• Quinn visited Pearl at the farm and told him about his mother’s escape.
• Quinn was happy when Pearl revealed she told Megan she trusts him. .
• Quinn asked Pearl to move in with him but she declined.
• Sadie and Micah made love again in a hayloft.
• The police allowed Gene and Iva to take the baby home with them while they searched for his parents; later Iva used her powers to get revenge on a teenage girl who insulted her.
The Lawrence Farm, early evening
“We’re home!” Iva cried out as she and Gene entered the spacious living room, their hands full with shopping bags.
Seconds later, Pearl Tyler emerged from the kitchen. She noticed all the bags and became curious. “Where have you been all this time? Sadie and Micah were getting so hungry that I started dinner.”
“It’s a long story, but you’re not going to believe what happened,” Gene replied, setting a bunch of bags down on the carpet.
Pearl eyed the haul. She grew even more curious as she noticed what looked like a pack of diapers sticking out from the top of one of the bags.
Iva watched Pearl checking everything out. “Gene, I think you better go out and get the last bundle…it’s the most precious one.”
She grinned at her husband, who knowingly nodded his head and went back out the door.
“What on earth is going on?” Pearl asked once he left. “Is there a surprise baby shower that I don’t know about?” She patted her stomach as to make a point.
“Well,” Iva began to answer, “some of these things are for you.”
“Some? What happened, did you and Gene manage to adopt a baby while you were out?” Pearl started to laugh, but her laughter immediately stopped when she saw Gene re-enter the house, carrying the baby, who was asleep in his carseat.
“Oh my God,” Pearl murmured, extremely startled. “I don’t believe it.”
Sadie Todd and Micah Johnson walked into the room and when the two saw the baby, they were also surprised. “Aunt Iva, Uncle Gene, what’s going on?” she asked loudly.
“I didn’t know they sold babies at the farmer’s market,” Micah joked.
“We found him abandoned at the church,” Gene explained.
“Oh no!” Pearl exclaimed.
“We went to the police and they said we could keep him while they look for his parents. We had him checked out by Doctor Shannon in Bigelow and then went and bought some supplies,” Iva said to everyone.
Gene placed the carseat on top of the coffee table and carefully took him out of his carseat. He opened his eyes and began to make noises. “Here Pearl, you hold him. You’re going to need practice.”
He held the baby out towards Pearl. She took him and cradled him in her arms. He looked up at her with wide brown eyes and cooed. “You’re so handsome,” Pearl told him. She sat down on the sofa and began to rock him.
“You’re a natural,” Iva beamed.
Everyone stood around Pearl as she continued to hold and talk to the baby. Then the doorbell sounded, breaking up the calm. Gene went to answer it and saw Damien Collins standing there.
“Hi Gene. I’m here to see Pearl.”
“Come on in.” Gene moved to let Damien enter. The younger man looked down at the floor with amusement. “Looks like you’ve been busy today.”
Gene chuckled. “You can say that again.”
Damien cast his eyes upon Pearl and when he saw her holding the baby, he rushed to her. “Pearl, please don’t tell me you’ve had your baby already!” he marveled.
Pearl snapped her head up to face Damien and she smiled. “No, I’m still pregnant. This is another little one that Iva and Gene found today.”
Damien was puzzled to say the least. “They found a baby?”
“He was left at Bigelow Community Church. Gene and I were getting ready to come home after the farmer’s market when I heard him crying. We went to investigate and that’s when we found him. We’re taking care of him while the police look for his parents,” Iva told him.
Damien turned his attention back to Pearl. The baby nestled in her arms was asleep. “I have to say, you look so beautiful holding him. You’re going to make a great mother.”
Pearl blushed slightly. “Well, you didn’t come here to watch me doing this all evening. I suppose you want to talk?”
“Yes. I’d like to spend some time alone with you. I hope you don’t mind.”
Pearl smiled again. “You know I don’t mind. I’m glad you’re here.” She glanced at Iva. “Would you like to take him so I can talk with Damien?”
“Of course dear.” Iva picked up the baby and held him tightly.
“Let’s go downstairs. I was starting dinner but I think everyone can manage.” Pearl looked at her friends. “You can eat without me, I’ll get something later.” She headed for the kitchen, where the entrance to the basement was and Damien followed her. Just then, a large and very loud clap of thunder nearly made her jump.
“I wasn’t expecting that,” Pearl remarked.
“I heard on the radio driving over here storms were coming into the area, and they’re going to stick around all evening,” Damien told her.
“Well then, I’ll guess you’ll be here for a while,” she playfully replied.
The Nightshade home, same time
Christoph Nightshade stretched and yawned as he awoke from his daytime slumber. He could hear thunder and see flashes of lightning sparking through the dark curtains in his bedroom. I guess I’ll be using the car tonight to go hunting, he said to himself.
He placed both hands on his head. His dark blond hair was sticking up. He went over to a small dresser across from the bed and picked up a comb, quickly running it through his tresses. The mirror mounted above showed no reflection. He was used to dressing himself without looking into those for so long it didn’t faze him. In time, you will learn that mirrors aren’t needed. Instinct is all you need, his friend—and the vampire that turned him—Julian Loomis, had said to him while he was adjusting to his supernatural powers.
Christoph took off his white T-shirt and laid it on the bed. He opened one of the drawers and pulled out a light blue button down shirt. Before he could put it on, there was a knock at the door. “Daddy, are you awake?” came Quinn’s voice.
“Come in,” Christoph said.
Quinn entered the room. “Getting ready to go out? There’s a nasty storm approaching.”
“I know. I’m going to drive tonight.”
“Be careful,” Quinn warned.
“You know storms can’t touch me,” Christoph said, smiling, revealing his sharp fangs. He was so ready to sink them into warm flesh.
It wasn’t the storms Quinn was worried about, but Jude had sworn him to secrecy over Josephine being on the loose. He didn’t like telling his father what was going on, but right now he owed it to Jude, who had taken up for him and beat up his rival Damien. He hoped his mother would be caught and taken back to Harmony Hills before the shit hit the fan.
“Quinn, you look lost in thought. Are you okay?” Christoph asked with concern.
“I’m fine,” he reassured his father. “I have something to tell you.”
Christoph slipped on his shirt and buttoned it. “I hope it’s good news.”
Quinn grinned widely. “It definitely is.” He sat on the bed. “I saw Pearl earlier today and she told me that she trusts me and cares for me deeply.”
Christoph’s blue eyes lit up. “That is good news.”
“It won’t be long before we’re together, really together. I can feel it in my bones,” Quinn strongly replied.
“What about Damien?” Christoph inquired.
Quinn snorted. “What about him? He can try and take her from me all he wants, but I’ve got you on my side and Jude has warned him to back off. There’s nothing he can do.”
“Yes, but he’s a werewolf Quinn, and werewolves don’t back down easily. Believe me, I know. I’ve encountered some in my lifetime and despite them being so feral and so one track minded, they know what they want and they go after it.”
Christoph sat down next to his son. “I know that between you and Damien, Pearl will ultimately choose you, but don’t count him out just yet. He’s not as unintelligent as you think he is. Wolves are cunning and tricky creatures. Just make sure you watch yourself.”
“Father, if it’s anyone I don’t have to watch out for, it’s Damien. I’m sure the next time he sees Pearl, she’s going to tell him straight that she cares for me and wants to be with me, not him.”Quinn looked at his father with a determined gleam in his eyes. “He’s going to be in for some major heartbreak.”
The Lawrence Farm
Pearl sat in the rocking chair by her bed while Damien sat next to her on the side of the bed. The rain was falling in torrents, and thunder crackled continuously and ominously.
“Some storm we’re having huh?” Damien commented.
“I think a bigger storm is about to brew in here,” Pearl said dryly.
“What do you mean?” Damien asked, truly perplexed.
“I know you’re here to warn me away from Quinn.” She folded her arms across her chest. “So, have at it.”
Damien sighed deeply. “I’m so predictable. Damn.”
“That’s okay. At least I know I’m not in for any surprises.” Then her face grew sober. “Do you know Quinn’s mother’s escaped from the mental hospital in Harmony?”
Damien’s brown eyes widened in utter shock. “What?”
“Quinn visited me today and told me. He’s completely upset, but not because he cares about her. That’s the one thing that I wish he would change about himself is the lack of feeling he has about his mother. At least she’s alive.” Pearl looked down at her feet, struggling to hold back tears as she thought about her mother, who passed away several years ago.
Damien knelt down on the floor in front of her. He gently took both of her hands in his. “Quinn won’t change anything about himself. I wish you could see that.”
Pearl slowly gazed up at him. “What I see are two men locked in a bitter rivalry that needs to end right now. All this fighting between you two proves nothing.”
“I’m just trying to protect you,” Damien softly insisted.
“I know you are, but Quinn isn’t going to hurt me. I’m not afraid of him anymore. I trust him…and I care about him, just I like I care about you. But I think it’s time that you stopped this competition. You need to go on with you life Damien. Don’t spend it locked in this hateful battle. It’s not worth it.”
He shook his head. “You are worth it Pearl. You are worth fighting for.”
“I don’t want to be fought for, and I wish you could see that.” She locked her eyes with his in a pleading stare.
“Then what do you want?” Damien quietly asked her.
“Right now, I just want to lie on the bed and listen to the rain and the thunder and be totally relaxed.” She stood up, with Damien joining her. She stretched and got on top of the comforter.
“Does this mean you want me to leave?” he said, his handsome face frowning.
“No.” She held out her hand. “You need to get relaxed too.”
A slight smile formed on Damien’s lips and he hopped on the bed next to her, stretching out his long and lean frame. He turned to her. “You’re right, this is very relaxing.” He placed an arm around her and pulled her close.
Pearl rested her head on his chest and closed her eyes. It wasn’t long before the sounds of the autumn storm raging outside lulled both she and Damien to sleep.
Half an hour later, Iva and Sadie were in the kitchen, washing the dinner dishes. Gene and Micah were upstairs giving the baby a bath.
“Lord, listen to that thunder boom,” Iva mused. “I would have thought storms like this would have stopped now that fall’s here, but with this warm weather, I guess it’s to be expected.”
“Oh, I kind of like them Auntie,” Sadie replied brightly. At least it’s better than dealing with snow and ice.” She shuddered and wrinkled her nose. “I’m not looking forward to another long, Maine winter.”
“Me neither, but that’s the price you pay for living in New England.” Iva took a dish out of the sink and handed it to Sadie for drying.
“I wonder what Pearl and Damien are doing downstairs,” Sadie thought out loud. “They never did come up for dinner.”
“Whatever it is, it’s none of our business,” Iva chided. “Frankly, I’m glad they are spending some time together. Pearl needs more people to talk to besides us and especially Quinn Nightshade.”
“Speaking of Quinn, he was here again today. When Micah and I left the stable this afternoon and came into the house, he and Pearl were in the kitchen talking. Quinn was holding her hand and rubbing it, telling her how soft her skin was.” She shuddered again. “She seemed to be enjoying it but it gave me the creeps.”
“I would get the creeps too,” Iva agreed. Then she suddenly looked sharply at Sadie. “Wait a minute…what do you mean when you and Micah left the stable? What were you doing in there?”
Sadie hurriedly dropped her attention towards drying another dish as Iva continued to question her. “I’m talking to you young lady. What were you and Micah doing while Gene and I were in Bigelow all day?”
There’s no way to get out of this one, so I better just tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may, Sadie said to herself. She gave her aunt a steely gaze. “Micah and I are together now,” she said firmly.
“What do you mean by together?” Iva demanded. “Wait, did you two—“
“Yes Auntie, we did. We made love today, two times.” Sadie braced for her aunt’s reaction.
Iva dropped her sponge in the sink and grabbed a hand towel hanging on a hook under the kitchen window. She sighed heavily. “Well, you are twenty-one now. Your love life is your business.”
“He asked me if I wanted to go through with it. I told him yes,” Sadie revealed. “I really, really, like him Auntie. We can relate to each other because of our psychic powers. It makes things a lot easier. He’s a good person.”
“Oh Sadie, you know I have nothing against Micah, but it’s been such a short amount of time you two have known each other. I just don’t want you to get hurt.”
“Micah and I are going to take this very seriously, I promise you. We had a long talk about it this afternoon. This is going to be a nice, long courtship.”
“I only wish you would have done the courtship first and the sex second,” Iva lamented.
Sadie couldn’t help but laugh. “I’m glad you’re taking this rather well Auntie.”
“I may be handling it, but the bigger question is, how will Gene handle it?”
After Iva asked that question, an earsplitting crash of thunder shook the house, and the two women exchanged worrisome glances. “That was really lousy timing,” Sadie said, a hint of dread creeping into her voice.
Coming up next:
• Gene and Iva get a phone call from Bigelow police who have found the baby’s parents, and they get some startling news.
• Damien laments to his parents and sister he feels he has lost Pearl to Quinn.
• Jude gets a shocking and cryptic phone call from his mother.