A bit of background: This scene didn't make it intothe novella because I decided that with the shorter wordcount, we needed to jump straight into Nate and Tammy’s story, rather than going from the present, to the past. Plus, I was indulging myself with the other characters and with a novella, you need a much tighter focus.
Hope you guys enjoy it!
“The Psy who Stole Christmas,” Sascha read out the title, a frown creasing her forehead. “I’m not sure I’m going to like this book.”
Tamsyn laughed. “Oh dear, it’s probably not very friendly to leave that lying around now that I have Psy packmates.”
Faith took the book from Sascha and read the back. “The terrifying, scarifying, mystifying true story of how Christmas was almost outlawed.”
“You’re not offended are you?” Tamsyn suddenly realized how bad the book might look to her friends. “It’s just a fun book. The kids like the rhymes. I’d never—”
“We’re not offended.” Sascha sneaked a bite of chocolate from the pieces Tamsyn had cut for the cookies. “It simply relates a factual event in a way small children can understand.”
“Yes.” Faith opened the book to the first page. “I believe the newly powerful Psy Council was trying out its wings during that time period. This was not one of their success stories.”
Tamsyn laughed, glad for Sascha and Faith’s imminently logical outlook on life. “No, I’d say not. I don’t think they’ve been defeated like that ever again.”
Sascha nibbled on another piece of chocolate as she picked up a beautiful ornament from the box on the table. “Isn’t it a bit early for Christmas decorations?”
“It’s a family thing.” Tamsyn felt her heart catch at the memory. “A tradition you could say.”
Faith’s eyes lingered on the hand-painted ball in Sascha’s hand. “I see the future, but I think it would be nice to have a past full of enough joy that you celebrate it.”
Tamsyn smiled at the foreseer. “I’m sure you’re making some great memories with Vaughn.”
“Yes.” Her eyes softened. “He carved a sculpture of me.”
“Can we see it?” Sascha asked.
Faith shook her head. “No, I don’t think so. He’s quite possessive about it.”
“Just like he is with you.” Seeing movement out of the corner of her eye, Tamsyn grabbed the chocolate bowl before Sascha could demolish it. “How much chocolate do you go through in a week anyway?”
Sascha’s night-sky eyes, pinpricks of white on black velvet, crinkled at the corners as she winced. “I think we should change the subject. Let’s talk more about Faith and Vaughn.”
Lucas stuck his head around the corner from the living room. “She ate an entire bar after dinner last night. Good thing I make sure she gets regular exercise.” He ducked back out before the apple Sascha had thrown at him reached the door, his sensual grin leaving no doubt as to what kind of ‘exercise’ the two had been indulging in.
“I swear I’m going to—” Sascha kept the apple in the air using telekinesis and brought it back to the bowl. “He bought me that damn chocolate bar.”
Tamsyn bit her lower lip to stop from laughing at Sascha’s blush. “Of course he did. He adores you.”
“And I foresee many more chocolate bars in your future.”
Tamsyn and Sascha both looked at Faith. The F-Psy was gifted with the ability to see the future and when she said something like that, it was usually correct to give it a literal interpretation.
“Do you also see lots of exercise?” Tamsyn asked.
Sascha swiveled to stare at her. “Tammy!”
“Oh yes.” Faith grinned impishly, the smile rare. She’d been out of the PsyNet for several months but some things took time. Tamsyn knew the redhead was still getting used to interacting with her new packmates. “Chocolate and exercise are intimately connected in your future.”
Sascha put her hands on her hips, looking from one to the other. Then her lips quirked. The laugh when it came was infectious. They were all holding onto their sides when Nate walked into the kitchen from the backyard. “What did I miss?” He was holding a bunch of flowers.
Stupidly expensive, incredibly beautiful and softly delicate.
Tamsyn stopped laughing. “You idiot.” But she was walking into his arms, tears in her eyes, barely aware of Sascha and Faith slipping out of the room.
He hugged her with one arm, flowers in the other. “Happy Anniversary, my darling cat.”
She sniffed. “It’s not until Christmas Day.”
“No it isn’t.”
No, it wasn’t. That might be when they’d had the ceremony in the Pack Circle to celebrate their mating bond, to share their joy with packmates, but it was on this day eighteen years ago that they’d truly become one, without barriers or fears. The first day he’d ever given her orchids. “I should put them in water.”
He was nuzzling at her neck. “Later. Right now, you should come upstairs and put me out of my misery.”
“Nate!” she whispered, well aware of the others only a wall away. In particular, their two cubs, Julian and Roman—the boys had preternatural hearing when it came to their daddy. “The kids, Lucas and Sascha and—”
“They’ll take care of the kids.” Teeth nibbling on her skin. “I’ll be very quiet.”
Things were melting low in her stomach as the scent of him wove around her. “Liar.” God she was mush where this man was concerned. Especially when he gave her orchids. “I want to be on top.”
Putting the orchids on the table behind him, he scooped her up into his arms. Like all healers, she was a practical woman, but he’d always made her feel utterly feminine. Now he grinned. “No you don’t. I have plans for you.”
She nipped at his lower lip. “Going dominant on me, Nathan Ryder?”
He gave her a full-blooded kiss. “Remember that time in the cabin, Mrs Ryder?” He whispered a more intimate description in her ear.
“Oh.” Damp heat between her legs. “You’re right, I don’t want to be on top.” The things he’d done to her in that cabin…it was no wonder she’d agreed to be his mate. But their story had begun long before that final showdown.Copyright © 2007 by Nalini Singh