With so much activity abuzz in their lives, Lenora and Tyrone didn’t always have a chance to have a romantic dinner alone. When they got that chance, they took it, leaving the kids in either Landon and Crystal’s or one set of grandparents’ hands. With spring now in full swing, the kids were glad to be out and about and were overjoyed to be spending the night with Great Grandda Liam and Gigi Mathilda.
Lenora and Tyrone dressed in their finest and headed straight to the Bistro. When Tyrone opened the car door for his wife, she smiled at him and took his hand as he helped her out. Tyrone slung a protective arm around Lenora but then stopped in mid stride to turn to her. “What is it, darling?” she asked.
“I just wanted to look at you in this lighting,” Tyrone said, holding her by the shoulders. “Your eyes are so blue, and your hair looks like spun gold in the sunlight. You truly look like a goddess…my goddess.”
“Well now. How romantic are ye!” Lenora smiled. “Och! Ye say the loveliest things to me.”
“I mean every one of them, my Lenora,” Tyrone said.
“Do ye know how much I love ye?” Lenora asked, her voice cracking with emotion. “When ye call me your Lenora, it makes my toes curl and I want to dance a jig.” Her Irish accent was thick as more waves of emotion rushed over her and through their bond.
Tyrone buried his hands in Lenora’s golden tresses and gazed at her as though she were a treasured work of art. “You are my life, Lenora. You have been my world ever since I Imprinted on you all those years ago. I wanted nothing more than to hold you and tell you I loved you. Now, I get to do that every day of our lives. You are mine. You are mine, Lenora, forever and for always. I know saying that would turn some women off, and they wouldn’t be able to handle it. With you, it’s different. I can speak it and mean it without having to defend myself or have you think I’m just being dominant. An Alpha Wolf does rule and must dominate at times because they are in the highest position in a Pack. Sometimes another wolf will challenge the Alpha. Hierarchy can change, but that doesn’t happen often if the Alpha is very skilled and has a good handle on things. An Alpha rules, but a good and credible Alpha is not a dictator. A wolf knows what is his and will protect it with his life. You are mine, Lenora, and that means something more than just mere words. It means I will love you above anyone else and will cherish and protect you until my dying breath.”
Lenora framed Tyrone’s face in her hands and gazed into his eyes. “I know that. There is no need to explain. I just know.” She ran her thumb over his cheek and then placed a forefinger over his lips when he was about to speak. “What ye and I have together is unique and so epic and powerful. Words sometimes get in the way when all we need to do is speak silently. We feel each other in ways that most people can only dream of. I am truly blessed to be loved by such an amazing man. I promise i will always return that love in spades and protect ye always, not that an Alpha Wolf such as yourself needs much protection.”
Tyrone grinned at her, then hauled her into his arms. “Believe me, this Alpha Wolf needs his beautiful witch at his side. A bit of magic doesn’t hurt, not that you need magic to snare me with your charms. Just one look grabbed me, hook, line, and sinker.”
Tyrone’s words sent waves of pleasure rolling over. her. Lenora tightened her hold on him and pressed herself as close as she could against him. “Just shut up and kiss me.”
Tyrone needed no further encouragement. He gave a low, possessive growl, and slanted his lips over hers in a searing kiss. He felt his desire quicken when his wife groaned into the kiss and returned it with equal fervor. The depth of Lenora’s passion and pleasure for him never ceased to amaze him. His beloved mate was the most fascinating, tantalizing creature, and Tyrone counted his blessings every day that she was his.
When they pulled apart, Lenora smiled at him dazedly. “I think we’d better go have our dinner before we’re arrested for arson for setting this place on fire, Wolfman.”
Tyrone snorted with amusement and playfully tugged a lock of her hair. “As long as they let us share a cell, I won’t complain.”
She grinned at him, her blue eyes twinkling. “Somehow I don’t think that would happen. They’d be putting out fires every half hour otherwise.”
“Point taken,” Tyrone said as he snuggled Lenora against his side and resumed walking with her toward the restaurant.
Tyrone and Lenora enjoyed a decadent dinner and a movie at the cinema. By the time they arrived home, everyone else was sound asleep. They took advantage of the quiet time and enjoyed some wine and random conversation. A passionate night of lovemaking ensued. By the time the couple sank into blissful sleep, it was almost morning. The last thought Lenora had before sleep claimed her was that it was a good thing it was the weekend. She loved sleeping in late with her handsome husband, and today would be no exception.
Later that day, Lenora and Tyrone’s nephew, Carson, came over to play with his cousins. Carson and his baby brother, Brooks, had been taken in by their grandparents when their father was killed and their mother sent to prison. Lenora and Tyrone had offered to take the children themselves, but the family decided that since they already had a houseful, it was best for his grandparents to take them. Even so, Carson was a frequent fixture at the Landgraabs, and Lenora and Tyrone were always eager to spoil him and Brooks a bit.
During playtime, Carson periodically broke away to have a chat with his aunt or uncle. He loved coming to their house, as they were always so nice to him. Carson and Crystal had become extremely close, too, and he loved it when she showed him her fairy magic. His secret wish was to become a fairy and have wings.
Lenora smiled at Carson when he whizzed into the kitchen. “Back for another chat, sweetheart?”
“Sure, Auntie,” Carson grinned up at Lenora. “Crystal showed me some of her fairy magic.”
“She sure has a lot of it,” Lenora said, sitting him down for a glass of milk and some chocolate chip cookies. Naturally, it didn’t take long for the other kids to sniff out the cookies and clammer to the kitchen.
“I’m starving!” Chris yelled.
“You’re always starving,” Aurora said, taking a dainty bite of her own cookie.
“Sis, that’s not how you eat cookies,” Chris said. “You do it this way.” He picked up three cookies and shoved them all into his mouth.
“You are a barbarian, Chris,” Aurora said, looking revolted.
Chris snorted and sprayed cookie crumbs over the table.
“There’s being a wolf and then there’s being a hog, you twink,” Andrea said, rolling her eyes at her brother.
Chris swallowed his mouthful, guzzled down half a glass of milk, belched, and made oinking noises at his sister.
This got Jonas and Carson giggling, and both were soon pounding their fists on the table in fits of helpless laughter.
Lenora had to turn her back to keep the others from seeing her laugh. She bit her lip to try to clamp down on it, but she lost the battle. “Ye all are daft, ye are!” she proclaimed as she, too, gave in fully to her laughter.
“Hey, Grams! What’s shaking?” Blake said as he and his brothers trooped into Lenora’s kitchen. “Hey, cookies!”
Lenora set more cookies out on the table and refilled everyone’s milk glasses. “What’s shaking, ye ask? The walls, that’s what. Chris’s belching is going to make the entire place fall in.”
“Whoa!” Cody grinned. “Belching contest!”
“Oh, we are in trouble,” Aurora said. “Better duck for cover.”
Lenora snorted and plunked her head on the table. “I am surrounded by crazy kids!” she said mock dramatically.
“Don’t worry, Grams. We’ll make you as crazy as the rest of us,” Gabriel said.
“I believe you will,” Lenora laughed.
And so, the belching contest began, and Lenora laughed until her sides ached. She was still laughing while she cleaned up the dishes and got everyone settled down to do homework.
All four adults helped the kids with their homework, and Carson asked specifically for his Aunt Lenora to help him. “It’s because you’re smart and pretty, Auntie,” Carson said, giving her a charming grin.
Lenora grinned and then sat down beside Carson. “Better watch it, Chumly, or your uncle might think you’re out to carry me off,” she teased him.
Carson blushed, then giggled when she tickled his neck with a lock of her hair. “Hey, that tickles, Auntie,” he said.
She kissed the top of his head, and then they got right to work.
When they were done, Carson gave Lenora a big hug. “Thank you, Aunt Lenora. I love you.”
“You’re most welcome, and I love you too, darling,” Lenora said, giving him a big squeeze.
“Will you show me some of your magic, Auntie?” Carson asked.
Lenora put her hands together and showed Carson how she did a few simple spells. He watched, entranced, and then whistled. “That’s epic, Auntie! Did your magic take you a long time to learn?”
“Some of it did, yes,” Lenora said.
“Sometimes I wish I could do magic or that I had wings,” Carson said on a wistful sigh, revealing his secret wish to his auntie.
Lenora pulled her nephew into her arms and hugged him tight. “Darling, maybe ye will some day. Perhaps if ye wish long and hard enough, your dream might come true one day. Anything is possible.”
“Really?” he asked, eyes widening.
“Really, really. Cross my heart and pinky swear.”
Carson grinned as she did the motions and laced his pinky with hers. “Could I spend the night tonight?”
“As long as it’s all right with your Grandparents,” Lenora said. Much to Carson’s excitement, he got to spend the entire weekend with his aunt, uncle, and cousins.
Tyrone was hired by the theater to write some song lyrics for a new musical, so he spent many long hours in front of the computer. Lenora, too, was a slave to her computer, as she was at a critical part in her current writing project. During such chaotic times, Landon and Crystal watched the kids, and sometimes they spent extra time with their grandparents. Tyrone loved the work, but he was glad when it was completed. When he was satisfied with it, he sent it off to his employer and heard his back pop as he stretched in his chair.
When Tyrone headed to the kitchen for something to drink, he found Andrea munching on a hamburger and reading. “Hey, Steamroller. What are you reading?”
Andrea closed the book to show her father the cover. “Almost finished, but I’m not too happy.”
“I thought you liked Harry Potter,” Tyrone said.
“Oh, I do. But I hate how it ends. Too many people died. I mean, I know it was war and all, but did she really have to kill Remus and Tonks?”
Tyrone shrugged and slid into a chair beside his daughter. “I know Remus Lupin was one of your favorite characters and for obvious reasons. it was a shame he didn’t survive.”
“Yeah,” Andrea said. “At least she didn’t kill Ron and Hermione, but still. I always hoped Sirius Black would be cleared during his life and that Remus would get a fair shake as a werewolf. I’m glad we’re not treated that way, Da. I like being a wolf.”
“Me too. I like being a wolf too, sweetheart,” Tyrone said. “Even so, some people don’t get it and become frightened of us.”
“Yeah, I know,” said Andrea thoughtfully. “Sometimes I want to wolf out because I know it’ll help our soccer team win easier, but…” She shrugged.
Tyrone snorted. “I think that would be considered cheating. Wolves, even wolf cubs like you, are much stronger than regular people. You have to pick and choose when to wolf out. Well, when it’s not a full moon, that is.”
“I know, but it’s still tempting. And I still didn’t want Remus to die,” Andrea said, putting down the book with a hard thump.
Tyrone kissed his daughter’s cheek, then pretended to make a grab for her hamburger.
“Hey, get your own!” Andrea said, holding her burger away from Tyrone.
Tyrone plastered a mock disappointed look on his face. “Aww, you mean you won’t share with your old Da?”
“Nope,” Andra said, grinning. “Wolf’s rule, after all. Whoever makes the kill gets the grub.”
Tyrone laughed. “It was the butcher who killed that cattle, and it was your mother who cooked it, even if it was only for twenty seconds.” Wolves tended to like their meet rare, but Lenora insisted on cooking it a little for the kids.
“Still, same rules apply,” Andrea teased. “But I’ll make an exception to someone who knows how to give me that practiced pitiful look.” Andrea cut the huge burger in half and handed a piece to Tyrone.
“I am honored that Your Grace has found it within her heart to sate an old man’s hunger,” Tyrone grinned.
Andrea laughed and the two munched their burgers in companionable silence. She chewed the last bite of burger thoughtfully, swallowed, then spoke. “I need to tell you something.”
“Shoot,” Tyrone said.
“I think there’s something wrong with Aunt Valerie. I saw her yesterday when we were at grandma and Grandpa’s while you guys were working late. She seemed…off somehow, like she was on something. Grandma and Grandpa looked worried, and something inside me kept telling me that there was something wrong. When I asked Grandpa later, he told me not to worry, that everything would be okay. But Da, there’s that…that thing inside that says otherwise. Chris felt it too, so I know there’s something wrong.” Andrea said all of this in a rush, all of it coning out in only one breath.
Tyrone’s sixth sense began to hum, and he eyed his daughter intently. “Sweetheart, what you and Chris felt, what you are still feeling, is your wolf’s sixth sense kicking in. We wolves have this…thing, this…instinct that alerts us in certain situations. A wolf’s instinct is hardly ever wrong.”
“So then, something is wrong. But Grandpa blew it off and…” Andrea trailed off and scratched her head.
Tyrone blew out a long breath. “I don’t think he blew it off. He just doesn’t want you to worry. Your aunt is just…having some issues right now.” He’d been truly worried about his sister lately. She kept refusing all invitations to join them for dinner or just to visit. She’d been seen more and more with some guy that appeared to be bad news. And now, Andrea was saying Val looked like she was on something. Had his little sister been experimenting with drugs, too? That was dangerous for a wolf, especially during a full moon.
“I like being a wolf but sometimes it’s hard,” Andrea said.
Tyrone pulled his daughter in for a tight hug. “I know, darlin’, but it’s a great honor to be a wolf.”
“Yeah. I guess no matter what, it’s never easy. We just have to deal, right?”
“Right,” Tyrone agreed.
“I’m so glad we all have you and Ma. We’re all a team, right?”
“Right again,’ Tyrone smiled, giving her another squeeze. “And sometimes we have to take one for the team.”
“I won’t mind as long as our team is the best,” Andrea grinned. “I love you, Da.”
“And I love you too, my Steamroller.”
“Ooo, hug time!” Aurora said, skipping into the kitchen. She thew her arms around her father and made long grunting noises as she squeezed him.
“I never get tired of hugs,” Tyrone said, hugging Aurora back, then bringing both his daughters in for a loving group hug.
“I finished my painting, Da,” Aurora said.
“Excellent! Are you happy with it?” Tyrone asked.
“Mostly. I could have made the sky a little bluer, but I think it’ll look okay,” Aurora said.
“And how’s that sculpture you’ve been working on with your Great-Grandda?” Tyrone asked Andrea.
“Fine. It’s almost done, and I got to do most of the work. Grandda didn’t help much at all,” Andrea said proudly.
“Well then, I’d say it’s time for a celebration. How about if I take my two talented daughters out for ice cream?” Tyrone grinned at them.
“Just us? Without the boys?” Aurora asked.
“Just us three,” Tyrone replied.
“I’m down for that,” Andrea whooped.
“Me too,” Aurora said, bouncing on the balls of her feet.
When Lenora finished the final draft of her book and sent it off to her agent, she breathed a huge sigh of relief. The kids were spending the night with Amadeus and Erica. Landon and Crystal had out of town shows to perform, which left Lenora and Tyrone with a rare day alone. “Want to go play some music, Wolfman?” Lenora asked.
“Why not?” Tyrone said.
They headed to the restaurant where they often unloaded their tip jars. However, they didn’t get that far. Lenora was intercepted by a man who began to talk excitedly to her. “Lenora! How I have waited to finally meet you!”
“A pleasure,” she said, feeling her empathic senses stir. Alarm bells began to go off as she realized that something wasn’t quite right about the man.
“You’re so beautiful, like a sun goddess,” he said.
“Um…thank you,” she said uneasily.
“My name is Allen. Allen Clayton. You have no idea how I…” He reached his arms out as if to hold her.
Lenora backed away, extending her arms to keep him at bay. However, this didn’t detour Allen. “You’re so beautiful…I just want to touch you. Please let me…”
“No!” she said, growing evermore alarmed.
Tyrone felt The Wolf needing to be released, so he gave in without question. His Lenora needed his protection. He could plainly feel her unease and wasn’t about to let this go on any further. His sixth sense was on high alert, and what it sensed was danger on all levels. When the change was complete, he unleashed a ferocious growl and got right in Allen’s face. “You will refrain from accosting my wife if you know what is good for you.” He said these words on a low, horrendous growl. “You will get yourself home and stay there. If you ever come near my wife again, I will eat your liver. If you attempt to touch her again, I will throttle you with your own intestines and eat your liver. Do I make myself clear?” Between each phrase was a series of guttural growling and snarling. Uttering the words with his wolfish mouth made them sound even more menacing than they normally would have been.
Allen’s only answer was to run away, screaming in terror. He hated Tyrone, but right now, he wasn’t prepared to become lunch meat for an angry, territorial Alpha werewolf.
Lenora swallowed audibly, licked her lips, and watched, wide-eyed, as the strange man ran for his life. She made her way to her husband’s side and slipped her arms around his waist, pressing her cheek against his chest. She didn’t need to sense him empathically to know he was seething and ready to pounce. Her Alpha Wolf was in full guarding and protection mode, and it was because of her. His muscles were taught and ready to react at the slightest move, and he was sniffing the air as if in search for his prey. “Wolfman, it’s okay. He didn’t harm me,” she said in low, soothing tones. She gave him loving touches to try to gentle him.
Tyrone pulled her against him but was ever mindful to not hurt her. “He alarmed you, and you’re still shaken up. I can feel it. There is danger,” Tyrone said in raspy, wolfish tones.
“You ran him off though, and he didn’t harm me. I’m all right. I’m just…freaked a little. There was something frightening in that man’s eyes. Something isn’t right with him.”
“He’s a freaking mental case, that’s what he is,” Tyrone growled. “Who in their right mind talks and acts that way?”
Lenora just shook her head and snuggled closer to Tyrone’s strong, warm body. “Well, let’s hope we’ve seen the last of him.”
Tyrone looked down at Lenora and framed her face in his wolf’s paws. His eyes seemed to glow as he stared intently into her face. “I protect what is mine. You are mine, Lenora, never forget that.”
“Yours forever, my love. I won’t forget, ever.” She touched his cheek, then smiled as her fingers stroked the furry sideburns he always had in wolf form. She loved those sideburns.
Tyrone held her and breathed deeply of her familiar scent. “I say we skip playing for tips today and just go home. I need to make love to my beautiful wife. Lenora, I need you.”
“I”m all for that, and I need you, too. I-I’m still a little wigged out.” she admitted.
Tyrone swooped her into his arms and carried her all the way to the car. When they got home, he carried her up the stairs and into their bedroom where he showed her just how an Alpha Wolf makes love to his soulmate.