in Olivia and Kit’s story. Unedited and unpolished, of course. It ends on a high note, wouldn’t you say?

 

The family room was too crowded for pacing, so Olivia forced herself to sit still and only cast occasional glances at the ceiling. Victoria shoved Parker out of the way and sat down next to her.

“Your dad isn’t crazy like mine,” she said comfortingly, patting her knee. “He’ll give permission.”

“Yeah.” Olivia tried to relax. She was sure her parents would give their blessing. She cast another glance up and picked at a chip in her fingernail. “I want my parents to like Kit, not just tolerate him.”

“That might take some time.” Victoria looked like she was trying to suppress a smile. Her expression melted into glumness. “If my dad would even tolerate Marty, I’d be doing a victory dance.”

Glad to have her mind taken off her own concerns, Olivia turned quickly to her cousin. At twenty-six, Victoria was the oldest unmarried woman she had ever heard of. “Does Uncle Shadow know about Marty?”

“If he doesn’t yet, he will soon. I sent a letter back to the winter camp two weeks ago.” Her mouth quirked into a smile that was half sarcastic. “Maybe he doesn’t. I haven’t heard him roar about it. I figure news like his daughter wanting to be courted will make him howl loud enough to be heard across two states.”

Now Olivia patted her cousin on the knee. “Marty is a good guy. He’s Kearney’s representative in Omaha; he can afford to support you, and his brother is good friends with the Pack. What could Uncle Shadow possibly have against him?”

“I don’t know.” Victoria looked sincerely troubled. “But there’s something about Marty. I don’t know what it is, but something seems a little off.”

“Off?”

“No, off isn’t the right word. It’s nothing bad. Just different. I think—”

But Olivia didn’t hear what Victoria thought because at that moment Kit came through the door. His big smile and shining eyes told her he had won her parents’ blessing. Silence descended over the entire room. When he located her his smile grew even brighter. She flew across the room and into his arms. Warmth shot through her when he clutched her tightly to him for a moment. She missed it immediately when he released her. The tight silence was broken by low murmurs when he went down on one knee in front of her.

“Olivia Stensrud,” he said formally, as if reciting a memorized speech, “would you do me the very great honor of becoming my wife?”

From the corner of her eye she saw Aunt Sara muffle a gasp behind her hand, and then blink hard as if to keep tears back. “Aw, how sweet,” she breathed, hand sliding down to press against her throat.

Olivia stared down into his anxious face. He had never looked more handsome. “Yes.”

Kit’s eyes went wide. “Yes?” he whispered.

She didn’t want to whisper. She wanted everyone to know she was going to marry him. “Yes!” she shouted. “Yes, Kit, I’ll marry you!”

Leaping to his feet, he clamped her hand hard against his chest. “When?” he demanded, face shining with eagerness. “Tonight?”

She laughed. “Tonight? That’s too soon.”

His eagerness didn’t dim. “Tomorrow?”

“No!” shouted several women in the room.

Kit blinked and clutched her hand more tightly to his chest. She looked over her shoulder and saw aunt Sara and aunt Marissa pushing their way to them. Aunt Sara shook her finger in Kit’s face. “We need time to plan the wedding.”

“We need to make Olivia a dress,” added Marissa.

Connie stepped forward. “Renée will need time to prepare the wedding feast. Rushing something like that will really piss her off. Believe me, you don’t want to get on her bad side.”

Kit’s fingers tightened on hers. His eyes looked desperate. “Then when? How long will this take?”

Multiple voices rose in a confused babble about dresses and flowers, locations and decorations, cakes and steaks, and things that Olivia didn’t catch. She stared into Kit’s eyes, not caring about any of that. His chest was warm beneath her fingers and a new feeling of possession came to her. He was hers. They didn’t even need an official ceremony to make true. It wasn’t that long ago that a marriage was sealed by a wedding night, not a priest saying special words over the couple. Even now many of her Lakota relatives didn’t bother with the Christian ceremony.

“Kit,” she whispered, “I don’t need a special dress. We can go to Kearney’s Catholic church by ourselves. I’ll marry you tomorrow.”

His face took on a happy glow that faded instantly when her mother’s voice came from the door behind him. “Absolutely not.” Her voice cut through the jabbering like a knife. Silence fell. “Olivia, you are the first daughter of the Wolf Clan to marry in decades. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate ceremony, but you are not sneaking off. Your young man has gone to the trouble to get your father’s permission to marry you, so we going to do this right.”

“Besides,” said Sara with a sly wink, “where would you spend your wedding night if you sneak off without warning?”

Kit’s green gold eyes met Olivia’s. A tiny tremor of heat started deep inside her. “That’s a good point. I guess I hadn’t thought that far ahead.”

“I have,” Kit said with a purr in his voice. “I can arrange a private room in the bunkhouse where I’m staying.”

“No!” shouted nearly everyone in the room.

Her dad slipped around Kit and put his hand on her shoulder. “Christmas is a week off. If we set your wedding ceremony for December 23, that gives all the ladies five days to get everything set. That ought to be enough time to get a dress ready, arrange for the priest to come here, and to make a good dinner.” He looked around the room with his usual stoic expression. “Sound good?”

There was a chorus of mostly cheerful agreement. Her dad squeezed her shoulder. “Since you’re engaged I guess you can have a little time alone. That little dining room is empty.”

Kit teeth shone white in a huge smile. He turned to pull her with him out the door. Her father said in a fiercely pleasant voice, “And when I say a little time, I mean ten minutes. Not a second more.”

Kit’s smile fell. Olivia squeezed his hand. She didn’t bother to whisper since nearly everyone in the room would be able to hear her anyway. “In five days we can spend all the time alone we want.”

That seemed to cheer Kit up. “Yes,” he agreed exuberantly. “And we can do it naked.”

 

 

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