Unleash the Night (Page 34)

Unleash the Night (Dark-Hunter #9)(34)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

Now she looked forward to the challenge of it.

As they left the house, she half-expected her father to call her back, but he didn’t.

And that was okay. Her father would need time and she had… literally centuries ahead of her.

Without looking back, she got into Wren’s vintage red Mustang and held Marvin in her lap.

"Are you sure about this?" Wren asked as he joined her in the car.

"Absolutely."

Wren picked her hand up and kissed her palm lightly. "So where are we off to?"

She gave him a hot once-over. "I vote for a quiet hotel where we can finish what my father interrupted."

Wren gave her a wicked grin at that. "Here, here, lady tiger. Sounds like a plan to me."

Maggie’s smile faded as she looked back to see her father on her front porch, watching them leave. The little girl in her wanted to run back to him and hug him.

But she wasn’t a child anymore, and until he could accept that, there was nothing more to be said between them.

Good-bye, Daddy.

She only hoped that one day he would come to his senses. But until he did, that wasn’t her problem. She refused to let him hold her back anymore.

Her heart lighter, she looked down at her unmarked palm. "Wren? Do you think we’ll ever be mates?"

Wren glanced over at her. "We already are, Maggie. I don’t need some external mark to tell me what I know."

She smiled at him. "I love you, Wren."

He reached over and took her hand into his. "I love you, too, baby."

And that was the greatest miracle of all. "So you’re sure you still want to marry me? Bad in-laws and all?"

He snorted. "In-laws don’t frighten me. If he doesn’t come around, I can always eat him."

She laughed. "Okay, so I at least know what to put on the caterer’s menu. One senator’s head. Cool."

Wren joined her laughter, but even as he did, he felt the sadness inside her, and for that he really could kill her father. He couldn’t understand how the man could be such a jerk to his only child. If Wren ever had one of his own, he would make sure that they never doubted his love.

But that didn’t help Maggie. "It’ll be okay, Maggie, trust me."

"I do."

Wren squeezed her hand before he let go and headed toward the French Quarter. As he stopped at a light, he looked over at her and made himself a promise. Her father might not love her, but Wren would give her so much of his own that she would never miss it.

And that was something she could definitely take to the bank.

Epilogue

One month later

Marguerite smiled up at Wren as they stood in the small yard behind their new house in the Garden District. The air was a bit warm and muggy, which was why she’d chosen to get married in a very sedate strapless, tea-length wedding dress. She had her hair up with tiny white flowers in it, but no veil.

Wren looked gorgeous, if not a little warm, in his black tie and tails. For the first time, his hair wasn’t worn in his eyes. He’d actually brushed it back from his face.

"I’m going into this with my eyes wide open and I want nothing to blur my vision…"

Those words that he’d spoken earlier still warmed her.

Their wedding party was small with only Elise, Whitney, Tammy, Vane, Bride who held her infant son, Fury, Fang, Aristotle… and of course Marvin who was dressed in a small monkey tuxedo since he was the best man.

Marguerite’s father had been invited, but apparently he’d been too busy to come and that was fine with her.

She didn’t want anything to mar this day anyway. Better he be absent than here and scowling.

Wren kissed her ring finger where her sedate gold band was before he kissed her lips as the priest announced them as husband and wife. A part of her was more than amused at that since they were more tiger and tigerswan these days, but that was another story.

As soon as Wren released her, her friends came forward to hug and congratulate her. Marguerite embraced them while she listened to the wolves harass Wren.

"Now you’re like Vane, tied down for eternity," Fury said with a shudder. "Man, you’re stupid. Unlike Vane, you don’t even have a reason for it."

"You better be quiet, Fury," Vane said, laughing. "Or I’ll turn Bride loose on you."

"Yeah," Bride agreed as she handed her son off to his father. "I know a little demon who likes the taste of wolf meat-"

They all laughed, except for Elise, Tammy, and Whitney, who just looked confused.

When they adjourned inside the house for the reception, Marguerite pulled up short as they met Savitar in the hallway. Arching his brow, Vane paused to stare at the man who was dressed in a pair of white slouchy pants and a blue-and-white beach shirt that was left hanging open to show off his eight-pack of abs. "Do you ever wear anything except beach clothes?"

Savitar shrugged. "Everything else chafes. Besides, easy on… easy off."

Marguerite wrinkled her nose at his words. "Ew. TMI… way too much information."

"Agreed," Wren said as Vane shook his head and followed the others into their dining room.

Once they were alone, Wren frowned at Savitar. "So, to what do we owe the honor?"

Savitar gave them a cocky half-grin. "I’m sorry to crash your wedding, but I won’t be long."

"You don’t have to rush off on our account," Maggie said quickly.

Wren agreed. "We have plenty of food if you’d like to stay. We would have invited you, but I didn’t think weddings were your scene."

"They’re not," he said drily. "But I wanted to give the two of you a gift from a friend."

Wren’s frown increased. "You don’t have to do that."

"I know, but I want to do it." Without anything more, Savitar joined Wren’s left hand with her right one and held them in his.

Gasping, Marguerite felt a sudden burning. She withdrew her hand to find a small, intricate tattoo-like mark on her palm. "What the-"

"It’s a mating mark," Wren said in a low tone as he looked from his hand to Savitar. "I don’t understand. Is this real?"

Savitar nodded. "I don’t trust the Fates. Those three bitches have a nasty sense of humor, and the last thing I want is to see them mate you to someone else just for spite. Besides, I’m sure the two of you would like to have kids some day." A deep sadness entered his eyes, but it quickly passed. "Everyone should have a chance to see their kids grow up."

Wren looked aghast. "But you can’t screw with fate."

Savitar gave him a wicked grin. "You can’t, little tiger, but I do what I please. Fates be damned. If they want a piece of me, then bring it on. I couldn’t care less what they think and at the end of the day, they know who not to tangle with." He winked at them. "You two kids have a great life. I’m gonna go catch a wave and zen."

Marguerite’s jaw was slack as Savitar faded into nothing. She rubbed the mark on her right hand with her left one. "Is this legit?"

Wren took her hand into his. "I think it is."

"Then we can have children…"

Wagging his eyebrows at her, he gave her a smile that was completely lecherous. Seductive. "There’s only one way to know. I vote we ditch the wedding party and find out."

She laughed at the eager look on his face. "You are so bad."

He growled low in his throat as he gave her a hot once-over. "I can’t help it You look way too edible in that dress."

Wren pulled back at the sound of someone clearing his throat.

Marguerite blushed to see his father standing in the doorway.

Aristotle shook his head at them. "Some of us in here are also hungry, so do you mind if we eat the food without you?"

Wren visibly cringed. "Sorry, Dad. We’re coming."

His father gave him an arched stare as if he didn’t believe it.

As they started into the dining room, they were interrupted yet again by the doorbell.

Wren and Marguerite exchanged a frown.

"It’s not anyone on my side," Wren said, "we don’t knock."

She rolled her eyes at him. "It’s probably UPS. I vote we add the delivery man who dared to interrupt us to the menu."

Wren laughed. "I don’t know. I think your friends would be grossed out." He headed for the door.

She watched as he opened it, then went ramrod stiff.

Scowling at his actions and curious what caused them, she walked forward at the same time as he opened the door wider. Marguerite faltered as she saw her father on the doorstep, looking a bit sheepish.

Wren moved back to let him into the house. A flash of relief went over her father’s face as he saw her, until it was replaced by disappointment and grief.

"I’m sorry I’m late, buttercup," he said gruffly. "I really did try to make it, but there was an all-night session in Congress and the weather was so bad that the flight was delayed. I got here as soon as I could."

Marguerite didn’t know what stunned her most. His apology or the use of a nickname she hadn’t heard from his lips since she was a little girl.

"It’s okay, Daddy."

"No, it isn’t." He cleared his throat before he pulled a small box out of his coat pocket. "I started to send this to you, but I thought I’d come here to give it to you in person " He handed her the box.

Marguerite frowned at it. It was an old 1950s-style, light-blue necklace box. "What is it?"

"Your grandmother’s pearls. Your mother wore them at our wedding and she wanted you to have them for yours."

Tears welled up in her eyes. It had been years since her father had spoken of her mother in such a way.

Wren came up behind her to place a comforting hand on her back as she opened the box and saw the perfect strand of white pearls and matching earrings.

"They’re beautiful."

Her father inclined his head. "Like your mother… and like you."

Her lips trembled as her tears started falling. And then Marguerite did something she hadn’t done since her mother’s death. She hugged her father.

For the first time in her memory, he didn’t tense and move away. He wrapped his arms around her and held her close.

"I love you, Daddy," she whispered against his cheek.

"I love you, too, Marguerite." He tightened his arms around her an instant before he straightened up and wiped at the tears on her face. His smile was tinged by sadness. "I’m sorry I wasn’t here to give you away. I should have at least called."

"It’s okay."

Wren took the pearls from the box. As he moved to put them on her, her father stopped him.

"You have the rest of your life to help her with these. If you don’t mind, I’d like to do it just this once."

"Sure," Wren said as he handed them over.

Marguerite gave a less than ladylike sniff as she met Wren’s turquoise eyes. The love in his gaze warmed her.

Her father fastened the pearls, then moved to stand in front of Wren. "I know I’ve been a prick to you both, but I’m a big enough man to admit when I’ve been wrong." He glanced at her. "You are my daughter, Marguerite, and if he makes you happy, then that’s the best I can ask for. I’ve given a lot of thought about what you said over the last few weeks and I do want to be part of your life… if you’ll let me."

"Of course, Daddy. No matter what, you’ll always be my father."

His eyes softened until he looked back at Wren. "Shall we bury the hatchet? No more hard feelings?"

Marguerite held her breath as she waited expectantly for Wren’s response.

He hesitated a moment before he took her father’s hand and shook it. "None whatsoever so long as you only make her cry in happiness."

Her father placed his other hand over Wren’s. "Don’t worry. I have no intention of ever hurting her."

Yet again they heard someone clear his throat. Marguerite turned to see Aristotle standing once more in the doorway.

"Are we ever going to eat?" he asked.

Marguerite laughed. "We are definitely going to eat," she said before she introduced her father to Wren’s.

And as the four of them rejoined the rest of the dinner party, she felt a warm rush go through her.

"You okay?" Wren asked as he took her hand to lead her to the table.

"I was just thinking that I wish my mother was here."

"I’m sure that she’s looking down on you and smiling."

Marguerite kissed his cheek. In a weird way, she felt that he was right, and in that moment she realized that this day really was perfect.

And she had one person to thank for it, and it was the one person she intended to spend the rest of her life thanking. She squeezed that person’s hand before she took a seat with his help, and he sat down by her side.

As they started their meal, Marguerite smiled at Wren. There might not be another perfect day in their future, but they had this one and as long as she had Wren beside her, she knew that no matter what the future held, they would always face it like this. Together.

Savitar forced a blank expression on his face as he neared the lone figure who was sitting on his beach, watching the surf roll in. Dressed in a tacky Hawaiian shirt and a pair of surfer shorts, the dark-haired man was leaning back on his arms with his attention off somewhere else entirely.