Tuesday Teaser 7/4/17: Victoria’s Cat the LAST Part
First of all, to my American readers, Happy Fourth of July! I hope you’ve had a terrific day full of good food and good times. Weather here is hot and humid (93 with 52% humidity is probably a beautiful day for some of you, but I’m sitting in front of the AC with a fan!) so typical 4th of July weather.
I started writing Strong Hearts, the story of how Brutus and Denise fell in love, while I’m waiting for the Victoria’s Cat edits to come back. I’m taking a break from writing today though, to sit and watch TV and knit. The perfect day off for me!
Yes, we’ve come to the end of Victoria’s Cat. This isn’t the end of the story arc, however. There are more cats and wolves to fall in love and fight for their happily ever afters. There are villains to kill and mates to be saved. Colby must be found. Will Ray recover? What will happen to Patia? I hope to start writing Colby and Gina’s story in February. Since I’m writing Strong Hearts to be part of a Kindle World, I can’t post teasers on my blog. So hopefully starting in February you’ll see the Tuesday Teasers start up again.
Meanwhile, here is the last part of Victoria’s Cat. Do you think this ties up enough loose ends to satisfy you, yet leave enough hanging to make you want to read Colby’s story? Let me know what you think!
Twenty minutes later, she was dead asleep against him. Marty breathed in the scent of her hair. All the pain and weariness and anguish were nothing compared to the feel of his mate beside him. He placed his hand gently over her thigh, rejoicing in her presence. His mate was returned to him, safe and well, and that was worth running two hundred miles with bullet holes.
A soft knock announced Mrs. McGrath with supper. He didn’t move. Victoria didn’t stir. After a few moments, he heard the clink of dishes as something settled on the floor outside the door. A tray, he guessed. Later, he told himself. You can wake Vic up later. For now, he just wanted to savor having his mate cuddled up beside him. She snorted a delicate, lady-like snore. He silently chuckled. He loved her. He must, because even her snores were precious to him. He turned his head and brushed a kiss over her hair.
“I love you,” he whispered, as sleep pulled him under.
* * * *
One week later the train, which had been retrieved from where the Kansas-Missouri troops had abandoned it, pulled into the Kearney station. Victoria stared out the window.
“I think every single person in Kearney is here. And more than half the Clan,” she added. Torn between joy at seeing her family, and terror at seeing her family, she swallowed. “Oh, no. There’s dad.”
Marty leaned over to look at the window. “Is he really angry, or does he always look like that?”
“Well, he does look like that a lot.” It wasn’t quite a lie. “Oh, look, there’s mom.”
There were twelve of her cousins on the car with them, all of them waving madly at friends and family on the platform. Victoria waited for them to disembark first. They didn’t. She waved at them. “Go ahead,” she ordered them. “Get off the train and be sure it’s safe like you always do.”
Eagle flashed her a wolfish smile, all bright teeth. “Oh, with dad and the rest of the Clan out there, it’s safe. We’ll wait until you’re done getting hugged by mom and dad. We’ll just stay here where it’s calm and watch.”
Marty stood up, favoring his hip only slightly. “Better go face the music, Vic.”
He stepped off the train first, and turned to steady her. Silence fell as a path opened between them and her parents. She saw other members of the Clan standing a short distance away, silently watching their Alpha. Her father, Wolf’s Shadow, Alpha of the Lakota Wolf Clan, jabbed a finger at Marty.
“You,” he bellowed. “You are the man who married my daughter even though I ordered you to stay away from her.”
“Yes,” Marty began, but her father cut him off with an outthrust arm.
“She was stolen from you!”
“Yes,” Marty tried again.
Her father glowered and raised his already considerable volume. “You ran for two hundred miles with four bullets in you to bring her help!”
“Actually, only two bullets were in me,” Marty said quickly, probably trying to squeeze his words out before her father cut him off again. “It was—”
“Brave!” her father boomed. “It was a brave thing to do. Worthy of a wolf warrior.” He stepped forward and enveloped Marty in a tight embrace.
“Dad.” Victoria rushed forward. “He’s still hurt.”
Her father opened his arms and turned to face his Clan. He put an arm over Marty’s shoulders with a huge grin. “This is my son,” he roared.
The Clan erupted in howls and cheers. Jaw sagging, Victoria stared at her father. “Mom?”
Her mother came and hugged her. “Your father hates to be wrong,” she remarked, “but when he is, he’s a big enough man to admit it. Oh, Vic, you’ve had a hell of a time, haven’t you?”
“It’s been pretty awful,” Victoria agreed. “And it’s not over.” She looked through the crowd to Aunt Carla, Colby’s mom, and her daughter Patia. “No sign of Cole yet?”
Her mom shook her head. “No. But his body hasn’t been found, so we know he’s alive.”
Lisa Madison, her new sister-in-law, stood by Carla and Patia. Eddie had said he and Lisa would head back to Omaha to be with their son in the hospital. Marty would be the acting mayor while they were gone. Victoria shook her head. “And Ray is still in a coma. But the doctors are hopeful. He could come out of it.”
“I hope so. Even in the Times Before, doctors couldn’t save everyone. People think that the world back then was full of miracles, but people died all the time of illness.” Her mom gave her shoulders a squeeze and let her go. “You’ve had a miracle of your own.”
“Marty,” Victoria agreed.
“Have you two had sex?”
Her mom was unruffled. After nearly three decades with a clan of wolf warriors, she was generally unruffled. “Just wondering. He was badly hurt.”
“Not that badly.” Victoria spoiled her primness by giggling. “We’ve managed to enjoy ourselves a few times in the last couple of days.”
“My hope of grandchildren is restored.” Her mom chuckled. “We better go rescue your husband before your father kills him in gratitude for saving you.”
An hour later, exhausted by the Clan’s exuberant welcome, Marty plopped down beside her in backyard of the Plane Women’s House. The couch had been carried out especially for them. The celebration had been put on hold so the leaders of Kearney and the Packs could meet. The space was smaller than where most councils took place, and there were more people present, but they made it work.
Eagle, Hawk, Victoria, Renee, and Eddie Madison took turns explaining what had happened when the President of Kansas-Missouri tried to take over Omaha. Everyone listened in polite silence. There was very little discussion. Wolf’s Shadow stood with a grim face to speak.
“The man who calls himself President Todd sent his killers to murder innocent people, including my new son and his blood kin. He is responsible for my daughter being shot. Colby of Taye’s Pack, blood of our blood and bone of our bone, was wounded to the point of death. Colby’s mate has been taken by this man.” He raised a hand, fingers spread, and slowly clenched it into a fist. “He has promised to bring war against our people.” He paused to look around the gathering. “If he wants war, we’ll give him war.”
Approving murmurs rose to a shout.
“That day will come.” The alpha turned to look down at Victoria and Marty. “But not today. Today we celebrate.”
“My,” Marty murmured into her hair a little later. “Your family likes a party. Was that the Chicken Dance?”
She swayed with him in time to a soft ballad crooned by Aunt Carla. “I think that’s what it’s called. Look. Isn’t it sweet, watching Hawk and Renee dance?”
“It’s sweeter dancing with you.” He put his mouth against her throat and touched his tongue there. “It was only a few months ago that your dad would have killed me for dancing with you like this.”
They were pressed together from breast to knee. It made her think of other activities they could be doing. “I like dancing with you like this, but it’s been a long day. Are you tired?”
“A little,” he admitted, turning them in a lazy half circle. “Not too tired, though. It’s only a fifteen minute walk to my house in the compound. I have a bed there.”
Victoria looked over his shoulder to see who was watching. “I don’t think anyone would notice if we slipped away.”
They made their way stealthily to the edge of the party and made a break for it. They came to the gate in the wall of the mayor’s compound, laughing and panting. The guard there smiled as he opened the gate for them. Marty waved as they passed through. He didn’t speak until they were several yards away. “Did anyone notice our escape?” he asked.
“Just my mom,” she said, and snorted a laugh. “And she won’t tell. She wants grandchildren.”
He hurried her down the street and behind the white mansion Eddie and Lisa Madison lived in. There was a small house there that he led her to. “This is a small house,” he said apologetically.
“It’s cute,” she said politely. “It’s big enough for the two of us.”
He opened the door. “For now, it’s just two of us. Our house will be built before any children come.”
He tugged her down a hall to a bedroom. Not that she needed any urging. She followed his tugging with enthusiasm.
“I’ve heard that the Lakota have special conditions about sons-in-law and mothers-in-law.” He kissed her, a gentle slide of lips over her jaw. “I bet one of them is that the son-in-law must obey his wife’s mother. So if my mother-in-law wants grandchildren it is my duty to make some for her, right?”
His lips hovered tauntingly right over her mouth. “Uh, right. You better get on that.”
He kissed her deeply, then paused to look down at her seriously. “I don’t know what will happen with Todd. We’ve gotten away this time, but it’s not over.”
The memory of Major Ellis’ threats tried to intrude but she pushed it away. “No, it’s not. We still need to find Colby. Gina Summer is still with Todd. And Ray is still out.”
“He’s going to be okay.” Conviction rang in his voice. “Part of me wants to go to Omaha with Lisa and Eddie, but the rest of me knows I need to stay here. Someone needs to mind the store while Eddie’s away. The most important thing is we’re together.”
“We’ll keep each other safe,” she agreed. She laced her fingers behind his neck to bring his lips closer. “Now, can we get on with the grandchildren project?”
He laughed and got on with it.