The object was dinner. At least that’s what Cole had been told. The live, twitching sea creature squirmed in Lucian’s grasp. The lobster’s claws were safely held closed by rubber bands, and there was quite a distance of safety between him and the lobster, but Cole still leaned away.
“You want to name it before you kill it?” Cole questioned dishearteningly.
Lucian turned the lobster to look at what Cole assumed would be the face area. “Naming this dinner does go against our discussion yesterday about speaking animals and being unable to kill dinner. Of course, this creature does not speak.”
“Or does it speak and you simply do not have the ears to understand it?”
moving her gaze away from the yard. Victoria
Lucian cast a look at her back. Cole saw the horrific surprise in the blue eyes spread to a soundless gasp. “I dare say.” Lucian placed the lobster beside the other on the island table in front of Cole, releasing his hold on both. “We’ll be having salad tonight.”
Cole stood up abruptly to avoid the lobster heading for him and to catch the other before it wandered off the end of the granite. “Lucian?” he questioned the artist just as he disappeared into the basement.
“What will you name your new pets?”
“My pets?” Cole gasped. “I can’t take them.”
Lucian returned with an empty cardboard box, placing it on the table. “Forgive me for my ignorance.” He took one from the table and held it up, directing his statement to the face area once again. “I may believe you are not speaking to me, but I cannot understand all that I hear.”
If there had been any doubt left in Cole’s mind that Lucian was strange, this cleared it. “You’re keeping them as pets?” he asked after Lucian placed the one in the box.
“I can’t return them to the store for another as ignorant as myself to take them home to murder.”
“You can’t save all the lobsters.”
Lucian laughed appreciatively. “I don’t intend to, but I can’t kill what I eat.”
“But someone else will be able to, so—”
“You want to kill Wilcox and Becca?” Lucian interrupted.
“Who?” Cole asked, bewildered.
Pointing at the lobster on the counter, Lucian said, “That one’s Wilcox, and”—he nodded to the box—“that’s Becca.”
Cole looked down and laughed. “I didn’t mean to insinuate that I would boil them.”
“You think if I return them to the store and another fool buys them that they’ll be killed by that stranger instead?”
“I can’t allow it.” Lucian shook his head. “These two have been a part of my life, and I can’t allow another to murder them.”
Cole stared at Lucian. “They were a part of your life as dinner until just three minutes ago.”
“Your point, Mr. Saunders?” Lucian picked up Wilcox the lobster and smiled at it. He pinched one claw to hold it out. The other twisted in a desperate attempt at escape.
“My point is that you have no real connection to—” Cole dropped his sentence when Lucian moved away with the lobster. His steps toward
were sweeping circles to the left,
and…. Cole shook his head, astonished. Lucian was dancing a waltz with the
lobster while moving into the breakfast nook. Victoria
“My dear Mr. Saunders.” Lucian danced himself over to
and bowed before he handed her
Wilcox. “I wonder what that face you’re making is for.” Victoria
Cole cleared his throat and smoothed his expression. I think you’re bordering clinically insane, Cole thought, but out loud he said, “Nothing.”
“I fear I’ve created an unpleasant feeling for you.” Lucian walked briskly across the kitchen to Cole’s side.
Cole leaned slightly away from Lucian, untrusting of the artist’s grin. “Unpleasant?” he questioned in a whisper and looked to the lone lobster in the box, fearing Lucian would have Cole dance with the simple creature.
“Jealousy.” Lucian clamped one hand down on Cole’s waist just as he took Cole’s hand in his other. Cole gasped in surprise and jerked away to free himself, but Lucian’s grip held strong.
“N-No, Mr. Thomas,” Cole said, using his free hand to push against Lucian’s strong chest. “I’m not jealous of anything.”
“You’re blushing so red I fear you might explode,” Lucian whispered in awe, studying Cole’s face. “And call me Lucian.”
Cole lowered his head, attempting in vain to hide the crimson heat racing across his face and up to his ears. “I don’t want to dance, Lucian,” he said softly.
Lucian released him. “I will get you to dance before you leave,” he vowed and took a step back, bowed, and turned to head around the island table.
You can buy World on Fire from Dreamspinner Press.