Home > Tarian Silver Lion (New Tarian Pride #2)(8)

Tarian Silver Lion (New Tarian Pride #2)(8)
Author: T.S. Joyce

Chapter Five

“I need to get groceries,” Rose said over the Queen song blaring on Talon’s radio.

“You mean you need sustenance after all the horizontal exercise we’ve been doing?” he asked cheekily.

“Don’t be crass,” Rose said through a private smile as she held her hand out the open window of his Chevelle and caught the wind against her fingertips. It was still cold, but the sun was out, and she hadn’t stuck her hand out a window in ages. “But yes, I need sustenance.”

Talon chuckled and took a right onto New Tarian Pride territory. At the security station, it was Kannon’s shift right now, and he froze mid-bite of his burger and frowned at them.

Talon pulled up to the window and told him, “We need to pick up Rose’s snowmobile. Do you know where Gray parked it?”

Kannon was staring at Rose with an odd and unreadable expression on his face. He took a slow bite of his burger and chewed it like a cow chewing its cud.

“Cat got your tongue?” Talon asked him, his arm resting on the open window.

“No,” Kannon drawled. “But I’m pretty sure that cat has yours.” He pointed to Rose.

Utterly stunned, she didn’t even get a word out before Talon was driving them through the gate Kannon had buzzed open.

“Do you think he can tell that we’re…we’re…”

“Fucking like rabbits?” Talon asked.

“No! Together!”

Talon ran his hand down his beard and smirked. “Probably. We are giving off that sexy pen pal vibe.”

Oh. Rose’s heart dipped to the fragrant leather seats. She’d had so much fun and been so distracted the last couple of days with Talon, she’d forgotten about the pen pal deal. Forgotten he was leaving at all.

Now a selfish part of her wished the house would never be repaired so he would stay.

She was prepared to pout, but he reached over and wrapped his hand around hers, settling the upset emotions that were building like a storm in her chest. “We aren’t there yet,” he murmured. “Don’t start counting down.”

“Oh, you’re a mind reader now?”

He threw her a sideways glance and hit the gas, spinning out on the gravel road.

Rose laughed and swatted his arm. “You can’t get out of every serious conversation with a gas pedal.”

“I know that. I have other weapons, too.”

“Like?”

Talon waggled his eyebrows, and now Rose was snickering again. “Ridiculous man.”

But she forgave him and slid her hand to the inside of his elbow, her favorite place to rest it while he was driving the stick shift. He patted her hand there and then rested his palm over her knuckles as he pulled to a stop in front of the big cabin.

Everything was different. It was like the colors were brighter. Maybe it was just the sunny day that was making everything so brilliant. There were little green grass shoots poking through the melting snow. A bird in the tree nearest them had feathers on his chest the same color as the sun, singing a pretty little song that made her happy down to her soul, and even the stain on the cabin looked new. More orange than she remembered.

Ronin and Emerald were sitting on the porch stairs of the cabin. Ronin was tying his work boots and Emerald was wrapped in a blanket, cupping a mug of something hot and steamy in her hands.

“Hey, Dad,” she called with a wave. “What are you doing out so early?”

Talon eased to a stop and pushed his sunglasses to his silver hair. “Bringing this one back to pick up her snowmobile.”

He was so handsome that sometimes it was hard to look away from him. “I like to stare and I don’t care,” she sang under her breath.

Talon looked over at her with a smile. “Poetic,” he complimented her.

“I’m using all of my wiles to keep you attracted to me.”

He slid his hand over her thigh and squeezed. Under his breath, he said, “Make me any more attracted to you, and we’ll never leave your house again.”

Mmmmm, yummy man. Her cheeks had to have been positively pink with pleasure. She wiggled her shoulders and hips in a little happy dance with the music.

When Talon shoved open the door, he pointed to her and demanded, “No moving. I’ll get your door.”

One of those songs that Grim used to sing came into her head. What a man, what a man, what a man, what a mighty good maaaaaan, what a mighty mighty good maaaaaaan…

Talon jogged around the front of the car and opened her door for her, then helped her out. It wasn’t like she needed it. She was a Tarian lioness after all. She didn’t need help with anything…but it was really nice and sweet that he was a gentleman with her. Well, outside of the bedroom. He was an utter rogue inside of it.

She followed right behind him, staring at that fine butt of his flexing with every step. She wanted to bite it. A growl rattled up her throat and Talon, that fine man, gave her a wicked glance over his shoulder.

When she looked up at Emerald and Ronin, she skidded to a stop beside Talon.

The two of them were sitting there frozen with matching what-the-fuck looks on their faces. Ronin held two shoestrings in his hands that were only halfway laced up his work boot. And the only thing that moved on Emerald was the steam of her drink.

“You two seem…different,” Ronin drawled out.

Rose cleared her throat and straightened her spine, lifted her chin. “It’s a beautiful day out. I’m in a good mood.”

Emerald’s bright green eyes narrowed to slits. “What happened to your hair?”

“My hair?” Rose patted it. Oh, God, there were leaves in it and the right side was like a bird’s nest. Right before they’d gotten into the car, Talon had made love to her from behind in the woods after they’d Changed together. Mortified, Rose frantically plucked foliage from her tresses and tried to comb it through with her fingers.

Talon wasn’t even hiding his laughter. “Here, let me help. There’s a stick in it.”

“Why didn’t you tell me I look like a mess?” she whispered.

“Because you don’t. You look like a well-fucked, sexy—”

“Shhh!” she hissed, swatting his hand away.

Incorrigible man was smiling so big, and everyone was going to know she was a hussy for him.

Finding the very last single shred of her dignity, Rose stood as tall as she could, lifted her chin, shook out her wild hair, and walked proudly past Talon toward her snowmobile.

Talon smacked her ass.

With a yelp, Rose’s gait hitched, and then she went back to walking. Like royalty.

Talon snorted behind her.

“What am I even supposed to do with this?” Ronin asked. “The only reason Grim is not here right now is because I told his panicked ass that he was mistaken, and that his grandmother did not have a boyfriend. Or…manfriend?” He muttered a curse under his breath and tried again. “Bedmate?”

Rose was perfectly fine letting him continue. He sounded so uncomfortable with this discussion. This was kind of amazing.

“Oh, my God, Ronin,” Emerald said, her mouth agape as she stared up at her mate. “That’s my dad. Don’t say bedmate.”

“I don’t know if I’m okay with this,” Ronin called from behind Rose. “You’re my…and he’s Emerald’s…”

Rose mounted the snowmobile and glared at Ronin. “I’m old, not dead.”

“You’re not old,” Emerald argued.

Talon had stayed by the car and was leaning against the front of it now, watching them with a remorseless smirk on his lips, as though he didn’t give a single care about everyone’s discomfort. Okay, now Rose was biting back a smile.

“Yeah,” Rose said. “Emerald is right. I’m not old. I don’t feel old. I feel like me. Just Rose. And I can have a crush—”

“Grim would literally shit himself if he heard you say the word ‘crush’—”

“Ronin Dillon Alder, if you and Grim have it in your heads that I don’t deserve happy moments with a man, you are dead-ass wrong.”

“Oh?” Ronin said louder. “Am I dead-ass wrong, Rose?” His eyes turned gold as he took three steps closer. “You’re my grandma to protect!”

“Or cock block?” Rose asked. “You realize I’m much more than just someone’s grandmother, don’t you? I’m a woman, too. I have feelings and all that shit. I don’t want to shock you, but I can still be attracted to a man. That part doesn’t just die when I hit grandma status.” She enjoyed the stunned, angry look on his face. His mouth was hanging open, hahaha.

“Don’t say cock block!” he ordered.

“Cock,” Rose said.

“Block,” Talon finished for her.

Rose snorted and tried to swallow down her laughter. Ronin’s face was getting so red.

Static blasted across the walkie-talkie at his hip, and Kannon said, “Hey Ronin.”

Ronin ignored him. “But you’re—you’re—you’re Rose. You’re strong and independent. You already had your mate—”

“Hey Bonin’ Ronin,” Kannon said, an annoying smile in his voice.

Ronin snatched the walkie-talkie from its sling, pushed the button, and snarled, “Don’t call me that.”

Okay, this was a little funny. Made more so by Talon’s shoulder-shaking silent laughter behind Ronin. And now Emerald was snickering, too.

“None of this is funny,” Ronin pointed out, rounding on them.

“Hey, Alpha,” Kannon said.

“What?” he bellowed loud enough for Kannon to hear him all the way at the check-in station.

“Rose is bangin’ Talon, boink, boink.”

The Alpha of the New Tarian Pride just stood there, face lookin’ like a cherry. Emerald jogged over and slid her hands up his back. “Babe, I love that you’re protective over Rose, but she’s not doing anything wrong. She likes a man. So what? I called this happening the night of the war. Rose fixed him up, and there was something in her smile when she left the room. She looked…happy.” Emerald nodded to Rose. “It’s good to see you happy, and even better for me to see my dad happy. So whatever you two are doing…keep it up. You deserve the smiles on your faces.” She tugged Ronin’s arm. “Come on, ya crazy. We have to get the girls into town.”

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