Bane's Heart (Avaleigh's Boys #2)(10)By: Sandra R. Neeley
“Who is she?” Daniel asked him.
“Ooooo, I know, she works at the grocery! That’s it, isn’t it?! That’s why you go to the grocery so often; she works there. Bam always says that you ‘Really like the grocery’; I’m right, aren’t I? You go to the grocery to see her!” Avaleigh rambled on as she jumped up and down and clapped her hands.
Bane just shook his head, grinning at her as he answered her, “Yes, that’s it. Janie works at the grocery. But like I said, she’s skittish and she’s young, really young. About 21, I guess. I don’t want to scare her off. So please don’t go running to the grocery to check her out.”
“I’m happy for ya, Bane. Ain’t every one of us finds our Mates. You’re a lucky male,” Goldy told him. Goldy was genuinely happy for him, but Bane could tell that there was some sadness there also. Goldy was the oldest of them and had not ever run across his Mate. He was lonely.
“Thank you, Goldy. The time will come; you’ll find yours, too.”
Goldy didn’t answer, just stuck another hot dog onto his pointed stick and held it over the flames.
Mav was uncharacteristically somber at Bane’s revelation and kept any remarks to himself. After a couple of hours, and a little more alcohol, Mav finally broke. He couldn’t hold it in any longer. “You sure that you want this one, Bane? Just because she’s your Mate don’t mean you have to mate her.”
“What the hell, Mav? Of course, he’s gonna mate her!” Daniel snapped at him.
“Just ‘cause the Mate Bond snaps into place don’t mean it’s the best thing for all parties! It don’t mean she’s gonna love you, don’t mean she’s gonna be true! Hell, it don’t mean that you’re gonna be true either, for that matter!”
Bane stood, his eyes locked on Mav, “She’s my One. There will not be another for me, ever. If she won’t have me, I won’t have anybody. You speak so little of our bond again, I’ll kill you.”
Mav just glared at Bane, no response on his lips.
Everybody sitting around the fire was grumbling at Mav now and amongst themselves. But Bam got up and went over and sat with Mav, shoulders touching, legs lined up side to side. He looked at Mav, “It’s gonna be okay, Mav. She’s a good girl. And Bane wouldn’t leave us. Our clan’s just growing; we’ll have another sister, like when Avaleigh came to us.” Bam looked to Bane, “Right, Bane?”
Still standing, glaring at Mav, “Absolutely, Bam. If she’ll have me, I’m gonna bring her home, and she’ll not only be mine, she will be a sister to all of you.”
Mav jumped to his feet, threw his beer to the ground, and shouted at Bane, “I’m just trying to warn you, you damned idiot! It don’t always work out the way the stories say it does! I’m just trying to protect you! Not every one of them is like Avaleigh, so don’t rush head first into something just ‘cause you feel the damn pull is all I’m saying!” Mav stalked off into the darkness still mumbling to himself.
They all just looked around at each other. Bam looked sadly after where Mav went into the darkness. “He always hurts so much, I’ll just make sure he’s okay,” Bam got up and went into the woods at the same spot where Mav disappeared only moments earlier. The rest just sat there staring into the flames. Avaleigh broke the silence, “If you’re sure, Bane. Just let her know how you feel. The rest will fall into place. And when you’re ready, we’d love to meet her. I can’t wait for another woman to live here. I’m surrounded by testosterone!”
Bane spent a restless night thinking of Janie, hoping she’d feel better and that he’d get a chance to see her the next day. He got ready early and was at the grocery store early the next morning. He was sitting in the parking lot when Janie arrived for work. He’d have sworn that she saw him, but she gave no indication and went straight into the building. Bear wanted to run over and scoop her into their arms, but he wouldn’t let him. He decided to give her time to get settled before he went in. He forced himself to sit back and wait.
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