The Immortal Who Loved Me(Argeneau, book 21)(15) by Lynsay Sands
“Hello Francis,” Basileios responded. “Where is Justin? We expected to find him here.”
The man shrugged. “I don’t know. He left after passing on Mortimer’s order for me to feed the dogs. I thought he went back to the house, but maybe he went to check on Russell at the gate.”
Basileios nodded slowly, a small frown tugging at his lips, and then stepped forward to take two of the bowls the man had just filled. “You go ahead and get back to the gate. I shall take these in to the dogs. I wanted to introduce Sherry to them anyway.”
Francis hesitated, but when Sherry picked up the other two bowls, he nodded and headed for the door. “Thanks. If they aren’t done eating when you’re ready to leave, just give me a buzz at the gate and I’ll come back and let them out.”
“We will let them out,” Basileios assured him as he led Sherry to a door at the side of the room. “These fellows do not take long to eat, as I recall. They will gobble this up in no time.”
“Yeah, they will,” Francis agreed on a chuckle, and slipped from the room.
“These are trained animals,” Basileios warned Sherry, pausing at the door to turn back to her. “Do not try to pet them or—”
“No touch, no talk, no eye contact,” Sherry interrupted with amusement, and informed him, “I’m a big fan of Dog Whisperer.”
Basileios smiled faintly. “Well, I do not have a clue who that is, but he knows his business if those are his instructions.”
“Oh, yeah, the guy’s a genius with dogs,” Sherry assured him.
“Hmm.” Basileios turned back to the door and shifted one bowl on top of the other to free up a hand to work the doorknob. He then pushed the door open and led her into a large room with four kennels along the end, each with its own doggy door to the outside. “Just set the bowls in front of the doors. I shall open them after we have set them all down.”
Sherry did as instructed, positioning herself close to but sideways to each door as she set down the food so that each animal could smell her. While she didn’t look directly at either of the dogs, she did take quick surreptitious glances to see what they were. She wasn’t terribly surprised to find that they were German shepherds.
Having set down both bowls, Sherry moved to stand beside Basileios, who had finished setting down his own bowls ahead of her. She then watched him push a button beside the light switch. All four doors on the kennels immediately rose as one, loosing the dogs. Sherry half expected them to charge out and rush around her, sniffing like mad at this new human in their midst, but the dogs were definitely well trained. Each animal stepped forward and then sat down in front of their dish before turning to peer at Basileios for permission.
“Go ahead,” he said, and only then did they start to eat.
“Do they stay in here all day?” Sherry asked with a frown as she watched them eat. They were so well behaved it was almost scary. They were like furry soldiers under the watchful eye of their sergeant.
“No. I gather they spend the day in the house or out in the yard with Sam. That, or they follow Mortimer around, but he puts them in here for half an hour before dinnertime. Then they are fed and sent out to patrol the yard. Mortimer claims that the half hour in here beforehand helps them adjust from being spoiled house dogs to knowing it’s time to work.”
“Spoiled house dogs, huh?” Sherry asked with amusement, watching the dogs in question. They didn’t seem spoiled at all.
“Oh yes, Mortimer says Sam is ruining them,” Basileios said with a grin. “Apparently, they listen to her over him now, which annoys him no end.”
Sherry chuckled and continued to watch the dogs eat, but her mind turned to the issue of this life mate business . . . as well as the fact that Basileios hadn’t brought it up yet. It was the big pink elephant in the room and it was beginning to drive her a little crazy. So much so that after several moments had passed, she glanced to Basileios and blurted, “So, are we life mates or what?”
Basileios looked briefly startled and then smiled wryly. “You like the subtle approach, I see.”
“Yeah.” Sherry grimaced. “And here you probably thought I was the type to stomp about a subject like a bull in a china shop.”
“Never,” he assured her with a grin.
“Hmmm.” She peered at him silently, and then raised her eyebrows. “So?”
“So,” Basil murmured, his eyes skating over her before his lips twisted and he admitted, “I do not know.”
That made her frown. “Stephanie said something about our having the same energy signature or something, but I haven’t a clue what she’s talking about. Is there another way to tell?”
“There are symptoms,” he acknowledged.
“Like what?” she asked.
“Like not being able to read or control each other,” Basil offered.
Sherry blinked several times and then frowned. “But Stephanie said she couldn’t read or control me.”
He merely nodded like that was no big deal, but Sherry was considering this with mounting alarm.
“Jeez. That doesn’t mean I’m her life mate, does it? She doesn’t think that, does she? ’Cause if so, she’s going to be sorely disappointed. I am so not into girls. I mean, sure I’ve kissed one when drunk, but that’s the limit of my experimentation in that area. I’m not into anything else. I like the cock.”
Sherry realized what she was saying only as those words left her lips and it was far too late to call them back. Even worse, Basileios had definitely not missed them. His eyes had gone as wide as saucers and his lower jaw was nearly on the ground. Closing her eyes, Sherry pressed her hands to her suddenly hot cheeks and groaned, then opened her eyes and began to babble like the idiot she was.
“Sorry. One of the boys who works for me has a T-shirt that says that. Though I think it actually says, ‘I love the cock,’ not ‘I like it.’ And it has an arrow pointing to the side, which I just don’t get because it’s not like there’s one floating in the air beside him . . . well, unless he has like a seven-foot boyfriend standing beside him,” she added with a frown, then shook her head and continued, “Besides he also has a T-shirt claiming he’s the Vagina Fan Club President, so he’s either bicurious or I’m not getting the meaning of the cock T-shirt.”
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