His Brother's Mate

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Chapter 9

When I woke the next morning, I felt better than I had since Evan was taken. I slept sound with the little guy tucked neatly beside me throughout the night. From time to time I would wake during the night, but would easily drift back to sleep after ensuring that he was still next to me and that it was not in fact just a dream.

Before the knock could sound on the door, Evan was up and bouncing around the room. He was always an early riser, but one could always hope that he might sleep in on occasion. I was never so lucky.

Shortly after he confirmed I was good and awake, he started in on a babbled mess of his adventures since he had arrived here. Though he was a bright young man, his three-year old vocabulary was still limited. However, it did not stop him from being able to convey three messages loud and clear: he enjoyed whatever training they were providing him with, he believed he belonged here, and he adored Gavin. None of those boded well for me in planning our escape.

When the knock sounded in the room just before six am, I grumbled. Finding some paper and a pen in the nightstand, I set Evan to task on writing his name. I needed him occupied so that he did not hear what I had to say to the one intruding on my time with my son.

With a forced effort, I barely prevented myself from snatching the door open. The woman just beyond the threshold had lovely golden hair that cascaded over her shoulders and down her back. Her vivid green eyes were curiously glancing over my features as I took her own in. Instead of uttering a word, I looked at her expectantly, with an irritated expression that spread over my face and throughout my whole body.

“Good morning, miss. I’ve come for Master Evan.” She bowed her head towards me slightly, and I found it a bit odd.

Master Evan?”

The woman before me looked uncomfortable. “Well, yes. I’ve come to take him…”

The words were barely uttered when I felt myself tense, the desire to lay into this woman hardly contained. Though I knew what she was going to say, hearing the first part sent an irrational fear that swept through me.

“Over my dead body,” I hissed at her. “You can tell Gavin, if he wants my son, he will have to pry him from my dead, cold hands,” I snarled at her. Just her saying she was going to take him from me made me want to rip her eyes out. I was being unfair and irrational towards the woman before me, I realize that, but there was nothing rational about my current predicament. In fact, everything had become chaotic since I became inadvertently involved with the Blakely’s.

The woman took a step back, stunned at my outburst. “But, miss,” she started to say.

“You can’t have him, do you understand me? None of you can have him!” My whispered hiss was increasing in volume, and I had to take a deep breath. Unless I wanted to draw my son’s attention, I had to bring the volume of my voice down.

“Good morning, ladies,” a man’s voice broke through my thoughts before I could attempt another verbal assault on the woman before me. Just as quick as my irritation had come, I could feel it starting to slowly ebb away. With him there, I felt I had an ally. I felt that there was someone there that would be supportive of me, though I was not sure why I felt that way. Each time he was around, I felt more at ease. He was one of those people that just had that effect on others, I suppose.

And yet, it was not enough to keep me from fighting to keep my son with me. “If you’re here to take Evan, you’d better think again, Devon.” The idea of being ganged up on did not appeal to me, and I was nearly ready to step inside and close the door on them both before Devon spoke again.

Holding up his hands. “Woah, Cat. I would never dream of standing between you and Evan.”

I hesitated before I shifted my weight against the door. Lifting a brow, I tilted my head in disbelief. “Oh really? Then why have you ventured this way so early in the morning...at six am? The same time Evan is supposed to report to this so-called training.”

The grin that spread over his lips was utterly charming, and I could feel the tension easing up even more. He shrugged slightly as he started to speak. “Call me selfish, but I was hoping to hang out with you today. I knew Evan had training, and I thought it was a great time to swoop in and steal you away while he was otherwise occupied.” He smiled sheepishly at me.

My head shook slightly from side to side. “Oh, really? Steal me away for what, exactly? Have you forgotten we are kind of snowed in here?”

Devon ran a hand through his hair before he let it settle at the back of his neck. “Honestly,” he started as his smile slid to the side. “I was thinking about making you breakfast before I remembered I can’t cook to save my life. But,” he let his hand slide back down as he slid them both into the front pockets of his jeans before rocking on his heels. “...maybe you are a better cook than me?”

I couldn’t help myself. His lame excuse for being here, combined with his boyish charm and chagrined smile, had me chuckling. Shaking my head in disbelief, I replied, “So, let me get this right. You came to ask me to cook you breakfast?” The woman’s eyes raised as she smirked at Devon.

His lips twisted a bit as he fought down the laughter that he was attempting to hold back. “When you put it that way, it does sound kind of lame.” His nose wrinkled a bit before he added with a shrug, “But, the intention was earnest.”

Looking away from them both, my eyes peered down the hallway, unseeing. Neither one of them spoke while I decided what my best course of action would be. Of course, accepting Devon’s offer would prevent me and Evan from being cooped up in the room all day. “Fine,” I said turning back towards Devon with a smirk. “I will cook you breakfast. But,” I slid a glance towards Darla before returning it to Devon, “Evan comes with us.”

The woman opened her mouth to protest. “It’s okay, Darla.” There was a question in his eyes when he looked at me before speaking to the woman once again. “Cat and I will bring Evan down once we have fed him.”

My eyes narrowed on him as I crossed my arms over my chest. “Oh, we will, will we?”

“Think about it, Cat. Evan will get to continue to do what he enjoys doing, you get to see where they train him, and we still get to hang out. It’s win-win.”

Ugh, why did he have to be so rational, and so good at diplomacy. For several long moments, I looked from the uncertain young woman to the overly confident man. Groaning, I finally agreed. “Fine,” I grumbled. Pointing a finger in his direction, I narrowed my gaze playfully on him. “But don’t think I am not on to you, Devon Blakely!”

On those words, I spun on my heel to retrieve my son and get him ready. Behind me, I could hear chuckling at my words before Darla addressed him quietly. As I moved across the room, I heard them speaking in low, hushed voices. Though I could not make out everything they said, what I did hear did not make sense.

“Alpha will not be happy...What do I tell him?”

“Tell him his mate is insistent...Evan will be there...We understand the importance of his training...to master his gift.”

There were gaps in what I believe I heard, but Devon worked his magic on the woman. With a few exchanged words, her voice became calmer, and her words became less frantic. “Yes, Lord Blakely,” were the last words spoken before I heard her shuffle away from the door.

Devon crossed the threshold into the room while I was busy putting Evan’s shoes on. Evan had started to fidget on the cushioned bench where he was currently perched. Seeing Devon enter the room had him practically jumping up from where he sat, and I nearly had to hold him in place as I finished tying his shoes.

Lord Blakely,” I asked over my shoulder. I could not see his expression as I asked, but a sense of calm drifted over me. The woman leaving must have given me a sense of peace knowing that I would not have to battle her to keep my son. How could she possibly understand how I felt?

Evan must have felt it as well, for he quit struggling against me. The result of the soothing sensation was nearly instantaneous, and I started to question its source. Was there such a thing as calm by proxy? Maybe.

“Ah, you heard that, did you?” The smile was evident in his words.

“That, and other things that made no sense to me,” I replied. When I finished tying the other shoe, Evan slid neatly off the cushioned bench at the end of the bed, and scrambled towards Devon.

“Uncle Devon,” he squealed as he threw himself at the large man. There was no fear of these people that surrounded, each one impressive in their build and strength. But, then, he was one of them in a sense, wasn’t he?

My expectation for an explanation fell on deaf ears as he collected my son in his arms and chucked him in the air. Evan squealed with delight as I held my breath. My son had no fear. Being tossed in the air to just beneath the ceiling did not bring the same pause to my son that it gave to me.

When Evan was safely back in his arms, he ruffled his hair. “What’ll it be this morning, pipsqueak? Pancakes, eggs and bacon, waffles, doughnuts…”

“No doughnuts,” I grumbled as I grabbed my jacket from the bed. “He’ll be bouncing off the walls with that junk.”

Devon laughed, but winked conspiratorially at the boy in his arms. “She hasn’t seen you train.”

Rolling my eyes, I walked past them and out the door. “No doughnuts, period.”

Devon laughed again, his hearty laughter filling the hallway. It was warm and comforting, and made me feel like we had known each other for years instead of merely days. “Alright, alright,” he conceded before adding, “...maple covered bacon sounds like a much better idea anyway!”

My face must have said it all as he burst out into laughter once more. A smile crept over my face. He was incorrigible, but welcome company. Though he evaded offering an explanation that seemed relevant to so much that was happening around me, it did not seem to matter to me at the moment. Just being in companionable company was enough for now, especially because that ease would let up when a certain dominant male was near.

Later, I would ask Devon about what was said. To help clarify the words that I thought I heard and help me make sense of what they really wanted Evan for. Seeing him train for myself might help to answer some of those questions, but I imagine there was more to the story than just training.

At the end of it all, Evan would not be leaving my sight. So, what did it matter what they said. Keeping Devon as an ally might be the key in getting back home once the storm had passed. And if hanging out with him resulted in strengthening that bond, then that is what I would do. I will get us home, and there was not a man here that could stop me.

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