Tuesday Teaser 8/26/14: Wolf’s Lady Part 32
Last week I found myself floundering with Wolf’s Princess. I was getting bogged down on too much description and losing my focus for the story, so I did some re-plotting. I’ll probably spend the rest of this week re-writing, re-arranging and cutting to get the story back on track. See? Here’s the revised plotting board.
One of the things I like about Wolf’s Lady is that I get to give readers a first glimpse of what Omaha is like. I give you fair warning, it isn’t like Kearney or the den at all. Sky has changed in his time in Omaha, so focused on what he feels he has to do that he’s pushed his wolf to the background. He certainly isn’t the impatient boy Rose remembers. He’s been wheeling and dealing to make alliances, feeling out who might be sympathetic to a new form of government in Omaha, trying to find a way to give women back their rights. You see that in this tidbit in Sand and Amanda’s story.
Amanda had to look for Sky. He wasn’t in the waiting room or the hallway. He was found in the corner of a dark patient room, in a huddle with Dean Erikson and Johnnie Case. When she first opened the door and the weak electric light streamed in, Johnnie’s face showed excitement, and Dean looked nervous. The Guardsman pulled his usual cold mask over his face, but Jonnie seemed to struggle to bring himself under control. Sky’s face showed its normal smooth imperturbability. Amanda nodded at Sky.
“Sand’s awake. He wants to talk to you.”
His face lit with relief. He gave Johnnie’s arm a squeeze and slapped Dean on the shoulder. “We’ll talk more later,” he murmured.
Amanda had to hurry to keep up with his long legs as he rushed down the hall to Sand’s room. “Wait a second,” she hissed at him, catching his arm. “You were awfully friendly with Johnnie and Dean.”
Sky stopped and leaned down to whisper in her ear. “It seems Lt. Erikson is offended when wrong doers aren’t punished. Judge Case doesn‘t like it when a man ignores his warning and hires thugs to steal a lady he admires and kill her husband.”
Her heart pounded. “Are they going to do something? Arrest Terry?”
“I believe I talked them out of that, at least until you and Sand leave Omaha.” His voice lowered even more. “Maybe we have another two allies in the fight.”
She was sure the fight to depose McGrath and set the women of Omaha free was the only reason Sky was in the city. He gave her a small smile and strode down the empty hall to Sand’s room.
Sand smiled at his cousin, but held his hand out to Amanda. She went to him and held his hand tightly.
“I love you,” he whispered. “Are you okay? Are you hurt?”
Something deep inside untwisted and she smiled at him. “Yes. I’m fine.”
“I should have asked before.”
Until he’d said he loved her just now, she hadn’t even been aware of a tiny annoyance that he hadn’t said it earlier. She perched on the edge of the bed and squeezed his hand. “You sort got distracted, throwing up.”
“Sand, how are you doing?” Sky asked.
Sand smiled at her, weakly pressing her fingers with his own before turning to Sky. “Not too bad. Whatever they gave me is wearing off.”
Amanda clutched his hand and looked him over. “Are you in pain?”
He looked away. “Some. Sky, you have to get me out of here.”
He didn’t even need to explain why. Amanda saw Sky’s eyes narrow and comprehension cross his face. “It’s too late tonight; it’s nearly midnight. Tomorrow you’ll come home.”
Sara gasped. “The doctors will never allow that.”
“Never?” Sky tilted his head. “I think they will, with a little incentive.”
And they did. The next morning at eleven o’clock Sand was asleep in her bed in Sky’s House. Sara had asked to come to be his nurse, but Sister Roberta forbade it.
“A novice in the Order of the Sisters of Healing does not attend a man in a house of ill repute.”
Amanda opened her mouth to blast the stiff necked nun, but Sara beat her to it, and in a much more humble and reasonable way than Amanda would have.
“Sister, it is our duty to care of the sick, and Sand is my cousin’s husband.”
Amazingly, the sour-faced nun smiled. “Very true,” she said approvingly. “And I’ve no objection to you visiting during the day, but you cannot stay overnight. If Mr. Wolfe needs care in the night, I will stay and help him.”
Only Amanda caught the slight widening of Sky’s eyes and wondered if a nun on the premises would hurt business. Not that she cared right now. Sara had confirmed, in a low, awed voice, that Sand’s wound was already healing. It looked like it was a week old after less than twenty-four hours. Amanda was so relieved she crushed the younger woman in a bear hug that made her squeak.
She sat in her vanity chair, watching Sand’s bandaged chest rise and fall with his breathing. His hair, freshly washed and braided, lay over his shoulder to spill over the blanket. His color was better, his full mouth soft in sleep, his thick lashes a crescent of black against his cheek. Even his hand, relaxed and brown on the white sheet, was dear to her. He was the most beautiful man she’d ever seen on her bed, the most precious. If he had died … God, she couldn’t bear to think of it.
A hot tear slid out of her eye and ran down her cheek. She blotted it away. She hadn’t prayed since her mother died, but she said a short wordless prayer now: Thank you, thank you, thank you.
One of Sand’s eyes opened a crack. “You’re tired, mate. Come sleep with me.”
“I couldn’t!” she protested. “You’re hurt.”
“Hm,” he grunted. “Too hurt for much more than just sleep, but I’ll rest better with my mate beside me.”
She slipped her shoes off and lay on the covers beside him, stiff to avoid touching him. With a fumbling hand but surprising strength he dragged her under the blankets with him. “Sleep, Amanda,” he mumbled.
Within a minute they were both fast asleep, heads close together on one pillow. A half hour later he roused when the bedroom door opened. Sara poked her head around the door, and her brown eyes widened at the sight of them snuggled together under the blankets. She opened her mouth to say something, but he pressed a finger to his lips. After a moment, she nodded and closed the door.
Sand curved an arm more tightly around his mate. Her scent seduced him into wanting more than sleeping beside her, but her warmth caressed him into drowsiness. He was still too weak for more than snuggling, but soon he would show his mate again just what her luscious scent did to him. He would never been finished showing her that. Maybe tomorrow…