“I will not do this!” Erol had reached his absolute limit with the pesky camel’s insistence that he follow her directions to the letter. Tuxedo’s and dance lessons were bad, but this he just would not do.
“You have to.” Her patience wore thin, he could tell, but he would stand firm on this. He would not go up there and do as she asked.
“Why does her father not bring her to my castle as is the way it should be?”
Her eyes rolled again and she counted to three through deep breaths. “And do you have a castle?”
Hmm, yes that might be a problem. He’d been scouting out area in this Talbot’s Peak to build a new castle, but had yet to find the perfect place. The mountains were good, what with their caves and all, but he much preferred the submerged privacy found beneath the underground ocean.
“No, not a castle as of yet, but I have the perfect grotto picked out. The jewel bespeckled walls will be a fine background for her beauty. Yes, her father shall bring her there and leave her for me.”
A choking sound beside him stole his attention away from the plans he was making for his future bride.
The crazy camel in the car seat next to him was laughing – at him? How dare she! “I do not see anything funny about what I said.”
“Of course you don’t, and let me assure you what you said, while romantic in part, is in no way funny…”
“Then why do you laugh and mop away your tears?”
“Because it’s laugh or cry, Erol.”
Well that made no sense to him. Were all females so confusing? Would his mate be reduced to tears at the slightest of things—gah, he truly hoped not. In fact, the first order of business would be instructing her to not produce those cumbersome bits of emotion. Yes, that would do the trick.
“We may leave now…move this conveyance of yours back to my forge. You will need directions to the grotto in order to give to her father. I’ll assume he knows how to get underground…once there go to the rightist-most point on the beach and wade out until he hits the drop off…”
“Whoa, stop right there, Erol. I’ll not be instructing Greely’s father to chain her up inside your Grotto. That is not how things are done…remember 21st century. You will get your ass out of my car and go up to her door and respectfully, ask her to dinner or coffee or bloody high tea if that’s what you like. Now get!”
Erol protected his bits and pieces from the suddenly kicking camel pushing him from the ridiculously sized transport she drove. “That was a bit rude, don’t you think.”
“Go up to her door and ask her out…do it right or you’ll feel my hooves alongside your head!”
Greely wiped her eyes for like the thousandth time over the last few days. She still couldn’t believe she’d been marked as unacceptable at the pond. She would never live down that humiliation. Her mother had, of course, been the first to call with disappointment in her voice and a suggestion that she move to a different town.
Damn that blacksmith. She’d never done anything to him but admire him from afar.
The knock at the front door was an unwelcome surprise, but even more so was who she found on the stoop. “You’ve got a lot of darn nerve showing up here!”
“Go get me your father, fair one. I would speak to him.”
“Are you kidding me?” Greely pushed at the barbarian’s chest in hopes of moving him away from her door, but he was built like a granite sculpture. It would take more than thirty of her to move him in anyway significant. “I’m an adult. I don’t live with my mommy and daddy.”
“Who then protects you from the unscrupulous defilers out there?”
“You mean men like you…” Greely stopped, mid-sentence, arrested by the look in the blacksmiths eyes. Fear lived there, not annoyance or disgust as she thought she would see.
“I will never harm you, only cherish you.”
Right. Did he really think she could believe him? “Is that why you had me banned from pebble pond? Made me unacceptable by my own kind?”
“No, I merely staked my claim. Like the gifts on your doorstep.”
“Those were from you?” Greely didn’t know what to say. The gifts were both sweet and confusing…much like the man it would seem, but she didn’t know if she could trust him or even if she wanted to. Scratch that…she wanted to, with every stupid part of her libido.
“Yes, did you like them?”
“Excellent. Now go wash the mess from your face and bring along your coat. I will take you to your father’s side for protection and I will talk to him about your future.”
Greely was stunned by the sheer audacity of this man. “I protect myself, Mr. Blacksmith.” Greely slammed the door in his face, happy that she’d had the strength to shut him out, but depressed that she was still a major player in the Doomed Love Club.