“So, this is okay with you?” she asks.
“What’s that, sweetie?” Mom asks.
She’s set the basket on the counter. I put the cooler on the floor beside the fridge and then come up behind my woman and exhale intentionally on her claiming mark. She shivers and then tries to shrink away from me. I crowd her so there’s nowhere for her to go.
My mother notices, lips twitching as she fights a grin.
“That he has me here against my will?” Amelia grinds out. “That he abducted me and tells me that no matter why I’m here, no matter what I’ve got waiting at home for me, he only cares about himself?”
I wrap both arms around her middle and haul her back against my front, planting my lips on my mark on her throat just as my mother responds with a wave of her hand.
“It’s not really like that,” my mother says, “You wouldn’t be the first woman to get unexpectedly swept off her feet by an alpha. One of these days I’ll tell you my claiming story.” Her smile gets wider. “You’ll get over the shock and you’ll start to see that you two are a perfect match. And believe me, he cares about you. This fast, yes. He’ll always do what’s best for you. I believe that wholeheartedly. Our Mason is very nurturing. He’ll make a wonderful mate and father.”
Amelia pulls away from me, spinning to glare at me with her eyebrows drawing together. She purses her lips in an expression that I find frankly adorable. She took one look at my mother and assumed Mom was her ticket out of here.
“You’ll get there. This is for you,” Mom says, gesturing to the big wicker basket she brought. “Just my small way of welcoming you. To the Arcana Falls pack and to the Quinn family.”
Mason releases me, then squats and lifts the lid from the cooler he brought in, revealing stacks of glass food containers. He moves them to the brown and black marble counter in his fabulous kitchen, examining the contents with interest and flashing smiles at his mother more than once as he puts things into his fridge.
She’s made some of his favorites, obviously. And his pretty, youthful, smiling mother looks positively delighted about all of this.
Her gaze turns to me, and she gestures toward the big wicker basket again; inviting me to dig into it.
I make no moves toward it, though I’m feeling kind of bad about that. She seems sweet and it’s obvious that I’m a bitchy bitch who is angry with her son, so I can’t be too nice to her by extension of that.
She explains, “Whenever someone mates, their family – or pack if they’ve got no relatives – sends food. I started cooking and putting the basket together quickly as soon as I got news. We know you two will be too busy to cook over the next few days.” She shrugs.
“Busy?” I ask.
She smiles wider, eyebrows popping up. “Very busy.” She jabs her elbow lightly at my side like this is a hilariously funny joke. I take a step back and raise my hands.
What the heck? Is this guy’s mother seriously telling me she cooked food so we could have uninterrupted sex?
I can’t stop myself from glancing into the big basket she brought, seeing assorted treats and pampering items as well as wine, wineglasses, and candles. It’s all very bougie-looking, too.
A card sits on top of the contents with beautiful handwriting scrawled across it that reads,
Your new family members,
Andrew and Skye Quinn
(Mom and Dad)
“The candles and soaps, and skin care products are handmade. By me. My husband made the wine. That’s a special mead, a honey wine made for brand new couples. We give one of those to every new couple. Oh! I’ll have to send one to your sister. Anyway, he likes to dabble with wine and moonshine. We have a little side hustle that’s doing quite well locally. And I’ll embroider your initials on the handkerchiefs another day. We’ll go get some beauty treatments together and I’ll do the embroidery while we get manis and pedis. Give us a chance to get to know one another?”
I can’t stop myself from scoffing, while also feeling something in my belly – disappointment? Why, because I can’t have this lady as my actual mother-in-law? I’m not sure if that’s it, but I already know Skye Quinn is very different from Carla.
Carla would go for pedicures with me, but we wouldn’t likely chitchat during it because she’d have her laptop on her lap and /or her phone to her ear. Yeah, Carla would gift me with a basket filled with classy items, but she’d never make something in it herself. She would, however, brag about the cost while dishing out one of her famous backhanded compliments. Like… “I wanted to treat you to a pampering. And yay, you getting to rid yourself of those scales on your heels is a plus, isn’t it?” Or, “I bought you these lovely designer lavender cashmere socks, but really, it’s for the both of you because Richard says your feet are freezing him out of bed at night. He needs his sleep; he works so hard.” A gift for me with a reminder that there’s a complaint from her son. A pampering day for me while making it sound like I’ve got no care for my appearance. Yeah, he’s got an important job making rich people richer and that’s so much more important than my job at a hospital taking care of sick and injured people.