A MELODY IN PARADISE by Tianna Xander
When Melody Madison, new first violin, first chair of the New Haven Philharmonic gets strange threatening letters from a deranged fan, she has nowhere to turn. With her family gone, she has only her best friend, Carmen and Carmen's uncles to turn to. Can the men help her in her time of need and will she be able to keep her hands to herself so they can protect her?
When Mitch and Wyatt Baldwin meet their niece's college roommate for the first time, they are shocked to realize that she is their much-anticipated mate. After years of waiting and searching, they find it difficult to believe she has been so close, but yet so far for the last several years. When they find she is being stalked by a fanatical admirer, they take her security into their hands. After all, it is their right and their privilege to protect what is theirs.
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“I told you we should have gotten better seats.” Hell, it wasn’t as though they couldn’t afford better seats. Mitch scowled down at his companion. “I want to see her. It’s been almost a year.”
So far all he could see was the woman in front and between himself and Wyatt who wore the largest, most hideous hat he’d ever seen in his life. He rested his elbow on the padded armrest and rubbed the spot between his eyes.
“If I didn’t know better, I’d think you had more tender feelings for Carmen than an uncle should have.” Wyatt grinned at him.
“Shh…” a woman complained behind them. “I paid for tickets to hear the orchestra, not to hear you two flapping your lips.”
Mitch fought the urge to look back and growl at the woman. He wanted to express his anger, not scare the woman into wetting her pants. Like all shifter males, he could make his eyes glow in low light and his growl would be that of a male tiger. Somehow, he didn’t think that would go over well in the auditorium.
Instead, he listened to the music and tried to pick out the sound of the violins. He liked classical music, he really did, he just liked being able to see a particular player and pick out the sound of their instrument. Tonight, he wanted that player to be his niece.
He and Wyatt loved Carmen as though she were their daughter. Her parents, killed during the time of the uprising in Paradise, left her in their care. To keep US officials from trying to put her into the system when she attended her first live-in music school at the tender age of twelve, they decided to adopt her in Mason where they knew the long-time sheriff and the county judge.
The two human men knew that Mitchell and Wyatt only had her best interests at heart and finalized the adoption, for Carmen’s safety and wellbeing while out in the world. Many schools of music, like Juilliard, were after all very competitive schools and she would need her uncles close by to lean on.
With that in mind, they even went so far as to move to New York so they would be close by in case she needed them. It was a waste of their time. She’d loved the university and all of the friends she made there.
It wasn’t long after she turned sixteen that she’d come home from Juilliard talking of a girl named Melody. They’d become fast friends and Mitchell couldn’t have been happier for her. Except…she came home carrying the strangest scent. It wasn’t her. He knew that, but he couldn’t place what it was about the scent that made him take notice, other than it made him want to have that scent near him always.
As though obsessed with the smell, he had even gone through her things to find what kind of perfume she wore that could produce such a reaction in him. It wasn’t her perfume. After a week or so, the scent faded from their home and he was able to think of more important things again. Still, the memory remained and every time he saw her, he could smell it on her, this sweet elusive scent that did something strange to his insides.
At first he thought it was only him, but Wyatt finally admitted to smelling it as well after her last visit. What was it that grabbed their attention so fully every time she came home? She wasn’t their mate. They knew that beyond a doubt. Had she been their mate, they would have experienced el calor by now. No, this was something different.
He listened to the orchestra play, still trying to pick out the sound of Carmen’s instrument in vain. He knew she was first violin, second chair, but he also knew the sound he’d zeroed in on wasn’t the first violin part. This was a violin soloist playing a melody, something different from the rest. It was haunting, beautiful. Just as beautiful as the woman he saw playing it. She appeared the same age as Carmen which would make her approximately twenty-two or twenty-three.
Her long hair fell down the long curve of her back in an auburn cascade. The gold highlights shone in the lights that beat down on the stage. Her black dress did nothing to hide the fact that she had a body any shifter male would be proud to sink his **** into.
Curvy in all the right places, she was no frail wraith like most of the women these days. She had meat on her bones and that drew the tiger in him like nothing else could have done.
Her music was that which he’d honed in on when the song started. He looked at her as she played, an expression of complete concentration mixed with something he could only describe as love on her beautiful face.
This woman was first violin first chair and the woman he and Wyatt had been hearing about for the last several years. In fact, Carmen had tried to set them up with her a few times. She was certain her uncles needed a wife and she wanted her best friend to be it. Nothing would make her happier than making Melody Madison a part of their strange little family.
Mitch shifted in his seat, trying to get comfortable. Just looking at the woman made his **** hard. Hell, he hadn’t gotten hard just looking at a woman in fifty or more years. What was it about this human woman that made him want her more than he had wanted any woman for years?
Do you see the woman on the edge of the stage, Wyatt? The violinist in front, closest to the conductor?
What about her? Wyatt asked through the mind link they had had for as long as they could remember. Neither of them could remember if they’d had it before their first blood exchange or not. All they knew was that they had exchanged blood regularly to help each other out of binds when they were younger.
Calling for help while outside of Paradise wasn’t an option when they were younger. The old council would have no one leaving the town without permission. Doing just that was something the two of them had done as often as possible when they were children. They knew they were shifters like those in Paradise, but unlike those in the town, they were tiger shifters, not cougars and jaguars like most of the rest.
From what they had learned from their adopted parents, they had been found weeks apart in different parts of the country. Blood tests confirmed they weren’t related, though they were both found near the body of a dead female tiger. Presumed dead, no one knew where their fathers were.
Sometimes he wondered if the council kept such a tight rein on them as children because they feared what they would become. After all, they were tigers. If they desired, they could take out any male shifter in Paradise with their size alone.
She’s beautiful. I believe she’s that Melody Carmen has been yammering on about for the last few years.
He felt Wyatt stretch upward in his seat to look over the woman with the big hat sitting in front of him. They should require these old women to take their huge hats off or sit in the back, he groused before he nodded. I see her. You’re right. She is a looker.
Mitch turned to look at his friend who suddenly wore a strange expression. She brings out something in you, doesn’t she?
Wyatt nodded. I shouldn’t feel this way for Carmen’s best friend, Mitch. Hell, haven’t we been telling Carmen that we wouldn’t touch her little friend?
What they felt was right and what their bodies demanded could be two totally different things. If what he suspected was true, Carmen’s little friend just may be their mate.
What if the scent he’d been picking up on Carmen all of these years had been their mate growing into adulthood, her body preparing itself to breed? He pressed his hands into his lap, trying to control the raging hard-on he sported.
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