Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric . . . This a here is what you call Eric on the brain. Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric. I can’t focus. Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric. Who need’s to focus? Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric .. . Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric. Who is this focus guy and what do I need him for? Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric . . . Eric.
My mind, body and soul attempted to calibrate itself in the aftermath of the many unimaginable things I experienced while tuning into the Viking Network: All Eric, All the Time! He put it on me and held nothing back – carnal, primitive, man to woman.
The tomb was the proper place for the satiation that left me more depleted than death. My vision failed me. My breathing became shallow. My cries withered down to a faint whisper.
In the end, the only thing that hung in the silence was my need to be his and he, mine. This feeling was stronger than any glamor or blood bond. Dare I call it . . . love? It shackled the vampire in Eric that was like a separate entity ready to strike as soon as it was unleashed. It held the blood lust at bay, no bites, no blood exchanges, only love. It was pretty damn incredible.
The most amazing of it all, Eric, a vampire, was in love and engaged to a human – a human with irresistible Fae blood, whom he could not or would not drink from. It made his decision to turn me into a wife instead of a mindless minion, mind blowing. For me, anyway; for a vampire, it was unfathomable.
“Good morning, Niall,” I said, smiling at the sunshine pouring through my bedroom window. I could feel my great-grandfather watching over me and it warmed my heart. I put a hand up to protect my eyes from the glare of the sun that seemed to brighten with my greeting. My ring caught the light just so and brought my night to reality. I don’t know much about jewelry or the value of the emerald-cut stone set in platinum but the look on Eric’s face when he placed it on my finger was priceless.
I appreciated Eric for painting new memories over the old ones. I appreciated him for giving me a real chance at my own Happily Ever After. I appreciated him for making me feel like I am worth the effort of someone baring their all for my love. My mind was in no condition to make any life changing decisions and we both agreed that a long engagement was best.
My first steps as “Happy Sookie” were surefooted. No stumbling just to handle my morning routine. For the first time in the longest, my day didn’t just land on my head. I felt completely rejuvenated, empowered and ready to take my life by the horns.
A fresh morning brew of coffee wafted to my room and pulled me toward the kitchen. Amelia makes the best cup of Joe and I was so happy that she had decided to return to the land of the living.
“Do I smell bacon?” The smoke detector sounded as I entered my newly renovated kitchen. I reached around the counter, opened a window in the smoky space and flicked on the exhaust fan. “Let me cook, roomie,” I said, figuring she wasn’t ready for the seven-course breakfast she usually made. Her dead-pan brain pattern made me think that she was sleepwalking. When the smoke cleared, there was a pan of charred, extra crispy bacon extending from the hand of Amelia who was now a very tall, beautiful, hunky, all male, vampire?
“Good Morning, My Lover,” Eric said. I stared incomplete and utter shock. It was my vampire, Eric. ERIC? During the day? He wore a big smile, a small black apron and nothing else. “Emeril makes this look so easy.” He looked a little sheepish over the ruined spread. He tossed the pan toward the sink, moved over to me slowly and greeted me with a kiss. He feared that I was going into shock which was a pretty accurate deduction.
The table had a bronze satin table cloth with pretty pattern embroidered on it. My grandmother used to call it damask. I smiled, delighted at the images before me and then reality bit me right were it hurt. Eric was GOING TO BURNNNN!!!
I reached for him, trying to push him out the direct light. Eric remained stationary and stoic as if he could not imagine why I was reacting in such a way. I took one final, confused look at his face and like the wuss that I am, I fainted. He raced to catch me, before I hit the floor, kissing me over and over back into consciousness. When I opened my eyes, Eric was still here, during the day!
“Niall said to enjoy your gift,” he beamed.
“My gift? The sun? Niall?” My new husband and I can enjoy my most favorite thing, just like a real couple? “My great-grandfather could prevent the sun from scorching my vampire?”
“Pretty much,” he said responding to the slew of questions.
Niall was right. From this day forth, whenever I saw the sun I would think of him. “I must be dreaming.”
“We will not look this gift horse in the mouth. Simply receive and enjoy.” Eric had made his peace with it. It had to be even more unbelievable to him. He had not seen a sunrise in over a thousand years.
“Okay.” I conceded, bewildered and skeptical.
After I got over the shock and played with my gift, I prepared a breakfast fit for a king. My hands trembled at first but I was in a routine in no time.
Eric recalled making bread, or some derivative thereof, when he was human. I offered my Aunt Linda’s recipe. "Her biscuits, served hot with peach preserves and a smidgen of butter were good enough to make you slap your mama and call your auntie a lie!" I told him. I still remembered the rhyme she recited to keep the perfect measurements of flour: One for Peter; one for Paul; one for the good Lord, who made us all. A little bit of soda; a little bit of salt; if these biscuits don’t turn out, it ain’t my fault.
In a short while we had an impressive spread. Eric tried the biscuits fresh from the oven and agreed that they were good although he didn’t have anything to compare them to. He preferred his new diet of canned whip cream and Jell-o.
Jason burst through the door, filled with excitement after breakfast. “Sookie, Sookie, you’ll never guess what happened.” Jason’s words trailed off as he caught a glimpse of the towering, nearly naked figure in my kitchen. “Hi, Eric,” Jason said absently but then paused slowly taking in the impossible. Jason’s eyes bugged wide, rolled back in his head and just like his sister, he tanked.
I fussed over my brother who was sprawled on the kitchen floor. “I guess he’ll have to tell us his news later,” Eric said, looking down at him with false pity. He didn’t really care much for my brother. I knew that I could trust Eric’s opinion when it came to injuries but I couldn’t just leave him. “He will be okay. Trust me, Lover.” He pulled me to him with a kiss. I don’t know if it was the excitement of the moment or if he had a daytime kissing arsenal, but my world stopped as if it were only he and I in it. It was just linoleum, right?
“But my . . .” I weakly protested.
“My what?” he said dragging his lips over mine and hushing me with another long kiss. That one really did it. My knees began to wobble. He felt me losing ground and wound my legs around him, walking to my bedroom. “My . . . Lover?” He paused looking hungrily at me. “My . . . Fiancé.” He corrected himself with the same tone, pausing to kiss me while laying me on the bed. “And soon to be, My Wife,” sealing that last word with a kiss.
Sometime later, we heard Jason begin to stir. “You stay put,” he commanded and I obeyed. I heard his voice only, speaking to Jason in a low soothing tone. He was never like this with Jason or with anybody. I was convinced that Eric was not going to let Jason ruin our day. He returned a short time later and relaxed on the bed. I looked at him as he sank into the pillow with a devilish grin.
“How did you get rid of him so fast?”
“I didn’t. Your brother is in the guest room across the hall.” Eric dipped into my bathroom and started the shower before returning to the bed. Our bodies and the bed were sticky from the peach preserves and Jell-o that he discovered other creative uses for.
He’d also attempted to “sop me up with a biscuit,” which was something he wanted to do for a long time. It left crumbs all over the bed.
“Is he okay?” Getting information seemed like pulling teeth from Eric. He was not volunteering any info so I gave up in a slight huff. Eric rolled on to his side and rested on his elbow, his hand cradled his head.
“Jason will sleep for a while and when he wakes he will not remember seeing a vampire in your kitchen, in the daytime.”
“You glamored my brother? Tell me you didn’t!”
“We have to think this through, Sookie. This is un-chartered territory. What will happen at sundown? If others, especially my kind, find out? There may be trouble. No one must know about this. It is our gift and our secret.”
Well now, that just chapped my hide. I never even thought that it was possible. Most of all, I never thought about what it would cost.
After we were dressed, Eric checked on Amelia, who still refused to eat. I sent an email to her father, Copely Carmichael. I know she wouldn’t like it but this hunger strike was going on too long. Jason was still sound asleep in my old room. Maybe they both needed some rest. I hoped. I was being selfish, I knew. I just didn’t want to worry about anyone else.
Eric and I had to make the most of our day together. I didn’t know how long this gift would last. We would go somewhere private, was the plan. If someone recognized us, Eric would just have to give them another memory of the event.
I decided to keep the destination a surprise. I packed the essentials and we jumped into Eric’s car. He let me drive. I had never been behind the wheel of a luxury car or a sports car. Eric made a few adjustments to the seat and I was ready for the road. The seat curved to fit to my body like a glove. His car had one of those digital navigational systems built right in the dashboard. I asked Eric to load the trunk and make certain that no one was watching while I programmed our intended location. I drove as if the car was made for me, dipping in and out of traffic and speeding faster than I would have ever attempted in my car.
Most vampires have blackened car windows just in case they were caught out in the day. They could use their car as temporary shelter. This had not always been legal but since the undead had convinced the public that their vulnerability to the sun was due to a virus, the world had to adjust. Their night vision gave them the advantage of seeing through the dark windows with clarity. However, for me it took some getting used to. Luckily, it was daytime and I was still pumped up on vamp blood. Vamp blood was not only good for healing, but I could depend on it enhancing my senses for several weeks.
When we reached the freeway, he opened the window and stuck his head out like an animal. We laughed. It was wonderful to see him so carefree, no Viking, no sheriff, no vampire, just mine. All mine. After a few stops for supplies, Eric lay back on the seat with a look of peace on his face that I had never seen. His lips were formed in a grin that appeared to be immovable. We were just enjoying our rare good fortune. I asked him about the morning and how and when he realized his change. Eric looked over to me with a hooded, dreamy gaze and told me the tale.
“We returned to your house close to morning,” he recalled.
“I watched you sleep in my arms. I fell more in love with you with each minute that passed. I thought about never having to leave your side. I desired to be with you so much that I even considered “turning you” as you slept.” His lips curved up in a slight smile at the thought.
“Better to ask forgiveness than permission, right?” he asked, rhetorically.
“The thought of ending your life was even more unbearable. I put you in your bed and sat there, helpless in the night, kissing your face and loving you far longer than I should have. Sleep was pulling me with such force that I feared that I wouldn’t make it to the hole in the closet. You waking to find your new fiancé in a pile of ash would definitely be a deal breaker,” he chuckled and then became more serious.
“I pressed with everything to make it to your old room across the hall. I stood in the door of the room, the closet just a few feet away, torn between the safety of the closet and one last kiss. The pull, that I felt so strongly only moments before, seemed to diminish. Perplexed, I made my way around the bed. I parted the thin curtains and looked out of the window and actually watched the dawning of a new day. To my amazement, I felt no fear. I figured that my newfound spirit of invincibility must have been from all of the excitement from the night before.”
“I am convinced that you really do love my great granddaughter and she loves you.” A gentle, ancient voice spoke from the corner of the room. Niall stood in his natural form, his presence, brilliant and blinding.”
“Out of mere habit, I cautioned of the approaching day. He smiled and motioned for me to sit on the bed as he took a seat. He soon realized that I could not look on him and changed his appearance to the Niall that I had come to know.”
“I am a prince of the Fae, fairies of the sky and great-grandfather to the one who loves you.” Niall spoke in a whisper, as if he didn't want to wake you. “My great-granddaughter also loves the sun. I told her that I would give her a gift. The gift must be befitting of a descendent of a Fae prince. I know her heart and she does not want to become a vampire and I cannot bring the dead to life, so what is the alternative?”
“I rose from the bed and moved toward the closet.” Eric’s voice trembled in remembrance as he continued his story.
“I could not comprehend what Niall was trying to tell me but I could see light around the edge of the curtains. Niall continued his monologue, speaking as if he had no regard for my sense of urgency. He paused for a moment and I took the opportunity to make my escape. By now, my back was to him. I desperately reached out for the knob and turned.”
“Vampire.” Niall called to me. “The one word seized me were I stood. I turned stiffly to see him one last time before I descended to the earth under the closet.”
“Tell Sookie that I love her with all of my heart and I want her to enjoy her gift,” Niall said, spreading his arms with a smile of satisfaction.
“As my eyes rose to take in his face he returned to his true fairy form. His beauty stole my sight for a moment, warmth filling me as never felt before. I became frightened, my body rigid. I had waited too late and the sun was consuming me, I thought. I felt his energy caressing my entire body and my arms rose involuntarily. He moved around me, fashioning something to my body that was light as a feather. The room suddenly dimmed and was silent. I fell to my knees in the same instant. When I recovered Niall was no longer in the room. I heard his faint voice say to me, ‘From this day forth my great-granddaughter’s two loves will exist in harmony.’ I sat there in astonishment for a long time.”
Eric had an eerie calm as he told of his transformation.
“This is an extraordinary gift,” he continued. “I am grateful that you loved me enough for Niall to see a way to use me in its manifestation. Waking you was my first thought. When I saw you sleeping, you looked so peaceful and fragile,” he said touching one of my remaining scars.
“I only wanted you to get the rest and recuperation you needed to replenish yourself. Besides, I did not even know what to say or how to say it. I knew that this changes everything and I did not want to frighten you. I decided to let you rest and I enjoyed the sun.
“I spread open the window, apprehensively at first. Then, I finally took in something that I have not seen and have feared for over a thousand years. I touched my hands looking where the sun caressed it. It was the most beautiful morning and I stood there soaking it in. I looked at everything in the house in this new light and walked outside through the woods. When I returned, I freshened up and prepared the celebration feast you saw when you awoke.”
Eric looked out of the car window. “Are we there yet?” he said cracking the biggest grin ever seen on a six-foot-five, massive framed, Viking, walking in the freakin’ daytime vampire. I pulled into the parking lot of a small community beach. He leaped from the car and took off running before I could stop, kicking his shoes off as he bound toward the sand. I tried to mark where his shoes flew but I really had no idea. It was about 30 degrees and mid January so we had the beach to ourselves. He reached down over and over, grabbing hands full of sand and squeezing it to run between his fingers. In a split second, he was shedding clothes and heading for the water.
“Um, baby, that’s illegal in this country.” I pointed a finger, causing him to pause just before he went commando. I held up a pair of swim trunks. He grabbed them, slid them on in a blur, right there on the beach and glided into the cool water. I wanted to change, too but it was not swimming weather. Besides, I was a little self conscious about numerous scars the fairies left on my legs. They were fading but I wasn’t ready for a bikini just yet.
Eric ceased from his frolicking and splashing when I walked toward the water. He watched me as if the world had stopped. I was dressed comfortably in old jeans, a white tee and white Keds. I was pulling on my red coat as I approached him.
“A vision,” he said slowing his motion while he moved toward me. “The sunlight usually exposes every flaw. How is it you look even more beautiful?” He held my face and I blushed. In my haste to enjoy the day I forgot to put on any make-up.
“You’re pretty hot, too,” I said. I, never, in a million years, thought that I would ever use these words in a conversation with a vampire. He lowered himself and pulled me to him on the sand.
We enjoyed our first day in the sun together. I smiled at the ball of fire, winking at it as it disappeared from the sky. We sat huddled together on the swing of my front porch. “Thank you, Great-grandfather.” I whispered in a complete state of bliss.
My adventures with the Viking was better than I could have ever expected but caused quite a set-back in my recovery. One minute I was up and energized, the next I needed help to my bed. Luckily for me, he was in a sharing mood and wanted to talk which gave me the opportunity to rest.
After making a few phone calls, he told me all that I wanted to know about his absence and things to come. Information from vampires was usually shared on a need to know basis. The higher you went up in the hierarchy, the more information you got. Since my honey was head honcho of the area I got much more than I bargained for.
Eric’s tension was suddenly tangible as he ended a string of phone calls that night. He tried to hold back. He insisted that I wait a few days and then he would tell me everything. “Full disclosure,” I demanded “And no more high-handed decisions.” It’s what good relationships were built on. Against his better judgment, he laid it on me.
Bill was arrested the night we got back, which is something I already knew. Well, sort of. I knew that Felipe had him moved to a new Supe hospital that was under his charge. All of Bill’s assets, including the vampire database are in the custody of the new regime. I had gathered that too. It was why we couldn’t get a copy of the database from anyone. What I didn’t know was that Bill was charged with breaking an ancient edict that was quite recently brought back into practice. I acted like I knew that part, too, so that he would continue.
Eric had traveled to see Mr. Cataliades, who was an attorney for the Supes and half demon himself. They were trying to find a loop-hole in the decree and were so far unsuccessful.
“Mr. Cataliades has called in favors and managed to get a stay of execution.” I thought that was good news but the look on Eric’s face told me different. Eric pulled me close. I don’t think that he wanted me to see his face or he didn’t want to see mine when he told me. “In three days Bill will be forced to meet the sun.”
I recoiled with an audible gasp. Why in the hell did he tell me all this? He knows I ain’t wrapped too tight these days. “Full disclosure” my hind parts. He knew I couldn’t handle this.
“Just tell me where and when so I can go bust him out.” I tried to make it sound like a joke but Eric knew me too well and snapped back.
“Trust me, Sookie!” His angry response softened. “Mr. Cataliades has obtained a stay of execution. I will protect what is mine, including my Area Investigator.”
At that point I shut up and shut down. My reaction was exactly what he feared would happen. He pulled me in to what was supposed to be a comforting embrace and after a long while he tilted my face for a kiss and I allowed myself to enjoy it. It was a kiss of commitment: good, bad or indifferent we were in this together. It was a kiss of faith and trust: I would not freak out when he told me the truth and we would handle things together. It was also a kiss goodbye: our blissful honeymoon stage was resting in pieces.
I woke with the sun shining over my bed. “Mornin’, Niall” I waved lazily. Adjusting my vision, I reached for my cell phone to note the hour, 6 am. The thoughts came rushing in my head. Eric . . . Amelia . . . Bill . . . Jason. A few extreme mood swings confirmed that Eric had left the building.
While washing my face, I saw a flash of my new ring in the mirror and admired the beautiful jewel. I heard activity in the house but I made no sound. My grandmother had a gold rope chain necklace that I kept of hers. I wasn’t ready to explain my new relationship status, so I looped the ring on the chain and put it around my neck before climbing back in the bed.
A faint, soothing melody flowed through the house. There was no music, only foreign lyrics riding the wave of an angelic voice that was very soothing. I wanted to find the source but opted to relax and enjoy the overwhelming sense of euphoria and peace that I craved. For the first time in days, Amelia’s mind relaxed. In a few moments, Tara walked in to my room.
“Hey, sleepy head,” she said with a smile. “Perk up honey, cause you got company.”
“Amelia? Where is Amelia?” I said groggily.
“She is upstairs resting. Copely sent a ‘family representative,’” she said, raising her hands and using the air quotes, “who hopes to have her on the mend soon.”
“Who is it?” Mr. Carmichael worked fast. I wondered who it was. I couldn’t remember if her mom was alive.
“You’ll see that in a minute,” she answered with a smile in her voice. “Anywho, I got a call from Fangtasia telling me that you may need my help today.” Mr. Highhanded is back at his post and giving orders, I said to myself.
“I got up this morning and headed straight over here,” she went on. “My assistant is going to run the shop for me. I brought food. You ready for something to eat? Never mind,” she said before I could answer. Tara was a fast thinker and talker. Her movements were almost as speedy. She hadn’t stopped moving or talking since she came in the room. “I know you must be. I’ll be right back.” Out the door she went and quick as a wink, she returned with a tray of food and a young man in tow.
“Sookie,” she said, laying the tray over my lap. I was sitting up preparing for my meal and tried to look through Tara to see who she had with her. The light fragrance of Obsession for Men and man filled the space as a young man stepped into full view. I looked up to the heavens exclaiming a silent, “Why must you torment me God?”
Like most of the men that had come into my life, in recent years, he was run-way ready. Good thing I was spoken for and only had eyes for one. I wasn’t blind though. “Catchin’ flies,” is what my grandmother said to someone who had my open mouthed reaction. Tara stood in front of me and inconspicuously pushed my chin up to close it. I just bit my lower lip for a while to keep my mouth from saying something stupid.
This must be that Carmichael family rep Tara was speaking of and he was also the song bird. He was a head taller than Tara and his hair was a warm brown, twisting in long thin dread locks that he had tied back with a thick, leather string-like contraption. The tips of his hair were a lighter shade as if it were sun bleached. He wore a fitted cream sweater that complimented his ripped arms very well. His neck was thick too and his Adam’s apple protruded distinctly. He placed hot coffee on the night table. Upon closer inspection, I could see that he looked like the perfect mixture of Amelia and Copely, with one major, major difference, his skin was a little too dark to pass for tanned. He leaned forward with that familiar Carmichael smile. The white teeth contrasted beautifully on his exotic face.
I looked him up and down and could see that he was getting a little uncomfortable with my silent inspection. He backed to the wall of my bedroom coolly saying, “’Sup.” Oh boy, he had a pretty mouth. It stole the show when he spoke. Hazel eyes flashed with an eerily unnatural glow and made me check the “other” box for what he was.
“What’s up with you?” I tried to give him a welcoming smile. I’d hoped he wasn’t the silent type because I needed him to say . . . anything. Tara was beaming a little. She knew that I was intrigued. I continued to stare at the young man. A masculine dimple in his chin broke the line of his strong jaw with certain facial expressions. It was hard taking my eyes off him.
“What’s your name?” I said it as if I had to know. He paused for a minute. He didn’t want to say something or he was thinking. I was too groggy to venture into his head. Besides, that’s not nice when you first meet someone.
“I could just call ya cutie pie, if that’s okay with you.”
He smiled again and said, “I’ve been called worse. You can call me See-jay,” he said, slowly, “Seejay Carmichael.”
Amelia had never mentioned much about her family. It took Quinn a long time of questioning her to find out that she had a wealthy and famous father.
“What’s your relation to my friend?” I asked.
“It’s . . . um . . . com-pli-cated,” he stated, looking a little uncomfortable. “Yep, we’ll just say it’s complicated.” He was a local yokel, I could tell by his slight southern twang, traveled but local. I figured. “I was sent to check on the palace brat. That was a strange request coming from the big guy so I figured I better high tail it down here to see our little Cuppy.”
“Cuppy?” I chuckled.
“Cupcake was a nickname we called Amelia when she was little. Grandmother said she was her little cupcake. We called her Cuppy for short and it kinda stuck.”
He said grandmother. They have the same grandma? I don’t even need my gift to figure this one out. They must be cousins. “Where did you come from?” This is going to be an interrogation, jumped right out of his thoughts. “You must be rich and famous like her dad?”
“LA,” he answered proudly. “I’m a musician and I just finished touring overseas. I was due for some much needed time off and prepared to stay at my place in Cali when I got the call.” He didn’t bother with the second half of the question, figuring I was just joking or maybe he thought it was just none of my business. Amelia had never mentioned any Seejay. I made a note to grill her, too.
Ignoring his earlier thoughts, I continued the inquisition. I didn’t want him to stop speaking. His melodious voice massaged my eardrums and he had a cool mannerism that charmed me. I was so taken that I forgot about my food, only remembering when Tara began opening a napkin and tucked it into the top of my gown. Calas sprinkled with sugar covered my plate. She had sliced some fresh fruit in a bowl, with drizzled honey, sprinkled cinnamon and a dollop of whipped topping. It smelled so good.
My grandmother used to make as many of the rice pancakes as Tara’s belly could hold. I gave Tara a nod of approval as I made quick work of the first one. It was good. She managed to capture all the love and dedication that accompanied Grandma Stackhouse’s meals. The spread reminded me so much of my childhood days with Tara and the sentiment soothed better than any prescription. She took a seat with a proud look of accomplishment. I was eating the food faster than I should have. I glanced over at the young man and he looked puzzled.
“Have some?” I said, shoveling more in my mouth. Poor hospitality from a Southern belle would have my grandmother turning in her grave.
“No thanks. You just seem to be so excited about eating a rice fritter,” he said as if he couldn’t fathom why such a simple meal would excite me.
“History,” I stated. “Looks like somebody mastered this meal.” I looked over at my childhood friend and downed the coffee. “Speaking of history, do you think that Amelia will be pleased to see you?”
“My father used to say that I acted on Cuppy like a tonic,” he said, expressionless.
I can definitely see why, I almost blurted. I took in a large strawberry to stop my mouth from talking. “That’s exactly what we need,” I told him. Then I had a strange thought. “Y’all not kissin cousins, are yeh?” I asked knowing that it was very tacky. But I had to know. He smiled and shook his head no.
“Well,” he said exhaling. “It was nice meeting you Mz. Brick-hawse,” trying a little flirtatious humor on me. “I will let you get some rest. Bon appétit.” He headed toward the living room reciting the old Louisiana motto in his mind: “Laissez les bons temps rouler.”
He gave Tara a wink and turned to leave. I watched him walk away hoping that he had at least one flaw. “Nope,” we both said out loud. She knew just what I was thinking. Tara and I giggled like schoolgirls.
Later, I decided to check on Jason, who was still asleep. I was distracted by a departing Tara, who was on her way out of the door. “I gotta meet JB for lunch. I left gumbo on the stove. I’ll check on you guys later.” she yelled, clunking down the steps in her high heels. I stood out on the porch thanking her and watched her drive away.
I was telling Seejay what a great friend Tara was when I heard a knock. I opened the door to see the drool evoking, Alcide Herveaux. Alcide was a Werewolf and pack master of the Shreveport pack. We had dated a few times and were still quite fond of one another. He was so tall that he had to duck his head to come in the doorway. His ruggedly handsome face pulled into a smile at first and then looked around suspiciously. He sensed another presence in the house. His hands turned to claws instinctively and he froze in the open doorway. The sounds coming from him sounded like, well, a wolf.
We both looked to Seejay who sat there baffled looking back at us. A growl came from the back of the house, heavy foot falls and then I saw Jason run through the hall, launch himself over my couch and explode into a full bodied wolf? The vortex of magic was so powerful that it seemed to suck the energy from every direction and we all staggered toward him. Jason tackled Alcide and knocked him clear out of the door.
They both rolled in a blur over the front porch and on to the gravel driveway. I tried to follow but a large hand, or at least it felt like a hand, slammed me back into door frame so hard that it knocked the wind out of me. I actually saw stars for a moment. I was finally able to focus as Seejay’s massive frame cleared the threshold. He looked around assessing the danger of all hell breaking loose.
Seejay backed toward the porch steps and stared at me until we locked gazes, which wasn’t too hard since he was blocking my view of the action. He released me but barked a firm “STAY!” command that he emphasized with a paralyzing stare. I wasn’t the damn dog, I said to myself. The last time I jumped between two fighting beasts ended with me lying unconscious on the ground. That recollection had me conceding to the seriousness of the predicament and I did stay.
The all too familiar look of excitement of an impending battle on Seejay’s face told me that he was more likely to grab a bucket a popcorn than intervene. “He’s my brother!” I screamed to Alcide. “Please don’t kill him!” I had witnessed the damage that Weres could do.
Jason had size and speed but Alcide had experience and was able to disentangle himself at my word. Alcide was still in his human form. He rose and snatched the, now tattered, shirt from his heavily muscled physique with a blood curdling howl that evoked the power of the Pack. His body trembled with rage and energy.
Jason reared back on his hind legs as muscles ripped over his entire being, in a display of power and majestic perfection. This was Jason’s gift from Niall. It was truly a gift befitting of a descendent of a Fae prince and I stood in awe. Tears welled in my eyes and overflowed. He was the most beautiful and unique animal I had ever seen, with blue eyes, blonde fur that marked him as Fae. No Were or Shifter looked like that. As big and impressive as he was, he had picked a fight with the Alpha Werewolf who wasn’t about to back-off from a challenge.
“Well now, pup,” Alcide said kicking off his shoes and removing his pants. He glanced over to me with a full-fanged wolf’s grin and said, “I really liked that shirt!” My heart sank. I didn’t know if Jason was ready to hunt with the big dogs or if he needed stay on the porch.