Tuesday Teaser 5/2/17 Victoria’s Cat Part 17
It’s May! That means I should have the rough draft of Victoria’s Cat done, but I don’t. I am making progress, however. I am three-quarters done, and I’m liking it. This week I am not giving you the rest of the love scene, which is from Victoria’s point of view, but we’ll pick up the morning after instead. Chapters 9 and 10 are going to be action packed, and Victoria is going to find herself in very tight spot. Nothing that she can’t handle, of course. With a little help from her new husband and another unexpected source. So, Enjoy!
Victoria was dead to the world when fingers poked her shoulder. She blinked bleary eyes open in the dark and muttered, “Wha? What?”
“It’s time to get up. You need to pack.”
“What?” she said again. Her mind swam through black layers of sleep, struggling to find reality. This was the little bedroom at the top of the limits, right? Yeah. She was naked! Memories hit her with a joyous thud. “Marty?”
“Yes. Lights coming on.”
All but blinded, Victoria squinted. “You’re already dressed,” she said, disappointed. “What time is it?”
“Quarter to six. We have less than an hour before we have to leave for the train station.”
“An hour!” She threw the covers back and, seeing Marty’s smile, remembered that she was naked. She stood up and stretched, finishing with a sly smile in his direction.
His smile was almost wolfish. Or was the cat-ish? His hands cupped her face to hold her for his kiss. It was a long, lingering kiss. Victoria melted into it.
“If only we had a little more time,” he said with regret.
She played with the lapels of his suit coat. It was the same one he’d worn to the mayor’s house yesterday. “Don’t we have time?”
“No.” He pushed her gently but firmly away from him. “Pack. Take a shower. A quick shower, and come downstairs for breakfast.”
His hair was damp, so he must have already showered. She wished he’d woken her. He must have seen her disappointment.
“There’s no rush, love.” He kissed her again. “We have lots of time ahead of us.”
“Like tonight?” she suggested.
“Where will we be tonight?”
He looked startled. “I guess Eddie’s.”
“We’ll be going out to visit the Clan, right?”
“Right. They need to know what is going on here. But we won’t head out tonight.”
She pulled him down for one more kiss. “Good. I am looking forward to making love with you again as soon as possible.”
“Tonight.” He returned her kiss and stepped back, shaking himself. “I can’t wait. I’ve got to go get my stuff packed up. Meet you downstairs.”
Victoria had grown up moving camp every few weeks. She knew how to pack for travel, so it took her only five minutes to get her stuff together. Her shower was just a quick, and she was downstairs in the kitchen with her satchel less than fifteen minutes after Marty left. He wasn’t there yet, she noticed, but several women were already preparing breakfast. Aunt Renee, of course, was directing the women in her usual brisk manner. Kim Mitzell, face stony, obeyed the directions given. The Limit’s usual cook would probably be glad to see Renee go. Victoria felt a flash of pity for the woman.
Renee noticed Victoria and waved her in. Surprisingly, she didn’t put Victoria to work. “Sit down. Eggs will be ready in two minutes.” She lowered her voice. “No one else knows anything about you know what.”
Hawk came in then, so Victoria didn’t have to respond. Hawk meekly obeyed his mate and took a chair across Victoria. “Sleep well?” he asked blandly.
“Like a baby,” she replied in the exact same tone.
He chuckled. “Babies don’t always sleep very well.”
Marty came in, wearing a pair of jeans and a sweater instead of yesterday’s suit. He looked around the room with a slight frown. As he slid into the chair beside Victoria, he spoke quietly to Hawk.
“Ray wasn’t in our room, and neither were the Allersen boys. Have you seen them?”
Hawk shook his head.
“What about Miss Summer? Is she here?”
Hawk leaned back when Renee put a heaping plate in front of him. The smile he gave her was full of love, the comfortable kind of love that developed over years, steady and strong. “Thank you, love. Sit down and eat with us.”
“I believe I will.”
Marty waited until the four of them were sitting at the table before he returned to his original question. “Did Colby and Ray come back last night?”
Hawk paused with his fork halfway to his mouth. He lowered it slowly, frowning. “I don’t know. Rock went with them to find Colby’s mate. If they found her they were supposed to bring her here. Is she upstairs in the room across from yours, Victoria?”
Victoria shrugged. “I didn’t see her.”
“I didn’t hear her,” said Marty. “Do you think they’re still out there, looking for her? Or trying to convince her to come with them?”
Hawk stood up. “It should have taken that long. I’m going upstairs to check on her.” When Marty stood up, he waved him back. “No, you need to eat before the train comes. I can get a bite later if I need to. I’ll be right back.”
Marty’s unease spread to Victoria, and she found herself not enjoying the fried potatoes and scrambled eggs as much as she usually did. “Where are the other delegates? Aren’t they going on the train too?”
Renee had the answer to that. “Most of them have already left for the train station. Hawk decided it was better if we didn’t all go in one big group. If two or three people leave at a time it doesn’t look quite so obvious that there’s exodus out of Omaha this morning.”
“Good idea. Uncle Hawk is pretty smart.” Victoria inwardly squirmed. They were leaving Omaha in time to avoid whatever trouble President Todd had for the city. Was it right to run away? Actually, it wasn’t the leaving that made her feel like a coward, but the sneaking away in the early hours of the morning.
Marty noticed her discomfort. “What’s wrong, Vic?”
She lowered her voice to a tiny whisper. “Sneaking out of town and leaving everyone else here to face, uh, him doesn’t feel right.”
He took her fingers and gave them a gentle squeeze. “I know what you mean. But we have a responsibility to our friends and families back home.”
Uncle Hawk came back in and took his place at the table again. He glanced over at Marty and shook his head. “No, there’s no sign the girl has been here. I checked your room, and Ray’s scent isn’t fresh. The only fresh scent is yours. So I don’t think he was there last night.”
Marty stabbed a chunk of potato with a little bit too much force. “Dammit,” he muttered. “Ray had better not miss the train. McGrath said it won’t wait.”
“Maybe he’s already waiting for us there,” Victoria said, trying to sound encouraging.
But when they got to the train station, there was no sign of Ray, or Colby, or Rock. Miss Summer wasn’t there either. Two dozen of the delegates and their companions sat inside the station, talking quietly and looking tired.
Renee looked for an open spot on a bench, but they were all full. The nearest bench was occupied by Brother Saul. Hawk stepped over to him and growled almost politely, “Get up, and let the ladies sit.”
Brother Saul raised a pugnacious chin, but stood up and moved a few steps away. Renee gave him a brusque nod and sat down where he had been. Victoria joined her. She didn’t see Jon or Tanner in the station. Maybe they, like her brother and cousins, were staying in Omaha to help if it came to a fight.
Marty alternated between keeping anxious watch on the door and pretending to stroll casually around the station, too obviously not looking for his nephew. Victoria found herself glancing around the room as if Ray and the others might crawl out from under a bench at any moment. With the sun not yet up, the bare lightbulbs couldn’t quite illuminate the entire room, so maybe the boys would materialize out of a dark corner.
A sluggish, muted rumble came from outside, followed by the low hiss of machinery. The train was firing up its engines. According to the large clock on the wall, departure was only ten minutes away.
“The train is already here.” Renee nodded to the dark window, where the dark outline of the train could be seen. “Maybe Colby and Rock are already on it.”
“Maybe.” Hawk didn’t sound convinced. “It’s probably been here for a little while, so they might have gotten on already.”
Marty returned from one of his rounds of the train station. “They’re here, with Anna McGrath.”
The door opened and the mayor’s daughter came into the station escorted by Ray on one side and Rock on the other. Behind them, were Colby and Georgina Summer. Victoria could practically see the tension seep away from her husband. He pushed through a knot of men standing by the door and took the two suitcases Rock carried.
“I’m glad to see you, Miss Anna,” he said gently. He gave his nephew a nod. “You too.”
Colby gestured with the backpack he held. “Sit down, Miss Gina.”
Georgina Summer snatched the backpack away from him and held her back very straight as she strode past him to the bench. Many of the delegates nodded to her as she passed them, but luckily no one tried to touch her. By the set of Colby’s jaw, he was irritated by something. A stranger touching his mate would undoubtedly have set him off. Victoria made room on the bench for the younger woman, who sat with her denim-clad knees primly together, backpack on her lap, looking straight ahead without speaking. It looked like Colby wasn’t the only one irritated by something. Or someone.