I scratched Lothar behind the ears as I stared out into the desert. It looked the same as it did yesterday – sand and sagebrush as far as the eye could see with a cactus thrown in to keep things interesting. I had no idea why I decided to sit on the far edge of camp and look out there other than it was a nice change from being cooped up in the minibus for a week.
I glanced around behind me to make sure the girls weren’t close enough to hear me talking to my dog. Before things went to shit I journaled my thoughts to sort through them. Now? Paper was a luxury I hoarded and writing words in the sand was more trouble than it was worth.
“I know this is dumb, but people did it all the time and I’m gonna try. You don’t mind do you baby?”
Lothar stretched his neck to the side letting me get to the good spot next to his cheek. I took that as a sign to keep talking. Though I would have taken anything short of him getting up and walking away.
“I don’t know what to do. Trygg seems like a nice … gargoyle.” I still had problems acknowledging the man was a gargoyle in my head much less aloud. “But how am I supposed to trust him? I met him yesterday for crying aloud and he announced at dinner that I was the woman for him? How do you declare someone is your mate in less than twenty-four hours without even speaking to her? I dated Bradley for three years before he proposed and you know how horribly that turned out.”
I flicked a piece of brush off my thigh as I replayed the highlights of yesterday in my mind. I’d spent the afternoon watching Anne and Flo make dinner while I told them about my trip through the desert to find them. Every time I turned around the same guy was watching me. He didn’t approach me. Didn’t even say hello when the girls introduced me to the group of bikers who arrived at the dig site a few days before me.
No. Not ‘guys’ like the boys I went to school with. These men were bikers, and not just any bikers but gargoyles in their human skins. The only thing they had in common was they were all over six and a half feet, wore jeans, and could have stared in any woman’s wet dreams. Two of them were already mated to Rin and Anne. Rin’s Helvig was obviously an enforcer. He had muscles on muscles, a shaved head, and a thick beard. Anne’s Drago was a taller and leaner version of John Stamos. He seemed like the team’s tech nerd which was perfect for her. She wouldn’t put up with a man growling and grunting at her.
Everyone ate dinner at the picnic tables set up in the center of camp. The girls sat at the table in the center with the dozen or so guys spread across the surrounding tables. We were halfway thru dinner when an argument broke out between two men at the far table. Worry climbed up the back of my neck when I realized one of the men was the guy who had been watching me all day. I wasn’t sure why I cared if he was in an argument or not, but I did.
The fear ratcheted up a level when Flo and Rin started whisper arguing while glancing at me every few seconds. It didn’t take a genius to figure out why they were looking at me because he announced it to the group.
“I mean seriously, can you believe he stood up and announced to everyone that I belonged to him, and he would ‘take care of it’ when he was damn good and ready?”
I jumped when a deep voice asked, “Would you prefer I carry you to my tent and take care of it now?”