My Highland Mate

Page 9

Aye, he’d let her regain her confidence, and tomorrow, he’d unleash his charm.
The following day, Rory awakened with a spring in his step. Last night, he’d returned to dinner and participated in the dancing afterward. Anita hadn’t returned, but her absence pleased him and his wolf since it meant the other males remained at a distance.
Breakfast was a casual affair, but most people were up and heaping their plates with bacon and eggs and pancakes. Planned activities for the day included a scavenger hunt, a dating game quiz, and an afternoon tea mixer. Those who preferred physical exercise headed for the organized strength and cunning activities the Scottish excelled at playing.
The whispers that crept through the dining hall were Rory’s first clues of Anita’s presence. She marched into the room with her head held high and surrounded by a group of feline shifters.
Admiration filled Rory. That took guts since he’d heard the gossip and joking laughter about how the shifter men should stay away since she’d vomit on them. She didn’t look sick this morning, so he figured a combination of fatigue, lack of food, and too much alcohol had caused her illness.
Although his wolf urged him to approach and cut her from her clan, Rory resisted. He’d hang back and attempt to eavesdrop on the conversation to get an idea of what activity she and her friends would choose to fill their morning.
Luckily, Anita’s group picked a table near where he sat, eating his morning porridge. They were far enough away to make Anita comfortable and close enough for him to use his wolfish hearing to listen in to their conversations.
“Anyone met anyone interesting yet?” a woman asked, her accent more pronounced than Anita’s.
“I don’t want to make a hasty decision,” a man said.
“Yeah, I’m with Ramsay. Saber told us to meet other shifters and have fun,” a different woman said. “That’s what I intend to do, no matter what my grandmother expects.”
Anita snorted. “Your grandmothers should’ve learned by now that you’ll do what you want and not follow orders.”
“Slow learners,” the woman replied, and the entire group guffawed.
“What are you doing this morning, Anita?” one man asked.
“The scavenger hunt sounds like fun, and it will be nice to explore the gardens.”
“The prize is enticing,” a blonde woman said. “Who wouldn’t want a holiday on a tropical island?”
Good point. Rory didn’t find it challenging to imagine Anita in a tiny bikini or nothing at all. He grinned down at his almost empty plate. A tropical holiday would be the perfect place to take his mate on their honeymoon.
As soon as he thought about it, he froze. His mate? While it was true, he found her intriguing, he didn’t believe in the special mate destined for him. That was pure fiction, yet he couldn’t refute the attraction and the way the aloof woman was filling his thoughts.
A feline shifter.
Not a problem for him, but his grandmother’s reaction… She’d have kittens.
Early days. Hiding his grin, Rory rose from the breakfast table and sauntered from the dining hall without glancing at Anita. However, he was insanely aware of her, and her scent flooded each of his breaths—an earthy fragrance, resplendent with floral notes. It was his new favorite. He had to force himself to keep moving. He’d head off for a walk to regain his control before he turned up for the scavenger hunt.
Who he ended up with on his team was out of his control, but maybe fate would land on his side?