**Here we go! Another episode with Gareth and Owen. I have no idea when this will end. Enjoy!**
I paced, unable to sit. To settle. Owen’s gaze tracked me from the couch but he wisely kept his mouth shut. He, at least, got to go outside. Shifted into his fur and went for runs. I, on the other hand, hadn’t been allowed out of the house in days. Weeks? I wasn’t sure how long it was at this point.
Intellectually, I got it. Bianca was free and Owen, the pack, my brother, even Lane….they all believe it was possible she would come after me. I was worried about that myself, but not overly. I was more worried about Aeron, and I was glad he had pack members staying with him as well.
“Come cuddle with me.” Owen’s voice was low, cajoling, and even though I adored my mate and what he was trying to do. But I was too cranky. And a little paranoid.
“I need to check the wards,” I muttered, crossing back to the window and placing my hand against the jam. This house had really good anchor points, and I reached deep for the magic, pushing more into the wards I’d built with Aeron’s help. We’d done the same at his place. The magic flared up, bright for a second, then settled back down.
Before I could move to the next point, Owen was behind me, wrapping his arm around my waist and tugging me back against his chest. He kissed the back of my neck. When he spoke, he kept his lips against my skin. “You’ve check and rechecked. They’re the strongest than can be.”
“Have we heard from Lane?” I asked, not relaxing.
Owen, for his part, didn’t even sound frustrated when he answered, despite the fact that I’d asked that at least ten time just today. “Not since yesterday.”
“But they’re sure of where she is?”
“Yes, love. Lane said he’d let us know.”
“But he’s not supposed to.” I sighed and tried to let the tension go. “He’s going out on a limb and skirting the rules by keeping us in the loop.”
Owen made an affirmative noise and squeezed me tighter. After a long moment, I blew out a breath and let him take my weight. He held me up easily, and didn’t try to make me move or say anything else. We stood there for a long time, and I couldn’t resist drawing on our magic just to give the wards another boost. Owen sucked in a breath, and then let out a small chuckle when I was done.
“I like Lane.” Owen said, conversationally. I was a little surprised he didn’t comment on my obsessive need to check the wards.
As a reward for his incredibly patient behavior, I pulled away enough to grab his hand and tug him to the couch. Then I pushed him down, let him get comfortable, then flopped down on his lap. I didn’t quite fit but neither of us cared. He liked me close, and I liked it too. It had been awkward at first but we’d found a way to make it work.
I fiddled with his shirt, rubbing the fabric between my fingers. “I like Lane too. He’s good people. We should invite him over.”
Owen kissed my head. “When everything dies down we’ll see where it stands, yeah?”
“Yeah.” I sighed, closed my eyes, and thunked my head down on his shoulder. “Do you regret it?”
Owen went completely still. Then asked, very carefully, “Regret what?”
“Us. Being my familiar. Me calling you.” I exhaled hard. “It’s been crazy since the second we met, and you certainly didn’t sign up for a judgmental High Mage and a murderous, black magic wielding family.”
“Not for a second.” The conviction in his tone made me relax. It’d be a would lie if I said I hadn’t been nervous about his answer. And when he took hold of my chin and made me look at him, I saw it there in his face. “I love you. And I believe fate put us together for a reason.”
I kissed him, hard and thoroughly, because what else can I do. When we broke for air, I smiled. “I love you, too.”
“Yeah, I know.” He waggled his eyebrows, then kissed my cheek. “We’ll get through this, love.”
I nodded, tucking in close again. “Do you really think she’ll come after me?”
“I don’t know.” His voice was soft, contemplative. “I think Lane thinks it’s a possibility and he’s closer—”
Owen went still, then bodily lifted me and dropped me on the couch. “Stay there.”
I didn’t even have a chance to respond before Owen was at the door, and he pulled it open without hesitation. My heart leapt into my throat, taking in the taunt line of his shoulders, and the claws that tipped his fingers.
I was shocked when Owen ushered Lane in through the door, and opened my mouth to ask what was going on, but Lane’s wide eyes and ghost white face stopped me in my tracks. I stood fast, and Lane’s eyes shot to me.
Lane swallowed hard before he croaked, “She’s got Aeron.”