It took three days for Frankie to finish the hellhorse sculpture, but it was a further two days before she was willing to move it; she needed to be sure that the glue was dry. Trick hadn’t been happy about the delay, but he’d surprised her by not voicing his frustration. During that time he and some of the other Phoenix wolves had gradually moved her things to pack territory, including her completed sculptures.
She’d originally planned to sell the house, but Makenna asked if she would be willing to rent it out to a female from the shelter. Frankie agreed and intended to leave much of the furniture for her new tenant, who wouldn’t be moving into the house until the Drake situation had been taken care of.
According to Trey, Morelli had sounded pissed on hearing that Drake had harmed her. So pissed, in fact, that he’d cut the asshole completely loose. Once again, Drake was a lone shifter. Or so Morelli said, anyway. Neither Frankie nor Trick was convinced of that.
When the day finally arrived that the sculpture could be moved, Trick and some of the Phoenix wolves came to help Frankie pack up the last of her things and take her equipment from the studio. That was no doubt why Abigail looked completely perplexed when Marcus escorted her into the garden, where Frankie was supervising Ryan and Tao as they disassembled the hot tub—Trick wanted that for their balcony.
Frankie smiled at her agent. “Hey.”
Abigail glanced at the males taking apart the tub. “You’re moving, Frankie?”
“Yeah. I forgot to mention it on the phone.” More accurately, she’d been a little distracted by Trick’s tongue stabbing into her pussy. “This is Ryan and Tao, by the way.”
The antisocial Ryan did no more than grunt. Tao, not a fan of humans or anyone outside his pack, merely inclined his head.
“Where are you moving to?” Abigail asked her. “Please say New York, because it will mean I don’t need to keep flying over here to see you. And who is that guy who just escorted me out here?”
Frankie led her into the kitchen as she explained. “Marcus is a friend of mine. I’m not moving to New York, sorry. I’m staying in California. I’m actually moving to shifter territory.”
Abigail’s mouth fell open. “Shifter territory?”
“Yes. I found my mate. We’ve claimed each other. A lot of stuff has gone on and, um, well, it’s a long story.”
Abigail settled on a stool. “I have time.” After Frankie told her everything, her agent shook her head. “Wow. Do your grandparents know that the wolf claimed you?”
“Not yet. But they’ll know it’s pretty much inevitable. I haven’t heard or seen anything of them for a while now.”
“And this guy, Trick, is good to you?”
Frankie nodded. “Very. He badly wanted to claim me from the start, just like any shifter would do if they found their mate. But he was so patient with me. Didn’t push. Didn’t try to make me pick a side. I sensed he was getting impatient, but he never showed it.”
“You love him,” Abigail whispered.
Abigail lightly tapped a hand on the table. “Well, I’d like to meet him before you show me your latest sculpture. Is he here?”
“Yep. He’s in the studio.” Frankie walked ahead of her as they made their way into the studio, where he and a few others were moving the last of her equipment. “Trick?”
He turned to her, and his eyes softened. “Hey, baby, what do you need?”
“This is Abigail, my agent.” An agent who was currently looking a little tongue-tied. Frankie could hardly blame her, given that Trick had whipped off his shirt and there was a whole lot of muscle to admire.
Draping his arm around Frankie’s shoulders, Trick gave the human a nod. “Frankie speaks highly of you.”
Shaking off her stupor, Abigail said, “Well, she’s just spoken very highly of you.”
His mouth curved. “Good to know.” He moved aside so he was no longer blocking her view of the sculpture. “Impressive, right?”
Abigail’s brows lifted. “Well.” She crossed to the hellhorse and slowly circled it, taking in every detail. “It’s fantastic, Frankie. Really, I don’t know whether to feel happy for the creature for escaping its chains, or whether I should be worried about what it will do to avenge itself. It makes you wonder if it was chained for a good reason.” She twirled to face Frankie, eyes alight. “You never fail to astonish me. I love it. It will fit in perfectly with the theme of the art show.”
Just like that, Trick decided he liked Abigail a fuck of a lot. The fervor of her praise and admiration was genuine. It was also exactly what Frankie deserved. Her appreciation and relief hummed down their bond, and he knew that her agent’s opinion didn’t just matter to her on a professional level. She considered Abigail her friend, and the human’s judgment meant something to her.
Packing up the sculpture wasn’t a quick or easy process, but they all pitched in so that both the creepy kid and the hellhorse could be transported to New York at the same time.
Later, as Frankie unpacked the last of her things in their room on pack territory, Trick came up behind her and slid his arms around her waist. He dabbed a kiss on her claiming mark, breathing her in. He fucking loved her scent; he wanted it mixed with his own.
“That’s me all moved in,” she told him, closing the drawer that he’d cleared out for her. “Happy now?”
“Ecstatic.” He sucked on her earlobe, splaying his hand possessively on her stomach. “Now you’re exactly where you belong.” Her head tipped back as he licked, kissed, and nipped at her neck, paying particular attention to his claiming mark. He snaked his hand under her shirt and traced the tattoo he knew as well as the back of his hand. “You’re damn distracting.” He tapped her ass and stepped back. “Come on, time for dinner.”
Breathing a little hard, she scowled as she pivoted to face him. “Hey, you can’t get a girl all revved up and then not follow through.”
“So am I.” But not for food.
Trick smiled and sucked her bottom lip into his mouth. “Later, I’ll be doing all kinds of very dirty things to you. Right now, we eat.”
She groaned, dragging her heels as he led her out of the room. “You can’t say shit like that when I’m horny.”
“Of course I can, baby.”
“Asshole.” She slammed the door behind them, giving emphasis to her insult.
“So you often say.” Keeping his fingers linked with hers, he kept her close as they walked through the tunnels. A few days ago, when he’d announced to the pack that he and Frankie were officially mated, they had all been overjoyed. He’d sensed Frankie’s surprise at just how happy they’d been. He’d realized then that although she’d known they wanted her living on their territory, she hadn’t realized just how much they’d all come to like and respect her. Probably because she simply didn’t expect people to like her much.
He blamed her grandparents for that. In making her feel that she lacked, they’d left her with some self-esteem issues. He was proud that, despite all that, she was a confident female who went after what she wanted in life. Was proud that she was his mate.
“Okay, now that I can smell food, my appetite is building,” said Frankie. “But I still think a quickie wouldn’t have been a bad idea.”