The Immortal Who Loved Me(Argeneau, book 21)(56) by Lynsay Sands
“That’s Basha Argeneau and Marcus Notte.”
Sherry glanced around at that quiet announcement and raised her eyebrows at Stephanie, who now stood at her elbow. “Who are they?”
“Basha is Lucian and Basil’s niece,” Stephanie explained. “Marcus is her life mate.”
“Okay, but why are they here?” Sherry asked, clarifying her previous question. “Are they hunters like Drina?”
“Oh,” Stephanie said with a grimace. “No . . . well, sort of. At least they are right now,” she added, and told her, “Basha is Leo’s mom.”
“What?” Sherry gasped with amazement, her eyes widening incredulously.
“She said I am Leo’s mother.”
Sherry’s head whipped back at that smooth announcement, alarm racing through her when she found Basha had crossed the room and now stood directly in front of her. Even as she noted that, the man Stephanie had said was Marcus stepped up behind Basha and slid his arm around her waist in a protective manner.
Sherry simply eyed the pair silently, unsure what to say. Should she apologize? Offer her sympathies? Ask the woman to please get her son in hand so she could go back to her life?
“An apology is unnecessary,” Basha assured her quietly. “The sympathies are appreciated, though, and if I could get my son ‘in hand,’ as you put it, I would have done so long ago rather than have to be the one who now has to put him down like the rabid dog he is.”
“Ah,” Sherry murmured, and then frowned. “Lucian is making you handle your son?” That seemed harsh.
“Not as harsh as what could have been done,” Basha said quietly. “They had Leo a couple years ago. I helped him escape. I didn’t know what he’d done and was doing,” she added quietly. “But it doesn’t matter. The fact is, he killed again after that and I’m responsible for those lost lives. The council could have held me responsible for them and punished me. Instead, they expect me to clean up my mess . . . and I intend to do that.”
“We intend to do that,” Marcus said in a solemn rumble, pulling the woman back against him.
“Yes,” she sighed, and tilted her head back to offer the man a grateful smile.
“If you’re done introducing yourselves,” Lucian said dryly into the brief silence.
Basha smiled faintly at Sherry’s alarmed expression. “His bark is worse than his bite.”
“No, it’s not,” Marcus said dryly, shifting his arm around Basha to turn her back toward the couch.
Sherry and Stephanie followed silently, both moving toward Basil when he shifted to make room for them on the couch he occupied alone.
“Good morning, love,” he whispered, leaning toward her to kiss her briefly as Sherry settled next to him.
“You should have woken me,” she murmured, covering his hand where it rested on his leg and squeezing gently.
“You looked so peaceful sleeping, I didn’t have the heart,” Basil said solemnly, and then smiled wryly and added, “I was also afraid that if I did, we’d never get out of the room.”
Sherry smiled faintly, silently acknowledging that he was probably right.
“I’ve brought Basha and Marcus up to speed on the situation since Leo showed up at your store,” Lucian announced, garnering everyone’s attention.
Her gaze immediately moved to Basha at this news, and she wondered how the woman must feel, knowing that her son was such a monster. All of this had to be difficult for her.
“Harper made copies of your list, Sherry,” Drina said now, gesturing to several stacks of paper on the coffee table. “Do you want coffee and something to eat before we go through them?”
Sherry hesitated and then stood up. “It’s okay. You go ahead, I’ll just grab myself a coffee while you go through the names. I already know them.”
Drina nodded and started to hand out the stacks of paper, saying, “There are bagels in the cupboard and cream cheese in the fridge, or there’s bread, peanut butter, honey, and jam if you’d rather have toast.”
“Thanks,” Sherry murmured as she eased between Basil’s knees and the coffee table and headed for the kitchen. She went straight to the coffeepot first. It was nearly empty. She poured herself the last cup and then put on a fresh pot, considering what to have for breakfast as she did. She’d never been much of a breakfast eater, but had expended a lot of energy last night, so decided to have a bagel.
Sherry ate at the island rather than take it out to eat in front of the others. When she finished, the fresh coffee was done as well, so she grabbed the pot to take with her in case anyone wanted a refresher.
“Anyone up for more coffee?” she asked as she rejoined them at the couches. “I can bring cream and sugar out when I take back the pot.”
Lucian nudged his cup on the table without glancing up from the list of names he was perusing, which Sherry guessed was his version of “Yes, please.” But Basil, Bricker, Basha, and Marcus actually said the words.
“Sherry?” Drina murmured thoughtfully, glancing up to watch her pour coffee into Basil’s cup.
“Yes?” Sherry moved on to Basha and Marcus, refilling their cups.
“I have done a quick once-over and there’s no one here who has been in your life for more than ten or eleven years,” Drina pointed out with a frown.
“No, there isn’t,” Sherry agreed, stopping to fill Bricker’s cup.
“That cannot be right,” Drina informed her. “For you to build up the resistance you have, there has to have been an immortal who was an integral part of your life for a good twenty years at least.”
Sherry raised her eyebrows at this news as she moved on to Lucian’s cup. Shrugging, she said helplessly, “Well, I don’t know what to tell you. The only people who have been in my life for twenty years or more are aunts and uncles and cousins and my mom’s friends.”
She straightened with the nearly empty pot in hand. “I’m quite sure none of them are immortals. But aside from that, none of them have really been integral, if by that you mean they spend a lot of time with me. I only see my family on holidays and birthdays, and that’s the way it’s always been. As for my mom’s friends, the last time I saw any of them was at her funeral three years ago, and I didn’t see them more than once every year or two before that.” She shrugged. “There really is no one who has been in my life on a daily basis for twenty years.”
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