His Brother's Mate

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Chapter 7

After having spent more than a minute dawdling in the halls, I followed the cold trail that Devon left behind. I only knew in which direction he went, but I hoped it would be enough to find my way to Gavin.

Turning one of the corners in this massive place, I was confronted with a stern look from what’s-his-face from earlier. If I had to think on it, I knew I could come up with his name, but it would just prove in my own mind that I had been here too long.

The man just stood there, looking at me with near the same expression he had given to Devon only moments before. There are times when things just pop out of my mouth at awkward moments, and it was my lucky day for awkward moments. “So, you Gavin’s guard dog or something?”

Not happy with my comment, his chest rumbled slightly with a growl he held at the back of his throat. It was enough to show his disapproval, but not enough to be threatening. He let his eyes slide away from my face to stare at the wall across from him. Was it his way of dismissing me?

Before I had a chance to ask, he turned and opened the door for me. “He will see you.”

As I started to move past him, guilt hit me. It was not his fault that the devil took my son, was it? I stopped and turned to him, offering him a small, apologetic smile. “Look, I should not have…It really isn’t you...it’s just...” I held my mouth gaped open as I quickly glanced to the imposing man behind the desk, trying desperately to find a nice way of saying, it’s just that your boss is a donkey’s butt.

The man gave me a small smile before giving me a quick nod. “No worries.” Grabbing the doorknob in one hand, he started to close the door. Before it had the chance to completely shut, he tossed over his shoulder, “and, its Baron, just in case you forgot.”

Crap! Am I that easy to read?

“Cat!” Devon called to me as he walked across the room to stand at my side. Taking one of my hands in his, he lifted it to his mouth sporting a playful grin. His eyes sparkled mischievously as he gazed at me, and pressed a firm kiss on the back of my hand.

The humor within those blue eyes were too much to ignore, and I could not suppress my own smile. He was up to something, and I was game! Especially if it meant making Gavin realize that I did not need him to find Evan. There were others that were not afraid to talk to me, that even enjoyed my company. And I would utilize any advantage to get my son back.

When his lips touched the back of my hand, I chuckled at him. “My, aren’t you a regular ole Prince Charming!”

Devon stood and slung an arm around my shoulders as he turned to face Gavin. “Hey, Gavin. Did you hear that? She says I’m her Prince Charming! Has she ever told you that?” Okay, so I did not say that he was my Prince Charming, but it was clear he was trying to get a rise out of Gavin.

The thought of anyone calling Gavin their Prince Charming seemed nearly comical. To be Prince Charming, you needed to be charming. If he had that ability, I had yet to see it.

Gavin’s eyes narrowed on his younger brother. His eyes moved from Devon’s face to the arm that he currently had draped over my shoulders. A deep rumble emanated from him, and I lifted a brow at Devon.

“So, I guess that is a no?" He exaggerated the no as he spoke. Leaning in, he feigned whispering in my ear. “My brother has never really had to learn how to charm a woman. Women have this tendency of throwing themselves at him regardless of his lack of charm.”

I scoffed at him. “Are you saying that you don’t have the same issue with women?” He presented me with a cheeky grin, and I added, “Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?”

Chuckling, he gave a quick shake of his head. “The difference is that I appreciate their efforts.” He turned a huge, cheesy grin on me as he waggled his eyebrows.

“You playboy!” I teased, as I threw a gentle elbow into his ribs.

He gave me a sheepish grin and shrugged. “At least they know where they stand with me.” He nodded his head towards where his brother still sat, the rims of Gavin’s irises appeared to be glowing while the rest grew dark. My breath caught. The man looked dangerous, and yet Devon did not seem to notice. “He, on the other hand, rarely acknowledges any of them. Even his own mate.” Why he emphasized the word was beyond me. The two stared at one another, their eyes locked in a battle of wills.

The room radiated with an energy that rose up on a wave of intensity faster than anything I had felt before. It felt dangerous...stifling. An outpouring of strength and power confined in this small space. Shrugging off Devon, I felt compelled to end the silent war between the two...before something happened, and I got caught in the middle.

Clearing my throat, I stepped in their line of sight in hopes of severing the stare down. “I am sure he has his own way of expressing himself to those that he...cares about.”

Devon fixed me with a strange look, a lop-sided grin dominating his mouth. “Maybe,” he said, but his brain seemed to be pondering something else.

“Are you two quite done discussing my personal life?” Gavin sat behind his desk, and was practically sneering at us. One of his hands clutched a pen that he had been using to sign a document, and it now looked dangerously near breaking as white as his knuckles were.

I sighed. “Or maybe he’s just a donkey’s butt.” Devon burst out in laughter, filling the entire room with it’s sheer volume and gaiety. Placing a hand over my mouth, I tried to stifle my own laughter.

The sound of plastic and metal snapping caught our attention, and we both turned Gavin. His features had gone even darker, but Devon still found the whole of it smirk worthy. “Devon, you can go.” There would be no arguing. His voice and tone conveyed a finality that was not to be argued with.

My brows lifted at the tone of the dismissal, both alarmed that he would be leaving me alone with this man and grateful that it would thin out the testosterone in the room.

On his way out, he hesitated. Glancing at me, he suggested, “Maybe Cordi and I can kidnap you and take you out one night. Being held captive in this place can wear on one.” Oddly, the words he spoke did not feel entirely meant for me.

“Yeah, that would be great.” Though I said them, I felt a part of me shrink from the idea. How much longer did they think I would be here?

“Catch ya later, Cat.” He gave me another smile and a brief wink before adding. “Pun intended.” Then, he was gone, leaving me to deal with the rather heated Gavin alone.

It was so easy to talk to Devon. Being myself around him came natural, but the man in front of me was an entirely different ball game. It was like trying to play soccer on a baseball diamond, or dressing in a ball gown to go to McDonald’s.

With what looked like a forced effort, Gavin returned to his scrutiny of the papers that sat neatly stacked in front of him. The man sat rigid behind the desk, one hand holding a sheet of paper between his thumb and forefinger while the other found a pen that was not broken into pieces.

The business suit he wore was clearly tailor made to fit him to perfection. As much of a fashionista as I wasn’t, it was hard not to tell that the lines of the suit fell and flowed over every inch of him to exude confidence, strength, and, god help me, an incredible amount sex appeal.

Without intending to, I let my eyes roam over the contours of his cheek, the curve of his jaw, the concave of his neck, down the slope of his shoulder, taking in his chest to finally rest on those beautifully shaped fingers that gripped the pen with a strength and ferocity that had my body ache to feel them against my flesh. The flash of heat that spiraled through me nearly had me gasping, and my body flushed at the very thought of it as I snapped my eyes back to the face of the man before me.

When I lifted my gaze, the blush over my body only deepened in its color. There he sat, gazing back at me with one side of his mouth curved into a sensual smile of knowing. Now I felt like I had been caught with my hand in the cookie jar...though it wasn’t a jar I imagined my hands in, and it definitely wasn’t cookies I was after.

When reaction had me clear my throat, I groaned internally. Way to go, Cat! That was not obvious at all, was it? What really irked me was how I let myself get sidetracked, even for a minute, from my mission.

“Is there something I can do for you?” He allowed his gaze to return to the documents in front of him.

Crossing my arms in front of me, I put aside those traitorous thoughts that wanted to plague me. “There is plenty you can do for me.” I had not thought the words through very carefully, and did not realize the double entendre there until he glanced at me with a lifted brow. “Ew, you are such a guy. That is not what I meant.” I could not get away from those thoughts, and a blush crept in. Okay, not so ew, but definitely not happening either.

The office filled with his laughter. The infuriating man was actually laughing at me, and it did not help that his laughter made my insides warm. “Whatever you say, Ms. Vasil,” he said once his laughter had dulled to a soft chuckle.

My whole body felt flush, but I had to put them aside. This wasn’t about me, and it certainly wasn’t about him. “Mr. Blakely, if you are quite done laughing at me, which I presume you are,” I started, trying to make myself sound as business like as possible. “...then maybe it is time to fulfill your end of the deal. I told you what happened between your brother and I, now you give me my son. We will go on with our merry lives, and you can rot in yours.” Although I didn’t mean to sound disgruntled, I could not help it. I was conflicted around this man.

He let the sheet of paper he was holding fall back to the desk as he leaned back in his high back leather chair, regarding me quietly. Those beautiful sapphire orbs held my gaze, and my chest felt like it was ready to explode from its inability to breathe. What was wrong with me?

His eyes bore through me as his lip lifted on one side. “I think you misunderstood the agreement.”

A small shock ricocheted across my spine, but this time from a foreboding that washed over me. My voice lost some of it’s confidence, but I tried to feign as much as I could. “I think the terms were clear enough. I tell you what you want to know, you give me my son back.”

“The terms were clear, but you seemed to have interpreted them incorrectly. You tell me about your relationship with my brother, and I take you to see Evan...those were the terms. Though I am happy enough to have your stay extended, Evan cannot leave here until it is deemed he is ready.”

Each conversation we had spun through my mind as I tried to remember how he said it each time. My heart started to race, and my gut ached. “But, you can’t keep him from me,” I whispered. My hand flew up to my forehead as I curled my fingers around the hair that just fell across it.

“I have no intention of keeping him from you, Ms. Vasil.” His eyes remained on me as I started to pace in small steps. I let my eyes drift to his face, and caught something like sympathy there before it vanished.

The man was toying with me. Why else would he refuse to let me take Evan home? The more I thought about it, the angrier I became.

I stopped moving, my breathing ragged as I felt my emotions roiling inside. “You flying owl!” He watched me through lowered lids, a caution lying beneath them. Looking at the floor, I started to consider everything that led up to now. “You have been toying with me since the beginning. You kidnap my son, you set me up…”

“Ms. Vasil…” he said, a gentle warning in his tone.

“...you brought me here under false pretenses. You conniving, underhanded, sneaky bath mustard!”

“Ms. Vasil…” This time, he stood from his desk, his face stern and his stance rigid. “Though I can understand your frustration, I will not tolerate your abuse.”

“Frustration,” I tossed at him. “You think this is frustration?” I scoffed as I moved to the front of the desk. Slapping my palms on the desk before me, I leaned forward. “This is so far removed from frustration, Mr. Blakely. Think apocalyptic explosion, then you might be in the ballpark!”

The nearness of him was starting to unnerve me. I should not have moved towards him...should not have leaned closer to him to breathe him in. The scent of him started to infuse with the air around me, and filled my nostrils with every breath I took. He smelled divine, yet my rant was far from over. It irritated me that he could affect me...he irritated me.

My fists balled tight beneath the weight that leaned against them. The damning thoughts of losing Evan making my actions a slave of consequence. I wanted to plow one of those fists into that beautifully carved face. I wanted the man to feel some of the hurt that I felt at what he was doing.

My body acted on autopilot. The thought came, and it wanted to heed it. I inched within arms reach, but Gavin did not miss a thing. As I lifted an arm, his body responded in a blur of motion. As he leaned over his desk closer to me, he snatched my arm from the air and gripped it in his free hand.

“Kateryna!” My name thundered through the room on a deep, gravelly growl. Even as angry as I was, my name from his lips sent a quiver of pleasure rushing over me. Maybe because I was as angry as I was, it made it all that much more powerful.

A breathy sigh escaped before I could think of what it even meant. My whole body shuddered slightly as the deep, growly echoes of my name clung in the space between us. The rumble that settled in his chest weaved its vibrations around me, massaging my lust, weakening my resolve.

My body went rigid as I forced myself to look at him. Looking at him only made matters worse. Those gorgeous sapphire eyes filled my vision, feeling for all the world like he was unwrapping my soul.

His eyes moved over my face, and lingered on my lips. Those glowing, sparkling gems of his practically devoured them with his eyes. Opening my mouth to try to spout more scathing remarks to dull the heat between us, they stuck in my throat. My throat and lips felt scorched from the intensity of his gaze, and my tongue eked out to dampen the parched flesh.

The rumble in his throat spilled into the room, and I felt the tremors coursing up my legs nearly causing them to give beneath my weight. I opened my mouth once more, willing the words to spill forth and break this exquisite, silent torture. Instead, a moan shattered the silence, and heat radiated from me both internally and externally.

He reminded me of a predator when he clasped my arm tightly in his and moved around his desk, and yet the ripples of pleasure that coursed through me did not show any signs of fear. My breath came out ragged and heavy as the weight of his gaze bored into me.

My legs refused to budge, my body and brain were disconnected. With every step he took as he moved around his desk, my pulse quickened until it was impossibly fast. The sheer volume of my heart as it beat wildly thundered in my own ears, and was deafening.

It wasn’t until he was beside me that the warning bells started blaring in my head. This man was dangerous. A predator at its finest. A very sexy, gorgeous, defined, chiseled predator...

His fingers gently gripped my chin and lifted it, while his other hand placed my hand against the fleshy part of his chest. My fingers could feel the warmth of his body permeating the material that stretched across, and I fought the urge to roam the expanse of him. Releasing my hand there, he dropped his hand to mold itself against the curve of my hip. My heart roared in my chest, and I briefly wondered if he could hear it. Leaning down, his breath fanned my face as he drew closer. My breath hitched, and my lids fluttered closed as I felt the heat of his entire being warming me in its nearness.

He was so close. If I just leaned in a fraction, I would feel that generous mouth against my own. If I just leaned in, I could taste the very essence of him. If I just leaned in...

“You were saying?” His voice was low, the tone sultry with the hint of mockery. It was as if ice water had been poured over my entire being.

My whole body tensed. Shutting my eyes tight, I took a step back away from the man in front of me, though his hands were in no hurry to relinquish their hold on me. I didn’t want to see the look of victory on his face. He was testing me, and I failed.

My head dropped, and my eyes remained averted. “You son of a biscuit eater,” I breathed into the space between us. I took another step back, trying to shake his hold on me.

“Kateryna, look at me.” There was something in his voice, but I could not face him to discover what it was.

The sound of my name across his lips caused another tremor to course over my spine, and I needed some distance between us. I needed to think clearly, and this man this close to me was equivalent to a brain embargo as far as the rest of my body was concerned.

Shoving his hand off my hip, I stepped back and snatched my head to the side to shake off his fingers. The places where his fingers and hand had been now felt cold and nearly begged for the warmth of his touch once more. But I had crossed the line. He was the enemy, and I had let him step behind enemy lines.

His scent was still too close, my feelings too erratic to think standing so close to him. I needed to leave...just find Evan and leave. Spinning on my feet, I moved to the door.

“Kateryna!” There was a warning there, but putting distance between us was an all consuming need.

“Don’t worry about it, Gavin. Really,” I said as I felt the sting of embarrassment and self-loathing flush over me. “I will go find Devon and ask him to take me to Evan. At least he seems to enjoy my company without judgement!” The last words I tossed back to him just as I was about to reach the office door.

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