Cat Of A Different Color

Chapter 16

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“You sure that was wise?”

He turned, not surprised to see Gabe standing in the doorway. The other man had volunteered to spend the next few nights with them. He was supposed to be out front in an unmarked car, though, not inside the house where Sheri could see him.

“I want him focused on me. Not Sheri or the Pride.”

Gabe nodded. “Yup. Telling him how you like to fuck the woman he’s obsessed with definitely grabbed his attention.” He shifted uncomfortably. “Hell, it grabbed my attention,” he muttered, smiling slyly.

Adrian rolled his eyes. “You have a better idea?”

Gabe shrugged. “Even if I did it’s too late now. Odds are good he’ll be here before morning.”

“When is Richard due?”

“He’s already here. He’s staying with Mr. Friedelinde.”

The Friedelinde mansion was probably the most comfortable place for the visiting Pack Alpha and his entourage. “Give them a call and let them know what happened. I’ll call Max.”

Gabe nodded and pulled out his cell phone on his way back towards the front door.

Adrian shook his head, still somewhat uncertain how he’d wound up the Marshal and Gabe his Second.

The other man radiated authority from every pore. His loose limbed stride and relaxed posture fooled no one. Those dark blue eyes could be cold as an arctic breeze in an instant. That large frame, almost as big as Simon’s, moved with a grace and agility only professional athletes could mimic.

But when the other man looked back at him, a question in his eyes, something in Adrian immediately responded. “What’s the problem?”

“Richard wants in.”

Adrian sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. He’d planned on meeting with Ben, the Pack Marshal, in the morning over coffee to discuss strategy. Apparently that plan was now in the crapper. “Fuck.”

“Yeah. I told him I’d call him back.”

“How many does he have with him?”

“Four. His Marshal, the Second and two others.”

Adrian stared at a painting on his wall without really seeing it. Plans were busy whirling through his mind.

“Van?”

Gabe nodded and grinned. “I’ll park them at the corner.”

“Get Simon to bring them. I want you here.”

“Will do.”

He shook his head and picked up the phone. He dialed Max, quickly filling him in on what was going down. Max agreed to have Simon play liaison with Richard, since there was no Omega to do the job.

Then he climbed the stairs to his wet, willing princess.

Sheri was already out of the tub when she heard him coming up the stairs. She’d heard his entire conversation with Rudy, and was ready to kill Adrian herself. She wrapped the robe closer around herself and waited, tapping one foot impatiently.

She wasn’t stupid. She knew why he’d said what he’d said. She hadn’t needed to hear him explain it to Gabe. But the fact that he was making himself a target for her sake had driven her out of the tub. She wanted to scream at him, rant and rave until he gave up his idiotic plan. But it was too late for that. Rudy would have him in his sights now, and if Adrian died because of her she’d never survive it. Just the thought of Rudy sinking his teeth into Adrian, pulling away flesh, making him bleed, had her seeing red.

She’d kill Rudy herself before letting him hurt her mate.

The man himself stepped into the bathroom, took one look at her out of the tub and frowned. “Why aren’t you soaking?”

“I got out because I didn’t think there’d be enough room for both me and your fat head.”

“Huh?”

The man looked totally clueless. “I heard your conversation with Rudy, Adrian.”

He sighed wearily. “Princess—”

“Don’t you princess me, Adrian Giordano! How could you put yourself in danger like that?”

He rolled his eyes and took her hand, gently leading her from the room. “I can handle Parker.”

“Sure you can. But can you handle him and five of his best friends?”

He led her into the bedroom and stripped the robe off her before she could blink. “Into bed with you.”

He gently picked her up and laid her down on the bed, careful of her injuries. He snarled when she gasped anyway. “I will be facing Parker. His best friends will be facing Max, Simon, Gabe and Richard Lowell, plus the wolves Richard brought with him.”

“Then why don’t you leave Rudy to the Pack?”

She watched him strip silently. “Because,” he said as he finally climbed between the sheets, “he’s mine.”

“Adrian.”

He put his finger over her lips. “Don’t try to talk me out of this. I am personally going to gut him for what he did to you. Every bruise on your skin, every bite mark he placed on you, I’m going to give back to him. And when I’m done making him hurt, I’m going to make him scream. Then I’m going to kill him.”

The calm tone of his voice, the factual way he stated everything he had planned for Rudy, made it that much more frightening. “This isn’t what I wanted.” She sighed.

He rubbed his cheek against hers gently in a gesture meant to comfort her. “I know. You were hoping he’d see you here, safe and surrounded by people, and leave you alone.” He looked deep into her eyes, his nose touching hers so she could read every nuance of his expression. “But that’s not what’s going to happen. He’ll hound you, day and night. He knows where you live, what your dog looks like, who your friends are—and you’ve been here only a week. Once he knows your routine he won’t hesitate to use it, or your friends, against you. He’ll lure you out into the open where he can grab you. And if he does that, he’ll be a dead man anyway. If Max and Simon don’t get to him first and hand him over to Richard, who, by the way, plans on killing him, I’ll kill him.”

“It’s not your job to stop him, Adrian.”

“Yes, it is.” He slid one arm around her carefully. “Max confirmed me as Marshal a few days ago.”

She frowned. “Marshal?”

“I keep forgetting you’ve never been part of a Pride before. The Marshal is the one who sees to the safety of the Pride. Gabe’s my Second, like Simon is Max’s.”

“I thought Mrs. Anderson was mated to the Marshal?”

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