The Immortal Who Loved Me(Argeneau, book 21)(16) by Lynsay Sands
A choked sound came from Basileios when she dared to pause briefly, and Sherry quickly added, “Of course, he doesn’t wear them while working. He just wears them into work and changes before starting his shift. I would never let one of my employees wear a shirt like that on the floor. Heck, normally I wouldn’t even ever say something like that. It’s just been such a crazy day and I really think maybe my brain has been taxed beyond its limit by everything that’s happened, and jeez I hope it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with me that I said I like the cock, and not that I love it like the T-shirt says. I didn’t mean—”
Sherry stopped her babbling abruptly when Basileios slapped his hand over her mouth. He didn’t do it violently, but his hand was suddenly covering her mouth, preventing her from speaking, and really, she was grateful to the bottom of her heart that he did. Her words were still echoing in her own ears and making her cringe, and honestly, she had no idea why she’d said any of it. Maybe she was being controlled, she thought hopefully.
“I am very glad that you like . . . men,” Basil said carefully, “rather than females. Thank you for sharing that with me. However, the fact that Stephanie cannot read or control you does not necessarily mean you are a possible life mate for her. Some mortals are simply harder to read than others, either because of some physical ailment, or madness, or because—”
Sherry’s eyes had widened as he spoke, but now she pushed his hand away. “You think I’m crazy?”
“What?” he asked with surprise. “No, of course not.”
“Then I’m sick?” she asked with a frown.
“No,” he assured her, patting her arm. “No, I am sure you are fine. I suspect you have unwittingly spent a great deal of time in the company of an immortal and have gained some natural skills in blocking our efforts to read your thoughts.”
“Seriously?” she asked with surprise.
“Yes, seriously,” he assured her, and then added, “Besides, Stephanie is young yet and she is used to being able to read everyone. She may have given reading you a cursory try and stopped when she encountered the first bit of blocking.”
Sherry nodded absently, but wasn’t really paying attention. She was now running through a list in her head of everyone she had ever known, trying to sort out who might have been an immortal. But she set aside that effort for later when Basil announced, “Lucian can read you.”
Those words were enough to alarm her and make her try to remember what she’d been thinking while in Lucian’s presence.
“And my being only a couple years younger than him, I should be able to as well,” Basil continued, distracting her from that worry as well, and then he acknowledged, “But I cannot.”
Sherry let her breath out on a slow sigh, unsure whether she should be happy about that.
“And that is usually enough to make it pretty certain we are life mates,” he continued. “However, Stephanie’s not being able to read or control you either does make that a little less conclusive . . . at least in my mind. Fortunately, there are other symptoms to help figure out if you are my life mate.”
“Like what?” she asked curiously, thinking the man definitely talked like a lawyer.
“Well, after a while, immortals grow tired of food and other pleasures and refrain from them except on special occasions and family gatherings,” he explained. “The arrival of a life mate can reawaken those hungers.”
Sherry nodded. Stephanie had already told her that. Tilting her head, she asked, “And are you hungry?”
Basil grimaced. “Not yet, but I have not really encountered food with you either . . . unless you count dog food, which I do not.”
“No, I don’t think dog food counts,” Sherry agreed with amusement, and then glanced down as she felt a nudge at her leg. Two of the dogs were done eating and had come to investigate. They were sniffing her lower legs with interest. Her gaze slid to the other two dogs as they both finished and came to join their friends. “It looks like they’re done. Why don’t we let them out and then go back to the house and see if food gets your interest?”
Basil nodded, his shoulders relaxing, and it was only then she realized he’d been a bit tense. She wondered about that because the feel she was getting off of him was a completely calm, mellow vibe. In fact, it was that vibe that had helped her relax so swiftly with him. Now it seemed he wasn’t as relaxed about this situation as she’d thought. According to Stephanie, finding a life mate was epic, so if this was his excitement, the guy was a walking tranquilizer . . . She liked it, Sherry thought as she followed him to the door, the dogs on her heels. She could do with a little tranquility in her life.
They were walking back up the hall when the first dog nudged her right hand, scooping his nose under it in invitation. Sherry gave him, or her, a quick pet as she walked, and then did the same to the dog on her left when that one nudged her as well. She supposed that meant she’d been accepted by the pack, which was a good thing. She didn’t want to be nervous around these beautiful animals. Not that she planned to stay long, but walking out to a car when it was time to leave would be nerve-wracking if the dogs hadn’t decided to like her.
The minute Basil opened the door, the dogs dropped back behind Sherry to let her exit first. They then followed, but stayed close until Basil said, “Go ahead. Guard.”
All four dogs took off at once, headed around the house toward the front of it.
“Do they all guard the front yard only?” Sherry asked curiously as he closed the door to the outbuilding and ushered her away.
“No. They are probably heading up to the gate to greet Francis and Russell before they start their rounds,” Basil explained, taking her arm and turning her toward the house. “Now let’s go see if I have a sudden interest in food.”
“What is that god-awful smell?” Basil had just opened the back door of the house, and the most horrendous smell he’d encountered in a long time slapped him in the face as he did.
“What? I don’t . . . Oh,” Sherry said as the scent apparently reached her. She wrinkled her nose and said, “Something’s burning.”
“Yes,” Basil agreed, hurrying for the kitchen, where the odor seemed to be coming from. He rushed into the room, surprised to find it empty, and then paused, and peered around trying to find the source of the smell. The scent so drenched the air it was hard to tell what was causing it. He’d expected to find the room on fire.
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