He was late. A sense of urgency dogging his every step and he was running late. Every night for the last two years he stalked on the outer edge of the Denton Estate, keeping watch and catching brief glimpses of his mate. Lana. If he was lucky the wind would blow a breeze sending her sent to ruffle his fur. Oh how he longed for his mate, the only person man or woman on two or four legs that could and did bring him to his knees. The woman designed especially for him, the one that hated him above all others. He knew hoping for forgiveness was futile, dying for her love was hopeless and wishing for another chance was not in the cards. She would never forgive him, even after he explained things to her, she refused to see the truth and only focused on the deed he had done. As his mind raced with thoughts of the past he pushed his animal form as fast as he dared to reach her. He may never taste her kiss again, may never again know the slide of satin that was her skin against his but he would always consider her his. And he protected what was his.
Lana felt it too. Something bad was happening and it was closing in on her. She knew for months something wasn’t right. Well longer than that if she was honest with herself and lately she had no choice but to stop lying to herself. Daniel, once her beloved brother, the only family she had left in the world had betrayed her. How many times did she read the secret emails, how many times did she catch his leering gaze before he caught her notice and smiled the familiar and now she realized fake loving smile he always wore. The question of why was too simple and she feared she didn’t want to know the answer. Romel. Her heart squeezed with pain. The separation, the things she said, things she could never take back, things if he knew, he would never forgive. The baby, their son. God she felt sick inside. How had everything gone crazy? One day she was meeting someone new and falling in love almost instantly aware that this was her destined mate, her man, the one above all others that would love her truly and never betray her trust. And when things she didn’t want to know and didn’t understand took place what did she do? The thing that she coveted the most. Trust, loyalty. She betrayed the one she loved and left him, taking unbeknown to him his most prized possession. His child.
He thought she had miscarried and although it was a concern of the doctors she never allowed him to know that it never happened. She now understands that Daniel was counting on her being so upset over Romel’s accused lies that she would leave him out of her life completely and she fell right into his plans. There was no way Romel could know about their son and not be involved in his life. She knew even now that even with the ties not completely broken but severely severed he would and did still protect her from a distance. She started to feel when he was near and in the beginning feared he would approach her but she knew Romel. Strong and confident in his ability to protect, lacked the confidence in self worth and because she so callously discarded him he would not seek a second chance.
Her only question now was where was He? He never failed to show up even when she pointedly for months ignored his presence in her mind and blocked any attempts at communication. Now when she felt like she was about to crawl out of her skin with fear of the unknown he wasn’t here. Was it any wonder that she needed him this badly after how she treated him? The soft sound behind her had her turning. Latham her eleven month old son toddled over with a solemn look on his face. He knows. Her inner cat whispered to her. Even now it was still a wonder that her cat spoke to her at all after she deserted their mate.
He will come for us.
How many times had her cat told her that and she staunchly denied it, secretly hoping he would. She shook off the thought as quickly as it came; she had no time to think of what was. It was about here and now and it was time to go. She shrugged the pack on her back that contained the things she needed and bent to pick up her son. She was leaving or escaping would be a better word for it before her brother slipped further into his madness and forced her to do something she didn’t want to do. Kill him.
This isn’t home. It never was. Home approaches.
The dark of night helped to camouflage Romel from being seen. Something was wrong. He smelled the stink of Daniel and several other shifters that all had the taint of evil. He growled in the back of his throat at the threat to his mate. There was no way she didn’t know the truth by now, the lies and deceit her brother played and the games he continued to play. His quick mind scanned the area checking like the security expert he was for signs of weakness and entry points. Assessing the situation he knew there was no way he was going to leave tonight without his mate if he had to drag her out. He inched forward to gain a closer look when a scent teased his senses. His animal immediately on alert for any signs of danger.
She comes to us.
Romel wanted to roll his eyes, like duh! His question was why? In the two years since she left him or more accurately chose her brother over him she made no moves in his direction. The first few months after it all happened he tried to communicate with her on their mating link but she blocked him and afterwards he never tried again.
There is another with her. Young, his cat has not come yet, but he’s close.
There was no time for an internal debate with his cat; he could make out the outline of her body as she quickly yet quietly approached. He backed away and hid in the shadows to await her approach and to see what she did next.
As she walked into the clearing just outside of the fence she paused looking in his direction as if she could see right through him.
She squeezed the bundled in her arms tighter, although he was able to see the slight tremor in her body he refused to acknowledge it.
“Romel I know you’re here, I …I need your help”
The panther walked closer to her but no form of contact was made. She willed her body to relax and wait him out. She knew many things and one of those things was that Romel no matter how much hurt or pain she caused him He in any form would never hurt her.
He wanted to touch her, to reassure himself that she was unhurt but he lost that right and he would not push himself on her no matter the pain he felt in his body just to be near her. He walked behind her forcing her without touch to move away from the house. He felt her try to open the link to communicate with him but he couldn’t afford to do that, not yet.
She let me steer her onto the road where she walked for at least a mile until she came to a black SUV. She turned the bundle still in her arms and looked as if she wanted to say something but he wasn’t ready to hear it. He turned and loped into the underbrush to retrieve a bag that held his clothes and a set of keys to his truck. After shifting he changed clothes silently giving himself the talk. No jumping Lana, no kissing, no touching. NO nothing. His job was to protect her not molest her. She made that abundantly clear that she wanted no part of him, he refused to think of what she needed from him now. He would not think past her safety, his heart couldn’t afford for him to.
He shut her out. She had been trying to communicate with him for the past half mile and it felt as if she was up against a brick wall. She had no reason to be hurt by it, no reason to feel the tears resting behind her eyes but yet she did. She stood still waiting on his return. So much time had passed between them with nothing but bitter words mainly from her and now she had so many things bottled inside she felt explosive. When he finally walked out of the underbrush looking completely composed she knew what the feeling of loss truly felt like. In another time and place she would have ran to him wrapping her arms and legs around him kissing him for all he was worth but she couldn’t and she didn’t. It hurt.
“Let’s go” he said smoothly unlocking the door and opening it for her. When she shrugged off the pack his large hands deftly caught it and tossed it in the back seat and walked around to the driver side after closing her and her bundle inside. He took a deep breath before he got in the car closing the door wrapping them in silence and unasked questions.
He put the key in the ignition and as he was turning it, she spoke.
“You’re not going to ask?
He remained silent for a second trying to gather his thoughts and control his cat that had leaped to the front of his mind roaming too close to the surface for him to appear calm. The scents, and sounds were all in his mind sending him data some he discarded as background noise and some he had no name for but wanted answers to them all the same.
Still turned towards the front, he sighed …”Would you tell me the truth if I asked?”
“I’ve never lied to you”
He turned then, the cat clear in his topaz eyes. “Clearly we both know that’s a lie” he said as he looked at the bundle in her arms. He still had yet to see the face but his scent marker was all over it. His child. Between him and his brother Christian he was the one who always had the most trouble controlling his cat in high levels of stress and agitation and this time would be no different but he could not afford to lose his cool now. He closed his eyes breathing deeply trying to push away any unwanted emotions, anger, hurt, love all warring to dominate the other. When he felt he had it under control enough he opened his eyes only to be greeted by the eyes of his son. Cat eyes.
I told you his cat was close.
He clenched his fist and turned back towards the front effectively closing Lana out of mind as he crunk up his truck and pulled off.
As he pulled into his garage, he forced calm into his system, it wouldn’t do to get upset. Hurt could not begin to describe how he felt. His child, his son and she didn’t tell him. He thought she had a miscarriage and she let him believe it. He knew why she did it, because she knew he would not leave her no matter how much she cried if he knew about it but that didn’t excuse it. All he missed, the pregnancy, the birth. How had he missed it? It must have been during the time Christian and Sanala were going through their spell and he was afraid to leave his brothers side after he realized what he planned to do all in the name of love. Man oh man did the Black brothers know how to love; when they did it was with everything they had.
“Come on, I’ll get you settled in.
“Is that it? Is that all you’re going to say?
“We’ll talk later, I can’t talk right now.”
She let him lead her around the house to his wing knowing he wanted to avoid Christian, not really sure how she felt about that, but she let it ride for now.
When he opened the door leading to his bedroom she paused for a brief moment before following him in. She watched as he dropped her pack on the floor by the bed and turned to leave. She waited, not sure for what, but he didn’t disappoint.
“I’m assuming you are well aware of your brother’s activities, otherwise we both know you wouldn’t have come to me.
I’m going to also assume that there is a good reason why you didn’t tell me about my son though we both know there isn’t.” He continued speaking right over her.
He once again continued talking over her completely dismissing anything she would have said. And still he did not look at her or the child.
“I will always protect you and the same now holds true for my son. I hope you trust me that much.”
Romel please… her voice broke.
I’ll be downstairs” and with that he left the room closing the door softly behind him.
He wouldn’t be swayed by her tears. God he loved that woman and the hurts she had dealt to him was unconceivable to him coming from his once timid, shyly honest mate. His woman, and now his son.
His hands clenched and unclenched as he closed his office door with more force than he intended as he forced the moisture from his face for the pain in his soul for all that was within his fingertips but still too far out of reach for him to obtain.
The door opened behind him but he didn’t turn around just yet.
“Is everything alright Rom” his brother’s deep voice asked from behind him.
“No” he grated
“I know Lana is here”
“She’s not alone. My son is with her.”
He turned then and the simmering rage and pain evident in his eyes, but out of respect for him Chris wouldn’t dare comment on it.
What are you going to do?
“What I do best, protect those I love.”
“And worry about yourself later.” Chris finished for him.
“I’m going to need your help; Daniel has gone too far this time. I’ve been keeping tabs on him and he is getting ready to make a move.
“Maybe I should be the one to take him out, you just got her back.”
“No! She’s not staying and I won’t ask her too. She can’t hate me this time anymore than she did the last time I almost killed him.”
“She doesn’t hate you she was young and she was confused. You know more than anyone how he had her brainwashed.”
“It doesn’t matter, he’s trying to destroy her and I won’t let him. I will kill him and end this once and for all.”
Lana looked around the room that use to be hers and wondered again how she could have given him up. Her strong, sensitive man and she pushed him away. The calm on his face could almost have her fooled but she knew better, he was in just as much pain or more than she was. Latham started squirming and she finally released the straps and let him down. She sat down on the edge of the bed sliding all the way to the floor as her son looked around the room. There wasn’t much change to it, or at least not as much as she remembered. The room itself was large with a sitting room and a spacious closet and bathroom, yet it looked just the same way it did the day she left. All the paintings and feminine touches she had added were still where she put them. She overlooked the hope that sprung in her heart that she hadn’t completely screwed up any chance that he would still want her. He even kept the hand crafted sculpture of a stalking black panther she made for him. Tears stinging her eyes she watched as Latham walked towards it and pointed, “Da Da”
There was no hope for the river of tears to stop falling after that. What could she say? How could she fix this? Obviously sensing her distress he toddled back over to her and sat in her lap trying to offer comfort as only a child can. Unclear of how much time passed she vaguely remembered crawling into bed with her son and falling into an exhausted sleep.
Late after trying to run his body to exhaustion and still in cat form he couldn’t stop the compulsion to go to his room and check on her and the kid, his kid. Even inside his other form his heart shuddered at the blow of not having her then finding out that he also lost his kid too. He could not wrap his mind around the fact that she would keep that from him, she knew how much he wanted kids, but he wouldn’t ask. He nudged the door open and made his way across the room silently, the lights were off except for the soft glow of the bathroom light and he could clearly see the silhouette of her and the boy in the bed huddle together all alone in their world. He wanted to hate her, to resent her but the love in his soul was too strong and pure for it to take root, but God he tried. Her breathing even her arm lightly holding her son. She looked tired, but he stilled himself against the worry, he could not afford to go there, yes he loved her and he would always and she would come before anyone else in his life but for all accounts and purposes she was no longer his anymore, for whatever reason she chose her brother over him and he could not, would not see past that. Finally weary in body but not yet ready to discuss anything with her he chose to stay in cat form and sleep on the floor by the fireplace.
He was dosing off and on with his back to the fire when he heard the covers rustle. He remained still to avoid any idea of conversation no matter how one- sided it would be when he saw a small form walking towards him. He forced his body to remain still unsure of what to do. When his son plopped down as only a baby could do and leaned his slight weight against the cat and murmured “Da Da”. His heart wept. He remained still for some time unaware of the soft purring sound coming out of the cat’s throat but no sooner than he thought to change and put the baby back on the bed, he realized his son
was asleep. Agonizing moments later he allowed his body to relax and he too fell back to sleep.
Hours later when Lana opened her eyes Latham was sitting up playing with some type of toy truck sitting on the floor by the bathroom door. She swallowed her anxiety and sat up in the bed and waited, she knew it would not take long. Seconds later the bathroom door opened and a freshly showered and shaved Romel walked into the room. He stopped cold when he saw her sitting up in bed and the standstill lasted for an eternity or a few seconds before he walked towards the closet to find his clothes.
Knowing Romel for who he was she knew that he would not iniate a conversation with her, and the task would be left up to her. She slid off the bed and made her way to the closet. He was dragging on a pair of jeans when she walked up on him.
“Not now Lana”
Two years ago she would have walked away silently, giving him his space and allowing him to choose his own time when he wanted to resolve an issue between them. That time had been long gone and she refused to go back to that.
“Yes now, we have to talk about this situation.”
He turned slowly towards her his cat ever present in his eyes and voice as he spoke.
“There’s nothing to discuss, you came to me for help, and I’ve got that. Your brother has obviously gone farther than even you can stomach and I’ll take care of it.”
“I’m not talking about that and you damn well know it.
“Look after your brother is dead you should inherit everything that was yours from the beginning and you and the boy will be safe.
“The boy?” she whispered, fury increasing with each word out of his mouth.”
“Jesus Lana, I don’t know him what did you think, I would take him from you?
“Yes I know its tradition, when a young male begins the change if the mother and father are separate the mother must return him to his father for upbringing. Blah Blah bullshit! What kind of man do you think I am to take a child from his mother the only parent he has ever known?
“No dammit you wanted to have this talk so let’s do it. I don’t know what really happened two years ago, I have my speculation but considering to talk about them will only piss me off more than I already am I think it is best left unsaid and secondly wherever he is doesn’t change I’m his father and will be in his life but don’t stand in front of me with fear in your eyes like I am going to take your son from you over some bullshit that has nothing to do with me or you.
She didn’t know what to say in the face of his fury; yes she thought he would take his son. No she didn’t think he would do it out of spite but she knew he loved kids and always talked about wanting quite a few of them. Standing in front of him she knew with clarity how much she hurt him walking away without explaining or giving him a chance too and then when she thought to explain it was too late, her brother had already tightened the noose around her neck and Romel had shut her out. She shook her head sadly but resolutely, she would get her man back. And he was hers, there was no question about it.
The years they were apart and the pain they both suffered was no match for the love that they once shared for each other. Romel was in no way an easy man, he loved hard and he expected no demanded the same in return. He was always the one pushing her to give more and more until everything she had was his to keep. This was all the more reason why the lies her brother told were that much more devastating to a young naïve girl. Daniel, her only surviving relative had carefully and meticulously crafted the stories and tragedies to condemn Romel and in all her insecurities of being a young hopelessly in love woman fell for it. Not anymore, her days as living as a victim were long gone and over with. She was no longer that shy, gullible girl who needed constant approval. The last two years that had so much overwhelming pain and betrayal had forced her to grow up to a woman that was confident enough in her ability to protect herself and her child as well as the strength to fight for her family. Any love she had for her brother died with every lash of pain, humiliation and cruelty that she was forced to endure over the last year most of which she didn’t want to remember and if Romel ever found out would put the stamp on his death warrant. She shook her head , still focusing on Romel as he angrily snatched up his clothing while trying to breath deep to control his cat. She never stopped loving him, even in her darkest moment, and at her lowest. This tall and stocky brother with his cocky attitude, playboy looks and wild temper was everything she ever wanted in a man and at times everything she couldn’t handle but he was hers and she would always be his.
“Look Romel I didn’t come here to fight with you about Latham. He’s your son there’s no question about that and to me his welfare always comes first.
“Latham” he whispered as he finally looked at her. Some emotion passed across his face but she did not want to examine it too carefully.
“Yes” she said just as softly. “I remembered what name you said you wanted your first born son to have.
“Latham Christian Black” they said in unison.
He turned to her completely and looked at her really looked at her. She looked like the same woman yet she wasn’t. There were so many subtle differences that made of the whole of who she was. He wondered what that meant for him. Gone was the innocence and shy quality that in years past wouldn’t allow her to boldly hold his gaze as she was doing now. When at times he would have to gently force her to face him and never in their years together would she face him in his anger. The changes made him wonder what she had endured in the last two years and prompted him to ask the question that he was sure he didn’t want the answer to.
“What happened to you Lana?”
“I grew up” she said and turned and left him to get dressed.
With Latham strapped to her chest Lana stood at the counter in the kitchen to make her a few sandwiches when the kitchen door swung in and a voice snapped behind her.
“Who the hell are you?”
Always on guard, her cat leaped to the forefront of her mind brushing against her skin showing herself in the change of her eyes and heightened senses. Lana fought the change to remain on remain on two feet and protect her son first. Turning slowly, she came to face to face with a very agitated and very pregnant female. She inhaled deeply allowing her cat to bring her information before things got out of control.
Cat, pregnant with female child, Christian, mate.
“I asked you a question, who the hell are you and what are you doing in my kitchen.”
Lana took another deep breath tried to calm her heart rate. She noticed the knife in her hand absently and softly placed it behind her on the counter.
“I’m Lana and you are Chris’s mate”
“You’re the one who hurt Romel”
Lana didn’t know what she expected from this woman, she remembered the hormones she experienced while pregnant and could only imagine what was going on in her head but whatever she thought the venom behind the words was not expected.
“You heard me, whatever your purpose is for coming back into his life, you better not hurt him again”
The threat behind those words penetrated the veil of shock and the cat that had retreated returned to her eyes and she said very softly but very distinctly.
“My purpose here is not your business nor is my relationship with Romel.”
“You betrayed my brother in law”
“Well sister in law I suggest you get use to my presence because when the reason I’m here is finished, I plan to play for keeps with my mate.”
Anything else that was going to be said was interrupted when Christian walked into the kitchen no doubt scenting his mate’s anger. Crowding behind her and placing his hands on her extended belly to rub gently in soothing circles. Lana tore eyes away from the sight and snuffed out any thoughts of pain and guilt at not having given Romel the opportunity to experience her pregnancy with her. Her eyes locked with her brother in law.
“Chris” She said choosing to ignore the small growl coming from his mate’s lips.
“It’s been a long time.”
She smiled a small, sad smile in his direction as she turned to get her lunch.
“Who’s that little fellow you got there?” He said when she turned back to them, an eye brow lifted in question as if she would deny him the right to his nephew. She did notice that his mate stopped growling noticing the child for the first time before snapping her eyes up to meet hers. Lana ignored the questions in her eyes, she had already been condemned by this woman and with her emotions so close to the surface she wasn’t going to offer up any explanation.
“This is Latham Christian Black, your nephew.” She said suddenly feeling stifled and strangled standing in the kitchen with the couple who appeared to be so in sync with each other and very much in love. It only worsened when Romel walked through the kitchen doors, she knew she needed to leave.
“Are you alright?” he asked softly.
She looked at Romel who still wore that intense look on his face as she answered, “I will be”
Walking out the back door planning to give herself breathing room and time to think she felt his presence behind her and stopped.
“Where are you going?”
“For a walk on the grounds, I won’t go far.”
Lana what happened to you?
Still with her back to him, she let out a shaky breath over the flash backs in her mind and forced them away. She missed the mind to mind contact true mate’s shared but knew that now with her mind in a jumbled mess it was for the best that he did not have access to her inner thoughts. Not that she blocked him but because he blocked her behind a wall of hurt and anger. Something she could not penetrate and wasn’t sure she wanted to. If and when she ever did all of her humiliation and pain would be common knowledge to him and something’s she never wants him to know would be revealed.
Let’s just leave it alone Romel, just know that Daniel has finally crossed the line and one way or the other it has to end.
What the hell does that mean?” He said as he gripped her arm and turned her around when she went to walk away from him.
“It means that He’s going to die, Romel! I didn’t come to you because I’m some weak female needing protection. Over the last two years I have become very comfortable in my other skin and have no doubt that I could protect myself and my son for the matter but to my satisfaction it’s not enough. If something happens to me, I will not allow that bastard to touch my son.
“What do you mean if you die? Nothing is going to happen to you. You will be here safe and I will take care of Daniel.” His mind swirled with fury at the implication of her words. She meant to challenge her brother to the death. Over his dead body. He knew things had changed and long ago locked his mind away with all of his emotions that she invoked within him to preserve his sanity. At first it was to protect him from feeling and experiencing her hurt towards him at the lies her brother would tell her and the chaos and confusion in her mind as things started to become clear in her mind. He had closed their link in his mind to block himself from reaching for her. Now standing in the face of her anger and outrageous talk he knew he had to open that link again to find out what happened to her to make her reach this conclusion. All at once the shield of pain and anger came crashing in with a rush that caused both of them gasp, at the flood of emotion feeding both of them. So many things rushed into his mind that it took a moment to process the chaos of rage, hurt, and many other things he caught only glimpses of before she slammed up a barrier in her mind.
“No!” She said breathing hard backing away from him. She couldn’t afford to let him in now, not when so many unresolved issued lay open in her, things she never intends for him to know.
He pushed at the barrier finding it strong and unpenetratable at the moment. He paused to assess the situation and think clearly. There was a reason or reasons why she didn’t want him in her mind, which meant there were things she didn’t want him to know. For that alone Daniel would die.
Go for your walk, I’ll be back later I’ve got things to take care of.” He said softly then after one last look at her walked away.
For the next few days the quiet standoff lasted between the two. Every morning she rose and she and Latham walked around the estate, her clearing her mind as he played with anything that was not tied down. At night she continued to sleep in his bed as he made sure not to come to bed until well after she had fallen asleep and slept in cat form in front of the fireplace. She wouldn’t think of the times she felt him push against the barrier in her mind or the times she thought she caught glimpses in his eyes of other things better left alone. While outside with Latham she spent most of her time in cat form to ward off any unwanted conversation and that was how Sanaa found her as she watched Latham run around playing with his toys. She acknowledged her with a look and returned her gaze to her son.
“I came out here to apologize for jumping on you the other day. All I can say is that this pregnancy is bringing out the bitch in me and when I thought back to the pain I felt from Romel it made me lash out. Romel told me to leave it alone that I had no idea what you went through in the time you were apart and that the last thing you needed was someone else berating you.
Lana stood up slowly stretching her feline body and walking closer to her son as he found something interesting to eat from the ground. One cough from the cat’s throat and he dropped it to resume playing.
“He’s beautiful” Sanaa murmured as she watched the two interact.
Lana having being raised with manners sighed in her mind and trotted back over to her clothes and shifted back to her human form.
The gasp at her back went unanswered and she dressed in silence. Once dressed she turned to face her sister in law with a defiant look in her eyes as she stared at the angry tears looking back at her.
“Lana” Sanaa said softly walking towards her.
She stepped back out of reflex holding up her hand. “Don’t! I appreciate the apology but it’s not necessary you were right I did hurt Romel but trust me when I say I paid for it.
“Is between me and you. I don’t know why I showed you because in truth it doesn’t matter. The things that happened to me happened and no matter what happens now won’t change what has already been.
“If you think Romel will let that go you don’t know him as well as you think”
He doesn’t know and by the time he does it won’t matter anyway. Come on Latham lets go in the house.” She said calling to her son while continuing to hold Sanaa’s stare. The contact was broken when Sanaa looked down to the cute curly headed little boy who clung to his mommy’s leg as he pointed at her.
Sanaa looked up at Lana who smiled a small smile. “He’s talking about your baby, he can sense another cat.”
“His cat is very close to the surface, but I imagine he’s had to be.”
“Yes” She said as she gathered her bag of food and toys and walked back towards the house.
“Lana about your back and other things, I’ll keep your secret for now but not forever.”
One week later the day of reckoning came while she was taking a shower. Christian who had started spending more time with Latham had come to get him an hour before taking him on an outing leaving Lana with time and nothing to do. She assumed she was in the house by herself which was the only reason she hadn’t locked the door. To say it was a shock to see Romel in the bathroom with her was an understatement considering if they were not discussing her brother they actively avoided each other. It was clear from the look of determination on his face that ignoring one another was no longer in the cards.
“We need to talk”
I’ll be out in a minute
NO! There are things you’re not telling me and I want to know now!
Don’t give me any platitudes whether you want me or not you’re mine and I want to know what happened to you.
“It doesn’t matter anymore.
The hell it doesn’t, you matter, you’ve always mattered. I saw the scars on your back in your animal form do you think I’m stupid enough not to know there on you in human form as well. Is that the reason you conveniently never shower or are half dressed when I’m around? Or the reason you won’t let me into your mind.
Fine! You want into my mind, here take all you want! She said as her shield broke in a cascade that felt slippery with tears. The images and thoughts swirling in her mind were enough to cloud his logic and force him to breathe deep to stay his ground. His woman, his mate, beaten, almost raped and mistreated for making the attempts to come back to him. He looked at her as she tried to appear nonchalant about getting out of the shower showing him the embedded scars on her back from the whips used on her. His body shook with overwhelming fury and the urge to shift and demand payment in blood for the blood his mate had shed. Logically he knew that would not stop her pain or change things back to the way they were before but his cat wanted so bad to repay the hurt done to her. The man just wanted to hold her and never let go.
“Lana” he called to her knowing that the cat was in his voice expressing the need for both revenge as well as her. She shook her head with her back still to him but it was futile to hide from him now that he was in her mind he knew her thoughts of unworthiness, her fear of seeing disgust in his eyes.
“I need you baby, come here”
She turned at that and looked at the truth in his eyes. She was one only person who had the power to control both the man and the animal in him and he knew he needed his anchor more than ever before.
“Please” he said as she walked to him burrowing herself in his body, holding him as tight as he was holding her. After what seemed like hours went by he released her waist to cradle her tear streaked face in his hands.
“You’re mine, and nothing and no one will ever hurt you or my son again.”
“Romel what if I can’t….
“It’s just you and me baby and we can work through it.”
“I don’t want to disappoint you”
“Do you love me? Do you want to stay with me?
“I’m not leaving”
“Then you can do anything you want, let me show you” He said before he begin to place strategic kisses over her face, then her neck flowing down her shoulders and to her arms all the way to the length of her fingertips. All the while he led her back to the bedroom until the back of her knees bumped against the bed. When she sat down he kneeled at her feet still holding her hands in his.
“At anytime you want me to stop say so and I will” he wouldn’t say how much he wanted her or how hard it would be to stop but she was in his head as well she knew how much he wanted her. Sure that she was still with him he placed his lips back at her shoulders and journeyed across to both sides leaving lingering kisses and tingling bites along the way. Still nibbling he tugged lightly on the towel and it quickly unraveled into a heap in her lap, he kissed the tops of her breast while his hands massaged the tops of her thighs beneath the towel. He was quickly losing himself in the feel of her soft skin and knew that before long he was going to have to claim her as his to make sure she as well as he knew that she was back to stay and that his soul was once again intact. Before he veered off the deep end he heard the sweetest words.
“Make me yours again”
It didn’t take long before his clothes were gone and their love renewed by the web of love flowing from their lips as their bodies and souls reunited as one.
Lana paced the carpeted floor of the study while Latham played contently on Sanaa’s lap patting her belly and laughing.
“You’re going to wear a whole in the floor during that.”
“How can you sit there all relaxed, knowing that your man is out their fighting with someone so evil that death is the only option all the while knowing that it’s my fault?
“First off my man isn’t the only one out there, and secondly this is not your fault, you are a victim of your brother’s cruelty and the only way for this to be brought to an end is to end it with him tonight and if you calm the hell down and think all you had to do is use the link between you and Romel and know that it’s done and they are on their way here.”
She slumped against the desk running a shaking hand through her tousled curls. “I gotta get use to this again, being with someone, trusting someone.”
“Yes hon that’s all well and good but now that we have that crisis out of the way I think it’s time to head out to the car.” She said standing with difficulty
Lana quickly got to her side to help her stand while holding her hand out to her son.
“To the car, what for?”
“Because my little angel has decided she wants to come right now and I for one am not having her in this chair”
Lana came into the bedroom and softly closed the door behind her before leaning her back against it. She breathed in the scent of man and beast as she watched Romel wrestle gently on the floor with Latham whom to her surprise was in cat form. The joy and happiness she felt coming from the two men in her life was enough to settle her itching nerves and calm her. She could have watched them for hours but Latham chose that moment to turn his affections on her with his baby growl and his full body launch at her. She laughed all the way to the ground and was surprised when she felt a human pair of lips kiss her face.
“Mommy! I’m a cat”
“I know baby!”
She smiled at the wonder that was her world. Her smiling baby boy and her mate whose scent was driving her crazy and making her skin tingle with need. She didn’t have time to process all of the thoughts that no doubt came from him but she could very well guess what was on his mind with the visual images she was receiving.
She shook her head to clear it of the images and focus on something else.
“Aubrey is getting so big, already pushing herself up and trying to crawl, she will be up and walking before long and running the house.”
“Yea, Chris is beside himself and says he can’t wait to get Sanaa pregnant again.”
She laughed almost forgetting she had Latham lying on her chest dosing with sleep.”Sanaa might have something to say about that.”
“Yea……..what would say about something like that?”
Lana paused and looked at him. The lack of expression told her that the question was not an idle one and that her answer could hurt or heal. Knowing this was for everything, she took up the tone of the conversation and kept it neutral but honest.
“Well for me it’s different, I always wanted more than one baby, it’s just that with all that has happened I didn’t think the option was available and I was content with just little man here.”
“I’d have as many babies as you want”
“Lean over here” he murmured to her. But she shook her head, no.
“I got my arms full with your son, you come to me”
He smiled but prowled towards her slowly leaning in to kiss her neck before traveling to her ear. “You’re in heat now. So how about I take Latham to his room and we get started on making all these babies we want.” He ended his words with a nip to her ear that always left her a quivering mess.
“I thought you’d never ask.”