Immortal Matchmakers, Inc. #5 (COLEL-Excerpt Ch. 2)

COLEL – Immortal Matchmakers, INC. #5

CHAPTER TWO

That evening, Colel settled into her eight-bedroom log cabin with three fireplaces, a sauna, hot tub, wine cellar, and movie theater. Okay. Fine. It was a two-story log-mansion, but it had been the only short-term rental available that allowed pets. One thousand of them. And it wasn’t as if money concerned her. As a goddess, she had accumulated considerable wealth over her long existence.

Money was one of the many perks of being a deity, as was having access to the Uchben, like Brutus, who weren’t all warriors. The Uchben also had investment brokers, doctors, accountants, lawyers, professors, and scientists working for them, all acting as the gods’ eyes and ears in the human world. Fact was, fourteen gods couldn’t keep an eye on the entire planet, so they’d decided long ago to partner with the species they were meant to protect. As a reward, the Uchben had free medical care, free education, and very generous retirement plans. No, the benefits weren’t truly free since everyone had to pull their weight and earn their keep, but if a human proved themselves invaluable, they were offered the light of the gods—just like Brutus and his men. They’d live forever. Or until the world blew up. Whichever came first. Either way, it was a very high honor and not taken lightly by the gods.

A loud rhythmic pounding against the living room windows pulled her from her anxious thoughts, which mostly consisted of today’s interaction with the cantankerous but sexy florist.

She went to the panoramic window. It was dark outside now, but the lights from the helicopter approaching the grassy field next door were unmistakable. Brutus had arrived with supplies. “Finally.”

She hadn’t requested the help, but at least Chuck and his crew would be well-fed for several weeks.

One less thing to worry about. Her main concern at the moment was looking in on the local hives to determine how they were doing.

Ah. And do not forget Rys. She needed to see him again. Honestly, she hoped that doing so would provide answers. The answer she hoped for was that she’d been mistaken about him. Solar flare. Hormonal fluctuation. Temporary insanity. This rigid, unfriendly male could not be her forever honey.

Colel went to the front door to greet Brutus, who approached with eight huge men all wearing black fatigues and carrying crates. Brutus, who had his dark hair cropped short, was the tallest and toughest of his team.

Wait. Is that his dog strapped to his chest? The elderly cocker spaniel appeared to be inside one of those baby carriers, its furry little legs sticking out of the holes.

Weird. Also weird was the fact that the dog was named Niccolo, after a retired vampire general. I bet there’s a story behind that one.

“Brutus.” Colel dipped her head in salutation and stepped aside to allow the men to pass.

“Goddess, I see you’ve decided to rough it this trip.” Brutus gently set down his dog, who waddled off to explore. The men, who needed no verbal instructions, began neatly stacking their wooden crates against the wall in the foyer.

“Wow. That’s a lot of honey,” Colel said. “While generous, I do not believe my fierce little friends would consume so much in two days.”

“A storm is approaching,” Brutus said. “We came prepared with supplies of our own. The roads will be impassible for several days, but we can depart using the helicopter once your business is concluded and the storm has passed.”

Oh no. “How bad a storm?”

“Bomb cyclone.”

“What’s that?” she asked.

“I understand it’s the latest human term for ‘big blizzard.’”

“Oh. Why don’t they just call it that?”

He shrugged. “To make it sound scarier, I suppose. Though I am told this storm will feel like winter on steroids. Ice, wind, and three feet of snow.”

“Sounds more like winter ate a bowl of bad clam chowder and is about to gift us with her frozen diarrhea.”

“Thanks for the colorful description,” he said flatly.

“You’re welcome.” She was known for being colorful. After all, what kind of bee would want to hang out with some drab, monochromatic person? “Guess this means I’d better check on the local hives first thing in the morning.”

Brutus gave her a stern, disapproving look with those turquoise eyes—a telltale sign of his immortality.

“What?” she snapped.

“The storm will make it nearly impossible to hike any of the trails.”

She swiped her hand through the air. “I’ll be fine. I mean, really, what’s the worst that can happen? I’m immortal.”

“You might become trapped in an avalanche, and then I will have to come rescue you.”

“So? You’re immortal, too.”

“Yes, but I do not like the cold. It’s…cold.”

“What a wuss,” she mumbled under her breath. “All right. For the record, then, if I’m ever trapped in an avalanche, I give you permission to let me die.”

“I prefer not to. But what is the hurry, anyway? Not as if the world’s crises are going anywhere.”

Time was of the essence in terms of figuring out why the world’s population of bees was disappearing. No bees equaled no food for humans. Still, he had a point. Waiting for the storm to subside would make it easier to hike to the hives she needed to visit.

Plus, it will allow me extra time to check on the angry florist. “I will wait until the skies have cleared to finish my work.”

“Very good. And where would you like my men to sleep?” Brutus asked.

She shrugged. “I’ve got the master. Pick a room.”

“And where would you like me to sleep?”

Did I not just say to pick a room? “Wherever you like.”

He stared for a long moment.

Am I missing something? Some etiquette or protocol? Does he want me to personally show him to a bed? “Why are you staring like that? Have I offended you in some way?”

“No.”

“Then?” she pushed.

He blinked with his trademark give-nothing-away expression. “I will get started on dinner.” He turned and walked away.

Well, that wasn’t awkward. Perhaps after he had a full stomach, she could attempt to ask him what was the matter. At the moment, he seemed about as open as Fort Knox. Sadly, though, whatever the source of his perturbances, she had bigger problems on her petals.

~~~

Early the next morning, Colel lay in her king-size bed, the remnants of a log crackling in the fireplace of her room while the freezing wind whipped against the windows.

Ugh. Morning already? She’d tossed and turned all night, thoughts of Rys whirling in her head, making it impossible to fall asleep. Again, not that she required sleep, but she sure the hell enjoyed it, so not getting any put her in one hell of a thorny mood. Damn him.

She got up, quietly dug out her warmest outfit—a soft yellow turtleneck and white leather pants—from the dresser drawer in the corner and snuck from the room. The hive was still purring away inside her hat, which she’d left in the walk-in closet. If she hurried, she could make it to the flower shop before they realized she was gone. Obviously, she couldn’t talk to him with her bees around.

I just hope he’s an early riser, as his name alludes to. If not, perhaps she’d play stalker and find out where he lived. Not at all weird to show up at his home. After all, she might be his mate.

Once in the foyer, she threw on a white ski cap, her hiking boots with the faux-fur linings, and her yellow parka.

“Where are you going this early?” Brutus stood shirtless in the dark doorway leading to the bedrooms on the first floor.

“I’m, uhh…” Her eyes then caught the shadow of something sticking out from his groin.

Oh. And he’s bottomless, too. With a lovely large stiffy. “Mind putting that away before someone gets their eye poked out?”

He looked down, seemingly unaware of his state of undress and arousal. “My apologies, goddess. I enjoy sleeping commando.” He slid two large hands over his nether region. “And I need to take a leak—the reason I was up and heard you trying to sneak out.”

“I’m not sneaking,” she lied. “I’m just being polite. Didn’t want to wake anyone.”

The darkness covered most of his expression, but she knew he was frowning. “Then where are you so politely going?”

“None of your beeswax.”

“I merely ask so that I may assist you, should you require it.”

“Oh.” She blinked rapidly, feeling a little buffoonish. “In that case, none of your beeswax, but thank you for the offer.”

It was obvious Brutus had more to say on the matter, but thankfully, he let it go. She didn’t want to quarrel with him. Of all the Uchben soldiers, including Gabrán, the chief, Brutus was her favorite.

“Then I will take care of my rock-solid manhood.” He turned, showing off his hard, round ass as he disappeared down the dark hallway, grumbling about…

Me missing out on something? Whatever did he mean? “Get a bathrobe, Mr. Show-Off. You’re not impressing anyone with your salami-branch!” The moment her loud words left her mouth, she realized her mistake. Oh no. My bees probably heard that. She grabbed her car keys from a small side table in the foyer and rushed out the front door. This was something she had to do alone.

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