Here’s the first chapter of my story, In Walks Trouble, from VEGAS BITES: THREE OF KIND, finallly now available in print!
“Sir, I think we have a situation.”
Marcus looked up from a sheath of papers, eyes narrowing at the beta female standing eyes downcast just inside his office. She was one of the newer security geeks brought onboard after the last shakeup had gotten rid of a fair number of humans and low-ranking Weres. Family members being kidnapped or poisoned with silver dust in their own hotel hadn’t gone over well with the elder Temples, and heads had to roll.
“Anything to do with the preparations for Malcolm’s installation as pack leader?”
“No sir.” The female fidgeted. Marcus remembered that she was a pup, turned against her will after going home with the wrong guy at a party, then let go by the human casino she’d worked for previously after her vaccination had failed. Marcus thought the human world’s loss was the French Quarter’s gain, but she had a lot to learn about being part of a pack.
“What is it, Sheila?” he prompted, making his tone as non-threatening as he could, something that hadn’t been easy lately.
“We had someone attempting to shoplift at the jewelry store.”
“And you’re bringing this to me?” Marcus felt his eyebrows lift. “Should I rethink my decision to hire you, Sheila? Because if you can’t handle a shoplifter–”
“She claims to know you, sir,” Sheila interrupted, looking as if she wanted to be anywhere other than where she was. “Rather intimately, I might add.”
“Does she now?” Marcus left his desk, crossing the wide marble expanse to enter the surveillance room. Several people, humans and non-humans alike, monitored banks of computers and displays that served as the “eye in the sky” for the French Quarter Hotel and Casino, viewing every nook and cranny of the sprawling casino complex. Recently, they’d started adding cameras to the hallways and service routes of the family floors, though not without protest. Marcus ameliorated most of the complaints by making sure that only Weres he’d personally vetted monitored those floors and recordings were put on discs and locked in his personal safe. He’d also upgraded access to the family floors from passkeys to biometric scans, and high-clearance non-Were personnel couldn’t even access the service elevators during Full Moon.
Lately he’d been the lone Were monitoring during Full Moon, but thinking of the reasons why only soured his mood further.
Sheila leaned over one of the human techs. “Cue up room four to monitor one,” she murmured.
Marcus peered at one of the larger monitors as the security specialist keyed in the demand to display the live feed for Interview Room Four, the one reserved for their more unusual offenders.
A woman sat at the faux wood table, flanked by two security guards. Even though her hair was cropped close, and her clothes more suited to a careless teen than an ad executive, her identity was unmistakable.
A growl seeped from his throat, causing everyone in the surveillance room to duck protectively.
Sheila stirred first, tapping the tech on the shoulder. “Run facial recognition program.”
Marcus found his voice. “That’s not necessary.”
As if she’d heard him, the woman lifted her face towards the camera hidden in the ceiling. The high-resolution camera picked up the rich chocolate of her skin, the fathomless black of her eyes. Even the fact that she’d lost weight she couldn’t afford to lose. “Marcus? Marcus, are you there? I really need to talk to you.”
He bunched his hands into fists, fighting the sudden lengthening of his canines. “I’ll handle this one, Sheila.”
Surprise rounded his assistant’s eyes. “Do you know her, sir?”
“I thought I did. Then I married her.”
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