Tuesday Teaser July 22: Wolf’s Lady Part 27
We’re coming to the end of this story, but it’s not quite done yet. 🙂 NOTE: This tidbit has a mild spoiler for Wolf’s Vengeance. I think that book’s been out long enough for the spoiler to be okay, but I wanted to give fair warning in case anyone has strong feelings about having a book spoiled. So, with no further ado, I give you the very raw and unedited Wolf’s Lady.
Amanda held her husband’s hand as they strolled through the streets of Omaha to her father’s house. He looked handsome in his charcoal grey trousers and brick red raw silk shirt open at the throat. She had combed his hair and fastened it into a sleek tail that hung between his shoulder blades to the skinny black belt around his narrow waist. She decided every man with a high tight ass should have a pair of well tailored dress pants to show off his assets. Any woman would be proud to walk hand in hand with Sand, but no one else would ever have the chance, because he was hers.
It was a beautiful afternoon for a walk, sunny and warm, but not hot, with a light breeze. She had her mother’s hand knit shawl tucked into her bag, since the walk home could be chilly. It was a lengthy walk from Sky’s House in what was called the Gold Coast to her childhood home in the poor part of Omaha. They arrived and she tugged him to a halt at the edge of the bare yard to look at the small house.
“I’m going to miss it,” she said. “I know it’s not a big place, or even very nice, but it was home.”
Sand lifted their joined hands to his lips and kissed her fingers. “If I could, I would bring it with us to the den.”
“I know you would. But then where would my father live?”
“He’d always be welcome to live with us at the den.”
Amanda shook her head slowly. “Since my cousin has been named his legal ward, they couldn’t leave Omaha without paying a huge fee. Well, he could, but she couldn’t, and of course he’d never leave her behind.”
He stared at her for a moment, a strange look on his face that morphed into disgust. “Of course the greedy city fathers of Omaha wouldn’t let a woman out of their grasp without being paid for it.”
Oh, God, she thought, looking around to see if anyone could overhear them. The City Guard didn’t patrol this neighborhood the way they did the more prosperous sections of the city, but anyone could inform on them. When she made frantic shushing motions at him he lowered his voice. “If she wants to leave, there are ways to smuggle her out of Omaha.”
She tugged his hand to get him moving to the house. “No, that would be too dangerous.”
He moved obediently toward the house. “How much is the fee?”
“I think it’s one hundred gold strips. I have a little money left, but not enough to pay that.”
Sand muttered something in Lakota and walked with her up the wooden steps to the front door. She knocked. He asked, “Why are you knocking? This is your home.”
“Not anymore. My home is with you from now on.”
Her father opened the door in the middle of her comment. “Now, that’s not quite true, little girl. Your home is with your husband, for sure, but this will always be your home. And Sand’s too.”
Sand shook her father’s hand and they all walked into the small living room. “Smells good,” Sand said.
Her cousin came in from the kitchen, wearing a smile and her novice uniform. Sand went to her and gave her a kiss on the cheek. “Supper smells delicious, cousin. Did you make some of your famous bread?”
Sara grinned. “No, but I made dinner rolls.”
Amanda went and gave her cousin a hug. “What can I do to help with supper.?”
“Supper’s ready, but you could help carry food into the dining room.”
An hour later, Amanda leaned back in her chair, feeling pleasantly full. Her husband and her father were deep in a discussion about rat control. Amanda made a face at Sara, and the girl smothered a giggle behind her hand.
“Let’s leave them to it,” she suggested. “I can help you with dishes.”
Sara accepted the offer. Amanda stood in the familiar kitchen, on the rug her mother had made laid over the section of worn out linoleum in front of the sink, and dried the supper dishes while Sara washed them.
“This is the last time I’ll do this,” she said quietly. “At least, for a very long time.”
Sara smiled at her as she set the last pan into the drying rack. “I remember how hard it was for me when my dad died. I haven’t seen our place in Kansas since.”
That was a reminder to Amanda to be thankful. Her father was still alive, and she hadn’t been sold to be a prize in a Bride Fight. “I’m sorry. That must have been so hard.”
Sara was quiet for a few minutes, her face furrowed with sorrow. “It was. But at least I’m safe here for the time being.” Her face brightened. “And I got a letter from my husband. It was only a few lines long, but it means he’s thinking of me. He hasn’t forgotten me.”
From the entry to the kitchen, Sand spoke. “He hasn’t forgotten you. No wolf would ever forget his mate.”
“Even if he wanted to?” Sara’s smile twisted. “Never mind. When you get back home be sure to tell Spot hi from me, and tell him I’m waiting for him.”
“I’ll tell him.” His voice softened when he turned to Amanda. “Darling, we need to leave.”
Amanda hung up the dish towel and sent a lingering glance around the kitchen. It was time for her to leave. She forced a spring into her step as she walked to the front door of the house. She would be on tomorrow’s train to go to her new home in Kearney. She was looking forward to that, but …
“Daddy,” she whispered, feeling the tears start. ”Daddy, I’m going to miss you.”
Her father’s arms closed around her, not quite as strong as they had been when she was a girl, but just as warm and loving. “I’ll miss you too, little girl. But I’m glad to know you’ll be away from Omaha with a fine man for a husband. Now, don’t cry. You’ll get me started.”
“You’ll come live with us someday,” she said fiercely. “In only a couple of years, you’ll be free to come west. There will be room in our house. Right, Sand?”
“Yes.” Sand put a hand on her father’s arm. “You’ll always be welcome in the Pack.”
Sara’s eyes were streaming, but she tried to stop. “I know you have to go, but I wish you didn’t. It’s a long walk back to Sky’s House and it’s dark. Will you be safe?”
“Sand is with me.” She hugged her cousin one more time. “Of course I will.”
But she was wrong.