“You’re mine, Adria Morgan.”
It was a punch to the throat, the discovery that he was still capable of such a visceral depth of emotion. Finding then losing Lisette hadn’t withered away the part of him that felt a wild possessive tenderness toward the long-limbed goddess in his arms, and where once he would’ve seen his feelings for Adria as a betrayal, he now saw them as a gift. He’d been given a second chance.
Her lashes fluttered up at that instant, sleepy eyes of mountain-sky blue streaked with veins of precious metals, looking up at him. “Was I sleeping?”
It was instinct to play with her. “You snore adorably.”
Laughing, her voice even huskier with sleep, she pretended to pull his nose. “You don’t.”
He bared his teeth at her. She bared hers back. Filled with affectionate joy, the brick that had been a crushing weight on his soul crumbling away to nothing, he drew a line in the sand. Never again would he look back.
Lisette was his past, Adria his future.
RILEY finished his cell phone conversation with Kenji in relation to the BlackSea meet and glanced over to where his mate stood at Nate and Tammy’s kitchen window, her eyes trained on something outside. They’d driven down because he’d needed to return some tools he’d borrowed from Nathan, and since she’d been off shift, Mercy had come along to catch up with Tamsyn—and take the opportunity to “dress like a girl.”
Having chosen a strappy dress patterned with bright yellow sunflowers, she’d pulled her red hair back in a high ponytail and slipped her feet into simple white flip-flops decorated with a single daisy at the toes. She looked sunny and pretty and girly—and he knew damn well she’d worn those shoes because she could kick them off in a second and haul ass, should it be necessary for the protection of the pack.
Smile widening, he walked over to slide his arm around her waist and nuzzle a kiss to the creamy slope of her neck. “What’s so interesting?” he murmured in a sub-vocal whisper, conscious of Nate and Tamsyn teasing one another at the table on the other side of the kitchen bench.
“Faith is having hysterics.”
Wolf immediately on alert, he followed her line of sight to see the spectacle of tranquil, graceful Faith NightStar doubled over in the DarkRiver healer’s backyard, laughing too hard to reply to whatever it was her bemused mate was saying. She and Vaughn had swung by fifteen minutes earlier to drop off a box of medical supplies they’d picked up for Tamsyn, had ended up staying for coffee.
Now, the F-Psy finally stopped giggling long enough to say something to Vaughn. The jaguar’s grin could best be described as shit-eating.
Mercy’s claws hissed out.
Riley squeezed her waist. “Do you want to know?” His wolf paced in excitement—man and wolf both liked knowing things in advance, but Riley was aware Mercy preferred surprises. He’d go with her choice on this, since it was highly unlikely he’d be able to keep his mouth shut if Faith had foreseen what he thought she had.
Because right before Kenji’s call distracted him, Riley had caught Faith staring at Mercy, cardinal eyes huge. A second later, the F-Psy had developed a sudden cough, strong enough that she’d had to step outside. Clearly, Mercy had already connected the same dots he just had.
“I love surprises,” she whispered, retracting her claws and placing her hand on the as yet flat curve of her abdomen, “but I think this time, for our sanity, we’d better find out what she’s seen in our future.”
Riley rubbed her lower back. “Probably a hellion redhead.”
“Or perhaps a stubborn wolf pup who likes to get his own way.”
Grinning at one another, they turned to Nate and Tamsyn. “We’ll be back in a second,” Mercy said, tugging him toward the door.
It took them only seconds to reach Faith and Vaughn. “Spill it,” Mercy ordered the instant they were close enough.
The F-Psy wiped tears from her eyes, her smile the sweetest innocence. “What?”
“Don’t make me beat it out of you, Faith NightStar. Just tell us—is our child going to drive us that insane?”
For some reason, the question set Faith off again. She laughed so hard she ended up sitting on the ground, Vaughn crouched beside her. Rubbing her back, the jaguar attempted to look solemn. He failed miserably, his cheeks creased in a rare grin. “You know,” he said, “the future is mutable, subject to change.”
“I’m guessing from Faith’s response that this particular aspect of it is pretty much set in stone.” Folding her arms, Mercy tried to breathe past the bubbles of incipient delight in her bloodstream. “Our baby’s going to shift into a wolf, isn’t he?” Adorable, she thought, their pup would be downright adorable, his cute face a miniature copy of Riley’s.
“Hmm.” Faith pursed her lips together.
“Into a leopard?” Riley’s delight was transparent. “With Mercy’s pattern of spots?”
A spurt of laughter before Faith said, “Hmm,” again.
“Faith.” It was a shared growl.
Sharing a cagey look with her mate, the F-Psy said, “I think Tammy handles her boys real well, don’t you?” in a musing tone of voice.
Mercy’s legs collapsed under her. “Nu-huh,” she said, aware of Riley coming down beside her. “I am not having twins.”
“No, I’m sure you’re not.” Faith’s immediate response was strangely disappointing when the idea of twins had been such a shock. “You know how foresight works—things are never crystal clear, and multiple births are rare.” Rising to her feet, she held out a hand to Vaughn. “Let’s go drink that coffee.”