Here’s your chance to grab my newest release for only .99! CLICK HERE to grab it off Amazon.
It’s spring, the garden is planted, the baby chickens have all graduated to the big hen house, the two milk goats are giving nearly three gallons a day, cheese making is in full swing, herb bed is refreshed and a few new herbs added, so I figured, why not celebrate the new season by offering a sale on my newest book.
The sale run from today, April 14th, thru April 21st.
Rowen watched my shivering, his dark eyes troubled. “You are right.”
I wanted to ask about whatever prophecy he was talking about, but my chattering teeth prevented it.
“Come here,” Caius said with an exasperated sigh as he pulled me back against him, wrapping his arms and cloak around me, holding me tight.
“What are you doing?” I managed to get out as I tried to push away. The heat coming off his body, despite the fact he was wet too, was delicious.
“I’m the warmest thing here.” He tightened his arms, a rough edge to his voice when he said, “Just relax and accept the warmth before you freeze to death.”
I couldn’t argue with that. Still a little uncomfortable, I tried to do as he suggested and soak up his body heat. I let the back of my head rest against his solid chest. Wanting more of the warmth, I shifted until I could feel the heat of his legs on the back of mine. He was a demonborn, and yet I felt safe…cared for. It wasn’t something I was used to. I’d spent so much of my teenage years taking care of Mom, hiding my problems from her, that I’d forgotten what it was like.
It was silly to feel anything. I couldn’t…shouldn’t, have any feelings for Caius other than maybe friendship. Just because he saved my life—more than once—didn’t mean he would ever actually return any feelings. It didn’t mean that he would ever regard me as a friend in return, or as anything more than the reaper he was bound to. Ever feel anything more than obligation toward me.
And yet, for a few crazy moments, I let myself think that he was keeping me warm because he cared about me, and it had nothing to do with the bond. Then I pushed the errant thoughts away and tried to just take the offered warmth without hoping there was anything more to it.
The cocoon of his cloak wrapping around both of us started to feel cozy and my shivering eased. As I thawed my eyes drifted shut and I was surprised to feel so tired. That must be why my mind was being ridiculous.
I did realize though, that somewhere along the way, I’d stopped hating him. And I was pretty sure he didn’t hate me either. We weren’t enemies anymore. We were allies now. It was even possible we were becoming friends. Friends was good, uncomplicated. I could be happy with friends.
Caius’s breath brushed past my ear as he said in a low voice, “When I said ‘relax’ I didn’t mean fall asleep standing up.”
My eyes popped open. Rowen appraised me as I stood wrapped up in Caius and his crimson cloak. He gave us a weighing look that made no sense to me. “We need to get you both into something dry.”
A part of me wanted to go sit with my friends, to take comfort in their presence. The bigger part just wanted to be alone for a minute. I walked around the back side of the house where a large tree presided over the back yard. Sitting beneath the spreading arms of its branches, I leaned against the wide trunk and stared out at the empty land of waving grass beyond the yard. At least the breeze, even though it was still cold, didn’t bother me anymore now that I was in dry clothes and cloak.
Bitterness filled my mind at being abandoned by those who should be standing with me. Even within my alternate family of Children, I was an outcast. Was there no place I truly belonged? I didn’t even truly belong with Victoria and she was my sister. At least now our differences made sense.
James found me still sitting there as the sun slowly sank toward the horizon. He sat quietly next to me. He didn’t say anything, didn’t try to offer any platitudes. It’s one of the things I liked about him. When something was wrong, he didn’t immediately try to change my mood.
Though I loved Bethany dearly, she would have let me know with much hand motioning and verbiage that she was properly offended on my behalf. I knew James was as well, he just possessed a quieter way of expressing it.
I shifted until my head leaned on him. He put his arm around my shoulders and kissed my forehead. “You okay?”
“Yeah.” The lie fell automatically from my lips.
“Sure you are. And I’m into women, the sun sets in the east, and all kinds of other absurdities,” James said with a quiet chuckle.
“This sucks. Royally sucks, you know that?”
“It does absolutely. No way around that.” He patted my arm. “Not likely to get any less sucky either. In fact, I imagine the suckage is going to increase exponentially in the future.”
“Yep.” I drew the word out.
“In fact, I would have to say I’m glad I’m not you because the universe seems to have it out for you.”
I laughed and pulled away from him. “Gee thanks.”
“No problem. It’s always good to put things in perspective and, let’s face it, your problems are huge.” He smiled, laughter in his eyes.
“What would I ever do without you, James?” I shoved to my feet, my muscles protesting from sitting in one place too long.
He stood as well, brushing the grass off his pants. “I dunno, probably die or something.”
“I seem to have a knack for almost dying.” I gave him a wry grin.
“That you do. Good thing you have someone like Caius keeping track of you.”
I snorted. “Yeah, it’s always good to have someone whose possible agony is tied to your death, keeps them watching out to make sure it doesn’t happen.”
James studied me with a raised eyebrow. “So you think that’s all it is?”
“Maybe.” I shrugged. “I thought we were becoming friends, but now that his family is here, I think any warm fuzzies he might be feeling are fading.”
“Hmmm,” was his only answer.
“Why?” Frowning, I tried to read James’s expression.
“Well, and I could be wrong mind you, but usually when someone looks at another the way he does you—when he thinks no one is paying attention—it means more than duty or fear of retribution holds them in place.” James gave a flick of his hand as if waving away a fly. “I could be completely wrong. Still, if I was a braver person, didn’t already love Aaron, and Caius swung my way, I could wish he would look at me like that.”
“I think you are imagining things. You’ve always been a bit of a romantic you know.” James was off his rocker. There was no way Caius felt anything more than a touch of friendship for me, if that.
He smiled. “I could be reading things into it. Most likely am.”
“Most likely.” Had Caius ever looked at me like James implied? Not that I could recall. Would I have recognized if he did? I didn’t exactly have a lot of experience in that area. I pushed the thought out of my head. “You’re probably just crazy.”
“Agreed,” he said amicably. “Shall we return to the group?”
“Might as well. I’m sure there are no plans to stay at this rickety house forever.”
“None that I’m aware of.” He draped his arm over my shoulders and I wrapped one around his waist as we headed back around the house.