Catnapped – Part 16

I had my assistant repost the previous posts so that if you missed one it is easily found. There are some inconsistencies with the story but I am going to move forward and fix them in the final version. I’m going to pick this up again and try to be consistent. Life seems to be against me lately but I’m going to persevere!

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Felix nodded toward the cursed items. “I want you to tell me what you can determine about each object.”

“I doubt it will be much.” Jacques stepped closer to examine the objects and clasped his hands behind his back to prevent any impulsive touching.

“Smart not to touch right away.”

A light tingling rippled across his skin when he leaned down. Sitting on top of a strip of red velvet fabric were a small silver box, a gold cross adorned with rubies and a black stone that resembled onyx.

Jacques sneezed.

“I can already tell you’re magical sensitive,” Felix said in an approving tone. “What can you tell me?”

“I can feel a tingling on my skin.”

“Hmm.” Felix hummed. “Interesting. You are extremely honed to magic. Your vampire didn’t tell me if you had any special abilities.”

“I’m a lion shifter but I can’t do magic or anything. I don’t know anyone who can,” Jacques confessed.

Felix’s eyes lit up like Christmas and his birthday had both arrived wrapped together in a shiny gold bow. “Fascinating. I’ve never met a shifter. I wonder if all of you have the same skill.”

Jacques shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“Well that is something to look into later.” Felix shook himself as if coming out of a trance. “Now I want you to pick each up one at a time. Don’t pick them up together.”

“Is it safe?”

“Safe? Well that is a relative term. They are cursed items after all.”

Jacques hesitated. “I don’t especially wish to be cursed.”

“I don’t wish you to be either. What are you doing to my mate, Mr. Underson? I’d hate to think I made a poor decision to let you tutor him.” Nevio’s deep voice sent chills down Jacques spine to join the tingling across his skin.

Felix paled and lost the smug confidence he showed seconds before. “No. Of course not. Nothing that will seriously hurt him.”

Nevio came to stand beside Jacques. “So you know how each item will react to a shifter then?”

“Um. I don’t think it will be different than anyone else,” Felix protested.

“You’d best hope not.” Nevio answered with a sharp-toothed grin.

“I’m sure he wouldn’t bring me anything too harmful.”

“They are simple curses. I would’ve removed them already if I thought they were dangerous.” The sincerity Felix’s face reassured Jacques.

He refused to admit he had a few reservations of his own. “Will you be here for each of my tutoring sessions?”

Nevio shook his head. “Of course not. I just want to make sure you are getting the knowledge that you need. Your online classes start next week don’t they?”

“Yes.”

“Your books should arrive today.” Nevio patted him on the shoulder. “Enjoy your session and tell me if you need anything else.”

“I will.” It took a few minutes for Jacques to get back into the right mindset. Nevio always scrambled his senses. Maybe one day he could be around the vampire without having to actively resist the pull.

Forcing his attention back to his tutoring session, Jacques picked up the silver box. His hand went from tingling to throbbing as if there were a hidden heartbeat in his palm. “What’s this one?”

“What do you feel?”

“It’s like I’m holding a heart in my hand.”

“Perfect. You’ll make a good curator. Inside that box in a voodoo doll. It has been given a shape and a target. What you are sensing is its connection its victim.”

Jacques quickly set it down. “Where did you get it?”

“I found it in an abandoned shack in Louisiana. As I don’t know who the victim is or the person who created the doll I don’t want to destroy it. I could inadvertently kill someone.”

Jacques quickly set the doll down. Creepy. “Do you run across many voodoo dolls?”

“I wouldn’t say it was common but it isn’t unusual to run across items that seek to control others. The trick is to understand when to leave them alone and when to investigate. I’ve run across some soul catchers in different cultures that were created for different things. It is never a good idea to paint all items with the same brush. The reason behind a curse is often just as important as the curse itself. After all a curse without meaning behind it doesn’t exist.”

Jacques thought about Felix’s statement and couldn’t find any fault in it. He nodded his agreement. “But what if the reason no longer exists.”

Felix grinned, a wide delighted smile. “That’s when you break it. Now pick up the cross.”

A quick glance at Felix’s face showed he wasn’t kidding. He set the silver box back where he found it then picked up the cross. “This won’t hurt Nevio will it?”

Laughter greeted his question. “That is a lie spread by worshipers to make them sleep better at night. There is little that will hurt vamps. You’re more likely to hurt Nevio by breaking his heart than injuring his flesh.”

The hard knot of worry dissolved as he blushed over his superstition. “My pack didn’t know much about vampires and I couldn’t find any dependable sources of information.”

“You could’ve asked any of the vampires around you.” Felix pointed out.

Jacques frowned. “I don’t know them well enough to know if they will tell me the truth. Besides how would you react if someone living with you asked what it took to injure you?”

Felix smirked. “You might have a point.”

The jewels on the cross glittered beneath the lights. “It’s pretty.”

Unlike with the box he didn’t feel anything from picking it up. “I don’t feel a curse.”

“Good. It’s the only one that doesn’t have anything wrong with it. I wanted to test your sensitivity.”

“Where did you find it?” He titled it back and forth but nothing stood out to let him determine if it had any other special properties.

“It’s my mothers’.” Felix held out his hand and Jacques gave it to him. “The only thing special about it is that she doesn’t know I swiped it yet.”

Jacques laughed.

“Pick up the stone.”

Forcing back his nerves Jacques picked up the black rock. “Is it onyx?” A spark of blue burst beneath his fingers. With a yelp he dropped it.

A soft thud followed its landing on the table.

“What can you tell me about onyx?” Felix prompted.

Jacques searched his memory about the properties of the stone. “I thought it was supposed to be a soothing stone.”

“Excellent,” Felix praised. “That’s why it’s cursed. It does the opposite. It sends feelings of fear and unease. Whoever created this curse wanted someone to be worried. I’m showing you this one so you can feel what a more subtle curse can do.”

“Huh.” Jacques kept a wary eye on the stone. “Good to know but do you think I’m going to need this knowledge as a curator? Won’t someone like you already remove any curses?”

“Maybe, or you might have an unscrupulous dealer. Best to be able to identify curses even if you can’t break them.”

With that bit of advice they spent the rest of the afternoon discussing curses.

Welcome to the Rainbow Advent Calendar Stop!

Thank you for joining me for my Advent Calendar story. I’ve decided to do a short on Quain and Peter since they’re in my latest book Pursuing Peter.  Questioning Quain is coming Decemberish. If you haven’t read Peter then I should tell you Quain is a psychic and has visions…see all cleared up!

If you leave a comment I’ll enter you to win a $10.00 Amazon GC! Winner will be chosen next Saturday!

Just in case you need it: Rainbow Advent Calendar Facebook Group

 

 

It snowed.

Icy flakes spun in circles outside the window. Winter had come in a rush of dingy gray clouds and dropping temperatures. Quain Ilves pressed his nose against the cool glass enjoying the coldness against his skin. The heater hummed a sad background melody to his thoughts.

Quain rubbed his arms. Maybe he should put on a warmer sweater. He had only worn the black one because Peter enjoyed the soft fabric when they cuddled. To bad Peter wasn’t home. He’d been missing since their fight.

It wasn’t even a big one.

A sigh tore through Quain as he reflected on their argument. It had started with Quain being resistant to going to the pack party, and ended with Peter accusing him of trying to distance them both from their pack family.

He traced a heart on the foggy windowpane. Maybe he should’ve mentioned his social anxiety, but he didn’t want Peter to think he was a wimp. Better to have Peter think he was part hermit than that he had issues with crowds. Growing up isolated had taken its toll on Quain emotionally and he’d rather anger Peter than have his sympathy. Something he regretted now.

“Come back to me,” he whispered against the windowpane.

He traced another heart on the steamy glass interlocking with the other one then, in an act of whimsy, wrote their initials inside. The first smile in two hours crossed his lips even as his own heart ached from his mate’s absence.

Peter wouldn’t hold a grudge, would he? Unfortunately they hadn’t been together long enough for him to know for certain. The scrape of a key in the door raised his hopes. Quain stood, but before he could take a step his world went black.

Impatience was the primary emotion rushing through him. He lacked his usual anticipation for a vision. Instead he longed for the ending so he could return to Peter and talk through his issues. Peter had never lost patience with him before and Quain had planned on making sure everything else was fine with his mate before airing his own problems.

Fog swirled in unfamiliar patterns. Quain tried to push through but nothing hurried the experience.

“What’s the rush, young seer?” a female voice asked.

Quain froze. He had half expected Zeus to make another appearance. Despite claiming to dislike mortals the god enjoyed stomping through Quain’s visions with startling regularity.

“My mate just got home. We had a fight and I’d like to talk to him.” It didn’t occur to him to lie to a complete stranger, nosy or not.

“You worry too much, honey,” the female said with warm familiarity.

“Sometimes.” Quain prided himself on knowing his own personality quirks.

“About your mate, more times than not.”

“Who are you?” The fog continued to hide the speaker. A burst of psychic wind swept away the fog and exposed the lady. A white gown swirled around her slim form. All of her was white. Even her skin held little color against her white locks.

“Consider me your fairy godmother,” she said with a wry smile.

“Are you a fairy?”

“Nope.” She giggled, an odd contrast to her previously serious expression.

“And you’re not my godmother,” Quain pursued carefully.

She shrugged. “Semantics.”

Quain waited but she didn’t say anything more. “What are you here for? Peter was coming home and I need to talk to him.”

“And tell him why you’re such a pill?”

“Yeah.” Quain shoved his hands in his pockets. “He needs to know why he has such a broken mate.”

“You aren’t broken, maybe a little chipped on the corners but nothing a bit of love can’t fix.” She pulled a sparkly wand out of the air and spun it around. Gold sparks flew around her.

“Huh.” Quain watched the light show not certain of what to do. Never before had a being entered his vision world waving a wand.

“I know pretty spectacular right?” Her lips formed a smug smile. “In order for your mate to understand you, maybe you should understand him.”

“How? He doesn’t like to talk about his childhood much.”

“There are reasons for that.”

“Is this where you show me my Christmas past?” Quain couldn’t help the sarcastic tone. Trust him to have a fairy godmother cliché.

She giggled. “Don’t be silly. Weren’t you there for your Christmases? I’m here to show you Peter’s.”

With a wave of her wand the scenery changed. Instead of a blank sea of white fog a room materialized. A little boy sat beside a Christmas tree dripping with decorations. Piles of presents covered the area around the trunk, pushing the branches up. The elegance and size of the room indicated they were inside a rich person’s mansion.

“Is this where he grew up?” Quain asked.

“Shh, watch. Isn’t he adorable?” She giggled madly.

A whiff of alcohol reached his nose. “Are you drunk?”

She waved her wand. “Don’t be ridiculous. One little interesting eggnog isn’t going to stop me from doing my job. And if you report me I’ll make all your visions female porn shows.”

Quain rubbed his queasy stomach. “That’s just evil.”

Before she could respond a female voice called Peter’s name.

“In here, Mom,” child Peter replied.

“Are you ready to open your presents?” His mother sat on a chair beside the tree.

Although Quain hadn’t ever met Peter’s father he could immediately see how much Peter resembled his mother. His cheekbones had definitely come from her side of the family along with his dazzling aquamarine eyes.

“Isn’t Dad coming?” Peter asked.

His mother played with the belt on her robe. “He’s not feeling up to it right now.” She didn’t meet Peter’s eyes when she spoke.

“He’s drunk again isn’t he?”

“No he just had a long night, And don’t talk about your father like that,” she scolded.

Peter picked up a present with little interest and began tearing at the wrapping paper. Before Quain saw what he uncovered the scene changed back to the fog.

“See,” she announced.

“See what? We left before we saw what he got.”

She batted his complaint away with her hand. “What he got was a lot of presents with an absentee father who gambled away their savings and an enabling mother. One more lonely Christmas in a childhood of them.”

“Which is why he wants to spend it with the pack,” Quain realized. “Damn, I guess I really do have to go to the party.”

“You don’t have to. You do have free will and all, but I bet he’d appreciate it.”

“Okay, let me wake up and I’ll talk to Peter.”

“Sorry I’ve got to do the entire spiel, it’s part of my Christmas bonus.”

Quain rolled his eyes. “You are the most unhelpful fairy godmother I’ve ever met.”

She twirled her sparkly wand. “Got an entire closet full of us do you?”

A growl rolled up his throat. Surely it wouldn’t be bad karma to strangle the annoying entity.

“Keep your pants on dear.” She flashed him a wicked smile. “Or don’t. How about I give you a quick sneak peak of your future, no seer skills required. I’ll let you handle the present as long as you lie if anyone asks.”

“Deal.” He agreed without hesitation. The odds of anyone coming to him for a fairy godmother employee review were slim. Of course he would’ve said the same thing about one actually appearing before now.

The scene changed, morphing from fog to living room, seamlessly.

“Wait, this is our apartment.”

“Nice to see you can recognize your living space,” she praised.

“How far into the future is this?”

“Hmm.” More wand twirls, as she thought over her answer. “A few years or so.”

Before Quain could interrogate her more Peter walked into the living room. Quain’s mouth dropped open. It wasn’t the sexy suit Peter wore with casual grace, but the baby in Peter’s arms that caught Quain’s attention.

“Where did he come from?” Quain asked.

“Well, when a man and a woman, or a woman and a sperm get together…”

“Shush!” Quain waved her quiet before she continued to ramble and fill his head with worrisome images.

A second Quain rushed into the room and took the child from Peter. “Are you ready? We’ve got to leave soon if we want to drop Elias off at the pack childcare for the night.”

“Elias?” Quain eagerly waited to hear more about this boy. Who would trust him with a baby?

“He’s all ready and I have his bag by the door.”

“Great.” Quain kissed Elias’s head. The little boy tugged at Quain’s tie then mouthed it a bit.

“Don’t eat the tie pin,” Peter warned.

“Like he’s going to listen to you. You know he’s a tiepin connoisseur. Why else would he always steal Anthony’s most expensive ones?”

“I’m going to owe him a new car at this rate.” Peter scowled.

Quain laughed. “It’s worth it.” He lifted the child up to dangle him back and forth. “Isn’t it Elias?”

Elias giggled.

“He’s adorable. Is he ours?” Quain asked his fairy godmother.

“Yes. You two make wonderful parents. Elias is the first of three.”

“Thank you,” Elias said sincerely.

“For what?” She twirled in place on one shoe like a little kid.

“For giving me hope. I never thought I’d get a family.”

“Then you need to stop being a gloomy Gus and tell your magnificent mate about your problems. You really are lucky to have him you know.”

“I know.”

“Good. Now go and give him a kiss for me!” She waved her wand.

Quain jerked back to reality to find Peter cradling him close, a worried expression marred his mate’s face.

“I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have left you alone,” Peter mumbled. “I wasn’t thinking.”

“Hey, it’s all right.” Quinn cupped Peter’s face in his hands and kissed him with all the passion he had inside. When he let go Peter still had his eyes closed for a few seconds before they fluttered open.

“What caused that? When I left I thought you were mad at me.”

“I was more angry at myself. Let’s sit on the couch and talk.” Quain stood then pulled Peter up after him. “I have some things to tell you about my childhood.”

“Is this going to make me want to hunt down your parents?”

“No. But it explains why I’m reluctant to go to the party.” He flashed back to Peter’s lonely Christmas. “I think we should go to the party, but maybe not stay the entire time.”

Peter’s tense shoulders relaxed. “I can agree to that.”

Quain spent the next thirty minutes explaining his parents smothering followed by years of isolation. The entire time he kept thinking of the beautiful baby and the others to follow.

Peter’s sideways hug pulled him from his memory. “Next time just talk to me. I’ll always want to know if something bothers you.”

“I will. I promise.” He cleared his throat. “By the way, what are your thoughts on having a family? Not anytime soon, just in general.” Quain almost forgot to breathe while he waited for an answer.

Peter smiled. “I’ve always wanted kids.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, I used to dream of having two or three and a beautiful husband to raise them with. At least I got part of it right.”

“Yes, you did.” Quain smiled. He wouldn’t tell Peter about his fairy godmother, who wasn’t a fairy or a godmother. After all the poor man was still getting used to Quain’s visions. Telling him about imaginary people bringing him their future might stretch the bounds of reality too far, even for his accepting mate.

Quain patted Peter’s leg. “Let’s go get dressed and you can introduce me to the people I haven’t met.”

“Sounds good. We even have some fae in our pack,” Peter said.

“Really? Any females?”

Peter paused mid step. “No, why?”

“Never mind.” Quain kissed Peter’s cheek then ran down the hall to the sound of Peter’s laughter.

The past might have been lonely for them both but now they had each other. Quain planned to make this the best Christmas yet for his beloved starting with the party. Tomorrow he would show Peter the extra tools he’d purchased for his garage.

 

The End

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to everyone!

I want to say thank you to all the authors and fans who participated in my month long birthday party!

Any prizes that weren’t chosen will be chosen soon. If you won a physical prize then this is the one time of the year that I will ship things on time 🙂

I’m planning to get a lot more books out in the coming year so if you have a favorite series I am going to work hard in getting some of them wrapped up as you know I have too many out there now. I hate to disappoint my fans over how many open series I have right now.

I will be posting the blog story again in the near future. Stay tuned 🙂

 

It’s My Birthday!!!

newbirthday-cakeHello All!

Today is the big day. I turn 47! Throughout the day we will be giving away prizes. Print books, Amazon GC’s and the occasional ebook of your choice. I hope you have as much fun participating as I do. One of the things I’m going to do today is go see Murder on the Orient Express. I love movies. What is your favorite movie?

One winner will receive a $25.00 GC to Amazon or the ebook retailer of your choice.

 

Catnapped 15

Sorry I was feeling sick yesterday!

The rest of the week passed quickly. Nevio still hadn’t requested blood and Jacques spent most of his time in his lion form lying in the garden.

He flicked his tail from side to side and he lay on the large rock Nevio had placed to the left of the flowers. Apparently the gardeners were worried about the state of the greenery with his big lion ass in the way.

Sunshine beamed down on him as Jacques lolled about in the bright sunshine enjoying the heat against his fur.

“You are just a big lazy lion, aren’t you?”

Jacques lifted one eyelid to examine the vampire standing beside his rock. He yawned, exposing his sharp teeth.

“Yes, yes, you are quite intimidating. If you are done with your nap your tutor is going to be here in an hour to discuss some boring, dusty history with you. I thought you might want to be ready for that.” Nevio’s disdain came across clearly.

Jacques chuffed his disapproval before standing then jumping down from his rock. If he nudged Nevio a bit it was perfectly accidental, or he would claim, if asked.

“Brat,” Nevio scoled in a surprisingly affectionate tone.

Heading inside, Jacques didn’t bother to reply. He made it all the way back to his room before he wondered why Nevio hadn’t sent a servant to inform him.

After a quick shower and change into fresh clothes, Jacques located the library where his sessions were going to be held. A man in a tweed jacket and khakis stood in the room, a low table between him and the door. Jacques couldn’t make out what was on the table. A covering blocked his view.

“Oh, there you are. Well I’m assuming it’s you. You are Jacques Caldera are you not?”

“Yes, and you are?”

“Felix Underson.”

“The explorer?” Excitement shot through him. He hadn’t dared to hope to have someone this prestigious teaching him.

“Yes, that would be me!” The explorer beamed at him. “I’ve heard you want to work in a museum.”

Jacques nodded. “That’s been my dream since my dad took me to the Smithsonian as a child. I want to preserve our history.” He blushed beneath Felix’s understanding gaze.

“Quite right. As do I. I’ve spent the past ten years trying to uncover histories lost treasures from remote locations. All the ordinary valuable items are returned to their home cultural center so it can be shared with all.”

“And the ones that aren’t ordinary?” The hairs on the back of Jacques neck rose as Felix lifted the cover off the table.

“I bring them with me to discover their secrets and I’ll be using them as a teaching tool. What better way to learn about history than to learn everything that has happened in the past good and bad. You see, Jacques, may I call you that?”

Jacques nodded, his mouth too dry to answer.

“I’m going to teach you to be a true historian. Unlike those that try to whitewash history and make it all about the pretty trinkets and heroic battles, I’m going to show you the evil underbelly so you have a more rounded education. You can only learn so much history from books before you have to go out and explore on your own. Unfortunately for you, you’ve been put into a rather restrictive environment while still expecting you to learn about the world. It is my job to make sure you can get the education you need.”

“I appreciate that sir.” Jacques tried not to show his unease. Surely Nevio would leave him alone with someone who meant him harm.

“I knew you would.” Felix flashed him an approving smile. “That’s why I saved my best hexed objects for you.”

“Oh, um thanks.” Curiosity had him stepping forward. He blamed his inner feline.

Three items lay on a bed of red silk.

“All three of these have a dangerous curse of some kind. It is unusual to find in lost temples or tombs protection against theft or intrusion.”

The best solution to Jacques mind it to just leave it there.

Catnapped 14

As promised an extra edition. Not super long…but here!

 * * * *

Nevio didn’t have a response for Jacques statement of him being half wolf. “I didn’t know shifters could interbreed.”

The ‘you’re and idiot’ look Jacques flashed him would’ve made him blush if he could. “We are human even if we can change into an animal. Humans can breed.”

“Sorry,” Nevio raised his hands in defense. “I’ve never given shifter sex much attention.”

“The way you’re going you never will.” Jacques sniffed.

“Is that your way of saying maybe some day we can be more than donor and vampire?”

Jacques flushed. “No, that is my mouth running ahead of my brain.”

“I’m going to let you off the hook this time.” Nevio smirked.

“How generous of you.”

“Isn’t it?”

Jacques played with the handle of his mug, moving the cup back and forth a few times. “When do you think you want me to start donating blood?” The lion shifter didn’t make eye contact.

Jacques held back the urge to declare now the perfect time. “How about next Tuesday? If you come find me after breakfast I can drink from you then.”

“Why can’t I just bleed in a tube like I do when donating at the pack?”

Nevio collected his thoughts trying to figure out a polite way to telling Jacques how much he yearned to lick the lion shifter’s skin and taste that first orgasmic suck of warm blood from the source. “Some of the nutrients are lost in transport from body to cup.”

“Really?” Jacques eyes went wide.

“Not a lot but some. And it is more pleasant for a vampire to drink from living flesh.” Might as well be honest or at least moderately honest. Too much honest would drive Jacques away.

“Oh, I guess I can see that. My lion half prefers game I hunted down myself rather than stuff bought at the store.”

“Exactly.” Nevio smiled. It was nice that Jacques understood.

“You, um, don’t need to drink earlier than that?” Jacques bit his lip adorably and looked up him with big innocent lion eyes.

Nevio clutched his mug carefully chanting in his head how many ways wrong it would be to throw Jacques on the floor and have his way with the younger man.

“You all right?” Jacques asked.

Nevio shook his head. “Of course, why wouldn’t I be?”

“I don’t know but you had a strange expression on your face.”

“Sorry. Your tutor is coming next Wednesday to go over your schedule. Will you be ready?”

“Yes!” Jacques warm, brilliant smile had Nevio wishing he could keep it there forever. “I can’t wait to start.”

“I think your online class starts there next week also.”

“Yeah, Thursday. It will be a busy week.”

“Good it gives you less time to mope.” It hadn’t missed Nevio’s attention that Jacques appeared a bit sad and lost in the mansion without his pack buddies.

“I don’t mope!” Jacques said with a proud tilt of his head. “I sulk with style.”

Catnapped 13

Sorry about missing Monday. I seem to lose track of days. At least I got my next Moon Pack out…see I was doing something. HA!

I’m hoping I’m not contradicting something I wrote earlier.

Keep in mind this is unedited and sometimes written while I’m half asleep. You have been warned. 🙂

* * * *

Nevio sipped his coffee before setting the mug back on the iron table. “You’re right the garden is nice this time of day.”

Jacques had taken to sleeping in a patch of sunlight every afternoon in his lion form. Nevio had the servants put a table and two chairs along with an umbrella. It was oddly peaceful to sit in the shade while his lion companion napped. He’d taken to bringing his paperwork outside. Instead of the stifling quiet of his office he listened to the birds sing and the occasional insect buzz.

“Do the bloodsucking mosquitos suck a bloodsuckers blood?” Jacques asked. He sat on the grass with his arms wrapped around his knees. His bright eyes glowed with amusement.

Busy admiring the sunlight in Jacques hair, it took a minute for him to process what the lion shifter had said. “No. We are immune to insects. They aren’t attracted to our scent.”

Jacques made a humming sound but didn’t say anything else. He tilted back his head as if he were a flower seeking the sun.

“You should wear sunscreen.” Nevio bit his lip after he spoke.

“I don’t burn,” Jacques said. “I don’t know a single shifter who does.”

“Really?” Nevio would have to look into that. “I wonder if it’s a natural immunity.” If it was could it be passed along? He’d bring the idea to the coven’s doctor.

“We are immune to a lot of things. Is there enough coffee for two?” Jacques asked tilting his head up to look at the table.

“There can be.” Nevio motioned toward the servant standing by the door. There was always someone within sight in case he needed anything. As the leader he often had to call someone to him or have something fetched right away. It was easier to have a servant on call than to have hunt down a messenger. They might have cell phones but more than a few of the coven ignored them. If it was urgent they expected a live person to come and tell them so.

Nevio didn’t blame them for their beliefs but they were inconvenient at times. A second mug appeared on the table along with a basket of pastries. Vampires could eat but it wouldn’t sustain them like blood. However the coven kept chefs on hand to feed donors. A full donor was a happy donor.

“These are good.” Jacques’s happy noises made Nevio smile.

Everything about Jacques made him smile even when he was being grumpy lion. “I’m glad you are enjoying them. Do you have enough to keep you busy?”

“For a lion,” Jacques replied.

“What does that mean?”

“That I have enough to keep me busy for now but I’m waiting to find out when my tutor will be here.”

“Next week. I wanted you to have this week to settle in. I didn’t want you to have too many changes at one time.”

“I’m settled.”

“Good. Everything else to your satisfaction? Getting enough food?”

“Yes, I’m fine.” Jacques happier expression eased Nevio’s concerns.

A happy lion would be one that didn’t try to escape. “I did have a question for you.”

“What?”

“Why do you live with wolves?”

Jacques smiled. “I was wondering when you would ask that.”

“The only thing I really know about you is that you live with wolves and your blood is the nectar of the gods.”

Jacques blushed. “I was abandoned in front of the pack house. The letter I was left with said that my father was a wolf so they could keep me. We never did find out if that was true or not.”

“Why wouldn’t your mother keep you if she knew you were a lion?”

“Because I smell like a wolf. She probably assumed I would shift into one. Shifters don’t change until they are at least two. From my scent she decided I took after my father and didn’t want to take care of me. No one in the pack ever admitted an affair with a lion so I never did find out who my dad is. They tried a DNA test but it didn’t match anyone in the pack. The person either moved on or never belonged to our pack.”