Saturday, March 28, 2020

Seedlings (A Psy-Changeling Short Story)

A little something from me to you. I hope this unabashedly joyous story brightens up your world a little.    


p.s. Even if you've never read anything from this series, you should be able to read this story without problems.

Seedlings
A Psy-Changeling Short Story by Nalini Singh

Tamsyn had been ready to have cubs since about five seconds after she and Nathan officially became a couple—in other words, since the day her mate got his head screwed on straight and stopped trying to protect her by keeping his distance.
The cubs? It was a healer thing. She knew enough healers to understand that the need to look after a family was an itch in their blood. Of course, since healers considered the entire pack their family, it was an itch they could scratch even if they didn’t have kids of their own.
As for Tamsyn, she’d made sure she didn’t have children. Her mate wasn’t ready. It had taken a solid couple of years for Nathan to accept that she didn’t regret mating at nineteen and never would. Not only that she had no regrets, but that she was joyously happy to be with him, her soul lighting up each morning she woke to find the muscled heat of him beside her.
Adding cubs to that would’ve strained her husband’s huge and bruised heart to breaking point. But, she was happy to say that their years together—coming up to fourteen now!—had healed the bruises, had him laughing in a way that reached the midnight blue of his eyes and creased his cheeks. Her heart squeezed each time he smiled—the man was getting more handsome with age and it wasn’t fair to her poor heart.
But she’d keep on falling into his smile, and she’d keep on kissing him, and she’d keep on tumbling into love with him over and over again. As for the cubs, she babied and mothered every single one in DarkRiver. “Ry, put that down right now,” she said firmly to the gorgeous little boy who was clutching a fat worm in his small and pudgy fingers.
All white-blond hair going dark at the roots and dirt-streaked face, he looked at her with wounded eyes that nonetheless glinted with mischief.
“Bryan!”
Grin wide, he stuffed his little fist into his mouth.
Jumping across the garden bed, she took hold of the wriggling end of the worm and managed to get the poor creature safely back into the soil. “Worms are for the garden,” she said in her most severe tone. “You’re a leopard. You hunt. You do not dig up your dinner from my seedling garden.”
“I lub oo, Tammmmmmmeeeeee.”
She bit the inside of her cheek to keep from breaking out into a grin. Ry—Bryan when he was in trouble—was too damn adorable, but he had to learn that being adorable didn’t mean he could wriggle out of trouble. “Repeat after me, I do not eat worms.”
A stubborn silence, eyebrows drawing together.
“Fine. Then you have to go inside and learn your words.” The greatest possible threat for an active cub—especially when the sun was high in the sky and the air crisp with spring.
The toddler’s lower lip began to quiver.
Tamsyn shook her head. “I won’t change my mind even if you cry.” Though she would feel sorry for his precious heart. “You know the rules. No digging out things from my vegetable patch without permission. And no eating worms.”
Thereupon ensued a small standoff, but stubborn or not, Ry was a sweet, good-natured cub at the core. Beaming at her without warning, he threw out his arms. “I no eat orm. Pomise.”
“Good boy.” Gathering him close, she snuggled his giggling warmth; he still had that toddler softness to him, his cheeks and limbs rounded, and it melted her. “Do you want to help me plant?”
An enthusiastic nod.
They both had their fingers in the rich, fertile soil when Nathan returned from his meeting with the other DarkRiver sentinels. Hunkering down next to Ry, he ruffled the boy’s hair, then reached across that curious head to kiss Tamsyn on the mouth. “I see you two have been busy.”
“I no eat orms,” Ry announced proudly. “Tammy says.”
Nate grinned, all dark hair, that heartbreaker gaze of darkest blue, and laugh creases edging out from his eyes. “That’s right. Us big, tough leopards don’t hunt worms.” He growled, the sound coming from deep within his chest as his leopard rose to the surface of his skin. “We hunt big prey.”
“Grr.” Ry’s tiny growl—complete with soil-covered hands shaped into claws beside his face—had Tammy’s ovaries going into complete meltdown. She had no idea how his mama disciplined him.


“He’s a fun little guy,” Nate said to her after Ry’s uncle Zach picked him up ten minutes later. “Maybe we should have one of our own?”
Blinking, Tamsyn sat down in the garden bed and just stared at her gorgeous, strong, loving mate. “What did you say?”
A hint of unfamiliar shyness to him, he shrugged those big shoulders. “A cub? What do you think?”
Tamsyn stared at him for another long minute before making a high-pitched squeal of joy and pouncing on him, taking him to the ground.
“Your seedlings!” he yelled, and that was when she knew that even if she hadn’t been madly in love with him already, she’d have fallen for him then and there.


She and Nathan didn’t succeed on the first attempt, but they had a whole lot of fun trying. Including racing each other in leopard form across the forest, then shifting and tangling naked on a carpet of fallen leaves. Then there was that seriously naughty quickie in her office at the pack’s HQ when they nearly got busted by another sentinel.
Nathan had laughed so hard, his face buried against her shoulder, and his arms locked around her that she’d felt the vibrations all through her body. They’d loved each other so long now; he knew her body from tip to toe, as she knew his, intimate skin privileges between them a scalding heat that burned hotter with every passing year and a warm affection that was an embrace.
And love. Infinite love.
Then one day, Nathan turned to her with an expression of startled delight on his face. Because among changelings, mates were almost always the first ones to pick up the subtle scent changeor perhaps it was something deeper, more inexplicable. But Tamsyn got a feeling in the part of her that made her a healer not long afterward. They did the test together, Tamsyn letting her mate see the result first. “So?”
Growl loud, he lifted her up by the waist to spin her around…only to stop mid-spin. “I shouldn’t do that. You’re preg—”
“You stop that right now!” Clapping her hands on his cheeks, she looked those leopard eyes full-on, her own eyes no longer human either. “Do your senior soldiers go hide in a padded room while they’re pregnant?”
A scowl. “No.”
“Did Shayla stop working while she was carrying Lucas?”
Scowl turning darker, he grumbled, “No.”
“And what about—”
Her mate kissed her, luscious and deep. “I admit defeat,” he said when they were both breathless. “Have mercy.”
Wrapping her arms around his neck, she pressed her nose to his. “You sure?” Nathan’s intense protectiveness had always been the biggest problem in their relationship—it hadn’t reared its head for some time and she intended for that to continue. “Because we’re going to have a child and that child will be a leopard changeling and leopards need freedom to thrive.”
No humor in his expression, his throat moving. “I’m sure,” he promised, voice lined with grit. “If I slip up, I know you’ll help me find my way.”
Eyes hot, she spoke with her lips against his. “You’ll be a wonderful father, Nathan.” She saw how he was with the young ones in the pack, how they trusted and turned to him.
“Yeah?”
“Yeah. Our baby is so lucky you’re their dad.”
A slow smile. “A cub?”
“A cub,” she whispered.


Turned out they were both wrong. Their babies were born one after the other seven and a half months after that test. Julian and Roman. Jules and Rome. Their gorgeous cubs with their scrunched up old-man faces and good strong yells and eyes that promised to turn the same midnight blue as their daddy’s.
A shirtless Nathan, cubs held skin-to-skin against him as he sat by the window, looked at Tamsyn with a scared-astounded-proud look on his face. “Our cubs.”
“Yes.” Tears threatened at the sight of his body backlit by the sun as he cradled their boys against him; her smile was wobbly when she said, “I love you, Nathan Ryder.”
Rising with happiness written on every line of his body, he placed their cubs back against her bare skin, before getting into bed next to her, a big wall of protective warmth. She snuggled into him—her mate’s protectiveness was a large part of him and Tamsyn loved that part as she did the rest of him; she just knew that at times, he needed her to help him see clearly through the shadows of the past. When she tipped up her head, he dropped a kiss on her lips while the sun rose beyond the windows.
Because of course their twins had decided to start their journey outside her womb at four in the morning. Julian had been born at 5.59 a.m. Roman at 5.59 and 30 seconds. “Do you think they’ll be friends?” There was no guarantee, even with twins.
Chuckling, Nathan nudged his head downward.
She followed his gaze to see that Julian had his hand fisted tightly over his brother’s. “Good thing we built the double crib.”
“Yeah.” A roughness to the single word, Nathan pressed his lips to her hair. “Thank you for not giving up on me even when I messed up big.”
Leaning into his chest, against the strong beat of his incredible heart, her own huge with love, she said, “Never.”

Copyright © 2020 by Nalini Singh

Author’s Note: Nate and Tammy’s story is told in the novella Beat of Temptation, which is part of Wild Invitation (A Psy-Changeling Novella Anthology). Click on the link for excerpts. Also, please note that the novella was originally released as part of the multi-author anthology An Enchanted Season, so if you have that, you have Beat of Temptation.

Wild Invitation
US & Canada
Audiobook: Amazon, Apple Books, Audible

International

78 comments :

Anonymous said...

Wonderful, thanks!☺

neeliren said...

Hermoso

Unknown said...

Adorable ^_^ and a reasonable explanation for the long delay before their birth. Nathan's heart had to heal. Sweet! Thanks for the feel good story.

Leslie said...

Owww :3 that's so cute. Thank you for it.

Maggie said...

Thank you so much Nalini - especially during this time, such a lovely happy story! :) will come back and re-read when I need another bit of happines!!

Gabi Brockelsby said...

I read Nate and Tamsyn's story before any others. I think it was included in an anthology of some sort that was not all your stories? I fell in love with them all those years ago and appreciate how intrinsic they are in so many of your stories. Thank you for this treat!

Gladys said...

Loved it! I think the twins need a sister...

Alexisa said...

That was wonderful. 💖

Anonymous said...

Thank you. We need some happiness these days.

SueK said...

Thank you for that wonderful story ❤️

library addict said...

So sweet!

Tamsyn & Nate are favorites so I love having another part of their story.

Thanks.

GraceVette said...

So perfect and needed. Thank you

Lesa said...

Thank you! I needed that story. It was just right.

Anonymous said...

that was so beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes... i loved it...can't wait for your next book....

Unknown said...

Ty for that now I'm more impatantly waiting for the next book.

Farah said...

That was a great short story

Nancy M said...

Thank you! A much needed joy in a cautious time.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! So touching and adorable!

Sune said...

Beautiful. I love Nate and Tammy

ST said...

Aww I love Nate and Tammy ans especially love their novella, I've read it a million times.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Nalini, that was great!
AndreaH

AquaGeminiMom said...

Thank you Nalini. The story was wonderful and heart warming.

Sivi said...

Thank you for taking the time and giving us this really happy story ��

Eva said...

You´re very kind Nalini. Thank you so much!

Unknown said...

That's so adorable!
Thank you and stay healthy!

Catherine TYW said...

Omg. I absolutely love the short story! So sweet and awesome!

Barb said...

Thank you, Nalini. It is a joy to be able to read anything about our Psy-Changelings.

This also gives us a bit fun, as we are all doing our best to stay home. To everyone.....Be safe.

Francesca said...

What a heart felted story, thank you so much. I adore this series.

Sarah said...

Oh my goodness, this is lovely! Nathan and Tammy (particularly Tammy) have been favorites of mine forever, so this glimpse into their lives made me squee! Thank you!!

december said...

Thank you much needed light relief

Bella Swann Erotica said...

What a sweet story. I am such a fan of the Psy-Changelings’ series.

Catherine R said...

I enjoyed this very much. Thank you.

Patricia Schlorke said...

Awww, thanks for the short story about Tammy and Nathan. Nice to see Bryan as a little cub. We see him in Zach's and Annie's story older and in school. :)

Please everyone, stay safe in this craziness. To those who are on the front lines, thank you for all your hard work.

Shari Kaine said...

What a spot of sunshine for my gloomy, rainy day in the USA. Thanks for sharing a piece of Tammy and Nate with us, I loved their story and this was a delight. The glimpses you provide for us of your characters outside the story walls makes them so much more real to me. Stay healthy and safe... Your kindness is always a joy!

Unknown said...

Thank you. Heart warming. We have the newsletter, and this was really lovely and thoughtful of you at this time. Be safe too

Anonymous said...

Thank you sooo much Nalini, this was very kind of you.
In awe of our professionals on the front line, stay safe everyone and hopefully the time home strengthens relationships!

Unknown said...

Enjoyed very much love all of the books you write in these trying times all the authers help keep up the sprit look forward to the new book have book and audio on reserve be safe

Unknown said...

I loved it!!

Jane said...

Thank you. I really enjoyed that. Needed a bit of joy in these strange times.

Unknown said...

I feel so invested with these stories, love getting these little glimpses into their lives weather past or present.

AlwaysV said...

Thank you so much for the loving and warm sunshine of a short story ❤️ I had to rush back and reread Stroke of Enticement just to enjoy Bryan when he was seven years old! What a knight in shining armor!❤️

Tega said...

Awww, this was so sweet! ❤️

Amy said...

Loved the story! Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

Unknown said...

I have been re-reading the pay-changeling series because it makes me smile. Locked in my house here in Canada too, and thankful for and to you for your wonderful books to keep me company. Thank you for this lovely little addition!!!

Denisetoper said...

I have so much fun with these two!!! I love Tamsyn and Nathan! And of course Jules and Rome, they are the greatest cubs!!!
Thank you!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Lovely story...made me smile such a big smile! Thank you so much for your uplifting stories. I am currently rereading (again!) your Rock Kiss and Hard Play series together. After that, am looking forward to rereading the Trinity novels before Alpha Night comes out. You Rock big time!!

chipmunk22bdk said...

Thank you for this! Your stories always brighten my day 😊

Angie M said...

Just what I needed! Thanks so much!

AnnabelS said...

I am in love with this family all over again! And Bryan..... ������

Anonymous said...

Loved it! I wondered why it took them so long to have their cubs. I wait for your stories to see what the twins are up to next. They are adorable.

Nemo said...

Oh, Nalini, thank you so much! That was the exact sweetness and adorableness I just needed!

Sophia Rose said...

Ahhhh, loved it! Thanks!

Sheena said...

This gave me the giggles :)
Thank you, Nalini, for this adorably wonderful story.

Unknown said...

Love❤❤

Unknown said...

Nalini, I love your books so much, and these wonderful short stories just add icing to the cake.
Thank you. Please keep them coming.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. Love all your stories. Brings so much joy! So thank you very much.

joselyn said...

So beautiful, thank you Nalini❤️

Christie said...

Awwwww... this is so sweet! I appreciate this so much!

Anonymous said...

just what i needed in this time of iso!1 thank you nalini<3

Paula Nixon said...

Thanks Nalini. A sweet lovely story about those adorable cubs was just what I needed

Unknown said...

Thanks so much! I, too, am currently rereading the Psy-Changeling series to cheer me up, and this short story is a wonderful treat. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 - Kate

jandwolf said...

I love Nathan and Tamsyn's story and this just topped it off. Thank you for writing this part.

Unknown said...

Thanks Nalini!

Olivia said...

Thanks a lot for sharing it. I love it! It definitely brightened my day :)

Unknown said...

Thank you! I love them!

Jenn said...

Awww that was lovely and perfect! Thank you for sharing it. Brought a smile to my face :). Take care and stay safe!

DJK said...

Enchanting. Thank you :)

Unknown said...

❤️❤️❤️
We wish we'd got to see some more of Rome and Jules though

Anonymous said...

Thank so much, did so need this🥰. Stay safe

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for this! In this time of social distancing and stress, we sorely needed it.

🤗Kiri said...

Thank you for the sweet treat.

Unknown said...

Ty forthis beautiful shirt story can we have more about the characters of the psy changeling story
I can say that I miss them all
Fos, nimbé red

debbie said...

Thank you, Nalini! Lovely glimpse into the lives of four of my favorite characters.

Unknown said...

Thank you Nalini. This was needed today. A very good, feel good story.

LadyDragus Arts said...

I knew he was shy, but not this shy. I loved this thank you

Dannielle said...

Oh my this was so super sweet I'm crying!
Nate and Tammy are my favourites <3

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU SO MUCH NALINI!!!! ♥♥♥♥

Alfar said...

Cuídate mucho Nalini, y más historias de estas y la serie del gremio de cazadores! Son increíbles! Las amo desde el fondo de emo corazón y adoro tu genialidad. Mucho amor desde Perú.