Holy shit! Rome controlled his face and swooped
Yolanda into a big twirl to cover his surprise. As he came out of the spin, he
leaned in and sang, “Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? The big bad wolf.”
Yolanda gave him a gutsy laugh. “Whoever you are, cutie,
you’ve got balls. Not many guys want to take on my brother.”
“Surely he can’t object to you dancing?”
She shrugged. “I guess the problem is that no one knows what
Ty will object to.”
“Must limit your social life.”
A crease popped between her arched brows. “Tell me about
“Uh, where is your brother?”
She shrugged. “I guess he got kind of beat up on the tennis
courts today and decided to go drown his sorrows with some of his cronies
rather than attending this command performance.”
“But then that means he’s not performing on command.”
She spoke softly. “Ty doesn’t give a fuck. Not like old man
Havilland can do much, or at least will do anything. Too busy with his friends
Jack Daniels and Jim Beam.”
Rome quirked a half smile. The music stopped, and he hid his
sigh of relief. He gave Yolanda a small bow. “Thank you for the dance.”
“Thank you for the courage.” She chuckled again. Shame she
was a blatant enemy. He kind of liked her.
A tapping against a glass brought the whole crowd around to
face the center of the dance floor.
All the guests who were sitting stood and placed a hand over
their heart. Rome didn’t even have to ask. He turned to find Gerard Havilland
weaving drunkenly between his sister, a pale, delicate-for-a-wolf female, and
some male named Alphonse who Rome had heard was Havilland’s second. Nobody
spoke about Havilland’s wife, who’d apparently walked out on him years before.
Rome sighed quietly and crossed his heart. Yeah, and his fingers.
Someone started the pledge.
“I pledge my life to the alpha, who is the conduit to the
wolfgods and giver of wolfen energy. Hail the alpha, source of strength and
unity. Praise the alpha, defender of the pack and wellspring of all that is
good. I lay myself at the alpha’s feet without need for request, cause, or
reason. The alpha rules us all.”
As the voices died down, Rome felt all his hair standing on
end. Regardless of how unworthy the alpha, the pledge rang with the truth of
ages and united every were.
Havilland waved his hand impatiently toward the crowd. Rome
turned his head—felt his mouth fall open—and let his body follow the turn.
Oh my god of wolves.
From the side of the big room walked a young male who could
only be the much-heralded son. What was his name? Who cares? The guy was tall—taller even than Rome—reed slender,
with dark blond hair that likely fell to his shoulders if released from the
queue gathered at his neck in a ribbon. But the face. Like someone translated
poetry into a person. Large eyes, so blue Rome could see their color from where
he stood, dominated his face above high cheekbones that would have been gaunt
if they weren’t a soft, glowing pink. His neck was long, his hands graceful. Gods, what is he? Wolf males might be
tall like Rome, but they were nearly always powerfully built. This guy looked
very little like Gerard Havilland.
body vibrated with electricity and shook as if the male were a magnet and Rome
was iron filings trying to organize around him.