Rorygapedafterthe fleeing woman before glancing down at his favorite kilt. This was a first. No woman had ever vomited over him before.
He turned his attention to the flustered waitress.“Are you all right, lass?”
“Aye, of course. The lady didn’t mean to knock into me. It’s obvious she isn’t feeling well.” She grimaced. “Nothing contagious, I hope.”
“Me too,” he said instead of divulging his true thoughts. He’d somehow upset the woman, as she’d behaved like a prickly hedgehog from the moment they’d met.
A waiter appeared with a brush and pan.
“Thank you, sir,” he said firmly. “I’ll take over. You’ll be wanting to change before you eat.”
“Aye. Thank you.”
One of his men appeared, his brow creased in concern, but Rory waved him away. “I’ll go to my room and be back in ten minutes.”
His man glanced at his kilt and wrinkled his nose. “No offense, boss, but you honk.”
Rory rolled his eyes. “Thank you, Captain Obvious. Won’t be long.”
“If you’re not back within half an hour, we’ll come looking for you.”
Rory offered a clipped nod and strode from the Great Hall before he snapped something he shouldn’t. His grandmother’s orders, no doubt. Of an older generation, Elizabeth was determined to choose a suitable female wolf for him.
Usually, he nodded and agreed with his grandmother, then did his own thing. Even though Elizabeth pretended she still ruled the pack, he was the alpha. They butted heads often, although no one ever witnessed these discussions.
Rory tried not to resent her interference and determination to adhere to the old ways. His thoughts waltzed back to the feline shifter. She intrigued him, and he wanted to get acquainted. He needed to understand her reasons for pushing him away and was desperate to learn what he’d done to upset her so he could set about fixing his misstep.
But, to appease his grandmother, tonight he’d circulate after dinner and speak to other shifter women. His grandmother would’ve ordered his security detail to keep her informed.
Rory swore as he strode up the curving stairs that led to the next floor and his chamber. His grandmother must cease this interference, but the best way to assert his authority eluded him. How did he show her that although she was family and he loved her, she couldn’t revoke his orders or direct his behavior? He’d decide on his mate, and he didn’t care if it was a wolf, a bear, a feline, or another type of shifter.
Rory’s mate shopping list included decency, a woman he found attractive and genuinely liked, someone who preferred living in an isolated region, and a shifter who wanted children. He wanted a partner to stand at his side.
A friend. A best friend.
So far, his grandmother’s candidates had lacked most or all of these attributes.
He added loyalty to him to his list and made a promise to himself that on his return to Castle Henderson, he’d set his grandmother straight and tell her to butt out.
On the way to his room, his wolf stirred, standing to attention. A growl worked up his throat, sounding loud in the silent hallway. Rory glanced left and right but saw nothing to provoke this behavior.
The words chanted through his brain, his wolf agitated.
Rory slowed and inhaled. He cast out his senses and analyzed the distinct scents. Hints of wolf, bear, and feline tickled his nostrils.
His wolf growled again. Feline. Rory stiffened because, along with the cat scent, came the distinct odor of vomit.
His wolf wanted Anita.
Rory grinned. Now that made sense because the standoffish woman had snared his interest from the instant he’d spotted her. He and his wolf agreed, which made life a lot easier.
He followed the scent until it ended at a doorway halfway down the passage. Rory halted, hesitating. No, he’d leave Anita alone tonight and use the time apart to form a strategy. The glimpse he’d caught of her seconds before she fled had been of pink cheeks. People had stared, and he’d gained the impression she was a private, guarded person.