Today I’m offering an unedited snippet from Mikel. Next week I’ll be doing a brand new Moon Pack Vignette.
Mikel slammed the front door, whistling as he headed inside. He came to a complete stop at the sight of his mate on the couch. Dressed in a white T-shirt and jeans, Inno lay clutching his cell phone tight against his chest, his skin unnaturally pale. The expression on his face sent worry spiraling through Mikel. If something had upset his mate that much it couldn’t be good.
He set his bag of groceries on the kitchen counter, only stopping to pull out the steaks and put them in the refrigerator. His mate didn’t even twitch his nose at the action and Mikel knew Inno should be able to smell the meat.
Lifting Inno’s legs up he slid beneath them before resettling his lover across his lap. He ran a soothing hand up his mate’s leg. “What happened?”
“Claudia called. She said she needed to talk to me. The bakery is having problems.”
Mikel tried not to say anything to reveal his disdain for his mate’s sister and upset Inno more. When Claudia handed Inno over to the mutants, whatever her intentions, she’d destroyed any concern Mikel might have managed to dredge up for her. Only Inno’s distress over his worthless sister affected Mikel. He’d do anything to make Inno happy even if it mean helping the stupid bitch, the pet name he gave her in his head.
Vampires weren’t known for their compassion. Mikel might have vampire friends but Inno was the star he guided his life by. Holding back a groan he faked interest. He hoped her business went under and she had to start again from scratch. The only reason she had a bakery was because Inno started the thing.
“Did she hint over what was going on? Is it because you’re not there to help her out any more?”
“Not really but I have a bad feeling about this. I know she’s had problems since I stopped working for the baker.”
Mikel cupped Inno’s cheek. “You couldn’t work there after what she did.”
“I know.” Inno sighed. “I wish things were back how they used to be. I never would’ve suspected she’d turn on my like that. I thought she loved me.”
The pain in Inno’s voice stabbed through Mikel. That his sweet tenderhearted lover would still worry over his relationship with his sister even after her betrayal proved Mikel had to watch over his mate to make sure no one took advantage of him.
“Don’t do this to yourself Inno. Maybe it would be best if you took a break from your sister for a while. I’m sure she can figure things out on her own. We can hire her a business consultant or something.”
Inno bit his lip. “I’m tempted but she is still my sister. I might not like her very much right now but I still love her.”
“Of course you do.” The love was undeserved in Mikel’s opinion but he knew Inno cared for his sister. Maybe an encounter with mutants wasn’t enough to destroy Inno’s affection completely but Claudia had best hope she doesn’t run into Mikel without Inno to act as a buffer. So far Inno had been smart enough to keep them apart.
Maybe he could distract his mate from his troubles and ease the worried tension creasing a line between his eyes. He kissed Inno, lapping at his bitten lip. Their mating connection hummed between them, bright and true. He’d do anything to keep his little wolf safe. If he needed to arrange a little accident for Inno’s sister—well no one had to know.
“I won’t let her hurt you again,” Mikel vowed. “I know you want us to go check on her and I will but you aren’t to go see her on your own. I don’t trust her.” She would twist Inno’s soft heart into knots and convince him to help her. Mikel had to protect his mate from his own compassion.
“She’s all the family I have left.” Inno’s voice broke at the end firming up Mikel’s resolve to protect Inno.
Mikel pulled the wolf shifter closer into his arms and pressed a kiss to Inno’s forehead. “You have me. I might not be a blood relation but no one will ever love you more.”
“I know.” Some of the despair faded from Inno’s expression. “Do you think she’s just trying to get attention or do you think she really has a problem? I know she’s been spoiled. Hell, I’m the one who spoiled her but she did sound upset.”
“We won’t know until we go check on her.” As much as he didn’t care about Claudia he wouldn’t have Inno upset, especially over something she might’ve done. If Claudia really needed help Inno would never forgive himself if something happened to her.
His tenderhearted mate might have forgiven if not forgotten her betrayal, but Mikel kept a close eye on her. He wouldn’t give her the power to hurt Inno again. Inno and Claudia’s relationship still had holes big enough to shove a parade float through but he knew Inno missed their previous closeness. Mikel hated the tears Inno inevitably shed after each stilted encounter with his sister. Claudia still thought Inno had overreacted since he could now shift into a wolf and Inno had given up trying to get her to understand the trauma he’d experienced at the hands of the mutants.
Mikel just thought she was an insensitive bitch and wanted to bite her. Maybe drain her to an empty husk and do the world a service. Only his mate’s affection for the woman kept Mikel from outright killing her and tossing her body into the street, and not to mention his coven leader Alesandro might not approve. He didn’t wish to annoy the powerful vampire and draw attention to his coven.
Inno looked up at Mikel through his lashes. “I want to go check what’s going on? Leif said some mutants were planning a territory grab near the bakery. I don’t want her mixed up in that. It wouldn’t hurt to take a peek, right?”
Only his mate could think spying on mutants as innocuous as walking through the park. Mikel frowned. “I guess I can swing by after my meeting tomorrow. Just to see what’s going on.”
“I want to go too.” Inno patted Mikel’s arm. “She won’t be as reassured if you’re the only one who shows up to investigate.”
“That’s because she hates me.” Mikel grinned. Inno’s sister didn’t think he was good for her brother. Maybe he shouldn’t have told her that if it wasn’t for Inno he’d kill her without remorse.
He’d meant every word.
Inno shook his head but didn’t try to deny the charge. “Yes she does, but I figure she’ll get over it eventually.”