Triple Burn By Holly Bargo
“She looks tiny, almost like a child,” Bran commented, his voice pitched to a nearly inaudible volume.
“She doesn’t smell like a child,” Crow replied after drawing in a deep breath. He reached a clawed hand toward her. “I want to see her.”
Bran’s golden hand wrapped around his forearm and restrained him. “No. We proceed with caution.”
“She’s not going to harm us. Look at her. Her claws and teeth are blunted. Her body is soft. She cannot harm us.”
“But she could harm herself in her fear of us,” Gil admonished with a glare at their overeager Bridge. “Consider the risk she took in leaving the human embassy.”
“That was courage,” Crow argued.
“Inspired by fear,” Bran said. He rubbed a fingertip over one temple. “I feel her worry, her fright.”
“You feel her already?” Crow gaped.
“Aye. Our bond will be strong, so very strong. But not now, not yet. She will need time and persuasion.”
“Persuasion, not compulsion,” Gil said, biting off every syllable and directing a pointed glare at the berserker.
Crow lifted his lip, baring pointed teeth as he yanked his arm free of Bran’s hold. His brothers-in-arms could feel his need beating at him, the heavy urge to mate and impress upon her his possession of her. It was eating him alive.
“She will doubtlessly desire your strength and vitality, but not yet, Crow. Bide. Control yourself and bide until the time is right.”
“And who will determine that?” he snarled.
Bran’s golden eyes met the red-scaled Urib’s black eyes and held steady beneath the burning ire and impatience. None could withstand Crow’s rage, except Bran and Gil, and none as well as Bran. The golden Urib warrior wasn’t Prime of the Fangrys Triad for nothing. With a low growl of dissent, Crow subsided and lowered his eyes, submitting to his Prime’s will. Bran did not move while Gil removed their mate’s odd footwear. The shoes looked absurdly small in his big hands. After setting the shoes aside, he found a blanket and drew it over her.
“Sleep well, Ursula,” he murmured over her, running the back of his knuckle lightly over her cheek.