Home > Tarian Silver Lion (New Tarian Pride #2)(11)

Tarian Silver Lion (New Tarian Pride #2)(11)
Author: T.S. Joyce

She texted him. This was the only time she allowed herself to—on postcard day. Thank you for the flowers. They’re beautiful and made me smile. Send.

She pulled a red tack out of the drawer and pinned it to the city on the map she’d bought last week. She stuck it right into San Antonio, Texas.

And her silly little heart loved him still.

Chapter Ten

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

One week after the last post card.

This one had a black and white photo of the downtown.

Dear Wildcat,

I don’t feel the same as I used to. I keep searching for something, but there’s no joy in the looking anymore. Feels like I already found it and perhaps threw it away, not realizing what I had. I hope these are the right color. You deserve for a man to get things right.

I’m sorry.

Talon

The post card came with a delivery of a dozen rose bushes.

Her heart didn’t hurt so much on this one. Perhaps it was his note that gave her hope.

Ronin had stopped working on the porch when she’d come in with the mail. He’d stuck his head in the door and watched her ritual.

Read the postcard.

Put it on the fridge.

Stick the tack in the map so she didn’t feel so far away from him.

This time the ritual was different, though. She didn’t cry.

Ronin asked, “Are the pink rose bushes from him?”

Rose nodded.

Ronin’s smile was sad, but still, Rose didn’t cry. After he patted the doorframe twice and went back to work, Rose pulled out her cell phone to finish her tradition.

You got the color right. Send.

Chapter Eleven

Topeka, Kansas

Three days after the last.

The picture was big, beautiful sunflowers.

Hey Wildcat,

Been sick. I think it’s my lion. Nothing serious. I think I just maybe broke my own heart.

I’m so sorry for what I’ve done to us. I feel like I should lead with that on every postcard I send. You don’t have to forgive me. I sure as hell don’t. I ask Emerald about you. I don’t know what I’m doing.

I’m sorry.

Talon

This one worried her.

Sounds like you have a silly heart, too. Sometimes, they want what they want, and who are we to convince them they’re wrong? I’m still here. Send.

Her heart hurt as she stuck the post card on the fridge and the tack in the map. She didn’t understand his need to wander.

But her heart loved him still.

Chapter Twelve

Dodge City, Kansas

Two days after the last.

The postcards were coming faster now.

Hey Wildcat,

I have an admission. I look for postcards everywhere because I know when you get one from me, you’ll text me. It’s becoming a little addiction. I hang onto every word of your post-postcard text. I’ve read them a hundred times. Pull them up at truck stops when I’m getting gas, stare at them when I’m laying in hotel beds. You did something to me. To my animal. I can’t tell if it’s good or bad yet, but I can say one thing. The three days I spent with you were the best days I can remember. Thank you for making me feel alive again.

I’m sorry.

Talon

She held this one for a while before she put it on the fridge with the others. Read it over and over like he did with her texts.

And then she did her tradition. Post card up on the fridge in line with the others, a pin in the map.

This time, she wanted to give him something to really think about.

I wish you would come home. Send.

And her little heart loved him more and more.

Chapter Thirteen

Telluride, Colorado

Rose read those two words over and over. The picture was historic downtown with the mountain she lived on towering in the background.

Telluride, Colorado.

Could it be? Rose turned the card over.

Wildcat,

Go put the tack in the map. Have you figured out what I’ve been drawing for you yet?

Shocked, Rose looked up at the map she’d hung on her wall by the fridge. She put a red tack in Telluride and completed the outline of a heart.

Tears burned her eyes as she continued reading…

I should’ve told you how I really felt about you before I left, but I needed to work on some stuff. I spent the first few weeks beating myself up for not being enough, for not being steady, for not being able to just stay put for you. And then I got mad enough to start working my way back to you, and fuck what my lion asked for. Eventually, the old rogue grew a heart in the old empty chest cavity of his and wanted to go back to you too, because I figured out something big over these last weeks. I’m nothing without you. Been sick without you. Been empty without you. I’m sorry I had to do this to us. Sorry I had to draw you a heart on a map instead of just telling you…I love you, Rose.

Talon

Telluride, Colorado

Chest heaving with her breath, Rose dropped the postcard and ran to the door. She threw it open and staggered out onto the new porch.

Across the clearing, he was there, her Talon.

Behind him, the towering pines swayed this way and that in the breeze, but Talon didn’t move. The way he looked at her made her feel beautiful.

“Talon,” she uttered brokenly. She bolted down the stairs, ran across the snow right for him.

He was crying, her steel man. His dark eyes were rimmed with tears, and he jogged for her, and then ran, and then his arms were out to catch her.

Okay.

Okay, Rose.

Go ahead and fall the rest of the way.

He’s catching you.

Talon lifted her off the ground and hugged her tight, his beard soft against her cheeks as she nuzzled him on one side and then the other. Her lioness was purring so loud, but she didn’t care. Not anymore. He could see all of her, and it was all right. He was the only one who could see all of her.

“Swear it,” she said in a ragged whisper.

He would understand because he knew her. He had since she’d healed him. He really saw her, really understood her.

“I swear I won’t run again, Rose. I won’t go anywhere without you by my side.”

There was an unbreakable oath in his tone. A promise in the purring that rattled his throat and matched her own. Their lions were talking. He wouldn’t do this to them again. He’d tortured his nomadic animal with an aching heart, and now he wouldn’t run anymore. Not from her, because she belonged to him, and he belonged to her.

Some men required patience.

They needed complete freedom to figure out love was never a cage in the first place.

That love had been the freedom all along.

Talon settled her on her feet and cupped her cheeks, wiped her tears with his thumbs, and searched her eyes. “Forgive me.”

“Silly man,” she murmured, “you made me no promises. You were already forgiven before you even left. I just missed you.”

“You told me to come home.” He scanned the clearing and the house, and then his dark eyes landed back on her. “You have to know…I didn’t understand what home was until I met you.”

And if he hadn’t drawn her the heart with his travels or said he loved her on the postcard, well…she would’ve known his feelings from that admission. Love was finding a home in someone.

Rose’s smile stretched her whole face, and she melted into him, hugged him so tight and rested her cheek against his chest, right over his drumming heart. Her lioness had picked him. She had picked him, and now he’d chosen her back. All these years, she’d thought she was destined to be alone. To watch the couples pair up around her because she’d already had her time. She’d had her chance when she was young. She’d thought those three most important words would never belong to her again.

But Fate hadn’t been done with her yet. It hadn’t been done with Talon either.

“Hey Talon?” she whispered.

“Mmm?” he asked, smiling down at her knowingly.

“I love you, too.”

   
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