Tuesday Teaser 3/1/16: Olivia’s Mate
I did it! I DID IT!!! The rough draft of Olivia’s Mate is complete!
I had fully intended to have it done by the end of January, but between the overtime and the pneumonia it just didn’t happen. I am now going to put it aside for this week while I work on getting Ellie’s Wolf, Wolf’s Vengeance and Wolf’s Lady formatted for paperback. Then I’m going to do the first revision, send it to the beta readers, and then send it to the Editor, Athena Gracyk. My target goal for the release is April 28, 2016. Two months. It could be less, depending on editing.
Here is the end of the second to the last chapter, and the beginning of the last chapter. Unedited, of course, but I like it. I hope you’ll enjoy it too.
Victoria removed the pins holding the veil to Olivia’s hair with a shudder. “I am not going through a nightmare like that when I get married,” she declared.
Olivia could definitely agree. It had been a long, tiring day. They were alone in the one bedroom apartment in the basement of the Plane Women’s House. Years ago it had been an efficiency apartment, but now it was the most private apartment in the house. Her father had said grimly that he didn’t need to hear their wedding night. The single room had been cleaned and decorated as a honeymoon suite. There was a plain dresser against the wall and a four poster bed with a beautiful gold comforter under the narrow window. Olivia fingered one of the puffy white bows that were tied to the bedposts and smiled with affection for her aunts and cousins who had gone to the trouble to make this little room special.
She slanted a teasing look at Victoria. “I thought you wanted to marry Marty.”
“I do, but heck, he can just give my dad a few horses and I’ll pack my bag and move in with him like they did in the old days. I’m not wearing all that frou-frou and sitting at a table for two hours while my cousins make fun of me. Newlyweds have better things to do with their time.”
Olivia followed her cousin’s gaze to the bed. Sitting beside Kit without touching him during that endless supper had been hard. She’d kept thinking about how he’d looked naked back in his cave. From the expression on his face when he looked at her, Olivia knew he was impatient for the meal to end too. “Yeah,” she murmured.
Vic glanced at the door. “Well, you can get to the better things any minute now. I think I hear him coming down the stairs. Darn, I’m your attendant. I was supposed to help you get undressed and ready for bed before the bridegroom came. I guess…” She paused delicately and continued in teasing sarcasm. “He’s not in the mood to wait in the hall while I disrobe you?”
Olivia gave her a swat on the arm but couldn’t help smiling. “Kit can help me get undressed.”
Moving to the door, Victoria tossed a grin over her shoulder. “Tell him to be careful. Kendra won’t be able to wear that monstrosity of a dress at her wedding if it’s shredded.”
The mental image of Kit tearing the dress off her made Olivia’s mouth go dry.
“Good grief,” Victoria said with a snort. “If the dictionary had a picture to show what lustful anticipation looked like, it would be the expression on your face right now.”
A knock on the door saved Olivia from having to answer that, but she was sure her blush was as bright as her smile.
“Just wait a second,” Victoria snapped at the still-closed door before turning back to Olivia. “I’m almost envious of what you’ll do tonight, but I wish you the best. I hope you two will be really happy together forever.”
Victoria turned the door knob but paused. She arched brow at Olivia. “Oh, I was wondering… When you start your family, will you have puppies or kitties?”
“Oh, lord,” Olivia squealed, feeling her eyes open wide.
Laughing, Vic opened the door and Olivia’s brothers and a dozen male cousins trooped in, carrying Kit on their shoulders. One of them cried, “Not on the bed!” They dumped him on the rug beside the four poster, and Olivia was sure only his feline reflexes kept him on his feet.
“Aw,” said Colby, standing with his thumbs hooked in his belt loops, gaze on the bed. “Isn’t that a pretty bed? Taylor, have you ever seen a prettier bed?”
Taylor shook his head. “Nope. Those bows are precious.”
Olivia ground her teeth. She was positive the word precious had never before passed Taylor’s lips. He wasn’t done.
“And see how the comforter’s turned down just so?” Her brother gestured at the bed. “You can see all the pretty embroidery on the sheet. Looks real tidy. Inviting, even.” He cast a sly glance at Olivia. “I bet it won’t stay that way for long.”
“I bet not.” Parker sauntered over to Olivia and pinched her cheek before nodding at Kit. “There you go, baby sister: one bridegroom, mostly undamaged.”
Undamaged? Olivia quickly looked Kit over. He didn’t look hurt. Her cousins were swatting him on the shoulders and back as if dusting him off, using far more force than necessary. Kit seemed to be taking it with good humor.
“Thanks for showing me where I’ll be sleeping tonight,” he said with a grin. “But if you don’t mind, I think it’s time for you to leave so I can spend some time alone with my mate.”
“Hold on.” Parker held up one finger. “Just one sec.” He reached into the back pocket of his pants and came out with a pack of playing cards. He set them on the dresser with finicky precision. The smile he aimed at Olivia was so innocent she almost choked. “For you,” he said in dulcet tones. “In case you get bored tonight and need something to keep yourself busy.”
Olivia’s jaw dropped. “What?” she managed to squawk. “Are you crazy?”
Amidst the snickers from her cousins, Kit’s laugh was joyous. “She won’t be bored, I promise.” He moved toward the door with arms outstretched, herding her brothers and cousins toward the hall. “Good night. Thank you. Have a nice night.”
She heard one of her cousins mumble, “It won’t be as nice as yours.”
The door closed and finally she was alone with her husband.
Olivia waited with her breath stuck in her throat for Kit to come to her. Would he immediately take her clothes off? Or would he kiss her with gentle passion first? Or rough passion? Which did she want him to do? But he only stood by the door, staring at her with intense eyes. At last she gasped in a breath and said, “Kit?”
“I don’t want to scare you.”
“I’m not scared.”
“You’re not?” His smile bloomed. “Good. Your uncle Taye told me you would be and I would have to be careful.”
“Uncle Taye?” She barely kept herself from rolling her eyes. “He gave you his speech, didn’t he? The one about how to make your mate happy in bed?”
“Yes. Most of it I already knew, but there were a few things I didn’t.”
Memories of the women at the caves flashed into Olivia’s mind. She got stuck on the memory of one woman baring herself and demanding that Kit service her. “You’ve done this before.”
His smile died. “Yes and no.” He looked directly into her eyes. “I’ve had sex. The queens wanted to be serviced when they were in heat. I liked doing it, but it didn’t mean anything. I didn’t love them. It wasn’t making love. I’ve never made love before.”
Somehow that answer soothed her jealousy and uncertainty. “So what did Uncle Taye tell you to do?”
Kit crossed the few yards between them in a saunter of smooth feline grace. He put a hand on either side of her face and tilted it to look down at her. “First I need to make you relaxed.”
His hands were warm. She smiled up at him. “How are you supposed to do that?”
“I think I’m supposed to pet you and kiss you.”
Her heart thudded. “Yes, please.”
He moved close to her, his legs crowding the skirt of her dress into a distorted oval. His mouth was light and tender against hers. “Are you relaxed yet?” he whispered against her lips.
“No. You might want to kiss me harder.”
He did. She found it very satisfying. What wasn’t satisfying were the layers of clothing he wore. She wanted to feel his warm firm flesh against her hands. Without breaking the kiss, she tried to shove his coat down his arms.
He lifted his head to groan. “Too many clothes,” he said in agreement.