Eyes that had been full of happiness, as if singing was the only thing that kept her alive, narrowed to slits so thin he could no longer make out their color.
He’d thought she was human. Perhaps not. A human would never be able to tell he was a night creature. This new development had Keller even more intrigued.
“Hey, buddy, Watch out.”
Keller kept his fangs hidden, briefly looked away from the singer, and reminded himself not to kill the man wearing a ridiculously oversized hat and an even larger belt buckle who was currently blocking his path.
Reaching out, Keller gripped the man’s shoulder, careful not to squeeze hard enough to break his bones. “Move.” One word, infused with the power of persuasion.
The man blinked and rushed off the dance floor. Keller refocused his attention back to his… His what? He hesitated to use the word mate, but everything inside him screamed that’s exactly who this woman was.
“Big brother. You made it.”
Keller clenched his jaw and fought the tension in his body that wanted nothing more than to pounce on the singer and make her his. Once he felt even a modicum of control, he turned and offered Sage a genuine smile. His sister. Biological or not did not matter.
“Of course I made it.” He said. “You know I can’t deny you anything.” He pulled on Sage’s braid.
Sage hugged him tight. The singer continued to sing. He squelched the urge to turn and watch.
“This week, anyway. Eventually my hair will probably fall out from all this dying.” Sage shrugged. “That’s what wigs are for. Just ask Dolly Parton.”
“Never mind,” Sage said, laughing.
Sage grabbed his hand and guided him back to the bar.
Keller positioned himself so he could see the stage as well as Sage. Sage looked good. Almost peaceful. Almost. A vampire could never truly find peace. Not until the end came, and Keller wondered if far worse awaited on the other side. That depended on which myth one chose to believe.
“So, what?” His sister was up to something. Her eyes sparkled. He couldn’t remember the last time he had seen her this happy. Maybe never.
“Do you like her?”
Every muscle in his body stiffened. No. He couldn’t be so transparent that Sage had picked up on his fixation. “Do I like who?” His words were stilted. He cleared his throat.
She swept her arm in a circle. “This place? I’m going to buy it,” she said, bouncing on the balls of her feet.
Keller angled his head. Buying meant staying, didn’t it? “You’re going to buy a pub?”
Sage shoved him playfully. “You’re not in Ireland, Keller. This is Nashville and this pub is called a honkytonk.”
“I’ll try to remember that.”
“But, yes,” she said with a smile. “To answer your question, I am going to buy it. Isn’t it great? We’re going to call it Wolfie’s”
The song ended and the singer stepped down from the stage. Keller tracked her movements as every nerve in his body strained, begging him to act.
Keller cracked his neck. The motion did little to ease his headache. “We? Will I approve of this partner?” He pictured someone taking advantage of Sage’s soft heart. Keller held his words, but he would not allow Sage to buy this place until Keller met her partner and agreed with the terms. Sage was family and her safety trumped her happiness.
The singer marched through the crowd. Her heart beat in time with her footsteps as her boots pounded against the wood floor. Something, probably a knife, glinted under the hem of her skirt. Why the weapon? Her gaze never left his. Keller wore a lazy smile and waited.
Sage jabbed him in the ribs with her elbow. “I hope so, bro. She’s awesome.”
He hadn’t considered that Sage’s partner could be a woman. A thought crept in. Keller eased off the bar and straightened his suit jacket. “I look forward to meeting her.”
Deep red hair bounced as the singer planted her feet and crossed her arms over her chest. She smiled at Sage before she turned to him. The smile disappeared as her lips flattened into a thin line.
Keller breathed deeply—something he rarely did—and his heart, along with another vital organ, jerked to attention.
“Perfect timing,” Sage said. “Keller, I’d like you to meet my partner, and best friend, Josephine Hawk. Josie, this is my brother, Keller.”
The redhead licked her lips and swept her gaze from his head to his feet and back up.
Keller could not hear over the roar in his ears. Yes. Josephine Hawk was indeed the one he had
been waiting for.