Happy Wednesday! We continue with our story about Jock, the werewolf, and Amanda, the heiress, who found themselves getting married sight unseen. I'll be posting it chapter by chapter every Wednesday until I eighter get it all posted or until I get it self-published. I'll be offering it free once it's done, so don't worry, I'm not teasing you with a freebee just to hoook you into buying the rest of it later.
If you missed the beginning, you can read the first half of the first chapter here and the second half of it here. Today's post is the entirety of chapter two, and I'll be doing full chapters from this point forward. Enjiy!
Amanda was in love with her husband. Well, sort of. She had technically known the man for less time than they had been married, but still. If she had met him before he lifted her veil at their wedding, she would have fallen in love with him. Not just because he agree to marry her to save her inheritance sight unseen, either. Jock was genuine grade A prime beefcake. A very charming cowboy beefcake. Who came riding to her rescue.
Oh, no, she thought. There she went with the Gothic romance stuff again. She shrugged it off, figuring she was entitled to her hero worship for one night at least. Besides, he really was a hunky cowboy and he had a terrific sense of humor, to boot.
“Oh, my god!” Amelia squealed as she took Jock’s vacated chair at the head table. Her uncle had dragged him off to “meet his new family” almost as soon as they’d arrived at the combination wedding reception-Thanksgiving dinner, which translated into grilling him about his intentions toward her. Uncle Charles was a tad too late, in her opinion, since he’d been the one to marry them only an hour ago.
“Yeah,” Amanda agreed as she turned to her cousin. “So, at what point were you going to tell me that your cousin was a total babe?”
“Says you, now that you married the man!” Amelia shot back.
“Yeah,” she said again and then sighed at the sight of her new husband’s very nice backside. “I have to admit that I came out of that on top. Nothing against Pablo or anything. He would have made a great fake husband but the idea of trying to sleep with a gay man was not all that appealing, if you know what I mean.”
“And the idea of sleeping with Jock?” Amelia asked, her eyes dancing with wicked delight.
“Girl, you have eyes! I know he’s your cousin and all, but surely you realize that any female who bats for our team would let that man eat crackers in her bed!” They both split into peals of giggles.
“Seriously, though,” Amelia said. “Jock really is a great guy. I had a total crush on him when I was a kid. He’s just so very nice!”
“And hot,” Amanda agreed, her gaze drawn back to him as if by magnetism.
“And he’s a real, live cowboy,” Amelia added.
“He told me he grew up on a ranch on the way over here. I didn’t realize he still worked on one,” Amanda said, wondering how that was going to work. Winnemucca was something of a small town but her family wasn’t in agriculture. And with her inheriting the casino upon their wedding, she couldn’t follow him back to wherever he came from. “Where does he live, anyway?”
“Oh, my god!” Amelia said again. “I still can’t believe my cousin married my other cousin sight unseen! Ok, ok,” she said when Amanda shot her a dirty look. “Let me fill you in on your new stud muffin. His full name is Jacques Antione Hancock. His dad was a science buff and named him after Jacques Cousteau, but everyone just calls him Jock. His mom’s name is Natalie and she still lives in Talbot’s Peak, Montana. He lives and works on the family ranch just outside of town, so he still sees her a lot. His dad, Tom, and my dad were brothers and they both died in the same accident that killed my our grandfather hand his brother. I met him when I was eight and he was eleven at our fathers’ funeral and spent practically my whole early life half in love with him.”
Amanda nodded her head, remembering him now from Amelia’s girlhood ramblings. Amelia never had much to do with her father’s family before his death. The family patriarch, Damien Hancock, had made a point of being very unfriendly to her at the funeral and Jock had stuck up for her. His mother, a prominent business woman in town, had invited her to come visit every summer after that and Jock had made a point of being her personal guide whenever she was in town.
“Yeah, I remember him now,” Amanda said. “I always thought your crush on him was because he was so nice to you. Now I see there was maybe a little more to it than that.”
“You could say that,” Amelia agreed with a smirk. “I did eventually outgrow my crush on him, though, and I’m absolutely thrilled that you ended up marrying him. I bet you find yourself wanting to make this a real marriage in every sense!”
Amanda couldn’t disagree. He was a dream come true for a small town girl who had dated and discarded all the available local men. He was perfect. She just hoped he wasn’t fixed on this being a temporary arrangement. And she hoped he didn’t mind moving down here to be with her. Dang, she thought sullenly. What started out as a quick-fix to getting around her grandfather’s draconian changes to her father’s will would end up being this complicated?
If only Pablo hadn’t backed out. But no, she realized. She might not be wrestling with the unfortunate problem of falling in love at first sight with her “temporary” husband, but she much preferred this to a true sham marriage. The way she saw it, her and Jock had about as much going for them as any normal couple. She only hoped he saw it that way, too. Now all she had to do was figure out how a girl went about asking her brand new husband if he would maybe like to make their marriage real. That wasn’t exactly covered in any of Miss Manners’ etiquette columns!
“You know what?” she said to Amelia, who was still babbling on about what a great guy Jock was. “I think I’m going to go over there and rescue my husband from Uncle Charles.” She got up and started working her way around the table. The going was slow, due mostly to family members who wanted to wish her well and get in a little gossip about her new husband. Amanda was getting the feeling that most of her family was cautiously optimistic about how things had worked out, especially the male portion of her family.
Jock saw his new wife get up and start walking over toward him somewhat unsteadily. This shindig may have been one part Thanksgiving dinner and one part wedding reception, but that punch had been spiked with something considerably stronger than champagne. He’d had more than a little of it himself, but of course, werewolves don’t get drunk. A high metabolism sucked that way. He could eat just about anything in just about any quantity, too—except for chocolate. No booze no bon-bons. He suspected that was the real reason werewolves had such contentious home lives.
His train of thought was jerked sharply to another track when he was three guys who didn’t smell right converge on Amanda. He couldn’t quite identify what smelled off about them but it was something. He turned his back on “Uncle Charles”, as the man had identified himself, and began pushing through the crowd towards her. Just as he got close, something sharp jabbed him in the ribs.
“Now don’t go making a scene, pretty boy,” the voice said. Whoever it was smelled exactly like the three who were now hustling Amanda out of the room. “It’s just a little wedding tradition. You know, where we steal the bride?”
Steal the bride, may ass, Jock thought. If it was so harmless, why was there a knife shoved against his ribs? Amanda wasn’t struggling but maybe that was because she knew those who were abducting her. She was engaging in an angry but low pitched conversation with one of the guys. He couldn’t make out much more than the sound of hissing—a sure sign that what she was chewing the contrite looking ma out but she was also trying not to look angry.
He didn’t like this at all. His instincts were telling him that his new wife was in more danger than she realized. If she trusted one or more of them, and it looked like she did, then she was probably oblivious to that danger. Normally, that little pig sticker being pushed into his side would not have stopped Jock. It wasn’t silver plated or his side would already be itching even through his dress shirt, so it couldn’t hurt him enough to stop him. It could hurt pretty much everyone else in the gymnasium the reception was being held in, though.
Besides, he was by himself. A lone wolf never trumped the odds by charging right in. He had to be clever. They obviously didn’t know he was a supernatural creature at all and they really couldn’t know he was a werewolf or they would have taken him out right away rather than trying to detain him with a plain steel knife and one guy. They may be supernaturals of some sort themselves—his nose told him that much, even if he couldn’t identify what type—but they were dumb ones. They wouldn’t be guarding their tracks against someone who could follow their scent trail. He was better off playing along so that they’d leave this place, which was chock full of vanilla humans, and go someplace he could let his wolf loose.
He watched as Amanda was pulled all the way out the door. The guy who had been holding the knife to his ribs melted away into the crowd, not that it helped him any—Jock had his scent now and that was more important to a werewolf than facial recognition. Uncle Charles sidled up next to him, acting a bit jumpy.
“That’s not good, not good at all,” the little priest muttered.
“Why’s that?” Jock asked.
“The marriage has to be consummated tonight. You can’t do that if they keep her ‘til after midnight,” Uncle Charles muttered.
“Oh, I wouldn’t worry about it,” Jock said with an easy smile that didn’t reach his demand hard eyes. “Do you know who those yokels were?”
“Oh, yes,” Uncle Charles said with a sharp angry nodding of his jowly head. “One was that friend of hers, Pablo. The one that stood her up today, who was supposed to marry her. The other two and that one that’s sneaking off now are hired thugs Amanda’s grandfather sent to make sure his will was done.”
“Perfect,” Jock said with an evil grin. It was perfect, too. That meant he could do whatever he wanted to them for stealing what was his.