Chris Anderson is a well-known businessman and, unknown to his human business associates, an Alpha who’s been kept busy fighting off attacks from rogue packs. Jolena is excited to leave her job as a waitress to become a personal assistant to Mr. Anderson, but his behavior upon meeting her leaves them both equally bewildered and thrilled. When Chris figures out what’s going on, will he be able to convince Jolena to be his mate for life?
Age Rating: 18+
Seeking Happiness by Alissa C. Kleinfield is now available to read on the Galatea app! Read the first two chapters below, or download Galatea for the full experience.
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“Table four wants to order, Jolena. Jolena!” Michelle, the manager of the restaurant The White Rose tries to get her attention but fails. “Jolena! Table four!”
“Err, yeah, Sorry Michelle, I zoned out for a moment. Table four you said?” Jolena shakes her head to clear her mind and starts walking to the waiting customers.
After the last clients of the night left through the door, she sinks into one of the chairs in the room. It was a crazy shift with all tables filled and two colleagues calling sick, her feet hurt from all the running around.
Michelle walks to Jolena “Is everything alright?” Michelle asks. “You seemed distracted today.”
“Everything is fine, I’m fine, I didn’t sleep well last night, that’s all.”
“Go home, Jolena,” Michelle says with a sympathizing look in her eyes. “You’ve worked hard enough for today.”
“But there’s still a lot to do. I won’t let you clean up without me,” Jolena protests. There is still a lot of cleaning up to be done.
The dishes must be washed, the tables need to be set again for tomorrow’s shift, the floors need to be cleaned. So, there is still a lot to do before everyone can go home.
“No, no, we’ll handle it, it will be fine. In all the years you’ve worked here, you never called sick, you never took a day off.
“Go home, that’s an order,” Michelle says while grabbing Jolena’s coat and purse, putting them in Jolena’s hands, and pushing her gently to the door.
“Okay then,” Jolena says. “If you really insist.”
After parking her fifteen-year-old car in front of her apartment building she stares through the front window, her thoughts drifting off. She has been working at this restaurant for seven years now. But she is tired.
Tired of this boring job, she could do better than just waiting tables. Also tired of worrying if she could make it to the end of the month, as it always seemed to be a struggle.
She started working when she was sixteen in the evenings. She had to work extremely hard to get good grades at school while working at the restaurant at the same time.
Her parents died in a car accident, just weeks before she turned sixteen. With no family around to take her in, she stayed in a children’s home until she was old enough to take care of herself.
Her parents left her a little money, but still not enough to pay for a full course of four years. Somehow, she made it work. She had to work, to be able to pay for college.
She graduated two years ago, but still works at the restaurant. She is looking for a job that fits her studies a bit more but jobs that she is interested in are sparse. And working at the restaurant isn’t enough to pay the bills.
She cannot sleep, when she closes her eyes, she sees the bills coming in her vision. It keeps her awake almost every day. A knock on her window shakes her up from her thinking.
“Jolena, what are you doing there? It’s three at night!” her roommate tells her. Joe and Jolena share this little two-bedroom apartment since their second year in college.
They were both sick of the student homes they were living in the first year.
They both didn’t like the lots of loud and drunk parties being thrown and all the mess that was never being cleaned up, so they decided to share a cheap apartment close by.
Jolena grabs her keys, her purse and opens her door to get out. Joe holds the door while she steps out.
“I better ask you what you are doing here,” Jolena says as she locks her car and starts walking to the front door of their apartment building. “I thought you were going to sleep early?”
“Yeah, I know,” Joe says with mischievous eyes and shrugs. “I came across a nice girl at the bar where I met some friends, and you know from one thing came another. You know how it goes.”
They start climbing the stairs and he starts to tickle her at her waist. “My goodness, you womanizer.” Jolena smiles and she runs up the stairs, trying to get away from his tickling fingers.
“Last week you promised me to slow it down with the girls, what happened to that promise?” She puts her hands on her side while faking being upset. She already knew that he wouldn’t be able to hold his promise for long.
“You know me, it’s like an addiction,” Joe says while unlocking the door and opening it for Jolena. “I just can’t help myself. When I see a nice girl, I just have to talk to her. If not, I just can’t function properly anymore.
“I wouldn’t be me if I stopped seeing girls. And if I can’t have you, I need to see other girls to get some love and attention, you know a man can’t do without.”
Joe loves to tease her about it. They both know their relationship is based purely on friendship. Making it a romantic relationship would be awkward.
Jolena starts to walk to her bedroom door and looks over her shoulder with a smile. “I think I am going to sleep trying to forget that you said that. I’ll see you in the morning.”
“Goodnight Jo,” Joe says. He walks to his own bedroom door, turns around in front of it and looks at her sincerely as he continues to say, “I hope you really sleep well tonight.”
The next day she tries to drag herself out of bed. The last night was no different from all the other nights. Working hard, working late.
Then trying to sleep but instead staying awake, thinking about the bills that were piling up until her eyes were so heavy, she couldn’t keep them open anymore.
Sauntering into the kitchen to make herself a pot of strong coffee and a sandwich, she realizes Joe is already gone. She opens her laptop, an extra cost she had to save money for, she needed it for her reports in college.
She starts looking at all job offers there that are of any interest to her. After thirty minutes of searching, she gives up and puts her laptop to the side, putting on some music and heading for the shower.
When she gets out and walks into their small living room, she sees Joe is back from where he went, talking on the phone to someone.
“Yeah, I know,” Joe says to the person on the other side of the line.
Jolena bounces on the couch, starting to play a game on her phone.
“Well, maybe I know someone who would be perfect for that job. I’ll ask her what she thinks and then get back to you, okay?”
He continues to talk to the person on the phone but is looking with an enthusiastic smile at Jolena trying to get her attention, waving his hand in front of her face.
“Yeah, sure, I’ll call you when I know more. Yes, I’ll call you as soon as possible. Bye, Adina.”
He sets himself into the armchair next to the couch and looks at Jolena. “I may have found the perfect job for Ava. My sister just called and told me that they are looking for a nurse where she works.
“Adina works as a nurse in a clinic in Miller Creek, in the forests at the feet of the Grey Mountains about three hours away from here. There is a whole community that lives there, it’s very closed off from the rest of the world.
“Ava is always in for an adventure, this might be just something for her.”
Ava is a mutual friend they both got to know when they went to college. Just like Jolena, she was looking for a job, but in this city, it is hard to get a job as a nurse.
Joe was right when he said that she was into adventure. During their lunch breaks, she couldn’t stop talking about the countries she would want to travel to as soon as she had enough money and got out of college.
After graduation, she went to travel to China and she still talked their ears off about it.
“Well, that job could be right up her alley,” Jolena tells Joe, “She really deserves to find a nice job, you know. Why don’t you call her and tell her about it?”
Jolena is sincerely happy for her friend. “Don’t they have a job for me there as well?”
“You are right, I’ll call her after you leave for work, you’re leaving in half an hour, right?” Joe asks, friendly. “I don’t think they have other job offers, though.”
He is such a good friend, thinking about everything, she thinks by herself. He always makes sure she takes after herself and really cares for her.
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Christopher steps out of his black sedan. Closing his eyes, deeply inhaling the fresh air of the woods, at the same time pulling on his tie.
At this time of day, it’s almost teatime, the smell of the forest seems to be the most intense. It immediately has a comforting effect on him. He only just stepped out and he is already much more relaxed.
He looks up for a moment to see the tips of the Grey Mountains surrounded by clouds. He loves it here; Miller Creek is home. He just got back from a week in Litchley, but he hates it there.
It is so crowded, so gray, with all those fake people around kissing his ass all the time. He wishes he never has to go back there, but as long as his firm is there, he has to go there every once in a while.
Chris takes his suitcase and a small briefcase out of the trunk and walks to the stairs of a big wooden house. It’s like a ginormous log house.
The house is old, but it’s very well maintained, meeting the needs and comfort of today.
“Good evening, Chris, how was your trip to the big city?” Chris’s second in command, Danny greets him at the door.
“It was stressful, I’m glad to be home, to be honest,” Chris replies, while he heads to the big central stairway.
Danny follows him to his suite saying: “Well, it’s good to have you back, Chris. Nothing big happened while you were gone, just Garreth and Fritz who couldn’t do without a fight as usual.
“I am glad you are back, Chris, you know I really don’t like being responsible for everyone here on my own.”
When they are at Chris’s door he turns around and looks him in the eye. “So, nothing happened? Really? What about the rogues, you didn’t hear from them?”
Chris opens the door and steps in. There are rogues lingering near the borders, they can cause serious problems.
“It was all quiet,” Danny says. “Maybe it is like the silence before a storm, but I don’t mind a little peace for a while.”
Chris puts his suitcase in a corner of the suite and throws the briefcase on the coffee table. He takes off his tie and throws it on the couch. “That’s better,” he says with a sigh.
“You really hate the city that much, huh?” Danny asks.
“You know how much I hate it. If I could, I would shut that business down immediately, but you know we can’t do without it.” He looks at his right-hand man, but also his best friend.
“While you were in Litchley, did you happen to find a certain woman, like your soulmate?” Danny asks curiously, plopping on the couch, putting his feet on the coffee table in front of it.
“Danny, get your feet off the table, and don’t ask stupid questions, please,” Chris says annoyed with a sigh. His eyes turn dark.
“So, it’s a no, I presume?”
Chris nods, still annoyed.
“It’s strange you haven’t found her yet. You have been looking for the right one for so long now.”
“Well, at least I am not alone in not finding the right one.” Chris shoots back with a little smile, “I know you haven’t found your woman either.”
After their talk, Danny heads out, leaving Chris to take a shower and change into some more comfortable clothes. He plops down on his sofa, thinking about his friend. They have known each other their whole lives.
They grew up together as the most promising kids of the pack, Danny is like a brother to him. A lot has happened since they were kids.
But every time he needed support, Danny was there for him. Helping him out, any way he could, he already did so before Danny became Beta.
Chris knows Danny still holds himself responsible for Chris being kidnapped by some feral wolves when he was sixteen.
They were still kids at the time, they were both still in the transition from being boys to the strong men they are now. There was no way that Danny could have done anything to prevent him from being kidnapped.
It was a difficult time, but together they came out stronger.
Being the kids of the Alpha and the Beta, they were expected to take over from their fathers. Chris took over the Alpha position from his father seven years ago, he was eighteen.
His father was killed by an Alpha of a hostile neighboring pack, his mother died not long after that out of grief. Even then Danny helped him to handle it all.
Taking over the position of Alpha, coping with the loss of his parents, taking care of his brothers, he supported him, no matter what.
Chris knows Danny would catch a silver bullet for him if he had to, but he would do the same for Danny as well.
He is still relaxing on his couch, his eyes closed, as he suddenly feels a mind-link opening. “Chris, you awake?”Danny says through their link.
“Yes, what is it?”
“Adina, the head of the clinic is here,” Danny explains. “She wants to have a chat about someone visiting next week for a job interview. You know they are looking for extra help.
“Do you want to talk to her personally, or do you need some more rest, then I can handle it?”
“After all these years, you should know me by now, you know. You know I want to do it all by myself,”Chris replies, a grin on his face. “Meet me in my office, I am on my way.”
Adina is the head of the clinic that is situated a hundred meters down the road. Chris had some renovations done recently and now it’s more up to date and can accommodate more patients when needed.
But because the clinic is now bigger, they need more staff as well. That is what Adina wants to talk to him about.
A few minutes later he meets Danny and Adina, who are already waiting in his office.
“Adina,” says Chris while he shakes her hand and he steps behind his desk to sit down on his black leather office chair, “it’s good to see you. How are you doing? How is everything going at the clinic? Are you settling down well?”
“Well, I am fine, thank you,” she says with a little smile as she sits down at the other side of the desk.
Danny remains standing, leaning against the wall.
“I am incredibly grateful for what you did with the clinic, the changes were really necessary. I think when we have some extra help in the clinic, everything will be fine. Actually, that is what I am here for.”
“You already had my approval about hiring people, so what do you need me for?” Chris asks, furrowing his brows.
“I got a phone call this morning from a friend of my brother Joe. Her name is Ava, and she is looking for a job as a nurse, but can’t find one in the city.
“Joe told her that we are looking for people to hire, so she called me, and she seems suitable. She will be visiting next Wednesday to see what the job is about and to see if she really is the right person for the job.
“She is also human, though.”
Chris strokes the stubble on his chin thoughtfully. “That is good to know. From what you tell me the girl seems promising. I will inform the border security that someone will cross our borders Wednesday.
“Offer her to stay the night—for humans, traveling when the sun sets, can get them spooked here. She can leave the next morning after breakfast.”
“I will,” Adina says.
Chris turns to Danny and asks, “Danny can you make sure that one of the cabins next to the clinic is ready by then?
“We don’t want her to find out anything about us before she has signed her contract here, so I’m not going to let her stay here in the packhouse.”
Danny stands straight and nods, “I’m on it.”
After Adina and Danny leave the office, Chris links his security to inform them about the visitor.
And because he is in his office now anyway, he takes the opportunity to go through some of the documents and files that were put on his desk while he was away.
As he puts the last document away the bell that announces dinner rings. He walks to the dining hall and greets the members that are already there. They all bow their heads slightly out of respect.
From behind someone places his hand on his right shoulder and says with a stern voice, “Christopher Amos Desmond Anderson, why was I not informed about your arrival? When did you arrive?”
When Chris turns around to see the person talking to him, it is like he looks into a mirror. His younger brother Leo looks like the younger version of Chris, a little less muscular, but taller.
Chris has two younger brothers, Nicholas, or Nick, who is twenty-two, and the Beta of the Foggy Forest Pack, a neighboring pack of his mate Alicia, and Leonard, or Leo, just turned eighteen, still looking for his purpose in life.
“Leonard,” Chris greets him with a smile. “I arrived around teatime. But I didn’t get to inform you, I had to get to work almost immediately. You know they can’t do without me here.”
They sit together, Chris at the head of the table, Leo on his left, Danny on his right, in order of their ranks.
Next to Danny sits the pack Gamma Simon with his family, and next to Leonard sits the pack’s Delta, Jason with his mate. Dinner is being served by the kitchen staff and they start to enjoy their hearty meal.
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