His Brother's Mate

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter 6

That afternoon, the house was full of noise. Voices echoed up the stairs and throughout the hallways, and they only added to my restlessness. Pacing by the large window in my room did nothing to alleviate my agitation, and scanning the grounds below did nothing to soothe the loneliness that threatened to topple over me.

There was no way for me to know how long it would be before Gavin came seeking me out, but I had waited long enough. My patience had already worn thin before I was brought to this village among the trees, now it was nearly nonexistent.

The doorknob turned easily in my hand, as I knew it would. They did not bother locking me in as they might a criminal, though I doubt it was less because they believed me to be innocent and more that they did not consider me a threat. When it slid open, the noise from downstairs increased in volume.

The place was massive from what I could tell when what’s-his-face brought me to my quarters. There was no need for me to keep up with their names here as I did not plan on staying much longer. The only name from this place that thudded through my head was all I needed. It was the only name that had brought me grief, and made my temper flare more than I had ever known it to. Gavin.

My steps were only muffled by the strip of carpet that led down the hall to the massive staircase that I could only just discern from this distance. The deep burgundy and beiges of the pattern played beautifully against the slatted wooden floors, and it struck me how beautiful the interior designing of this house was.

The molding across the top of the walls had beautifully intricate patterns that seemed to be telling a story as it moved across the top of the wall. If I stood on my tip toes, I could almost make out the etchings as they moved fluidly from one to the next. I was nearly too short to make any true distinctions, but I would swear that it seemed to show dogs warring against one another. The scenes that I could make out appeared to depict dogs...maybe wolves that tore into each other’s flesh on some sort of twisted battlefield, and it shocked me how humanlike the depiction was.

Witnessing this kind of brutality of these animals made my chest tighten. Thoughts flashed through my head of the publicity that surrounded dog fighting, and my stomach lurched. With so many illegal dog fighting networks, it made my skin crawl to think that I might be in the midst of such a place. The images did not seem that simple, and the urge to get a better look got the better of me.

Sliding over a bench that littered the hallways here, I tried to get a better look of the scenery on the molding. When I put one foot on the wooden contraption, I felt it rock slightly beneath me. Great! Out of all the benches I could have chosen from, I would choose one that wasn’t stable. Par for the course!

I eyed the hallway for the other benches and decided that it was not worth my time and effort to put this one back and drag another one over for the time I believed it would take me to satisfy my curiosity. Putting one foot on the bench, I sent up a silent prayer that I would be able to keep my balance.

After taking a deep breath, I carefully pushed myself up and pressed myself against the wall as much as I could so that I could peer as close as I could at the molding. My palms pressed themselves against the cool surface, and I was nearly on my tip toes as I looked over the stretch of scenes before me.

Carved details of wolves snapping and tearing at one another’s flesh ran rampant across the beautiful adornment. My fingertips barely reached the bottom of the wide molding, and I let it dance across as I looked at the details. Trees and mountains stretched across the background as they fought with a purpose that was not clear to me, but it was so evident that they were determined. Losing was not an option from either side.

My fingers slid across even more before landing on yet another panel. When my eyes took in the image, I gasped. As I did, I involuntarily pushed myself away from the wall. Big mistake!

The bench teetered dangerously below me as I lost my footing. Giving a loud yelp, my body flew backward.

“Woah!” Shock plastered over my face as I felt strong arms beneath me, breaking my fall. “I got ya!”

Realizing I had been holding my breath and bracing for impact, I finally exhaled. A flush crept over my whole body over what a clutz I was, and I had a hard time facing my savior. “Thank you. I can’t believe how clumsy I am.” Taking in a few steadying breaths, I felt ready to put my feet back under me and wiggled a little in this man’s arms.

“I am just glad you didn’t hurt yourself.” He let me wiggle for a little longer than maybe he should have, but he finally put me back on my feet as he let his hands linger at my waist to keep me steady.

Still not looking up at him, I responded. “Lucky for me you were here. That might have been…” I chose that time to look at my knight in shining armor, and I nearly groaned. “...unpleasant.”

The man before me smiled broadly. His teeth were incredibly white, and perfectly straight. Though he had those same amazing sapphires that peered at me below long, envy-worthy lashed, his hair was sandy blonde. But, those eyes were unmistakable. “I am afraid we have not met.” His tone was so pleasant, and lacked the seriousness that either of his brothers seemed to have ingrained in them. It was charming, and playful. Such a contrast to his brothers.

Taking a step back, I found myself patting him just below his shoulder. His hands had no inclination to let me go as they lingered at my waist. “Just how many of you are there?” There was a slight irritation in my tone that was not necessarily directed at the man before me, but I had no control over it at the moment.

My question brought another smile across his lips. “My brother keeps telling me that there is not another like me…” He paused as he leaned in closer to me, as though conspiring. “...though, between you and me, I don’t think it was a compliment.”

His own conspiratorial smile was infectious, and I could not help but chuckle a little as a smile spread across my own face. This time, I took another step back and he let his hands drop. “Having only met your brother, I still know enough about him to know that was definitely not a compliment.”

Now we were both laughing. It was comfortable being in his presence, like a long, lost friend. His smile was easy, and he was not about grilling me every time he saw me. Not to mention that he did not view me as though I were a criminal. But, then, I had yet to introduce myself.

Sticking my hand out before me, I made the introduction, mentally preparing myself for his change in demeanor towards me. “I’m Cat. Cat Vasil.”

To my surprise, his smile never left his face. It remained plastered where it was, and just as easy as when it first moved across his features. Taking my hand, he leaned over it and surprised me by placing a kiss on the back side of it. “My apologies, Ms. Vasil. I do know who you are, but my brother always says I lack manners. I’m Devon Blakely.”

Confusion twisted my face. “You knew who I was?” He nodded, his smile never slipping from his face. “And you’re still being nice to me?”

This made him erupt in laughter, making me smile at the absurdity of the question. After more than a second had passed, he caught his breath. “My brother can be an ass sometimes, but he does not believe you killed Kent anymore than I do. He is just an old dog learning new tricks, and has no clue how to treat his m-”

“Devon!” A man called from down the hall.

“Ugh! Looks like I have been found.” He scrunched his face in a playful grimace as he faced the man that was approaching. “Hey, Baron! What’s up, bro?” His tone was so playful I had to stifle a giggle.

“Your brother has been calling for you.” Baron gave a stern look that emphasized his meaning.

“Ah, yeah. I kind of got…” He gave me a quick glance and winked. “...held up. Er, actually I was holding her...up, that is.”

Baron gave Devon a look that said he was not amused. “Maybe you should think about finding your way to his office. Before he decides to come find you.”

That comment made Devon frown. “Yeah, yeah. I’ll be there in just a few. Just need to pay my respects to the lady.”

That made Baron growl as his eyes narrowed. “I would warn you not to be so friendly with your brother’s mate, but I cannot imagine that you would be ignorant to the ramifications.” With that warning issued, the hulking man turned around and headed back the way he came.

“Why do they keep using that word?”

Devon turned his attention back to me. He stood nearly as tall as Kent, and towered over me like the other two. The difference was that I did not feel overwhelmed by his presence. On the contrary. I felt quite comfortable in his company.

“What word?”

Looking up at him, I lifted a brow. “Mate.” It felt weird to say it, to have those words hum across my lips.

Giving me an uncomfortable smile, his eyes moved to a spot on the opposite wall from me as he ran a hand across the nape of his neck. “A cultural thing, I suppose.” He looked back at me and smiled, but did not offer more of an explanation. “On that note, I suppose I should go find the almighty king before he beheads me.” He made a face as he exaggerated his words.

“Ah, yes. You have been commanded to appear before his majesty,” I teased.

As he started moving away from me, he turned as his feet propelled him backwards. Giving a mock bow at the waist, he called back, “Till we meet again fair lady.” Then he spun back around and moved quickly towards his destination.

“Yeah, till we meet again,” I whispered, not expecting anyone to hear. My attention once again moved to the scene on the molding above us. Even though I could not see it clearly from where I stood on the floor, I could still remember the image that caught me off guard. The image that startled me, and caused so many more questions to surface. An image that, I would swear, looked half man, half beast.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.