Sébastien des Quatre-Frères watched his brother survey the enclave, set up in the heart of what les étrangers called The Everglades.
All was running smoothly today—as usual—but Sébastien couldn't help but sweat Matéo's scrutiny. Not that Sébastien would admit it in a million years, but Matéo always made him nervous. Not to mention that Matéo overreacted to everything these days, but with good reason.
Quinna slipped up to him, her honey-brown hair glinting in the scant sunlight. Scrubby Cypress foliage cast patches of shadow across her face. Her expression tugged at his heart; her pink lips pressed together as though she didn't know what to say.
Relax, she communicated with her thoughts. It's been quiet today. And he's only here to help.
Her hand grazed his bare arm. He tensed away from the contact. Shh. He'll hear you.
I'm channeling only to you.
Doesn't matter, Quinna. He hears everything.
“It's true. I do hear everything.” Matéo walked over to them and kissed Quinna's cheek. “And it pisses off my older brother.”
She lowered her head, dropped her gaze, and bowed deeply.
“Quinna, how long have you known me?” He lifted her chin. “Have I ever asked for this kind of deference from anyone, much less someone I think of as a sister?”
She rose to face him. Her voice sounded tight and thin like it always did when she was nervous. “No, Téo.”
“That's better. How have you been, ma chère?”
“Good, thanks. And you?”
“I'll be better when we figure out why les anglais are here.”
“If they're here,” Sébastien chimed in.
“Your subjects are sure they're here and it frightens them.”
With the abomination Matéo had put down last season and now two scouts missing didn't help the rumors.
“Let's get back to the chateau. If the trespassers are here, I don't want my presence to scare them off.”
Sébastien set his jaw at his little brother's arrogance. Well, his younger brother. Physically bigger, more gifted at the Ancient Arts, and higher ranking, the word 'little' didn't fit Matéo in any way, shape or form. Lupine or otherwise. Instead, Sébastien tucked a lock of glossy black hair behind one ear and held out his hand, motioning for his brother to precede him.