Cassie had just arrived in Danburn’s territory and she knew as a dragon she had to report to him. Whether she liked it or not, she’d gone from one ruling male, her father, to another. Being a female dragon, and unmated, she felt cursed for her lot.
Everette Welsh, Rett to his friends, was having a hard time making ends meet. He was a good attorney, but it seemed to do him little good. His good friend, Danburn, insisted he quit his job and come work for him. Rett had no intentions of taking Danburn up on his offer, but when his boss called him into his office and was demanding that he apologize for threatening a man who blackmailing him, the words “I quit” spilled from his mouth without thinking. However, once said, he felt better for it.
Rett found himself on the wrong end of a shotgun blast, and Cassie gave a bit of herself to save him. There were only three conditions of taking dragon’s blood that a human would survive, and the other two didn’t apply to him. Rett and Cassie were mates.
Only two things stood in their way: Rett’s obnoxious mother, and Cassie’s father, a lethal combination…
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13 Tales of Dragons, Destiny and Desire
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First Signing of the year Coming Jan 2017
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Rett needed a break. It was that or he was going to break someone. He stretched his neck muscles, hearing them pop and crack, and smiled when the man across from him seemed to freeze up for several seconds. Leaning onto his desk, he was glad to see the man back away as far as his chair would allow. “I’ve not asked you for a great deal of money, Mr. Welsh. Only enough to see me through this hard time. You’ll pay for the retraction or things will not go as you had hoped they would.” Mr. Ralph—Douglas, he thought his first name was—smiled at him. “It matters very little if it’s true or not. People will have it in the back of their mind for all time. Every time something else is written about you, even if it is true, they’ll think of this. So, you pay me, then I’ll see to it that a retraction is printed, not that it will do you much good. You’re about as done in as they come, I think.” “You are right about that and more. But even had you only asked me for a dime, Dougie, you wouldn’t have gotten it. I don’t do well with people who blackmail me. And in the event you’ve missed reading your own papers of late, I’ll let you know something that the entire world probably knows. I don’t have any money. Not even the dime that you might have asked for.” Dougie said his name was Douglas. “Well, when you come to my office, making demands that piss me off, I need to find some pleasure. And shortening your name gives me that. Now, as I was saying, Dougie, I don’t think you understand the consequences of pissing me off.” “What are you going to do, Everettey?” For some reason his comeback about his own name was funny to him. “What do you think people will say when I tell them that you’ve threatened me? I will too. Do whatever it takes to get you to pay me. Do you think they’ll come running to your aid? I think not. They’ll say you’re the monster that I’ve portrayed you as. Just pay me the money, I’ll put in a retraction, and then things will be good for us both. For a while anyway.” Dougie laughed again. “You just never know what might happen if I find I like getting money from jerks like you. But the article as it stands will run regardless of your opinion of me or what you call me.” Rett’s phone ringing startled him and Dougie. Instead of telling the man to fuck off, which he really wanted to do, he picked up his phone. The laughter at the other end made him smile. There was only one person in the world that laughed like that. It was his good friend Danburn. “I’m wondering if you’d like to come and spend the holidays with us. We’re going all out this year. Mother has even gotten some of the staff to…. What’s happening?” Rett laughed. Even to his ears it sounded bitter and cold. “Tell me what’s going on, or so help me, I’m coming to get you. You’ve had enough crap going on for several lifetimes.” “I have at that. But right now, I have a man in my office that is blackmailing me. And the really strange part of it is, he’s thinking that he’s going to get money from me. Apparently, he thinks that I’m going to just bend over and take it up the ass. Would you like to buy a newspaper and get me out of this shit?” Danburn asked him the name of the paper. “The Centennial. You’ve heard of it. It just ran your marriage announcement.
Which I hate that I had to miss, but with money being tight and all…. Well, I’m even further down on my luck than before with this jackass here.” “Hang on. Let me do some checking on something.” The man across from him looked at his nails, then brushed off something only he could see from his pants. He was trying to act as if he had not one care in the world, and Rett had a feeling that he didn’t. The man was used to getting his own way in this sort of thing. When Danburn came back on the line several minutes later, gone was the laughter and in its place was the man he knew could be as hard as nails. “Put Mr. Ralph on the phone, please. I’d very much like to speak to him.” The laughter and humor were gone, and in their place was the man that frightened him a little, even through a phone connection. Rett just handed Dougie the phone without a word. He had no idea how Danburn knew who was in his office or who he had talked to while he held the line. But when Dougie whimpered and stood up, Rett got up as well to get himself a bottle of water. It would be like his friend to make someone shit themselves even over the phone. Without a word to him, the phone was laid on the desk and Dougie left. When he picked it back up, not only was Danburn talking, but a woman was speaking as well. It had to be Danburn’s new wife. And she was having a good time with whatever was going on at their end. “Thank you, love. Now we only have to get Rett here and things will be so much—” The woman’s voice again. Rett wasn’t quite sure if she was pissed or laughing, but Danburn growled low. “If you do that, then I will spank you.” “Danburn?” The laughter again, and this time it made him laugh as well. “I’m only assuming that you’re speaking to your lovely wife, and she thinks whatever you did to Dougie was wrong.” “She spoke to him, made him tell her what he was up to. I did not. She’s very good at that, making people tell her the truth when all they want to do is lie to me. What a world we’ve come to, don’t you think? Where the first thing people want to do is lie to you. Sad is what it is, just sad.” Danburn laughed. It was something that he’d now heard his friend do several times in the last several moments. A thing that Rett hadn’t done himself in a very long time before now. “Come here to stay for a few days. A month. Hell, for the rest of your days. I miss you. And I need your help.” “I’ve got to work. Unlike some people who own the world, I need to pay my bills and eat. And my mom’s bills too. Apparently, my dad hadn’t been…never mind. You only need to become your other self and feed yourself by gorging on fresh fish. Which, I will say, is much too fresh for my tastes.” He leaned back in his chair. “I miss you as well. And I’m sorry I couldn’t come for the wedding. I would have loved to have met your wife. But as I said, I can’t right now. I have a lot of things riding on me having a job, even as piss poor as it is.” “She regrets it too. The not meeting you part…she loves being my wife.” Rett would just bet she did. “Like I was saying, I need you for a few things. A good attorney is hard to come by, and you’re the best. But I’m sending a plane for you now. You’ll be on it or
so help me, Rett, I’m going to become my other self and come there for you. I’m sure that won’t go over any better for you than the now dead article in the paper.” The article. He’d completely forgotten about it in talking with his friend. Dougie said that he was going to have an entire story printed up that told all about his family. Some of it would be true…there had to be a kernel of truth to make people believe the rest. And if he was honest with himself, he would have thought the public had all they wanted on him and his family. But Dougie had pointed out—and he might have been right—that a scandal was what people craved. Even when it was a lie. “Did you buy it? The newspaper? Did you buy it?” He told him he already owned it. “It figures. You own everything, my dear friend. But this thing, I can’t believe he thought that he could get anything out of me. Danburn, they think I’m rich. Everyone does when they hear someone is an attorney. I’m not. Why would someone come here, say that I’m some sort of asshole and killer, then expect me to come up with forty million dollars? I don’t even think there is forty dollars period in my account, much less forty million.” “I’m sorry buddy. I truly am. I’ve been reading up on your dad’s ordeal again, and your mom’s predicament as well. You should know that I wish I could have been there for you from the first, but I had no idea at the time that it was you. But I have good news. I need you to come and work for me, Rett. I’ve asked and asked, but now I need you here.” Rett closed his eyes. He knew Danburn was serious, but he had no idea of the obligations that held him here. “I’m sending the plane and my wife to get you. When she gets there, you’d be best served to do as she says. She’s not a nice person when she doesn’t get her way.” “I bet she would have to be hard being married to you. But I just can’t do it, Danburn. I’ve told you this before, I’m broke. I have vacation left but if I quit, I’ll even lose that. I have no money to take off even if I wanted to. I don’t even have…. Hell, Danburn, I don’t even have a pot to piss in right now.” He told him he knew that. “You would. I can’t swing it without things falling apart here. I’ve told you that. I’m supporting my mom and myself pretty poorly right now.” “I’m going to help you. And so you know, my wife is on her way.” When the line went dead, Rett put the receiver in the cradle. He wanted to cry. Turning his chair so that he faced his tiny window with the worst view ever, Rett was tempted to jump. He was sure that he’d live. That his broken body would be on life support forever and he’d be broker, if that was even possible, than he was now. All he had was his name, a name that used to mean things. Now it only meant ruin. Rett—Everette Welsh the third, to be exact—had gone to college with Danburn. Not with him, really, but they met there. While he had struggled to study, Danburn had cruised. When things came up, like fees and such, Rett had taken a second job. Danburn had just pulled out his credit cards. The man had it all, and Rett had been in awe of how mature, how smart the man had been. Then he found out the truth. They weren’t friends then, only acquaintances really. Danbur Danburn was in his study group, not that he ever showed up for them. They shared a table together in lab too, and had spoken during class. That had been the extent of their
conversations and friendship until one night, when he’d been invited to his home for a dinner party for Danburn’s mother, Elissa. Two men who were as different as night and day in the same house. The dinner was far better than anything he’d had in a long while. The courses were perfectly timed, the wine flowing. As he sat there with Danburn and his mother, they all talked about not just college, but Danburn’s other home, the servants that had come here for the party, and the things they were going to do when they graduated in a few months. He’d known very little about the big man. It wasn’t until about halfway through their first year that he realized that not only was Danburn a truly nice guy, but he wasn’t human. He’d told him—during a bitch session with him—that he could change into a dragon. A big fucking one, he’d told Rett. That night, the night of the dinner, he got to see him in his full glory. It was that part, the man shifting into a large dragon, which had startled him out of the house and into oncoming traffic. Rett had thought, but knew better now, that Danburn had been trying to fob him off, get rid of him with this ridiculous story throughout their college years. But the car that had hit him had nearly killed him, and brought the two men together in such a way that Rett still wondered about. It was then that he met the other people that Danburn had called friends too, each of them dragons in their own right. And Rett had been friends with them all since that fateful night. Not that he thought Danburn had had anything to do with him being hurt. He knew it was his own fault, running away from words that confirmed what he’d been told several times over the years. Danburn had not left his side the entire time Rett was in the hospital. And when he’d been released, his leg and arm in a cast, Danburn had brought him to his home, a larger home than most of the dorms that he’d not been able to afford, and helped him catch up with his classes. That was when he’d learned that not only was Danburn a dragon, but he was older than anything Rett had ever known. And much better off than Rett could have ever in all his life imagined. “I don’t need the education. As I have told you, I’m not human. But I’m not in my twenties either. I’m old enough to remember things that even history books no longer cover. The money that I have, it’s from my family. So far back now that I doubt even my mom knows who started the first savings account that put us where we are now.” Rett had nodded then, not sure if he wanted to know it all. “You have questions?” “Too many to put out right now. You’re a dragon, I know that, but are there more of you? I mean, your mom for sure, but others too?” Danburn nodded and told him he knew two others. Hanson McClain and Kip Newton. “How am I supposed to believe that, Danburn? I mean, I know you showed me, so I know that you’re not lying to me, but I have to admit, it’s a lot to take in. Especially for me, when I’ve never even thought of dragons.” “Would you like for me to show you again?” Rett said no, once was enough. “You’re a good man, Rett. A better friend too. And the reason that you’ve never thought of dragons is because we like to keep it that way. For humans not to ever get it in their heads that they have to be out hunting for us like they used to.”
“All right, I guess I can understand that. I mean, you hear about…I guess I never thought that part was true either. That there were dragons that flew the sky.” He looked around the room, then at the books that he’d been studying. “Why are you doing this for me? I’m not in your league of…well, anything. Why?” “You’re a good man, as I said. And you’re going to make a great lawyer someday. I think, sometime down the line, I might need you to come and rescue me from myself.” Rett told him about his money worries. About his family and his father. “I’ve taken care of your money issues at the college. There isn’t much I can do about the rest, I’m sorry for that. But the other…well, it’s the very least I could do after what I made you do by running from me. You won’t have to work anymore to go here, either. There is a fund set up for you to use for housing and food.” “I don’t want you to do that.” He told him it was done. “Danburn, you don’t know me. For all you know, I could be this guy who scams people all the time. I need for you to stop this now.” “I trust you more than with my life, but those of my friends and family as well. Besides, it’s done. And someday, I don’t know when, I might need you to come to help me. I’d like for you to think of this as a loan, a loan until you can repay me with help.” He nodded, unsure how that was going to work. “Rett, I swear to you, I will never ask you for anything that you aren’t willing to give.” As the years rolled by, he studied like it was his job. At first, he’d not wanted to take help from the other man, but he needed it to make it work. His name, the Welsh name, hadn’t been much in a long time, but it got worse once he was out of school and trying to make a name for himself. Rett looked up from his musings when someone touched his hand. “Mr. Welsh, Mr. Peashaw would like to speak to you.” What now? he wondered. But instead of asking, he told Mary that he’d go now. “I don’t think he’s very happy.” “Do you know what’s going on?” She shrugged and he smiled. The girl was as shy as he was when it came to making friends. “I might need some empty boxes with the way my luck has been going of late. I don’t know what he might want, but to be called to his office like this, it can’t be good.” “You’ll be all right, I know it. You’re a good attorney.” He nodded. Rett was a good attorney, he just worked for shitty people. “Go on now. See what he wants. Maybe he has a promotion coming up.” Not likely, but he made his way to the tenth floor. If Mr. Peashaw could have managed it, he would have had his offices on the roof, just so he could have the highest level to look down on people. Rett had disliked the man since he interviewed with him all those years ago, but he had taken the job when no other offers were forthcoming. As he knocked on the door, Rett ignored the secretary at the desk. She was as snobbish as Peashaw was, and even if he were to ask her a question, she’d just glare at him. He figured that was her job, to put people in a bad mood before they entered the office. Rett realized how much he really hated his job. The room, when he was allowed entrance, was just as it had been all those years ago when he’d interviewed with the man. The walls were dark, the furniture too, and the
carpet was a blue so dark that it looked black. Not even a dust moot dared mar the dark surface. The books, all of them as old or older than Rett was at thirty-two, were dark with age and unused. It was like being in a cave. Or a haunted house. He sat down when told to in the most uncomfortable chair he’d ever put his butt in. “Mr. Welsh. What do you have to say for yourself?” He had plenty to say, he supposed, but nothing that Peashaw wanted to hear. Of that he was positive. “I’ve just gotten off the phone with the local rag, the Centennial. They’re saying that you’ve threatened one of their staff.” “I don’t think Mr. Ralph was actually working there. But yes, I did in a way. But not until after he threatened me. He was printing an article about me that wasn’t true.” His boss stared at him. “He put in there that I was a murderer, and I’m not.” “Might do you some good to have a wife. She’d keep you cleaned up if nothing else.” Rett didn’t even bother looking down at his worn and old suit. He had no idea where his comment had come from, but it was a moot point he supposed. It was probably in reference to his own wife and how, rumor had it, she picked out everything the man wore, including his underthings. “But we don’t like to have our people threaten anyone. You’ll apologize this moment and take out an ad in the paper stating that you were wrong.” “I’m not wrong. I think I’d remember if I had murdered someone, don’t you think?” His boss asked him if he was trying to be funny. “No, but I don’t think I should have to tell someone I’m sorry for him lying about me. And, well, if I apologize, it looks like I am someone that would kill for no apparent reason, and I’d never do that. I don’t think I’d ever murder a person for any reason, as a matter of fact.” “I don’t see what one thing has to do with the other. Just man up and do what I said.” He started shuffling the papers around on his desk, dismissing him, Rett knew. “I’ll expect to see it in tomorrow’s edition. That’ll be all.” “I quit.” The words spilled out almost too quickly. Rett looked at Peashaw when he finally looked at him, and could see that he was just as shocked as Rett was. But when the words hung there, just for a moment, Rett realized that’s just what he wanted to do. “I can’t be subject to a firm that won’t back up someone that’s been here for as long as I have. I will turn in my resignation before I leave for the day.” “And what will you do, Welsh? Run your own firm? You don’t have the money to get your rent paid on time since your father killed those two people and left you high and dry. Why, your mother is calling here every week wondering if there is some delay in your pay so that she can get her part of it on time.” Mr. Peashaw shook his head and went back to shuffling papers. “You are no more quitting than I am. Get back to work, and like I said, have that apology in the paper tomorrow.” “No.” Rett was feeling better with every word. “I’m not going to do that, and I’m not going to work here any longer. I’ve had enough, and I think this is the best thing I could do for myself. My mother will have to…. Well, I’ll survive this. As I have a great many things in the past, I suppose.” Before he could change his mind, he left the office. On his way back to his desk, he thought of all the shit this was going to do to him. How hard it was even now to make
the threads of his life meet. But he wasn’t going to stay here. Not any longer. And that alone gave him a little more bounce in his steps. It took security ten minutes to make it to his desk. He had already told Mary what he’d done, cleaned out his desk, and had his equally threadbare coat on. It was terrifying to think he was out of work, but it was also the best feeling he’d had in a long time. He was standing on the sidewalk when it hit him. He was no longer employed. Going to his apartment, Rett set his things on his table and sat down. He didn’t have the slightest clue what he was going to do now. There wasn’t much in the way of food in his house, no stash of money to lean on when things got tough. Things were always tough for him, it seemed. And he had no idea what his mother would think. The worst, no doubt. As he sat down to a bowl of cereal, the last good meal he would have for a while, he thought of nothing but putting the food on the spoon and getting it to his mouth. He was nearly done with it when someone knocked on his door. He could only stare at the beautiful woman standing there. She had a coat in her hand that looked entirely too large for her, and a smile that not only put him at ease but made him smile back at her. “Hi. It’s chilly out, isn’t it? I forgot my coat, and this was on the plane. I think it belongs to Danburn.” The woman standing at his doorstep took his breath away. He knew who she was, Danburn’s wife, but for the life of him, he couldn’t remember her name. “Kendrick. Danburn told you I was coming. I’m here to take you back with me.” “I quit my job today.” She grinned at him. “I don’t know why I did that, but I’m in deep shit. But I’m free to come for a visit now, I guess.” “Great. We’ll be glad to have you, for as long as you want to stay. But as far as you being in deep shit, I don’t believe that either. From what I’ve been told about you, you’re a very resourceful man.” Rett told her that Danburn always said that. “And I’m sure he’s right. Well, since you have no ties here now, you can pack up and come with me. The plane is waiting for us. Someone will come here and close up for you too. I’ve already arranged it.” “Why?” She told him that she knew she’d be able to talk him into coming with her, and didn’t want to chance him changing his mind. “No, I mean, why are you wanting me to go home with you? I don’t know what Danburn told you, but I’m not really the type of person he hangs around with.” “I’m not the type of person that one like him marries either, but here we are. And I’ve been where you are right now. Broke, no hope, and nothing to show for all the hard work you’ve put in.” He nodded before he could think that wasn’t something he should share. “Come on now, Rett. Let’s get you going before Danburn comes too.” He wasn’t sure how it happened, but within an hour not only was he going with her, but they were having dinner on a very expensive plane. Rett also found that he really liked Kendrick English. She was a perfect match to his friend the dragon. ~~~
Cassie walked the hallway once more, just to make sure there was nothing out of place. She’d been doing that all day, just taking a trip down hallways to make sure that the place was ready to open in a couple of days. She wanted things to be perfect. Three weeks ago, she’d found herself on the doorstep of Danburn English. She knew what he was. His dragon, larger and stronger than hers, had called to hers. As soon as she met him, Cassie wanted to leave the area immediately. When she’d first met him she thought…well, he wasn’t a mean person, just not…kind, she supposed she’d call him. Then she’d met Kendrick. “I need someone to work with me. Not behind me, but right beside me. I know that you’re a dragon, and I could also use some help with that as well.” Cassie had nodded, then shook her head. “You don’t want to work with me? Well that sucks. I thought we could be a good partnership or something.” “I don’t want to work for anyone. What I mean is, I don’t have to work, not really. I have money, a great deal of it, but I can’t get to it. I might not ever be able to, honestly. My father is holding it over my head. I’m only here…well, I’m here because I have no place to go and my dragon needs to submit to Lord English’s while I’m in the area. I know that I’m babbling, and I’m sorry about that, but I’ve been having some trouble lately and…. Well, let’s just say that while I’m here, I’m under Danburn’s rule.” She asked her why her father was doing that. “I suppose because he can. He is not a nice person at all, and has it in his head that women, all of them, are only good for a couple of things. Mostly to cater to his needs. It’s not his money but mine. But because of the laws of our kind, he can pretty much do what he wants. I have no mate that can, I guess, take over his duties of making my life a living hell on earth.” “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.” Cassie agreed with her, but said it was the way they’d done things for centuries, and she was just a lowly female in the eyes of the laws of their kind. “I don’t believe that any more than you do. I’m going to have Danburn look into this for you. There is no reason for you to be homeless and without money when you’ve got it.” Four days later, not only did she have her money, but her dad had also given her some of her other things. Like the jewelry that her mom had left her, as well as a few other things, personal things that Cassie thought she’d never see again. Cassie went to Danburn after her things had been delivered by a large van and asked him what he’d done. “I did nothing. My wife did.” She looked over at the small woman, then back at Danburn. “In the event you don’t know this yet, Kendrick isn’t a pushover, nor is she one to order around. I think your dad figured that out pretty quickly when she spoke to him. By the way, there are a few more things coming your way too, things that I only just found out about. He will turn them over to you.” “Thank you very much. I never…he gave me my money. All of it. And my mother’s jewels as well.” Danburn congratulated her. “No, you don’t understand. He told me that he’d sold them off. Took them and sold them to a pawn shop a few years ago.” “Well, I’m sure that he’s regretful for that as well, if that was what he actually did.” Danburn had leaned back in his chair. “So now that that’s settled, would you like to come
and work for me? Mostly you’d be working for Kendrick. But I’d need your help on occasion too.” “Doing what? I just got out from under one bastard…I’ll not work for another.” He laughed, and she had felt her face heat up. “I’m sorry. I’m not normally so rude. I mean I am, but not to people that have gone out of their way to help me.” “That’s fine. What the job would entail is you working with my wife. Kendrick doesn’t want to be a housewife, and I don’t blame her. It’s very time consuming and we have staff. But what she wants to do is work with the homeless and find them shelter and a good hot meal. The building that we have renovated is done now. It only needs someone to keep things running smoothly. There will be people there to help you, but you would be in charge.” She asked if he normally indulged his wife. “You should ask her that. To hear her tell it, it’s all I do. But I assure you, I can only do so much before she comes down on my head again. She isn’t one to take fools lightly. And I do make a fool of myself where she’s concerned.” “And you want me to come and work for you both. Doing what?” Danburn explained just what it was they needed her to do. “That’s all? Just run the shelter for you and keep it in working condition?” “Pretty much. I mean, I’m sure there will be pitfalls. But we have attorneys for that sort of thing. There will be a staff too, one that will report only to you. Also, I’ve hired a doctor and a dentist, but I don’t know them that well and hope that they’ll work out for us. If not, then we’ll do something else.” So here she was, working for a dragon and his mate. Cassie enjoyed it too. And working for the English’s wasn’t as difficult as she thought it might be. They were good people, very much in love with one another, and they treated her with respect. Two things she’d not had a lot of in her lifetime. But they were far from friends, she thought. He was her boss, as was his mate. Cassie had just entered her office when she turned at the sound of her name. One of the people staying there full time, a helper of sorts, knocked before entering with her and closing the door behind him. “There’s are two men at the door who are asking to speak to you.” Cassie, as everyone there was calling her, asked who it was. “I’m not sure who one of them is, but the other one is Timothy Bond. He claims to be a friend of Lord English.” As she made her way to the front of the building, she tried to remember if she had any appointments today. There was no one that she could think of, but sometimes, not often, she’d forget to write something down. Or, Kendrick would set something up and forget to let her know. Cassie smelled the wolf before she got to the door and turned to Colin, the man who had come to her office, and told him to keep the cameras on the front of the place. She didn’t want any trouble, but if there was, she wanted it recorded. The doorway was open but both men stood outside it. For some reason, she thought that she’d be better off just closing the door in their faces. Cassie didn’t invite anyone into anything if she could help it. Vampires had a nasty way about them, and she wasn’t sure she wanted to tangle with one today.
“May I help you?” The wolf turned to look at her. His eyes were a startling shade of purple, and full of anger and something more. She wanted to think she was wrong, but she thought he was insane. “We’re not open just yet. And Lord English isn’t around today.” “Danburn said he’d call you.” She didn’t say anything. He hadn’t, and if this man thought she was going to fall for this, then he was dumber than she was. “I think you should check your messages. And if you can’t read them, then find someone that can. I don’t have time to be hanging out here while you try to do your job. Danburn is a very good friend of mine, and don’t think he’s not going to hear about this.” Pulling out her phone, because there had been times when she’d missed a call, she saw that she had not just a voice message, but also two texts. Reading them over before going to the message, she saw that Danburn had indeed let her know these men were coming. But she was to ask for identification. After checking both men’s credentials, she invited them in. The wolf, Timothy, told her to take him to the clinic with his friend, Walter. Walter, the vampire, was a doctor. Timothy…. Well, she had no idea what he might have done for a living. She thought it might be asshole. And if that was right, he was really good at his job. Before she could welcome them to the shelter, Walter looked her over like she was a bug on the wall. She disliked the man immediately. “The next time we come around, I don’t want to have to wait outside like I’m some sort of criminal. Be better prepared if you’re going to work here.” She didn’t say anything, but he must have thought she needed more bashing from him. “You’re not what I expected in a person running this place. I thought they’d be…I don’t know, smarter. At least have a good deal more respect for those that are not just older, but much more experienced in the ways of the world. Next time, pay attention so we don’t have to do this again.” “You mean like you’re giving me respect? That’s what you’re talking about? Pardon me for saying so, but you’re a dick. First class, but a dick all the same. So, fuck you and your getting respect from me.” He just stared at her. “And for your information, I’m nearly twice your age, so you should have some respect for your elders, prick. Or someone might burn you to a crisp.” As she walked away, she heard him laughing. She had no idea why she’d done that— it wasn’t like her to be so brash—but when she entered her office, Cassie called Danburn to be sure she wasn’t fired after talking like that to one of his friends. He wasn’t any happier with the man than she’d been. “Neither of them are a friend. But Walter was willing to work at the clinic a couple of days a week as a physician until I can find someone else. Timothy is…I’m not entirely sure what his role there will be, but I’ve heard that he will be in charge of getting funding for the clinic and getting others to invest. I don’t know either of them that well. But if you have to kick either of them out on their collective asses, I’ll hold the door for you.” Casandra thought that might just happen, too. She told him what had happened when they’d arrived and how she had handled it. Danburn was both pleased and tickled that she could handle things there for him. As they hung up, she wondered what his wife
would say, but realized that she’d more than likely agree with her. Kendrick wasn’t going to take their shit either, Cassie thought.