Alpha Province: Puppet Strings(4)

By: Becca Van


Sage mentally shrugged as she used the tongs to lift the bacon from the grill plate and put them onto the platter to drain on the paper towel. When she’d finished with that task, she hurried to the microwave to get the large bowl of cheese scrambled eggs out and finally took the rest of the pancakes, hash browns, and warming toast from the oven. After placing the food on the massive platter in an artful display, she lifted the heavy dish and turned.

“Let me help you with that.”

Sage gazed at the massive chest in front of her, gulped, sucked in a deep breath, and lifted her eyes up and up and up some more. As soon as she looked into those intense green eyes, she knew she was in trouble. Her traitorous body responded to the sexy masculinity standing right in front of her. She didn’t protest when the heavy serving plate was taken out of her hands, and when he turned away from her, she stood there like a frozen statue as she gazed after him.

“Come and have a seat, Sage,” Elsa called out as she shoved to her feet. “You’ve been cooking for ages and haven’t eaten yet.”

When she went to open her mouth to speak, heat crept into her cheeks when she realized it was already open. She quickly closed it before licking her lips and nodding as she slowly walked toward the dining area. The timber table was extendable and right now was pulled out to its fullest length. There were enough chairs to seat fifty people, but only half of the spaces were filled.

“Here, sit next to me,” Elsa said as she patted the cushion of the chair next to her.

Sage glanced at Preston Louis, one of Elsa’s men, nodding her thanks to him. The last time she’d carried food to the table, Preston had been sitting next to his woman. He’d obviously been ordered to move so Sage could take his seat. Normally she would have protested, but right now, she was relieved to have another woman sitting beside her. She sank into the seat gratefully with a tired sigh, trying to ignore the three handsome newcomers.

“Sage, this is Bladen, Cason, and Daxon Fox. Guys, this is Sage Garland, our new chef.”

“Hi, Sage.” Bladen smiled at her.

“Welcome to Ambrose, Sage.” Cason nodded.

“Pleased to meet you, Sage.” Daxon winked.

“Hi,” Sage replied breathlessly before clearing her throat. She tried to ignore her racing heart, the excited fluttering in her belly, and her damp palms, but it was so out of the ordinary for her, it was difficult. As soon as Elsa had finished the introductions, she’d shifted her gaze down to her empty plate and kept it there. Yet she was highly aware of the three men watching her so avidly. Blade was seated on her right, and Daxon was sitting next to him. Cason was sitting directly opposite her. From the corner of her eye, she watched as the three men began loading their empty plates until they were piled high.

She tensed when Daxon leaned around his brother and closer to her. “What would you like to eat, Sage?”

When she heard a low rumbling sound, she lifted her gaze to his and frowned. “Did you just growl at me?”

“Uh.” Daxon glanced across the table to Cason before meeting her eyes again. “I think that might have been my empty belly you heard.”

Sage’s frown deepened. There was no way in hell someone’s belly grumbled that loudly. Yes, she heard stomachs rumbling quite audibly, but not like the sound she’d just heard. It had reminded her of an angry wild animal. She almost laughed as she wondered if being in the back of beyond made men more animalistic. Her humor quickly faded when she remembered how animalistic and evil a man could be. The excited fluttering in her belly changed to nervous fear, and even though she tried to control it, her heart rate and breathing sped up.

Sweat beaded on her brow, under her arms, between her breasts, and on her back. She closed her eyes, counting as she inhaled and exhaled, trying to control the panic taking hold.

When a large hand landed on her back between her shoulder blades she flinched, shrieked, and lifted her arms to cover her head, whimpering and gasping for breath. She wanted to get to her feet and run, but her legs, body was trembling so hard, she knew they wouldn’t support her.

Sage was in a full-blown panic attack, and if she didn’t get a hold of her anxiety soon, she was going to pass out.

* * * *

As soon as Daxon and his brothers reached the bottom of the steps leading to the veranda, he knew what and who the delicious scent was coming from. With a yowl of anticipation, his inner tiger leapt forward trying to get to his mate, but this time, he’d been ready for his animal.

He glanced at Bladen and Cason as they made similar noises to him, and then all three of them started purring. Daxon cleared his throat, drew in a deep breath as he tried to get his cat on a tighter leash, and hurried up the steps. His brothers were right on his heels.

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