Rick was surprised at how quiet things had been, considering how furious Belle had been the night before about the whole telepathic thing. Although the make-up sex had been amazing, he was surprised she’d decided let it go. She’d gone to the restaurant that morning with a cheery wave and a smile after they’d finished breakfast. She even let him know she was planning on working through dinner. She’d made a face when he told her about the Pack meeting that night, but she’d agreed and, feeling that she’d somehow let him off easy, he let her go without any further interference. He got the feeling that perhaps the Pumas didn’t get together as often as the Wolves and made a mental note to discuss that with her. 

 

And here she was at the Pack meeting, all bundled up warm and cozy. He’d brought her a lawn chair to sit in, hoping to ease the pain he knew she was in. He planned on taking her home after the meeting, tucking her in under a nice, warm blanket, and personally massaging every inch of her sweet, creamy skin.

 

He began slowly opening his mind, allowing the others into his thoughts. He could hear each of them quieting their minds, preparing themselves for his nightly speech.

 

“WHO LET THE DOGS OUT! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF!”

 

Rick flinched, his eyes nearly crossing, as the loud, grating music poured into his mind from…

 

Oh, Belle. You are in deep, deep shit.

 

He turned to find his mate curled up in the chair he’d brought her, her head bopping merrily to the tune coming from the iPod she’d turned on. She smiled at him cheerfully, waggling her fingers at him as her toe tapped the beat. He could hear her singing along in his head, especially the part where they sang, “a doggie is nuttin’ if he don’t have a bone”.

 

Rick did his best to tune out the annoying songs playing so loudly in his head, but he wasn’t certain he succeeded. “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window” was bad enough, but when the K9 Advantix flea and tick jingle started going on a loop he nearly lost his temper. After a while people began rubbing their foreheads and peering at him strangely. He wondered if he was beginning to shout.

 

He cut the meeting short, sending the Pack off to romp in the snow, and stalked over to Belle. She was still sitting there bopping to the music. This time it was an oldie by the Monkees called “Gonna Buy Me a Dog”.

Staring down at his wayward mate, he began to agree with the sentiment. A dog would be a lot easier to deal with than his woman.

 

He reached down and pulled the headphones out of her ears. Thankfully, the sound in his head muted along with the sound in hers. “Okay, Belle. Point made. Let’s figure out a compromise.”

 

“What are you talking about?”

 

He picked her up out of the chair and cradled her close. He’d come back for it later. “The Bimbo Barbie act might have worked on Simon, but don’t ever assume I don’t know exactly how smart you are.” He watched as she blushed, her eyes turning gold in pleasure. He wondered how many times men had focused on her beauty, not realizing the sharp mind behind those gorgeous green eyes and full, killer lips.

 

He stared towards the Lodge, determined to work a few things out with Belle before she drove him mad. “I promise I will try to figure out some way to satisfy both you and tradition if you promise to never play flea collar jingles ever again.”

 

She reached up and kissed his cheek. “Okay, Rick.”

 

He climbed the steps into the Lodge, careful of his precious burden. “You’re still not getting the air horn back.”

 

She smirked, but the genuine laughter behind it was obvious. Belle was having fun. “You don’t honestly think that was my only one, do you?”

 

All he could do was shake his head as he carried her back towards their private elevator. “You are a damn dangerous woman.”

 

“You say the sweetest things.”

 

Despite everything, he couldn’t help but laugh out loud as she batted her eyelashes at him outrageously.

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Dana Marie Bell.

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