Tuesday Teaser 6/16/15: Daughter of the Wolf Clan
I’m back! Back from moving, back from surgery, back from working my butt off on Wolf’s Princess, back from RAGT, and back from that sino-bronchitis crap. 2015 has been quite a ride so far! But I devoutly hope I can get back to Kit and Olivia on a weekly basis now. In this snip I’m not sure of the best way to write Kit’s dialogue. In his half-cat form he is single-minded and he can’t speak clearly, but I don’t want him to sound stupid. He tends to speak in short sentences with few connecting words. In human form, he speaks in more complex sentences. What do you think? Should I re-write Kit’s dialogue to be normal in both forms?
It’s been a while, so before you read the first half of Chapter 5 let me refresh you: last time we were with Tracker and his family as they embarked on their mission to rescue Olivia. And before that, Olivia was dragged in front of Kit’s Pride and told to make nice with him.
As Kit ran full speed along the teeny ledge, Olivia gripped the thin fur covering his back. It was softer than she expected. He made a final leap into his cave and bent over to set her down. Kit’s smaller cave looked almost welcoming after the menace swirling in the one they’d just left. Olivia swayed as her feet landed on the ground. Nonetheless, she moved quickly away and held out both hands to ward off his embrace. “Just wait, Kit.”
“Why waidt?” That face, with its mix of human and cat, looked confused for a moment before it cleared and he ran a clawed hand down his furry chest. “I nah human. Cand gih you sex in this shape. We waidt undil I change.”
Olivia braced her feet. “We’ll wait a lot longer than that. I’m not having sex with you.”
His lips peeled back to show wicked fangs when he growled. “Mah madte!”
Olivia folded her arms, hoping to hide her hands’ tendency to shake. “Yeah? But I haven’t accepted your mate claim yet. In my pack a man doesn’t force his mate to have sex. He waits until she agrees.”
His furry face frowned. “How long until she agrees?”
She wondered if she should mention Aunt Naomi making her mate wait three years. Probably not. “As long as it takes for him to woo her into agreeing. Sometimes it’s a long time. Sometimes it’s only a few weeks.”
“Weeks?” His fur seemed to bristle.
“Yes,” she said firmly.
He prowled back and forth in front of her. “What is wooing? The queen wants us to mate soon.”
His diction was becoming clearer. “Well, wooing is…” She tried to think of what wooing actually consisted of and how she could use it to put him off until she could escape or her father found her. “Wooing is nice. A man and a woman talk to get to know one another. He brings her presents. He never insists on sex. He doesn’t try to rape her like you tried to rape me.”
“I nah rape you!”
“When I first woke up! What was that?”
“I gih you sex.”
She waved her hands around in helpless fury. “I didn’t want you to give me sex!”
Kit stared at her with alien green-gold eyes, still prowling. “Tell me more of wooing.”
“When a man finds his mate, he is gentle and kind. He is …” Her imagination ran out of ideas. “He tries to make her fall in love with him.”
He stopped prowling to stare again. “Fall in love? What is that?”
Now she stared. And realized he was still naked. “Oh, dear. Put some clothes on, Kit.”
He didn’t move. “What is fall in love?” he insisted.
“Really? You don’t know what love is?”
“No.” He closed the distance between them like a cat closing on prey. “You tell me what it is. We talk. That’s wooing. I woo you. Then I give you sex.”
“You will not give me sex,” she shouted, retreating. Immediately he closed the gap she’d put between them, so she made herself stop. “Kit, you can’t give me sex until I ask you to. And I’m not asking you to.”
He trailed the backs of his fingers over her cheek. “The queens not accept you until we have sex. If you not accepted, you die. I can’t let my mate die.” He curled his hand around her arm, obviously taking care to not let his claws touch her. “Sit down. Talk. I woo you.”
“We’re not having sex,” she warned.
“No sex,” he agreed. “Soon? Tomorrow?”
Olivia tried to control the panic threatening to drown her. Was one more day enough time for her dad to find her? “Maybe in four or five days,” she offered.
“Two days,” he countered.
“Kit,” she began.
“No wait long. Queens say. I give you sex or all the males do. Choose.”
She pressed her lips together hard to keep the tears back. She could either have one lover or two dozen. Surely dad was already on his way. “Three days?” she asked with desperate hope.
He trailed the backs of his fingers down her cheek again, a strange sort of tenderness in those feral cat eyes. “I no force you. We talk? Woo?”
What else could she do? “Okay.”
He exerted gentle pressure on her arm to move her over to the blankets. “Sit. You cold?”
He let her go to put more wood on the fire, then joined her on the blankets. His flattened cat nose touched hers for a brief moment. With a horrible shudder, he shifted from half-cat to man. It was an agonizingly slow transformation, with crunching sounds as if bones were breaking. Olivia felt a reluctant wave of sympathy.
“Does that hurt?” she asked. “I don’t like pain, and that looks painful.”
He shrugged and grabbed a pair of jeans to put on. She shifted to make room for him on the blanket. He sat and faced her, their knees touching. “Olivia, I will never cause you pain. I’ll never force you to have sex. I didn’t understand before. I’m sorry. I will fight even the entire Pride to keep you safe.”
“I want to go home,” she whispered. “You could court me there.”
He shook his head, his golden brown hair flowing over his shoulders with the motion. “I can never leave the Pride. I can’t live in that world.”
She sighed as he moved to sit beside her and drape an arm over her shoulders.
Kit leaned to press a gentle kiss to her forehead. “Tell me, my mate, what love is.”