Home > Tarian Silver Lion (New Tarian Pride #2)(9)

Tarian Silver Lion (New Tarian Pride #2)(9)
Author: T.S. Joyce

“Did you hear me?” Kannon asked over the walkie-talkie.

Ronin turned and made to throw the handheld radio at the side of the cabin, but stopped himself mid-throw. Jaw clenched with anger, he pulled the contraption to his lips and jammed his thumb on the button. “Fuck off.” And then he turned the volume down and slammed it back into the sling at his hip. And then he kicked at the snow.

Today was the best day ever.

“Why are you taking the girls into town?” Talon asked, pushing off his car. “Are they okay?”

“Oh, yeah, they’re fine,” Emerald said. “A couple of them have decided to find different Prides just so they can distance themselves from the Tarian Pride and what they went through, but Annamora and Sora and Maris are staying for sure, and they want jobs. And honestly, I think it would be good for them. Give them some confidence. We couldn’t find any job openings online, but I figured if we went into town, they could fill out some applications and hope a spot opens up eventually.”

Well, Rose perked up at that. “I think that’s a great idea,” she murmured. “Those women are tough, but they had their confidence shaken in that awful Pride. Let’s help them get their legs back under them.”

Emerald looked relieved and exhaled a big breath. “Okay, thank goodness. I was afraid I was pushing them too hard, too fast.”

“No, give them something to focus on. Remind them that it’s okay to care of themselves for once.” She’d been struggling with similar feelings before Talon came along. Self care was important for a woman.

“Do you…” Emerald cleared her throat. “Do you maybe want to come with us? We can do a girls’ day. Maybe do dinner afterward.”

Rose’s whole face stretched with a smile. “I would love that.”

“You ladies want to take the Chevelle?” Talon asked.

“Whoa!” Emerald exclaimed. “You would let us drive your hotrod for the day?”

Talon gave Rose a wink. “It’s the perfect girls’ day ride. I need to pick up supplies, so I’ll borrow a rig from one of the boys here and get a work day done.”

“Supplies for Rose’s house?” Ronin asked thoughtfully.

“Yeah, it’s a mess. That Old Tarian Pride did a number on it.”

“I got a full-size truck,” Ronin said. “Do you need help?”

“Are you asking so you can grill me the whole way to the lumber yard?”

Ronin shrugged. “Maybe.”

Talon scratched the corner of his mouth with his thumb and chuckled. “Fair enough.”

Plans all changed up, Rose dismounted the snowmobile and made her way to Talon. She leaned into him and murmured, “I’m gonna kind of miss you.”

“Kind of?” He offered her a crooked smile and leaned against the car again, arms crossed over his chest. “Say what you mean, Wildcat.”

Rose rolled her eyes heavenward and cocked her head at him. “I’m going to miss you today.”

He kissed her quick, just a peck, and patted her backside. “I’m just guessing, but it must’ve been very hard to be the only female in this pride for a while.”

Oh, Talon was very intuitive. It was one of the things she loved about him. Loved about him. Oh, no, she needed to be careful with that. Those were big feelings. Scary feelings. Feelings she didn’t have a right to have for a man who was upfront with his desire to leave soon.

Missing him today would be a little taste of how the rest of her life would be.

Rose was careful to keep her poker face because she wasn’t one to show weakness, but inside, it felt like a hole had been torn into her heart.

Talon’s dark gray brows drew down, and he brushed the knuckle of his finger down her cheek. “Where did you just go?”

Rose forced a smile and took the keys from his other hand. “Nowhere. I’m still here.”

And here was where she would always stay.

The thought that this was home used to make her feel steady and comfortable, but now everything was different.

When he left, the colors around her wouldn’t be as brilliant anymore, and there would be less to look forward to. Less laughing, less letting her guard down, less feeling safe, less exposing her soul and knowing she was accepted.

Less everything.

When he left, home was going to feel very empty.

Chapter Six

“Are you staying?” Ronin asked. Direct and to the point. Talon actually liked that about him, but he didn’t like answering direct questions he wasn’t ready to answer yet.

“I’ve never been much of a stay-er,” Talon murmured, staring out the window as the town of Telluride blurred by. “I was with the Tarian Pride my whole life until the day we thought Leon killed you and he was talking about culling the submissives. I was looking down at my daughter, scared for the first time ever, scared they were going to hurt her and I wouldn’t be able to do anything. That I was going to fail her as a father. Someday, you and Emerald will have cubs of your own, and you’ll realize that for all the excitement and fun and good, there are also moments that terrify you.”

“When we have cubs, Emerald will want you around, you know,” Ronin said, not taking his eyes off the road. “I want you to pledge to me. To the New Tarian Pride. I want you to be a part of this.”

The lion inside of him snarled at the thought of being caged into a Pride, and Talon owed it to Ronin to try to explain. He swallowed hard so the noise in his throat would stop. “Do you know what happens to a lion when you make him roam? Or to a lioness?”

“They always have to roam?” Ronin guessed.

“Not always, but most of the time. Emerald is settling well. I can tell. Her eyes aren’t darting to the road, she isn’t twitchy, she isn’t looking out the window all the time, feeling trapped. She isn’t pressing the outskirts of the territory when she Changes. I’ve been watching for any of the signs Mariah used to get, and she just doesn’t have them.”

“I remember your mate from when I was a kid. What happened to her?”

“Car accident. The first year was absolute hell. I had Emerald, though. We moved eight times that year.”

“Jesus,” Ronin whispered.

“It’s addictive. When we got settled into one place, other shifters would threaten us, or something would spook Emerald, or we would get sad about her mother and want something else to focus on.”

“And roaming took that focus?”

“At first, moving was necessary to escape the Old Tarian Pride, but eventually, I guess it was our coping mechanism for dealing with life.”

“So break the habit.”

Talon huffed a dark laugh. “I wish I could, but it’s not up to me.”

“Who is it up to?”

Talon blinked slow and let Ronin see the lion in his eyes. He knew they’d be gold. Talking about the cage of a Pride constricted his chest and made the cab of this pickup feel too small.

“You like Rose,” Ronin said, “so you should know how it is for her. You should know what you’ll do to her when you leave.”

Talon didn’t even try to hide his growling now. “Ronin, I like you, but you don’t have a say in what Rose and I do or don’t do.”

“She doesn’t attach to people, Talon. She is sooo careful. So careful.” He pulled into the gravel parking lot of the lumber yard and parked right up front. “Her kid was a piece of shit. Never appreciated her or Byron, her mate. Dumped Grim on her right when she lost Byron and then left. Was manipulative and only came back when she wanted money. And if Rose didn’t help, she would threaten to take Grim and never let Rose see him again. And he was the only steady thing she had left by then. Imagine that, Talon. How it was for her. You remember how awful the Tarian Pride was? Rose isn’t submissive by our standards, but by the council’s? She was nothing, treated like a pariah. Were you there the day Grim turned into the Reaper?”

“Fuck,” Talon murmured, squeezing his eyes closed at the awful memory. He’d been lucky enough to forget it until now.

He pressed the heels of his hands against his eyes as he saw her face in his mind. Rose had watched Grim in a dominance battle. Watched him and the other kid…Who was it? Justin…something… Justin Moore. “Fuck, I don’t want to do this.” It had been dark out, stormy, the two boys had just maimed each other, and the council had kept everyone back, kept everyone out of it. Two kids. Barely eighteen. Too young for a fight like that, but Tarians didn’t give a shit about ethics. They cared about dominance and prepping those two to run the Pride someday. They’d damn near killed each other. Grim was laying in the mud, eyes on his grandma, and Rose was losing her shit. Council members were holding her back as she screamed and clawed and fought to go to Grim…

Talon shoved the door open and stumbled out just so he could be out in the open and breathe again, but the memory wouldn’t go away.

Ronin, young blond-haired best friend of Grim, practically raised by Rose, was hugging her tight as Grim died. Or at least they thought he was dying. They didn’t know he was becoming the Reaper instead. The tears streaming down Rose’s face as she watched her grandson bleeding out was something that had stayed with Talon for years. He’d worked hard to get rid of that memory, and Ronin had dug it back up.

He gripped the side of the pickup bed, locked his arms against it, and lifted his furious gaze to Ronin, who was leaning against the other side.

Ronin told him, “Rose just gave up a baby she was helping raise to Vyr Daye and his mate, Riyah. Do you want to know why she gave that cub up?”

Part of him wanted to know every single thing about Rose, and part of him was terrified of seeing the deep parts of her. Why? Because those deep places would tether the man in him to her, but it would scare the lion off. Losing a mate had wrecked him. Now he was a monster who knew fear. Not in a fight, but on an emotional level. And scared animals either felt cornered and fought their way out…or they ran.

   
Most Popular
» Nothing But Trouble (Malibu University #1)
» Kill Switch (Devil's Night #3)
» Hold Me Today (Put A Ring On It #1)
» Spinning Silver
» Birthday Girl
» A Nordic King (Royal Romance #3)
» The Wild Heir (Royal Romance #2)
» The Swedish Prince (Royal Romance #1)
» Nothing Personal (Karina Halle)
» My Life in Shambles
» The Warrior Queen (The Hundredth Queen #4)
» The Rogue Queen (The Hundredth Queen #3)
romance.readsbookonline.com Copyright 2016 - 2021