Alissa C. Kleinfield
Christopher stepped out of his black sedan. Closing his eyes, he deeply inhaled the fresh air of the woods, while loosening his tie.
At this time of day, in late afternoon, the smell of the forest seemed to be the most intense. It immediately had a comforting effect on him. He’d only just stepped out and he was already much more relaxed.
He looked up for a moment to see the tips of the Grey Mountains surrounded by clouds. He loved it here; Miller Creek was home. He had just gotten back from a week in Litchley, but he hated it there.
It was so crowded, so gray, with all those fake people around kissing his ass all the time. He wished he never had to go back there, but as long as his firm was there, he had to go there every once in a while.
Chris took his suitcase and a small briefcase out of the trunk and walked to the stairs of a big wooden house. It was like a ginormous log cabin.
The house was old, but very well maintained, meeting modern needs and comforts.
“Good evening, Chris, how was your trip to the big city?” Chris’s second-in-command, Danny, greeted him at the door.
“It was stressful. I’m glad to be home, to be honest,” Chris replied, as he headed to the big central stairway.
Danny followed 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 were at Chris’s door, he turned around and looked Danny in the eye. “So, nothing happened? Really? What about the rogues—you didn’t hear from them?”
Chris opened the door and stepped in. There were rogues lingering near the borders; they could cause serious problems.
“It was all quiet,” Danny said. “Maybe it is like the silence before a storm, but I don’t mind a little peace for a while.”
Chris put his suitcase in a corner of the suite and threw the briefcase on the coffee table. He took off his tie and threw it on the couch. “That’s better,” he said with a sigh.
“You really hate the city that much, huh?” Danny asked.
“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 looked at his right-hand man, who was also his best friend.
“While you were in Litchley, did you happen to find a certain woman, like your soulmate?” Danny asked curiously, plopping on the couch, and 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 said with a sigh, annoyed. His eyes turned dark.
“So, it’s a no, I presume?”
Chris nodded, 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 shot back with a little smile. “I know you haven’t found your woman, either.”
After their talk, Danny headed out, leaving Chris to take a shower and change into more comfortable clothes. He plopped down on his sofa, thinking about his friend. They had known each other their whole lives.
They grew up together as the most promising kids of the pack; Danny was like a brother to him. A lot had happened since they were kids.
But every time he needed support, Danny was there for him. Helping him out any way he could; Danny had done that even before he became beta.
Chris knew Danny still held 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 had taken over the alpha position from his father seven years ago, when he was eighteen.
His father was killed by the alpha of a hostile neighboring pack, and 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 knew Danny would catch a silver bullet for him if he had to, and he would do the same for Danny as well.
He was still relaxing on his couch, his eyes closed, when he suddenly felt a mind-link opening. “Chris, you awake?” ~Danny said through their link.
“Yes, what is it?” ~
“Adina, the head of the clinic is here,” Danny explained. ~“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? If you need some more rest, then I can handle it.” ~
“After all these years, you should know me by now. You know I want to do it all myself,” ~Chris replied, a grin on his face. ~“Meet me in my office. I am on my way.”~ ~
Adina was the head of the clinic that was situated a few hundred feet down the road. Chris had some renovations done recently and now it was more up to date and could accommodate more patients when needed.
But because the clinic was now bigger, they needed more staff as well. That was what Adina wanted to talk to him about.
A few minutes later, he met with Danny and Adina, who were already waiting in his office.
“Adina,” said Chris, shaking her hand. He stepped 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 in well?”
“Well, I am fine, thank you,” she said with a little smile as she sat down on the other side of the desk.
Danny remained 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 for hiring people, so what do you need me for?” Chris asked, 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 stroked 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 after the sun sets can get them spooked here. She can leave the next morning after breakfast.”
“I will,” Adina said.
Chris turned to Danny and asked, “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 pack house.”
Danny stood up straight and nodded. “I’m on it.”
After Adina and Danny left the office, Chris linked his security to inform them about the visitor.
And because he was in his office now anyway, he took the opportunity to go through some of the documents and files that had been put on his desk while he was away.
As he put the last document away, the bell announcing dinner rang. He walked to the dining hall and greeted the members that were already there. They all bowed their heads slightly, out of respect.
From behind, someone placed a hand on his right shoulder and said with a stern voice, “Christopher Amos Desmond Anderson, why was I not informed about your arrival? When did you arrive?”
When Chris turned around to see the person talking to him, it was like looking into a mirror. His brother Leo looked like the younger version of Chris; a little less muscular, but taller.
Chris had two younger brothers. Nicholas, or Nick, who was twenty-two, and the beta of the neighboring Foggy Forest Pack, his mate Alicia’s pack.
Leonard, or Leo, has just turned eighteen, and was still looking for his purpose in life.
“Leonard.” Chris greeted him with a smile. “I arrived this afternoon, 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 sat together, with Chris at the head of the table, Leo on his left, and Danny on his right, in order of their rank.
Next to Danny, the pack’s gamma, Simon, sat with his family, and next to Leonard, sat the pack’s delta, Jason, with his mate. Dinner was served by the kitchen staff, and they all enjoyed their hearty meal.
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