This is an excerpt from Power of Three (Triple Trouble 8, MFMM, wolf shifters) which releases 4/29/2016. You can order it from BookStrand at: http://www.bookstrand.com/tymber-dalton
Elain Lyall’s life is complicated enough being her Clan’s Seer and part of the Triad. Having survived a supernatural showdown with a cockatrice, secretly adopting its baby, killing an evil wolf menace, trying to stop a future nuclear attack—all while she’s about to give birth to a child who’s the reincarnated mate of her mortal enemy—would give anyone a headache.
Then there’s her batcrap crazy brother-in-law to worry about. Brighton fancies himself a cockatrice hunter, but Elain has reason to believe his ulterior motives could spell trouble with a capital T.
Elain doesn’t know what’s on Brighton’s agenda, but her mates Ain, Brodey, and Cail are focused on their new fatherhood status. Elain can’t exactly confide in them—or Triad besties Lina and Mai—for fear of toppling a very precariously balanced tower of secrets that would destroy a lot of lives.
And it looks like Baba Yaga and Ryan Ausar have some dark secrets of their own…
Over the next few days, Brighton—fortunately—made himself scarce around the house. If he wasn’t accompanying one of the brothers, he was off doing his own thing. He said he was looking at houses, but Elain got the distinct impression he was hiding something.
The other annoying thing to Elain about this stage of being pregnant—well, other than dealing with Brighton, and not being able to see her feet, and feeling like she was carrying a blimp in her stomach—was that no one would let her do anything.
That, and she could accidentally pee herself without even breaking a sweat.
Now less than a week until her due date, Elain realized her men were hovering closer than ever…and at the same time saying as little as possible around her.
Probably because she found herself practically growling every other word out of her mouth in irritation. She was over being pregnant, and she was over the near constant attention and total lack of privacy.
It was only a welcomed surprise distraction that morning that took Elain’s mind off her immediately pressing issue.
And by pressing she meant what felt like a two-ton baby squashing her bladder while playing kickball with it.
Elain was seated at the kitchen table, sipping her second cup of coffee of the morning, when Mai appeared in Elain’s kitchen.
Seemed to surprise the heck out of Mai, too, because she was facing the wall and let out a sudden cry of shock that made Juju and Bea both come running, sliding around the corner into the kitchen.
Fortunately, Elain had already set her coffee mug on the table, so when she’d flinched she didn’t spill any.
“Well, hello, there, stranger.”
Mai turned, her eyes wide, making Elain laugh. Mai held her hands up and stared at them. “I’m…here.”
“In your kitchen!”
“Yes, you are. Congratulations. And where’s BettLynn?”
“How’d I get here? I was standing in my kitchen, and thinking that I needed to check in on you this morning and see how you were doing and—”
“You must have poofed. Here you are.”
“Here I am.”
“And where’s BettLynn?”
“She’s…” Mai’s gaze widened even more—which Elain didn’t think was possible—and she let out a horrified gasp.
“Congrats, sweetie.” Elain lifted her mug in a salute. “You can do the poofy thing now.”
Mai bolted out of the kitchen while Elain softly chuckled.
Well, that was fun.
Elain’s cell phone was sitting on the kitchen counter and started ringing, Jim’s ringtone. Presumably he would sound panicked and be asking if she’d seen Mai. But Elain didn’t want to haul her fat butt up out of her chair to get her phone, and it was too far away for her to reach.
She also didn’t dare risk poofing it to her, even though she’d practiced that a few times, too. Poofing items to her, when alone, so she wouldn’t have to haul her pregnant self up from whatever comfy position she’d finally managed to get herself into.
After three rings, her phone went silent.
Good, because I didn’t feel like getting up.
Her mom walked in. “Did I just hear Mai in here?”
She looked around. “I never heard the front door open when she came in.”
Elain leaned back. “I think Mai just figured out she can do something new.”
“Do I want to know?”
“I have a feeling everyone will know shortly.”
Which was a relief, because it meant she would finally be able to start doing it, too.
Well, openly doing it.
Brighton chose that moment to walk into the kitchen, making Elain suppress her groan. She forced herself onto her feet. “I need to go check on Connor.”
“Oh, he’s asleep, sweetie,” her mom said. “I just checked on him and Joss, both.”
“I also need to go to the bathroom,” Elain said, not meeting Brighton’s gaze.
He, above everyone else, was getting on her nerves. But after the fuss she’d made upon his arrival about her men not picking on him, it would be just a touch hypocritical of her not to try to tolerate him.
Cail walked in. “Did I hear Mai?”
Elain turned sideways in the increasingly crowded kitchen to ease herself through the doorway and past Cail. “Yes.” She headed for their bedroom, Cail doing an about-face to follow her.
“Don’t need your help going tinkle, Cail.”
She sensed him come to a halt behind her.
Elain reached for the bedroom doorknob just as Brodey opened the door on his way out. “Hey, ba—”
“Move. Move. Move!” She was dancing back and forth now, the bathroom excuse no longer an excuse as Brodey seemed incapable of getting.
Out of her way.
She finally plowed past him and charged toward the bathroom, slamming the door shut behind her.
The code all her men understood at this point in her pregnancy meant do not come in unless they politely knocked and asked first.
And even then, maybe not.
Maybe I should get them all neutered.
As she finally made her goal in time, she sighed with relief. No, she didn’t want to neuter her guys. Yes, she did—probably—want more kids in the future.
But this part of the pregnancy she was enjoying…not at all.
When she finally emerged from the bathroom a few minutes later and returned to the kitchen, her mom had Elain’s cell phone in her hand.
“Mai called. She’s back home.”
“Of course she is. She only lives on the other side of the yard.”
“She said she poofed?”
“That would be my guess, based upon what I saw, yes.”
“Jim is understandably freaked out.”
“I would think so.” Elain slid back into her chair and picked up her mug of coffee.
Brighton had, unfortunately, taken the chair directly across the table from Elain. She gave him a wide, fake grin, using lots of teeth. “Good morning.”
He nodded. “Good morning. How are you?”
“Haven’t pissed my pants yet, so still a good day, so far.” She’d opt for thinly disguised antagonism and blame it on pregnancy hormones.
“What is it, exactly, that Mai did, then?” Brighton asked.
Elain sat back and wondered if this was the verbal jousting part of whatever point Brighton seemed to refuse to want to get to.
“Back in Maine, when Aliah shot Mai while we were rescuing Lacey, Callie threw her energy into Mai to save Mai’s life and heal her. It passed Callie’s powers to Mai as a result. One of the things that Callie, Gigi, and Baba Yaga can do is what we dubbed the ‘poofy thing’. Materialize when and where they wanted. It’ll take Mai a while to learn how to do it reliably. Lina can already do it as part of her goddess gig powers, but she hasn’t mastered that yet and still can’t do it reliably, or over long distances.”
“What about you?”
His direct gaze unsettled her, but she didn’t flinch. “What about me?”
“Can you do it?”
“Eventually, I’m sure I will.” She lifted her coffee mug to her lips without breaking eye contact with him and took a sip. “It’s only a matter of time.”
She didn’t know if it was her imagination or if Brighton’s gaze really narrowed a little.
He was about to start tap-dancing on her very last nerve, though.
Killing Brighton, baaad…self-control, goooood…
Just because his brothers couldn’t lie to him didn’t mean she had the same problem.
Plus Brodey and Cail were watching her like a couple of hawks, their gazes bouncing back and forth between her and Brighton like it was a tennis match.
Finally, Elain’s mom stepped in. “All right. Everyone with a penis and who is over the age of two years, get out of this kitchen. Right now.”
“What?” Cail asked.
Carla started shooing them out. “Elain needs space, and you guys aren’t giving it to her. You, too, Brighton. All three of you. Go on over to Mai’s house and let her feed you breakfast.”
Elain’s gaze still didn’t flinch from Brighton’s. He finally looked away first when Cail slapped him on the shoulder.
“Come on,” Cail said. “I need to run into town to get some stuff anyway. Let’s go grab breakfast there. Mom’s right, we’ve been hovering.”
“But what if she goes into labor while we’re gone?” Brodey protested.
“Town’s only twenty minutes away, if that,” Cail said. “Come on.”
Once it was just her mom, the babies, the dogs, and Elain, her mom smiled as she slid into the chair Brighton had occupied.
“Want me to ask Ain for you?”
“Ask him what?”
“To send Brighton on his way. Honestly? He needs to go. He’s getting on my nerves, and your father can’t stand him.”
“I don’t think he’s fond of Dad, either.”
“He’s not. If Brighton gives Liam one more of those fucking snide looks, I’m going to clock him myself.”
Her mom didn’t usually drop the F-bomb in such a casual way. “So it’s not just my imagination?” Which Elain already knew from discussions with Lina and Mai, but she’d hoped her parents hadn’t noticed.
“Not even close. I know the boys said Brighton took a few headers off horses, but it’s not just that. It’s more than that. I really feel like there’s something…unsettling about him. Like he’s looking for something. Something here. Frankly, I don’t want him around the babies.”
Elain thought about how Brighton had fixated on cockatrice hunting.
And the secret that she alone in her household knew about Connor.
“Agreed,” Elain said. “We don’t want someone who might be unhinged around the babies.”
A scowl filled her mom’s face. “I didn’t say unhinged. Why did you say that? Did you see a vision about him or something?”
“Sorry, poor choice of words.”
Elain’s mom stared at her.
“Really poor choice of words,” Elain amended.