Home > Roman (Wolves of Winter's Edge #2)(15)

Roman (Wolves of Winter's Edge #2)(15)
Author: T.S. Joyce

Roman pulled an old crate from the wall and sat on it. Despite his breath fogging the air as he slid the picnic basket in front of him, he wasn’t cold anymore. He pulled out the picture of Dad and wiped a healthy layer of frost from it before he lifted his beer to the ghost watching him and said, “Looking good Dad. You look happy in this one.” Asshole.

The next one he hadn’t seen before, and it made him draw up and set Dad’s picture down gently on the floor beside the basket. It was one of Gentry leaning on the bar top in Winter’s Edge talking to Tim. Gentry was maybe seventeen, smiling, the background darker because the walls were made of those stained logs, but there was a light right over Gentry’s head, highlighting his dirty blond hair. He’d worn it longer back then.

The next picture was of Asher. He’d always been the tallest of the three of them, but this one made him look like a giant. He was in his baseball uniform, probably ten years old, high-fiving Dad as he stepped on home plate. He was lanky as hell, and the helmet looked too big, but he was grinning huge and looking right at the camera. He’d loved baseball until he couldn’t control his wolf and Dad pulled him from the team.

“Roman?” Gentry called.

Roman cleared the emotion from his throat and yelled, “In here.”

“I swear to God if you’re jacking off in the freezer I’m going to kill you. That’s a health code”—Gentry opened the door, and his eyes went right to the picture in Roman’s hand—“violation.”

“Apparently Dad had these hanging in the bar,” Roman explained, lifting up the one of Gentry. Nope, he wasn’t going to look at Ghost Dad right now because that geezer was probably looking at Gentry all lovingly like he was his favorite person on earth. Prodigal son and all.

“Wooow,” Gentry drawled.

Asher appeared in the doorway and startled Roman. “God, Asher, creepy much? It’s a bar, and you aren’t hunting. Make a little noise, for fuck’s sake.”

Asher was smiling as though he’d scared him on purpose. Clearly everyone was feeling recovered from the witchcraft.

“What are you doing here?” Roman asked.

“Blaire and Mila are apparently having a girls’ night,” Gentry explained, pulling up a crate. “Me and Asher were making Mila sick, but Blaire makes her feel better. Some alpha order technicality or something. She’s supposed to stay away from Strikers, but Blaire isn’t a Striker. Yet.”

“The pawn shop is probably running a special on rings for the holidays,” Roman offered, because he was romantic and all.

“Blaire and Mila are painting their toes together,” Asher said with a disgusted look on his face as he leaned against the farthest wall with his arms crossed.

Roman snorted and tossed his oldest brother the baseball picture. “Look, Asherhole, Dad looks like he loves you in this picture.”

“I remember this day,” Asher said low, wiping his hand across the frame. His palm came back filthy, but there was the ghost of a smile on his lips. “I hit a homerun. Since you and Gentry made yourselves sick on beef jerky at the game, I couldn’t go to the pizza party with the team after.”

Roman high-fived Gentry and said, “Job well done.”

Asher flipped them off with an empty smile on his face.

Gentry reached into the basket and pulled out the next picture. It was one of Roman in a yellow hard hat and a white T-shirt he was sweating through. He was up on a stack of logs. “This must’ve been the summer I worked on Nelda’s crew. Geez, who took this picture?”

“Probably Nelda,” Gentry answered. “She always went around with that old 35-millimeter camera, remember? And she would always bully us for group photos after every pack meeting. I never saw any of the pictures, but I remember her always clicking away on that thing.”

Roman narrowed his eyes on the depths of the basket. “Well, looks like this is your chance to see some of Nelda’s artwork.” He pulled out a stack of pictures taken private-investigator style of Dad and Odine.

He flipped through them one at a time and flicked them onto the floor, where Asher squatted and picked up a few of them. “What the fuck?”

Some were of him and Odine having dinner at a place Roman didn’t recognize. It wasn’t in Rangeley. Some were of them sitting on Odine’s front porch. She was smoking something, and he was laughing in most of them. One was of their backs to the camera, Dad’s arm slung around Odine’s shoulders as he kissed her temple. There were some branches in the way that said Nelda had been hiding in the woods. Some didn’t have Dad in them at all, but were of symbols carved into the trees around Odine’s cabin. And some were just of Odine…looking over her shoulder outside of the grocery store, fixing her make-up in her truck, laughing as she talked on the phone. The last one was of Dad and Odine sitting on the front porch of ten-ten, huddled under a blanket on the swing. They were both looking at each other, smiling the same way Gentry and Blaire smiled. The same way Mila made Roman smile.

Roman pulled out a stack of letters bound in twine. He opened the first addressed to Mila.

Run all you want. It only makes me want you more.


The next one said,

Someday I’ll make you scream for me. Your voice will sound so sexy, all hoarse and scared. Do you keep my letters, Mila? Do they make you think of me when you see them, when you touch them? Do they make you want to touch yourself? I like something physical of mine in your den. Keep them safe until I’m the one inside your den.

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