“I get scared, Kane,” she said softly as she looked up at him worriedly, her hands lying protectively on the mound of her stomach. “I’m scared for you. You can’t go on like this, and neither can Sherra. I want our children to be safe, our lives to be led with some measure of peace. Until this thing between you and Sherra is resolved, that won’t happen.”
“Give it time, Merinus,” he told her gently. “Go on inside. I need to take care of some things before I head to bed myself. I’m beat.”
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Sleep was the furthest thing from his mind, though.
“Good night, Kane,” Merinus said softly. “If you get a chance, check on Cassie soon. She’s devastated that you’reangry with her. She’s convinced she saved lives. And she’s just a little girl.”
She possibly had saved lives. His and the Lawrences. If it hadn’t been for the alert that Cassie was speeding toward them he would have been in the line of fire when the bullets started flying. Only the alert and his attempt to intercept the little girl had saved his own life.
“I’ll look in on her soon,” he promised, steeling himself against the tears he knew he would see in the little girl’s eyes and her plea for her momma.
“Merc and Tanner are leaving in the morning for Dash and Elizabeth’s location. I’ll place Cassie with Dawn if that’s okay. I think they’ll do well together,” Merinus told him softly. Merc and Tanner’s absence would leave a weakness within the group as a whole. He could only hope the situation in California resolved itself soon.
“Dawn’s a good choice,” he agreed. “Hopefully we’ll not have any more surprise visitors to push Cassie
into such reactions. I still can’t figure out why she pulled such a damned fool stunt.”
“Because her fairy told her to,” Merinus said worriedly. “And that, Kane, terrifies me. She’s withdrawing too deeply into herself and this fairy issue. We need to talk to her mother about it when they collect her. It’s going to get her hurt.”
Or drive him over the edge of his sanity. Sherra already had him teetering. Cassie could well push him over.
“I’ll discuss it with Dash as well,” Kane promised. “Go on, I’ll see Cassie soon.”
He watched as Merinus entered the house, a dim shadow, heavy with child and rich with life. He shook his head before he followed her and moved quickly up the back stairs to Cassie’s bedroom. Putting it off wouldn’t make it any easier.
He opened the door to her bedroom, his heart clenching at the sight of her curled in the middle of the large bed, her blue eyes haunted as she stared back at him, tears streaking her face.
“Hey, pup,” he greeted her softly as he moved and sat on the edge of the bed, looking down at her.
“You want me to leave?”
She shook her head jerkily.
“I’m sorry, Kane.” Her breath hitched with tears. “I had to save you. You can spank me all the time, but I had to.”
Damn, she was going to be a handful when she grew up, he thought, stubborn as hell.
“I’m sorry I spanked you.” He stared down at her, his heart breaking at the thought of the spanking he hadapplied to her rear. “You terrified me, Cassie. I don’t know if I could have lived with myself if something happened to you.”
She nodded slowly. “I know that, Kane. But that’s what I think, too. I would always cry if you were hurt. And Sherra would too. She cries too much. Almost as much as I do at night.”
He stared down at her in surprise. “How do you know?”
“’Cause I can hear her when the house gets all quiet and she goes outside on her balcony,” she whispered. “Sometimes, it sounds like she hurts awful bad too, Kane. I think her heart is breaking like mine did, when I thought my momma couldn’t save me from that bad man.” The rooms were soundproofed for the most part, compliments of the Council. But Cassie liked to open her door the slightest bit that security blocks allowed. If Sherra were on her balcony, several rooms away, it would be easy for Cassie to hear her.
“I think you should tell her you aren’t mad at her anymore, Kane,” the little girl said solemnly. “You hurt her feelings really bad.”
He had hurt more than her feelings and he knew it.
“Come here and give me a hug. I’ll make sure Dawn gives you a cookie tomorrow. But that’s it. One. You broke the rules.”
She jumped to his arms, hugging him tightly and planting a loud kiss on his cheek. “My momma will be all done soon,” she whispered in his ear. “And my daddy Dash will need me to go to him really fast so Momma will be happy. You have to fix Sherra, Kane. I don’t want you to be all alone when I’m gone. My fairy worries about you.”
He stiffened, watching as she snuggled back under her covers, staring back at him with eyes that were too old, too knowing.
“Cassie, about this fairy,” he said hesitantly.
“You have your fairy too, Kane,” she told him, her childish voice at odds with the knowledge in her eyes.
“Sometimes I see her. She’s got all this pretty dark hair that looks like a cloud around her face. It looks like Merinus’ hair. And she has blue eyes, and she smells like real roses. Not the perfume kind. The real kind.”
He stilled. Despite the fever that made him rush to Sherra, the danger he could feel moving closer and his own worries about Cassie, he couldn’t stop the shock that filled his system. His mother had smelled like roses. The real kind. The very ones she so loved that still filled the backyard behind his father’s house.
“Roses, huh?” he asked her softly.
“She’ll talk to you if you let her,” Cassie said softly, her eyes drooping with sleepiness now. “’Cause she loves you. Just like my fairy loves me…”
Kane rose to his feet, shaking his head in confusion. Damn, that kid could bring armies down if she tried. He drew in a deep breath, tucked the blankets around her snugly and headed from the room. He had an appointment with his mate.
Sherra was able to hold back the pain until late that night. She knew it was coming. She had enough experience with the symptoms of mating heat to know what would happen. After the explosive episode in the weapons shed, the rest of the day was so busy, so filled with the fight to survive that she was able to train all her senses on her job, rather than the increased arousal that began to build. But when darkness fell and weariness tugged at her body, it slammed into her harder than ever. Her womb spasmed painfully. Life. She could feel her body screaming out for the life-giving pulse of Kane’s se**n spilling into her, his c**k throbbing, swelling within her, spurting into her. She didn’t want his fingers, she wanted his thick erection. She wanted all of him, coming over her, pinning her down, taking her with erotic fury.