Bets has been debating making the move to the Crossroads, but the night she met a fox who was out of her league, she made up her mind. Time to stop pining and go on the hunt. Too bad the only thing she ever hunted was an apple.
Weller met the shifter the night of his brother’s wedding, but when he returned to the spot where they had met, he was told that she had proceeded to the Crossroads and he was out of luck. Moving with all speed, he got his ass to the Crossroads and hoped that the woman with the deep golden-brown eyes hadn’t found a man to sweep her off her feet. That was his job.
“How is it that you and I get along so well but Ida won’t give me the time of day?”
Bets tugged down his jeans to cover the injury, but the scent of fairy blood was still in the air.
“I don’t have any interest in having sex with you. Ida is conflicted. She wants you but she wants a family, life and to grow old with her mate. You can’t offer her that. You are already over three hundred. She would age and you wouldn’t. That is a hard thing to deal with when you know you have had your one chance at true love.”
He nodded and his head bent forward in depression. “I know. I want to be with her, but if our being together hurts her, it is not worth it. We can interact with each other from a safe distance and pretend that there is nothing going on.”
Bets felt tears welling in her eyes, and she held Dromer’s hand until there was a knock on the door. The exhausted man with salt and pepper hair was in the company of a younger man with thick auburn hair that was as immaculate as his companion’s was dishevelled.
The older male came forward and inclined his head. “I am Josh Exiter. I believe that you have some things that belong to my pack.”
Bets stiffened. “I believe you have something that belongs to my friend here.”
The younger man was amused.
Josh straightened and faced Dromer. “I apologise for my pack members drawing your blood on your territory. It was unforgivable and they will not appear on your doorstep again.”
Dromer limped over and looked down at the alpha and his companion. “They are young and foolish. A five-year ward will be put in place in case they forget their manners. May I ask the name of the other who has come here to witness?”
The younger man held up his hands. “I am no witness. I am the designated driver. Josh’s sister just married my older brother and we were having a little party when Jerry took off. We had just clocked the escape when your companion called. If she gives her name, I will give mine.”
Bets blinked. “Bethany Leyhey.”
The man’s bright leaf-green eyes crinkled at the corners. “Weller Umbridge, at your service, lady.”
To her surprise, he came up to her and lifted her hand to his lips. He straightened and there was definite flirtation in his eyes. “Not an elf then?”
She blinked and backed away. “No, not an elf.”
Dromer was smiling wryly. “My friend here was just wondering about the plausibility of heading to the Crossroads to meet her match.”
Weller smiled. “That is how my brother met his match. If we can’t find a mate within our own people, we had better adjust to the idea of finding someone that suits our beasts.”
She was blushing furiously. “Right.”
Josh looked between them and chuckled as he grabbed all of the clothing on the floor. “I will be in touch to arrange further reparation. I do not take the spilling of blood lightly.”
Bets watched the two men leave the diner and saw the pale shapes of the younger males as they emerged from the woods at their alpha’s command. She exhaled and sat at one of the counter stools.
“I believe you have an admirer, Bets.” Dromer winked and wiped up his blood with a paper towel followed by a cleanser.
“I am sure he flirts with all women who stare down his new brother-in-law.” She blushed. “Why did you have to tell him about the Crossroads? Now he will think I am desperate.”
“Isn’t that why you shifters go there?”
“It is, and he knows that, but it…oh hell, I don’t know. It just seemed like he was laughing at the idea.”
“His brother met his mate the same way. Why do you think he was laughing?”
She turned and buried her head in her arms. “I don’t know. It just seems like such a huge step to find someone. I wish that love was easier.”
Dromer put the paper towels and cleanser wipes in a silver can and set it alight. Over the flickering flames, he said, “Love is never easy. If there is one thing that my centuries have told me, it is that finding true love is worth the effort. I have yet to bond to mine and it creates an ache in my soul that grows daily.”