Chapter 21

The next day had gone by in a blur for Samantha. It was filled with police reports and a trip to the hospital to visit Kerry. Richard, one of the only people they knew for certain they could trust, helped them get home. Sam and Malcolm were too injured to do it on their own. Once they got Kerry back to the house, Sam called the police and reported AJ’s insane attack on both of them. As far as the police and Kerry were concerned, AJ had become obsessed with Sam and attempted to abduct her. Malcolm had heard her screams and come to her aid, fighting briefly with AJ before scaring him off into the night. No one knew about Dante’s involvement, not even Kerry.

Their story of AJ’s obsession was proven by the photos all around his room; her pictures plastered all over the walls were more than enough to support their tale. Although an all-points bulletin had been released for him, Sam suspected he’d never be found, unless they cut open a few sharks over at the aquarium. Kerry had been passed out through the entire event and luckily had very little memory of anything. She remembered struggling with AJ after he attacked her at the house. Forcing her to call Samantha was the last thing she said she remembered.

Malcolm had been reluctant to let Sam out of his sight again, but she promised to maintain their connection, and there was no way she wasn’t going to visit Kerry in the hospital. She knew that the only way he could be sure she was safe was if she kept her mind open to him. So he made her promise she wouldn’t sever that connection again. Considering the newly discovered group of Amoveo purists, they both knew her safety would always be in question.

Brendan was not the only one who wanted her dead. The most disturbing part was that these purists were hidden in plain sight among his people. They had proven to be even more deadly and devious than the Caedo. Brendan’s betrayal would haunt Malcolm forever. A member of his own family had plotted to kill him and his mate.

Sam pulled her car into the driveway of Malcolm’s house—of her house. Her lips curved into a small smile.

Their house.

She grabbed her purse off of the passenger seat and winced slightly at the residual soreness in her shoulder. Most of her injuries had healed quickly over the last couple of days, another perk of being Amoveo.

Sam let herself into the house but still struggled with the urge to knock. She stepped into the spacious foyer and stilled at the sound of voices coming from the living room. She breathed deeply and focused on the energy signatures in the house. There were four other Amoveo in there with Malcolm. She swallowed hard and willed herself to put one foot in front of the other and go in there to meet them, but her feet weren’t cooperating.

Malcolm’s soothing voice wafted gratefully into her head. Are you coming in mia piccola lupa? They are eager to meet you.

Before Sam could answer him, Davis shuffled in from the kitchen with a small package tucked under his arm. “Malcolm and the others are waiting for you in the living room Ms. Samantha.” He winked and gave her a gentle pat on the arm. “You’ll be fine, miss,” he whispered.

Sam gave him a weak smile. “Where are you headed? Aren’t you going to come in and say hello?” She hoped so. She dreaded the idea of walking into that room alone.

He held up the small bag and opened the front door. “I’m taking some special tea over to my girl.”

Smiling, Sam watched him disappear through the large doorway and tossed her purse on the small side table. As odd as it was to see Nonie with another man, it made her happy to know that she was happy. No one should have to be lonely. She remembered that feeling all too well.

A familiar voice purred against her ear. “I’m the one who’s lonely.” Sam smiled as Malcolm’s strong arms slipped around her waist. Warm, steely strength enveloped her the moment he pressed that rock hard body against hers.

She clasped her hands over his and hugged them against her belly. Sam leaned back and craned her neck to look up at him. She opened her mouth to respond, but his lips were on hers before she could utter a word. She moaned softly and relished the taste of him. His lips were firm and inviting, and his tongue slid deliciously along hers, sending tiny shivers up her spine.

He suckled her bottom lip and pulled back from her slowly, placing a tiny kiss on the tip of her upturned nose. “That’s much better,” he murmured. “I know you were only gone for a few hours, but it felt like a good deal longer.”

Sam opened her eyes and turned her body in his embrace. She placed her hands on the solid muscles in his chest and adored the way his body felt against hers. She fiddled with the buttons on his shirt and gave him a mischievous look from under her lashes. His hands slid down and rested on her jean-clad bottom.

“Well, we could skip the introductions, and I could take you upstairs and ravage you.” Sam stood on her tiptoes, placed a soft kiss at the base of his throat, and flicked her tongue along his pulse that thrummed strong and steady.

He groaned and squeezed her ass. “You have no idea how much I want to take you up on that.” He ran his hands up her back, over her shoulders, and took her face gently in his hands. His brown eyes stared down at her compassionately. “But we cannot put this off any longer,” he said softly. “It’s time for you to meet them, face-to-face.”

Sam let out a sigh of surrender, and Malcolm linked his fingers with hers as he led her into the living room. Sam wasn’t sure what to expect. The only other Amoveo she had actually met—who was supposed to be helping her—had murdered her parents and tried to kill her. Great.

Malcolm, sensing her unease, wrapped his arm around her protectively, and pulled her into the shelter of his body as they walked into the room. She draped her arm around his waist and hugged him. Don’t even think about leaving me alone for one second. He said nothing, but chuckled and squeezed her back.

The men stood up to greet Samantha. Her eye was immediately drawn to the one with long raven hair who had been seated in the armchair by the fireplace. She recognized him immediately as the man who had vanished from the deck. Was that only a few days ago? It seems like years, she mused. Thick, pin-straight ebony hair hung well past his broad shoulders and framed an incredibly handsome face. His sharp features spoke of strength, but his most striking feature were his enormous eyes. His energy signature radiated power and authority, and she could only assume he was Richard, the Prince.

He bowed to her slightly as she and Malcolm crossed the room and closed the distance between them.

Sam steeled herself and extended her hand to him. She swallowed hard. “It’s very nice to meet you,” she said in a surprisingly stable voice.

He took her hand and kissed it with all the regality one would expect from a prince. “It is a pleasure to meet you, Samantha.” He released her hand and stood back up to his full height. Sam couldn’t help but notice that he was even taller than Malcolm.

Sam turned to the two men who had stood up from the sofa. Both of them were well over six feet tall and looked to be nothing but muscle and bone.

“Jeez, they don’t make you guys small, do they?” she mumbled under her breath.

One man remained seated on the couch, his arm in a sling. Sam instantly recognized him. It was Dante. His warm amber eyes smiled at her, and she couldn’t help but smile back.

“You’ll have to forgive me for not standing up, but I’m still not feeling quite myself yet.”

“Please,” Sam began quickly, “don’t apologize. You wouldn’t even be in this mess if it weren’t for me. I should be thanking you. Who knows how much worse it may have been for Kerry. If you hadn’t shown up, I shudder to think of what else he might’ve done to her.”

Dante’s brow furrowed. “I was careless. Believe me, it won’t happen again.”

The one with shaggy blond hair reached over the coffee table and shook Sam’s hand. “I’m Steven,” he said with a big smile. “I patched up the tough guy over here.” He gave Dante a pat on his uninjured shoulder and flopped himself back down on the couch “Good to meet you, Mrs. Malcolm,” he said teasingly.

Sam narrowed her eyes playfully. “Oh, so that’s how it’s gonna be?”

Steven threw his head back and laughed.

The only other man she hadn’t met interrupted sharply. “I don’t think there’s anything to be laughing about right now, Steven.”

Everyone in the room fell silent, and the energy around them rippled. Sam’s body stiffened, and the smile faded from her lips as her gaze landed on his deadly serious face. His snow white hair was streaked with brown and pulled back in tight ponytail. He was dressed impeccably in a black suit, which was finished off perfectly with a cobalt blue tie and matching hanky in the pocket. He possessed an icy reserve that set Sam’s teeth on edge.

Malcolm held her closer, and his voice slipped into her mind. That’s just William. He’s a bit…uptight. You’ll get used to it.

William nodded slightly, but his dark brown, almost black eyes, remained serious. “I apologize for being so abrupt. It’s a pleasure to meet you,” he said tightly. “But I do wish that the circumstances were different.” He sat stiffly on the couch and smoothed the lapels of his jacket.

“No, you’re right,” Sam said quietly and looked at each of the faces around the room. “There isn’t much that’s funny about this situation. Funny-strange, yes. Funny ha-ha, not so much.” She looked at Dante because he seemed to be the most accepting and welcoming. Hell, he did almost die to help her. “I do want to thank you. It’s nice to know that we have at least a few allies among the Amoveo.”

Malcolm kissed the top of her head. “I’m sure there are more of our people who are open to mating with special humans like your mother.” He led her to the other chair opposite the couch and motioned for her and everyone else to sit down. He sat next to her on the arm of the chair, and his gaze landed on Richard. “My concern is that there are more than a few Amoveo who share Brendan’s prejudice.”

“I was horrified by Brendan’s actions. I am truly baffled by the violent levels he’d gone to.” Richard sat back in his chair, crossed his long legs, and folded his hands in his lap. “There had never been a Caedo assassin captured. That whole thing had been a ruse to leave you both exposed and vulnerable.”

“Yes, and unfortunately it worked,” seethed Dante. His father’s betrayal was still raw, and the pain of it was etched clearly in his features. Sam’s heart broke for him. The only person more shaken by the plot than Malcolm was Dante. His father had lied to everyone, including him.

“Samantha, I promise you that we will find the other traitors to our race and protect you at all costs,” Richard said earnestly. “Several humans had been identified as potential mates, and Brendan had been in charge of finding them. The next step is to find the list he had developed and be sure they are protected until they find their mates.”

“Or their mates find them,” Dante said quietly.

They all nodded in agreement.

“Malcolm and I have decided to keep the conspiracy revelation to a select few. I have not even informed the Council. I will tell them the same story you told the humans.” His eyes softened, and a look of sorrow passed briefly over his features. “I don’t know who can be trusted except for those who are already involved. If word gets out about the purist plot, it will be much harder to ferret out the traitors.”

“What about my mother?” Dante asked quietly. “We have to tell her something. She’ll be deeply affected by this on many levels.”

Richard nodded solemnly. Now that her mate was dead, her own life would be coming to an end as well. “I have been giving that a good deal of thought. As far as anyone else is concerned, your father was killed in an effort to help protect Samantha and Malcolm. No one will know that he was a traitor.”

“At least not now,” William added quickly.

Dante shot him a look that could’ve cut through stone. “What does that mean?”

William shrugged casually. “It means that once the purist conspiracy is brought to light, people will have to know the truth.” Dante growled, but William remained unfazed by his anger. “The truth always comes out, Dante,” he said evenly.

Sam shivered at the harsh reality of that statement. Boy, did it ever.

She listened intently as they discussed the various possibilities. By the end of the conversation her mind was spinning. The bottom line? They didn’t know much. The only confirmed purist was dead, and they didn’t have any leads on the others.

The men left just as the sun was setting. Sam wanted to spend the evening with Malcolm, but knew she needed to speak with her grandmother. She had been shocked when Malcolm told her that Nonie had known about the Amoveo and her unique heritage. Sam and Nonie talked through the night. It felt so good for Sam to finally tell her everything and share all she’d experienced. She listened with rapt attention to Nonie. She was fascinated that both Nonie and Sam’s mother had the same ability. Nonie had always been open with Jane about the gifts that the women in their family possessed. The mothers in their family had passed this gift to their daughters from generation to generation. However, when Jane was killed, Nonie blamed their unique ability. She swore that Sam would remain oblivious to that world. She had hoped it would protect her and save her from the same fate.

Nonie also admitted that she was the seagull from her dreams with Malcolm. She wanted Sam to be with Malcolm willingly. She didn’t want her manipulated into it by some archaic tradition like she felt her daughter had been. They cried and even laughed through some tears until the orange glow of sunrise bathed the cozy kitchen. By the time morning arrived, they were mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. They hugged for what seemed like an eternity. It was one that wrapped her in pure love.

“Are you coming up, dear? I’m so exhausted from everything I feel like I could sleep for a week.” Nonie sniffled as she released Sam reluctantly.

Sam smiled and shook her head slowly. “No. I think I’ll go see how Malcolm is feeling.”

Nonie nodded. “Yes, of course, dear.” She dabbed her eyes with a tissue and started up the stairway. She stopped abruptly and turned back to Sam with a stern listen-here-missy look on her face. “Now, I know you and Malcolm are mated as far as the Amoveo are concerned…but…you are human as well. And you have a human grandmother who would really like to see you married—like a human. You know, wedding, flowers, cake…I can’t exactly tell Millie that you are mated. Really, what will people think?” She had a twinkle in her eyes, her arms folded, and her heels dug in literally and figuratively.

Sam laughed and scooped Nonie up in another hug. “You are too much. With everything that’s happened, this is what you’re concerned about?” Sam laughed. “Yes, Nonie. We’re getting married.”

Nonie squeezed her back with love and a little relief as well. “Good. I was just checking. Night, dear.” Nonie released Sam and made her way up the steps.

“Good night, Nonie. Sleep well.” Sam watched Nonie go up the stairs.

Malcolm’s sexy voice soothingly wafted into her mind. I’ll only sleep well if I have you next to me.

In the next instant, she felt his warm strong body pressing up behind her. His arms wrapped possessively around her waist, and those sensual lips grazed her earlobe. He whispered softly to her. “I thought you’d like to stay here tonight. So you could be close to your grandmother.”

Sam smiled as she melted against him. She tilted her head, exposing her neck, giving him access to her sensitive skin. “I think for her sake we should take this back to your house.”

“You mean our house,” he said softly against her shoulder.

“Oh yeah.” She sighed. Sam turned, captured his mouth with hers, and wrapped her arms around his neck. She felt the bizarre momentary displacement that came with the odd form of travel he seemed to like so much. It reminded her of that sense of falling that happens sometimes just before going to sleep, where your whole body startles or jumps.

In seconds, they materialized in Malcolm’s bedroom.

“Another perk of being a mated Amoveo,” she murmured against his lips.

“Quick healers.” He smiled and placed a soft kiss on the corner of her eye where her bruise had all but faded.

They were wrapped up in each other’s arms, lips and tongues dancing, and their hands exploring each other with wild abandon. With a wave of his hand and a seductively wicked smile, he divested them both of their clothing.

Sam shrieked at their sudden nakedness and gave him a playful smack on the arm. “Hey, that was my favorite pair of jeans to wear.” She giggled.

With a devilish grin, he scooped her up and tossed her on the bed. Malcolm watched her laugh as her hair flowed freely over her shoulders. He hated even that brief moment apart from her and immediately covered her body with his.

“You’re my favorite thing to wear,” he growled.

Malcolm settled himself between her thighs and slipped inside of her.

Moaning softly, she moved against him. He loved the feel of his body moving in unison with hers. She ran her delicate hands up his arms, and his muscles rippled in response to her silken touch.

He stayed above her, joining his body with hers. He memorized every beautiful detail of her face. He loved that her eyes had shifted blue, revealing her desire for him. He leaned down and kissed the tip of her nose. His fingers tangled in the long flaxen strands, and he reveled in how impossibly soft it felt in his hands. Looking into her eyes, he knew that he was lost to her for all time. Memories of the danger she’d been in flooded back to his mind. A dark cloud passed over his face, and his body tensed.

“I don’t know what I would’ve done if I’d lost you,” Malcolm said with a hoarse whisper. “I promise, Samantha, I won’t ever let anyone hurt you again. I love you, Samantha, mia piccola lupa.” He murmured softly against her lips.

Sam savored the tender words with the equally gentle touch. She looked into his large Amoveo eyes and sensed how much he loved her. She knew that he loved her completely, for all that she was, or even what she wasn’t. Her heart ached, and joyful tears stung her eyes. She blinked them back and smiled. He kissed away a single salty drop as it rolled down her cheek. That night, he showed her over and over again how much he loved her.

They cried out in unison as the pleasure crested and took them both over the edge. Samantha reached out with her mind in the most intimate form of communication as they joined their bodies and souls.

I love you, Malcolm.

She was his, his Samantha, his mate, forever.