Tempeh for Two is that last book in the ‘Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat’ series. As such, you should buy them all, so you’re not left figuring things out when you get to this one. 😀
We found the others in the kitchen, where Kendra and Avery were bustling around cooking and setting food on the island. Ordinarily they would have had everything ready before our friends arrived, but I didn’t blame them for the oversight this time. Too many things had happened for them to have their minds entirely on their jobs.
Dave and Ramon stood at one end of the island. Brianna sat at the corner of it with Trey beside her. When we entered the room, Brianna jumped off her stool and hurried toward us. “Tobias!”
“Hello.” I gave her my first genuine smile of the day.
She faltered and stopped a few feet from me. “I’m sorry, Arkhon. I should—”
“You should call me Tobias unless I tell you otherwise.” Werewolf titles held a horrible weight for Brianna. She had never been permitted to address the alpha of her first pack by name, and she had been used by him and most of the other males in that pack. Saul had insisted on a different title, one which should have been earned not demanded, but he’d made her call him “Alpha” at times as well, from what she’d told me.
The day she’d joined my pack, I’d told her she would only be required to call me by title on formal occasions. This wasn’t one. Seeing my friends from Boston brought a lightness to my heart that had been missing since March. This was a celebration.
“Tobias.” Brianna’s smile returned. “It’s so good to see you.”
“And you.” I reached to touch her and stopped at holding out my arms, giving her the choice of whether to accept a hug.
She did. She was sturdier than she’d been last time I’d seen her. Back then she’d looked half-starved, even after two months of healing and life with Carlos. She’d put on some weight now, and it looked good on her. She appeared healthy.
She allowed me to hold her for only a moment, but it was enough for me to sense the growth and healing within her. She pulled away and turned her smile on Kyle. “Hey.”
“Hey.” He grinned. “Mated life looks good on you.”
Brianna’s cheeks colored. “Yeah, sure.”
I walked over to Trey, who had also stood but had remained at his place. “Hello, friend.”
“Hello, Arkhon.” He tilted his head.
I rolled my eyes. “Do I have to say this to each of you individually? Titles are formal. We’re friends here. Unless I tell you otherwise, use my name.”
“Hello, Tobias,” Trey said in a half-sarcastic lilt.
“Have you taken over being wiseass of Boston North Pack?” I grinned. “How are Mikey and Jeremiah?”
“Mikey’s doing all right.” He sobered. “Still has nightmares sometimes about what happened back in January. Lately nightmares about his mother’s family, too. And he told me to tell you to watch out for the colorful wolf.”
“I will.” I had no clue what Mikey might mean by “colorful,” but if the boy had seen fit to send me a message, I would listen. If we’d listened more to Mikey in the past, some of the events we’d dealt with over the winter might have been avoided. At least we would have been better prepared.
“Jeremiah helps him a lot with the psychic stuff,” Trey said. “He’s been teaching Mikey how to filter things better, for one thing. He’s keeping an eye on Mikey and Tareth while we’re gone, and if Tareth has the baby before we get back, Mikey will stay with Jeremiah.”
“The baby had better not come while I’m away,” Justin said in a near-growl. “I will be there to see him born if it kills me. He and Tareth need me.” He paused. “I need to be there. I can’t miss the birth. It’s too important.”
“I’m sure Tareth doesn’t want to have him while you’re gone either,” I said.
He nodded and relaxed. “I know. Just keep hoping.”
“Hey, Kyle.” Ramon’s white teeth flashed in something between grin and grimace. “I have a joke for you.”
“Oh, how lucky for me.” Kyle shook his head. “I don’t know if I want to hear this, but go ahead.”
“If tofu turkey is called tofurkey, what do you call tofu duck?”
All of us stared at him for a second. Kyle caught on first and started laughing so hard he had to lean on the island. “You asshole.”
The rest of us laughed with him, and the lingering tension and anger from Kyle’s trial finally went away. The darkness didn’t completely leave my mind, but for the first time in two days, I felt completely happy. I was with friends. This was how it should be.
Karenna Colcroft is a firm believer that love is love, regardless of gender and number. She is a survivor who knows that true love doesn’t heal all, but it can help someone find the motivation to try. Karenna lives in the northeastern United States with her two children, her real-life romance hero husband, and three cats, one of whom does a mean parrot impersonation. Find out more about Karenna and her books at http://www.karennacolcroft.com