Alpha Province: Puppet Strings(7)

By: Becca Van

Cason pushed his thoughts aside, his gaze immediately going to his gorgeous mate sitting across the table from him. He frowned with concern when he heard her panting and saw the sheen of perspiration on her forehead. His ear twitched as his enhanced hearing picked up the rapid beat of her heart. When he glanced at Bladen and Daxon, he noticed they were also watching Sage with worried expressions.

When she shrieked after Bladen placed a comforting hand on her back and she cowered in her seat with her arm up above her head as if trying to protect herself, he almost lost it. A low rumbling growl started deep in his chest as he shoved to his feet, and the tips of his fingers started tingling. If Preston hadn’t gripped his arm firmly, he might have changed into his tiger right in front of his already terrified mate, and that would have been a travesty. The terror emanating from her skin, her pores was sickly sweet and made his heart ache for her. Even though he was furious that someone had hurt their woman, he wanted to question her until he had the fucker’s name so he could hunt him down and rip him to shreds, he was glad for Preston Louis’ intervention. Frightening her more than she already was wouldn’t be conducive to courting her.

Cason had a feeling it was going to be very difficult, if not impossible, to get Sage Garland to agree to go out with them let alone mate with them. With a frustrated sigh, he rubbed over the ache in his chest and sat back down. He and his feline wanted to devour their mate, but Cason didn’t think he and his brothers would ever get the chance to take her out to dinner, let alone kiss her.

* * * *

Sage sucked in a breath as she lowered her arm from near her head. Tears of humiliation stung the back of her eyes, but she blinked them back. She wanted to get up and hurry out of the room, but her legs were still trembling. While she knew she had no reason to be ashamed or embarrassed, she couldn’t help but feel those emotions. She was very aware of the eyes on her, but she kept her gaze on her empty plate.

“You haven’t told me what you want to eat yet, Sage,” Bladen said.

She tried to take the platter from him, but he held fast. “I have it, baby. Just take what you want.”

She frowned at him over the endearment, but since she’d already made a spectacle of herself, she held her tongue. The last thing she wanted or needed was to garner more attention her way. Thankfully, everyone was talking again. Elsa had said something to get the ball rolling. Sage had no idea what they were talking about and didn’t really care. All that mattered was that most of the attention was off her, for now.

With a shaking hand, she grasped the tongs and started putting food on her plate. Her stomach roiled, and she swallowed the saliva pooling in her mouth. Sage wasn’t sure if she’d be able to eat anything without having to run from the room so she could throw up, but she was going to make it look as if she was eating even if she didn’t put anything in her mouth. Once she had a piece of toast with scrambled eggs and a piece of bacon on her plate, she stared at it and swallowed again. Instead of picking up her knife and fork, she grabbed her mug of steaming black coffee, taking several sips. When her stomach seemed to settle somewhat, she lowered her gaze to her breakfast again. Before she could start eating, Bladen grasped her fork, cut a piece of toast with egg on it, and lifted it to her mouth.

“Open up, baby.”

She frowned at him and went to take the fork from his hand, but he moved it out of reach. She scowled at him before glancing about, and when she noticed all eyes were once more on them, she sighed with resignation, turned toward him, and opened her mouth. As she stared into his eyes, she watched as his pupils dilated as they filled with heat.

Sage shivered but not with fear. This time she was shivering because her perfidious body filled with heat. She tried to ignore the way her breasts swelled, and her nipples hardened, but disregarding her throbbing clit and wet pussy was harder than it should have been. With a fit of pique, she snatched the fork from his hand, turned so that she was sitting with some of her back toward him, and ate her breakfast. From under her lowered eyelashes, she noticed the smirks directed her way from some of the other men but didn’t bother to acknowledge them. She was here to do a job and nothing more.