Desired by the Bear Book 2(13)

By: V. Vaughn


“We’ll see,” says Mom. I’m not sure how divorce works in the Ouellette clan, but I can’t help fostering the hope that somehow things will work out for my mother and Henri. Then she could stay forever. But considering everything she just told me, I think a lot of wounds are going to need to heal first. And I wonder if the power of true mate love is enough.





7





Tally



When I knock on Jean Luc and Izzy’s door, Grace lets me in. She has a pencil stuck in the loose bun of her wild hair. I greet her and say, “Izzy tells me you’re in full grandmother mode helping her decorate the nursery.”

“I am. Come see what we’ve got so far.” She leads me into the living room where a loose-leaf notebook is open to a page of fabric swatches. She says, “I can’t believe how excited I am about these babies.”

“Well, seems to me you’ve got the best deal in town. You get to take them when you want and give them back when you’ve had enough.” I pause for a second before I add, “Huh. Maybe I don’t want to get married after all. I could just borrow Izzy’s kids.”

Grace says, “No way. We need a bunch of little witches and warlocks terrorizing the clan. I’m sure it’s written in the rules someplace that it has to happen.”

I smile at the kind woman. “Okay, point taken. But we’re going to have to find me a man for that to be.” I sigh as Marcel’s face flashes in my mind. I push my sadness away and ask, “Is Jean Luc around? I need to talk to him.”

“He’s on the porch grilling his famous root beer chicken.”

I glance out the glass of the French doors and chuckle. “He thinks everything he makes is famous.”

“Tell me about it. Go torture him for a bit for me.”

“Gladly.” I walk over and grab the salt grinder on the counter and wink at Grace before I head out to the deck.

A cool breeze blows off the ocean as Jean Luc greets me. “Hey, it’s my favorite witch. Come taste this.”

I have the grinder behind my back, and I walk over to him as he holds out a container of sauce. I stick my finger in it and lick the sticky liquid. The sweet tangy flavor is good, and doesn’t really need a thing, but I can’t help teasing Jean Luc. I say, “Not bad.” I present the shaker and say, “But it could use a little salt.”

He snatches it out of my hand, but his eyes dance with laughter as he says, “You never quit, do you?”

“Nope.” I gaze out over the water. It’s a deep teal-blue today like the color of Jean Luc’s eyes. I ask, “Are you going to tell me about Henri?”

“You heard already?”

“I can sense something’s wrong.” I grin at him because it was good old-fashioned talking that got me my information, and I decide to tell him the truth. “And I spoke with Xavier.”

Jean Luc explains the tricky situation, and when he’s done I blow out a big breath before I say, “And I thought my love life was complicated. Let me know what I can do.”

“I will when I figure it out,” says Jean Luc. A soft breeze blows his hair, and I notice the wrinkles on his forehead from time, and perhaps the magnitude of his position as alpha too. “If there weren’t children involved it would be easy for me to cast Julie out of the clan, but I can’t take a mother away from her kids.”

“Maybe so, but how can anyone trust her? Especially Henri.”

Jean Luc’s brow furrows. “And that’s why I’m letting him call the shots on what we do with Julie.” He sighs. “It’s not going to be an easy decision for him.”

“I bet.” We’re standing by the railing, and I pick at a splinter of wood for a moment before I say, “I need to talk to you about the portal thing.”

“What about it?”

A tiny shiver runs through me as I recall how kissing Marcel almost sucked me into another time, and would have left me stranded where nobody would know how to get me out. I say, “Marcel gave me a back rub the day after Izzy started training me last week, and I find it hard to believe that the portal existed then, because our closeness should have opened it.”

Jean Luc glances at me before he walks over to lift the grill cover, and cedar-scented smoke wafts my way. “Should I ask what kind of back rub this was?”

I roll my eyes. “It was innocent. Jace was right there watching the whole thing. You know, like a good little bodyguard.” I’m a touch sarcastic because being guarded so hunters can’t get to me is growing old. “My point is, this is recent. I think Tokala had a hand in it.” Tokala is the medicine man for the Veilleux clan in Maine. The Veilleux used to be known as evil until their alpha, Victor Veilleux, died and his half-human daughter took over. She’s turning things around, but there are definitely members of the old regime that haven’t stepped in line.