The Mating(143)

By: Nicky Charles






Long, quiet moments followed. Kane gently played with her hair, wrapping strands into ringlets then letting them cascade down onto the pillow. Eventually, he whispered into the silence. “Have I told you recently how much I love your hair? The colour is like chocolate and it’s so long and silky and…” He buried his nose in it. “It smells like flowers.”





“Thanks. It’s that new shampoo from the gift set Ryne gave me.”





Kane stilled and drew back, staring at her. “Ryne?”





Elise yawned and stretched. “Uh-huh. You remember. He sent it to me as a late birthday present. It had shampoo and lotions and—”





“Oh. Right.” Kane interrupted, sounding slightly miffed. He rolled onto his back. “I still don’t think it was an appropriate gift.” A frown marred his brow and Elise tried to keep her face expressionless. For all that he and Ryne had been joking that last day, there was still a faint undercurrent of jealousy between the two males, which she found rather entertaining. Ryne was a great tease and she was sure he’d never do anything to jeopardise her relationship with Kane. At least she hoped so…





“It was very kind of him and I didn’t appreciate you trying to throw it out.” She rolled onto her side as she scolded him, softening her words by trailing her fingers gently down his chest. Kane just rumbled, neither agreeing nor disagreeing.





After another moment of silence, he sighed. “He called today.”





“Really?” She raised herself up on her elbow, looking at him in surprise.





“Yeah. He’s headed for Canada. There’s this little town in Northern Ontario that apparently has no established pack.”





“Wow! That’s quite a distance away. We won’t be able to see him very often.” She settled back down on her pillow and stared thoughtfully at the ceiling.





“Uh-huh.” Kane rolled onto his side and set his hand on her stomach, moving his hand in slow circles. Even without looking, she knew he was smiling.





“Kane, that’s not very nice.”





“What?”





“Sounding so pleased that Ryne will be living far away. He is your brother, after all.”





“I know and I have only the warmest of brotherly feelings for him. I just think that, until he gets a mate of his own, we’ll get along a lot better if there’s some distance between us.”





Elise said nothing, but turned her head towards him, and gave him a doubtful stare.





“Elise?” He looked at her with a pleading, puppy-dog expression in his eyes.





“Yes?”





“I love you.”





Her heart melted and Elise rolled over so that she was on top of him. “I love you, too,” she said as she leaned down to kiss him. And, as he caressed her back with his hands, bringing her into even closer contact with his body, she couldn’t help but smile. Who would have thought the mating she had so dreaded would have turned out this way?





Epilogue:





Somewhere in Northern Ontario





Ryne shifted the truck into park and stared at the old farm house. Its clapboard siding was grey and weather worn, the roof looked like it had seen better days and the porch was on the verge of collapse. Using the interior light of the vehicle, he checked the paper in his hand and then peered at the house number. No mistake. This was the place. He elbowed the man beside him.





“Come on, Bryan, Daniel—wake up. We’re here.” As the two men groaned and stretched, Ryne stepped out and looked around. He inhaled deeply, appreciating the smell of pine that overlaid the cool, crisp air. A faint smile creased his face as he viewed the land around him, totally ignoring the weed infested lawn, overgrown shrubbery and cracked driveway. All he saw was the acres of wooded land around him. Yep, this was going to be his territory.





END