Evan walked from the kitchen in his parent’s large home in his sweatpants and a raggedy t-shirt to look up the stairs. His sister was hiding out. His brother was working at the clinic. His other siblings were just doing their thing with life, he supposed. His mama was both the Alpha to pack Weylyn with her mate, Devon and took helped with new parents in the pack and with the shaman. It had only been a few weeks past that all manner of hell had gone down for their pack. A good thing was that he and his brother and sister had come back to their mama. Evalyn LaCroix had been a slave to a vampire coven and during her time there, she had been treated as a slave. She had told them that the one good thing to come of it were her children and that she would never see them as anything but good. She had been cast away to the other major world beyond the portals, where she had become Eva Weylyn. She had lived an entire life without them and they had lived their lives without her. So it was odd to be in her house right now. The bad thing was, she had lost her unborn. Evan couldn’t help but feel it had been three for three. He hated that. He wished there could be something to do for it. It had shocked him to see how quickly Eva … his mother … had regained her way and just kept going.

They had cousins that had been brought back across from the other world to this – cousins that had been orphaned in the last big war. They were all upstairs and needed to be checked on now and again. Maybe he could help? He heard footsteps and quiet humming. He sighed and walked toward the staircase. Was he really that in need of someone to talk with that he’d volunteer to help with kids? Yes.

He was trying to figure out what to say. That’s when he caught a familiar scent – an unexpected one. He had kept his distance for this last month, especially around Russell. It seemed his brother was already into something with Raven and Starr, and casual though it might appear, lycan didn’t take well to outsiders spoiling their fun. But Starfire and Russell were both gone right now.

Bare feet moved quietly to the nursery, so Evan could look in on Raven and his little cousins. There was a child of maybe 10 in one bed and then the other bed was used by the little twins. One was there, now. The other was with Raven.

Seated in the rocking chair, Raven held one of the twins and rocked slowly. She sang softly to her in Romanian and smoothed her hand through her lovely red hair. Leaning down she breathed scent of freshly bathed toddler. She smiled and was so lost in the moment that she didn’t even realize she was being watched yet. The children had had quite a set back. The attack on their home and the killing of their mother and attack on their big sister had left them startled and a bit fragile. Unlike Terry, they were just beginning to do things for themselves when it had happened and so now they had slowed down. This three year old was back on the bottle and had diapers for just in case of an accident.

After she finished feeding this one, she carried the girl back to bed and tucked her in. The other was still asleep. She made sure he was truly out when she realized she wasn’t alone.

“Don’t wake them, they make horrible noise when you do and it makes my ears hurt.”

~ I won’t even use my voice, then. How’s that? ~ he asked her, “Or I could whisper,” he tried both, letting her choose. He had a deep voice and didn’t want that to be a reason for a baby startle.

She glanced back at the door and walked to it, “What do you want Evan? Your folks aren’t here, they asked if I could come by and keep an eye out for Aaron, Mical, these little ones and Nikita and Becca. Had I known you’d be here I would’ve told them you could handle it.” She walked over to the dresser. “Let me get my things and leave you to it.”

“Wait, why are you so like, made at me? I’ve not gotten a moment alone to speak to you. I wanted to do that.” He walked further into the room and looked over the two who were sleeping. One was slowly lifting himself up and whining. Evan’s voice had frightened him.

“He’s about to throw a fit. Good job,” Raven whispered. To her surprise, before she could handle this, Evan walked over to pick the baby up. He cuddled the boy in the crook of the arm and looked around for a bottle. When the little one hiccupped a bit of a cry, Evan quickly rumbled his chest while he got the next bottle. “Calm down little-bit, I’m getting you a drink.”

Raven had to laugh softly at Evan’s antics. Handing him a bottle, she motioned for the big rocker she had been using, “So I’m here, and you’re here. Talk.”

“I was beginning to wonder if what happened the night we met was an act,” he got the bottle into the voracious little mouth and watched the toddler latch on and begin to drink. He smiled at that. At least they were still hungry, even after what all had happened. He was sure they’d thrive again. His eyes went back to Raven. He took a deep breath while he rocked.

“Why are you wondering?” she asked as quietly as she could.

“Because if it was an act, it was a damn good one. And I guess I need to focus on moving on. But if it wasn’t an act, I’d still like to explore… us… if possible.”

Raven rolled her eyes at him, “I don’t put on acts like that.. I’m just me.”

“Well, I’m sorry, but I know a lot of women who do, ya know, do things like that…”

“…and I don’t know what this.. us is.. or if it really is a us thing.”

“That’s my point. But I’ve not gotten within 2 feet of you since before one of your men come along and take you away.”

“Evan… what… do.. you… want..from me?” She was getting frustrated with all the men in her life right now. Raven wasn’t worried about him pulling anything considering where they were and who they were with. So she needed to know.

“A date. Alone. Just you and me. So we can talk uninterrupted. You don’t even have to call it a date if that makes you feel weird.” He looked down and realized the little boy was dozing off. He tried to take the bottle but the kid immediately whined and began suckling again. “You little shit,” he smiled, his dimples showing.

Raven chewed her bottom lip in thought. “I don’t know.” While she was curious, she wouldn’t do anything that would hurt Starrfire or Russell.

“Well, if that’s not allowed, then what?” he motioned with his head out the door and then looked back at her. “How can we know for sure we would want to be around each other if we’re always surrounded by other people?”

“Well, they come with me; it’s a package deal Evan.” She wanted that made it clear before he tried to go further with her. The first thing he needed to understand was that she was very loyal to those she loved or befriended.

“In case you didn’t notice, I don’t care if you have all of us, if that’s what you want. I just…I don’t know if that’s a thing. Not sure I fit in their club, ya know?” Evan tried again to take the bottle and this time succeeded. He put the bottle down and turned the baby onto his chest to rub his shoulders and back, working him toward a good burp and putting him further into that deep sleep the boy needed.

“Their club? Evan, Starrfire and I are in a band and Russell is working under a Tasker.” Raven smiled at him. “You came on really strong the night we met and very forceful – of course they were gonna be defensive.”

“I wasn’t the only one coming on strong,” Evan whispered while patting the baby’s back finally. There was a burp and he chuckled. “But yeah. I expected it. I just don’t want to lose a chance.” He put the little one back down on the bed and covered him. Then he turned to Raven.

“Okay look let’s do this, I’ll be here this evening with Starr and Russell. You can come out with us to Dante’s and hang out with us. You need to relax and stop being so rigid. Let them get a chance to know you and give me a chance to know you, too.” She walked towards the door of the nursery. “Come on, let’s go downstairs and scrounge for good stuff in the kitchen.” She was offering him a chance to get some solo time with her before others bombarded the house.

He nodded.

“Okay. Going out would be good.” He walked with her out the door and stayed quiet as they made their way down the stairs. “There should be some good stuff in the kitchen. Leftover and ready to cook. What kind of food do you like?” He was curious about that. He was kind of limited, himself. He clicked on the lights in the large kitchen and went to the fridge.

The way he was looking at her, she couldn’t help but tease a little. “I love a great Italian of maybe an aged french. If you can catch them.” She laughed at him and teased while winking at him, “I’m not adverse to Asian though.” Raven leaned on the counter and watched him look through things.

“God, you’re the worst.” He couldn’t help the chuckle as he grabbed sour cream and cheese. Then he grabbed several spiced from the rack. He moved to find a bowl and started mixing. “Can you look over there in the far drawer of the pantry? I made some homemade chips last night. Might as well enjoy some junk food.” He put the bowl down then turned to grab the hot sauce out of the fridge. He popped the top with his canine and just poured the stuff into the dip. “I like spice. I guess you could say, I like Cajun…” His eyebrows waggled at her. He figured he should join in on the joke.

“Oh really?” Raven laughed as she dipped a chip and looked at it a moment as if seriously studying it, “Well I’ve never had Cajun before. Maybe our band should play down that way so I can see if I like ‘em too.”

“Ahhh… you need to do it, all of you! And as musicians, learning and mixing some zydeco into a song? That’s some beautiful sounds.” He took one of the chips, dipped it and shoved it in his mouth. “Mmmm…” he closed his eyes and really enjoyed.

With the smile still on her lips Raven reached over to wipe her thumb across his lip and gather the bit of dip that was there. Bringing it back to her lips she sucked it off her finger.

Her markings became faintly visible and she sat back down to take another chip. Only this time she just stared at it.

Evan watched. He had a feeling she was speaking to her dragon. He did his best not to intrude, though, with his abilities, he could’ve easily done so.

~ You okay, Rave? ~ Starrfire asked.

~ I’m hungry that’s all. It’ll fade. ~ She spoke to her dragon as she took a slow breath.

~ Just be careful. I’m stuck here for a while… ~ Starr had already told her that he was fine with her finding out more about Evan. He just hoped she didn’t let her lust lead her too far.

Before she could take the bite, Evan took it from her… with his mouth. He looked in her eyes and enjoyed the surprise. And what she would see, were his markings showing through on his dark skin.

~ Didn’t anybody ever tell you? You snooze you lose. ~

Raven was surprised as the chip was taken from her fingers. Rising from her seat Raven had to take a step back because Evan looked damned good with those markings and smelled even better. She really wished Starrfire was there as her fangs appeared. This was important, for a person with vampire blood only showed their markings and scents to other vampires when they were completely interested in them, especially when they were wanting…

~ Ohhh… baby his scent….mmm.. ~

Where Starrfire was, watching Eva, Devon, and Cody in a garden talking? Halfway across town? He was holding onto the railing of the gazebo in the city rose garden and was very happy that it was built to last. ~ You don’t say… ~ He had brought them out here to meet the big guy that wanted to ask to court their Becca. None of them could travel except by normal means, like a car, so they’d asked him, a dragon, to make a portal for them. He couldn’t just leave them out here. ~ Rave, control. Please? ~

“I can’t Evan..” Her stomach tightened and knotted to let her know she was hungry. It had been a few days since she had fed from Starr.

“Can’t?” Evan was pretending to be confused by what she was saying. He smirked as she moved away from him. He wasn’t even following, but she acted like he was pushing her. “Can’t eat or can’t try me?”

Raven moved around the island to place it between them again. Her eyes sparkled as her vampyric side shined through. “I said talk…you said…talk.. this is not.. talking…it’s more…” She growled showing her temper. If he wanted her he had to deal with the temperament too. Raven knew if she fed she’d be lost to him…

“But this is talking, Raven. I’ve not made a move toward you other than to flirt. I’m keeping control, like you wanted me to do. I can’t help what our bodies and instincts want. But I’m not… tasting… as much as I’d like to. It has to be mutual. Otherwise, I’d be no better than my own sperm donor.” He took another chip, dipped it and held it out to her, over the island.

“You’re right this is on me this time.” Raven admitted as she took a deep breath and even where she was his scent came to her. Reaching she took the chip and placed it in her mouth to chew.

“Look, you may think I don’t have any control, because of what I did the night we met, but have you felt pressured, since? Have your men mentioned that I’ve been aggressive since?”

“No and no.” She shook her head and licked her lips, “Evan you haven’t, and I don’t feel pressured.” He was right, he hadn’t done anything to her or to either of her guys since that night. This really was on her.

“I get that you’re in a committed relationship with Starrfire. I respect that, and I don’t aim to move you away from him. I get that you claim you’re having fun with Russell. He definitely was clear about that. But he acts like you’re more to him. And you act like you’re betraying him whenever you look at me. So that’s on the two of you, not on me. You need to figure that shit out. Because, I’m not making you choose. But I can tell you, from what I feel whenever we’re around each other, that… “ Evan shrugged his shoulders and took a deep breath before backing off further toward the door, “…once we do taste each other? There’s no going back.” He turned to walk out of the room. “See you tonight at Dante’s.” He walked out of the room to leave Raven to think on what he’d said and to gather herself.

Once he was out of the room Raven visibly shook as she eased her nails out of her palms and looked down to watch the small crescents heal. She licked the blood off, and her heart broke for Russell. As Raven started back up stairs to the nursery her heart was heavy and her head was buzzing with thoughts. The most predominant thought was that she was going to hurt Russell and he didn’t deserve it.

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