Authors: Gemma K. Murray
Tags: #Paranormal Romance
Aunt Alicia reached out to take my hand. “If you need anything, Adam, all you have to do is ask. We’ve got plenty of extra furniture, dishes, anything you could need. There are a couple of cottages free if you need a place to stay.”
I squeezed my aunt’s hand, “Thank you, but I’ll be just fine. I think I’m gonna stay with Luna for a while.”
Hurt crossed my aunt’s face. “Luna is always welcome on Pride land. I want you to understand that, Adam. Roman and I had a huge blow-up about it, but he does understand, to a point.”
Connor’s lip curled up in a snarl before he realized that I saw him. My suspicion factor sky-rocketed where my cousin was concerned.
“I appreciate that. Maybe we’ll come out for Sunday dinner sometime.”
“I’ll make your favorite dishes if you’ll come out,” my aunt replied, her eyes filled with tears.
“We’re going to have a cook out here once the weather starts to warm up. A few people want to come out and help clean up this mess so I can get ready to rebuild. You and the pride are welcome to come for lunch if you’d like.”
My aunt smiled, “I’ll send out an e-mail to everyone once you give me a date. We’ll all bring dishes to pass and hands to help.”
Aunt Alicia hugged me tightly and whispered low, “Your uncle Roman had nothing to with this. If you believe nothing else, my darling, believe that.”
I kissed her cheek and walked her to the car. “Tell Uncle Roman I will see him soon. Maybe he’ll feel like hanging out at the clean-up once the weather is warm enough for him to come out.”
I watched the two of them drive away and my gut was telling me that something was up with the pride.
Chapter Seventeen- Luna
Bowie came over to see how Ana was faring in the cold. “Adam has a place to stay tonight, right, Luna?” he asked.
I looked into the sheriff’s face, “Of course! I didn’t realize it was up for discussion.”
Bowie smiled as he held his bride against his warm body. “I just wanted to ask. I would turn up the heat at my old place if he needed to stay there.”
“He may want to stay there eventually, but for tonight, he’s coming home with me.”
“I’m going to take Ana home. I’ll stop by your place with some clothes for Adam.”
My mouth fell open. I hadn’t even thought about it. Adam lost
. “You know he’s going to hate any sort of charity. What are we going to do?”
Ana patted my hand. “That’s going to be your responsibility.”
I caught her wicked smile. “Thanks, guys. I appreciate that.” I glanced to where Adam stood, watching the remains of his home smolder in the snow. “I think I’ve got to handle a situation. I’ll catch you two later tonight.”
Adam stood with his hands in his pockets, rocking back and forth on his heels. I slipped my arms around him. He kissed the top of my head.
“I’ve got nothing left, babe. I’ve lost everything except you.”
I hugged him tighter. “You’ve got me, your friends, and the entire community of Cedar River, Adam.”
“I know. Everything I lost I can replace, but what if you would have been inside, Luna? I came close to losing you tonight.”
I laughed, “You’ve tried losing me for years. Haven’t you learned anything in all of this time? I’m not going anywhere. You can’t get rid of me.”
I looked up into his eyes and he smiled at me. “Let’s go home, Adam. We’ll worry about the rest of this tomorrow.”
He slipped his arm around me and we walked to my car.
The door to my apartment was blocked with bags and boxes when we arrived. “What the hell is all of this?” Adam asked as he took my keys to unlock the door.
“It looks like you’ve got more friends than you realize.”
We stepped inside and began carrying the boxes inside. “I hate charity, Luna.”
“This isn’t charity, honey. This is love from your neighbors. All of these years of helping others has come full circle.”
Adam hurrmphed, but he kept carrying things inside.
“I’m going to make some supper. How about something simple? I’ve got steaks and I could do either potatoes or eggs. Which do you want?”
Adam’s reply was, “Both.”
I put the steaks under the broiler and heated up the pan for the hashbrowns.
Adam sat down in the living room. He was awfully quiet so I checked to see what he was doing. I found him sitting in the chair, staring at the boxes and bags in the middle of the floor.
“What are thinking about?”
He turned to face me. “What have I done to deserve this?”
“The fire or this?” I asked waving toward the gifts.
“This, Luna. What have I done to deserve this?”
“Why don’t you look inside the boxes and bags? Maybe somebody tells you why.”
I watched as he opened the first bag. In contained two packages of socks, a pair of jeans, and a note. I looked over his shoulder as he read it. The note said, “
We can’t begin to repay you, Adam, but we wanted to help out in some way. You’ve repaired our old car and never asked for a penny in return. We hope this helps. Love, Rose and Lily
I smiled. The old women who had been kidnapped with Ana never had a lot of money. The community helped them out with a variety of chores needing done at their house. Rose and Lily were always so grateful.
I returned to the kitchen to finish our supper. “Adam? Why don’t you take a shower? Get rid of the smoky smell and you might feel better.”
He was laughing. “I found a pair of sweatpants from the Simpsons. The only color they could find was pink.”
I was so happy to see him laughing and he thought the gesture was perfect, even if the color wasn’t.
I finished off our supper and put it on the table. It didn’t take long for Adam to emerge in only his pink sweatpants. I could smell my bath soap on him.
“Not only do I look like a girl, now I smell like one, too,” he chuckled. I laughed along with him.
“We’ll go shopping. The shop isn’t going to open for a couple of days and you’re not going to work so we’ll sleep in. In a couple of days, we’ll go shopping to get you stuff you’ll need. I do apologize, but in the last couple of years, I haven’t really had a need for keeping extra toothbrushes in my apartment.”
Adam grinned at me, “I’m very grateful for that, honey. I would hate to have to hunt someone down, especially tonight.”
We were eating when Bowie arrived. A quick knock and the sheriff walked inside.
Adam stood up, “Bowie, what’s up?”
I pulled out a chair for Bowie and gestured to Adam to sit down. I made Bowie a plate of eggs and a steak.
“Oh, Luna, you are a goddess!” Bowie said as he dug into his plate.
Adam cleaned his plate and put it in the sink. “What are you doing here, Bowie? You should be home with your wife.”
Bowie looked at his friend with glare. “Why the hell do you think I’m here?”
“I don’t want your damn charity, Bo. That’s not how I live and you know it.”
Bowie set his knife down and stood to face Adam. “It’s not charity, you asshole! This is family!
family wants to help you and you’re damn well gonna let us.”
Adam sat down in his chair and put his head in his hands. I decided it would be best to let these two hash it out on their own.
I went downstairs to make up a sign stating, “Closed due to fire at Adam’s.” Then, I made up a few boxes of candy. I packed one full of Bernard and Lorelai’s favorites. The second one was for Bowie and Ana. The third one would be for Adam and me.
I heard the door close upstairs and hurried to send the candy home with Bowie. Instead, what I saw was Bowie and Adam carrying boxes in from the back of Bowie’s truck. The Goldens are amazing people.
I went upstairs with the candy. “Good heavens,” I asked peeking in a box, “did Mrs. G clean out her freezer?”
Bowie laughed, “Mama says she knows how Adam eats and thought she’d help you out.”
There was a paper bag filled with frozen pasties. There was another one with venison burger wrapped in one-pound packages. Two pies sat in the bottom of the box plus there were a couple of casseroles.
I began putting them in the freezer while they carried in the other boxes. My living room was beginning to look like I was moving.
Bowie sat the final box on the table. “I don’t expect to see you at work for a few days either,” he said to Adam. “You take some time to get settled in here. Don’t go out to the site either. I’m gonna go out and see if I can find anything odd. Brand and I will get the investigation started to see what we can find.”
“Keep an eye on Connor, Bo. When I talked with Aunt Alicia last night, I got a bad vibe from him. I sure as hell don’t want to find his fingerprints on this.”
Bowie slapped his friend on the back, “I will do some checking. The rumors are flying that Connor wants the Alpha position. This would be one way to insure it, I guess. Take out the only other threat.”
Adam ran his hands through his hair, “Gods, Bowie, I’m not a threat. Why can’t anybody get that through their heads?”
I slipped my arm around Adam’s waist, “Because they know you’d make a great Alpha.”
Adam kissed the top of my head, “Whatever you say, babe.”
Bowie smiled, “I’m going home to a comfortable bed and a warm wife. Don’t forget to come out for dinner. Mama’s feeling the need to see that you’re safe and fed.”
Adam held out his hand to shake Bowie’s and Bowie pulled him in for a hug. “I love you, brother.”
Adam said something, but I couldn’t hear what it was.
“Luna, in that box of clothes is something a little more ‘manly’ than those pink sweats. Make sure he wears them, alright?”
I hugged Bowie close, “Thank you for everything.” I glanced at the clock, “We’ll see you soon.”
I handed Bowie the boxes of candy. “I made one up for your folks and one for you. Share with Ana.”
Bowie smiled, “As if these are going to make it home, Luna. You know me better than that.”
Adam and I went to bed. “I’ll only stay tonight, Luna. I don’t want to crowd you out of your home.”
My heart began to race, “What the hell are you talking about? Did I say something that I shouldn’t have?”
Adam stroked my hair behind my ear, “Of course not, but I don’t want to cause any more trouble for you with the pack.”
I kissed his chest. “You are very funny, babe, but that ship sailed a long time ago. You can stay here as long as you want. In fact, maybe I’ll tie you to my bed and keep you as my sex slave.”
Adam’s chuckle rumbled low in his chest. “I still don’t want to interfere with your life, Luna.”
“Stop all this nonsense! You’re going to stay here and that’s that.”
I fell asleep to the deep satisfied purr of my puma.
My internal clock went off at four o’clock. It took a moment to realize Adam wasn’t beside me anymore. His side of the bed was cold.
I tiptoed to the living room and there was no sign of him there. Walking into the kitchen, I found him standing at the kitchen sink with a cup of coffee, watching the sun break the horizon. I slipped my arms around him and hugged him to me. He put his arm around me and drew me in front of him.
“You’re supposed to be sleeping, angel. What are you doing up?”
I snuggled into him, “I could ask the same question. You haven’t slept at all, have you?”
“I got a few minutes of sleep. I’ve just got too much going on in my mind. I’m worried about you, the pride, my aunt and uncle, the entire community. I have a feeling about who it is that wants me dead and it frightens me. It chills me to the very core.”
That remarked instilled a sense of fear in me, “Who do you think is behind this, Adam?”
Adam shook his head, “I’m not going to say anything until I know for sure. It’s just a suspicion I have.”
“Don’t you think I need to know who it is? I have the right to be aware of who want us dead.”
Adam stroked my hair, “Baby, this person doesn’t want you dead. They’re simply trying to hurt me and you’re the only person, besides the Goldens, who matters to me. I’ll take care of things, I promise.”
I looked into Adam’s eyes. “I trust you. I don’t like the fact you won’t share your thoughts with me, but I trust you, honey. I really do.”
Adam kissed me, “I’ll protect you as best as I can. If the day comes that I can’t, Bowie and the Goldens will.”
At that thought, I cried.
Chapter Eighteen- Adam
I was afraid of what was coming. If my suspicions were correct, then there was a battle coming up and someone was going to die. I certainly didn’t want this laid at my feet, but it was coming. I could feel it deep in my gut.
Luna interrupting my thoughts only brought the truth closer to my heart. I was going to either die or become Alpha. Neither one of those things did I want. I wanted to live a quiet life as a deputy to Cedar River’s sheriff. I wanted to get married and have children. I wanted things to be simple, but one thing I’ve learned in my whole life is that things are seldom as simple as you’d like them to be.
My heart hurt at the realization of leaving Luna. Nothing short of death could make me leave her physically, but it could actually come to that fact.
“Let’s go to Samson’s for breakfast,” I said as I wiped the tears from her eyes.
She turned her yellowish eyes to mine, “Are you sure?”
I kissed her nose. “I’m gonna have to see everyone sooner or later. I might as well get this done. Tomorrow, we’ll tackle shopping,” I shuddered dramatically.
She swatted at me and smiled. “That sounds like a plan.” I watched her as she scurried off to change her clothes.
I sorted through the box of clothes Bowie had brought over. I tugged out a t-shirt and a pair of jeans. There was a note from Ana tucked inside. “Dearest Adam, brother of my husband’s heart, I know how much it pains you to accept this from us. Simply know that this comes from our hearts because we know that if this had been us, you would have done the same for us. We
family and family takes care of each other. We love you, Adam.”