“Gaerik has gone to far this time.” he said as vapor poured from the male’s mouth as the words escaped. It was yet another freezing day in Connecticut and the two figures that stood on the beach sentinel in the sand near the waters edge looked anything but pleased at the sight of the waves rolling up to the coast.
“Father has turned a blind eye to his behavior for to long. He was always the bright and chosen son, but something has to be done, if not the humans will come to be suspicious.” Marik spoke harshly, his icy stare turning to his companion as his jaw set tightly.
“We cannot do anything without the Council’s approval as well as your fathers too.” Jamal said shaking his head slowly.
“With the latest turn of events? I don’t think we will have a hard time swaying the Council in our favor. After all, Father may be head of the Council, but it is a majority rule for the safety of the pack.”
“If you say so, Marik. Your brother has a talent for talking his way out of punishment.”
“The silver-tongued bastard.”
Over the course of their lives the brothers had found very little that they agreed upon, where Gaerik went one way, Marik went the other and they were constantly butting heads. Gaerik was the eldest with his twin following three short minuets after him on the day of their birth. While the two were similar in appearance they couldn’t have been anymore alike than the sun and the moon. The twin’s father, Gallen Chalicemen was the pack elder - Alpha status had been dispensed with long ago for a more democratic rule, one where each house got a vote but the old man was beginning to waver in his old age. Gaerik was his first born and stood first in line to take his fathers place as head of Council but the man he appeared to be was nothing but a mutt at the root of his behavior. Always causing trouble.
“I wonder what hole in the wall he has slunk off to now to avoid your father’s wrath.” Jamal pondered out loud, his brilliant two-toned brown eyes swept over the landscape taking in the dark clouds on the horizon. The weight of them spoke of storms and the smell tingled against his extra sensitive sense of smell telling the young wolf that the first snow fall of the year was on its way.
“No matter, I’ll find him.” Marik spoke.
Jamal’s neck snapped as he looked into the profile of his sire with a mixture of awe and bewilderment. “You mean you’re actually going to go after him?”
“I have to for a number of reasons; father would never send out a hunting party for his own son and if he can’t bring Gaerik in, then the pack can’t rule against his crimes. Partiality means a complete break down of all the laws set in motion by our forefathers, Jamal. Gaerik has to be brought in and if I have to drag him to the council’s feet in chains? So be it.”
What time is it? Her body jerked as she woke. In her sleep Elle had rolled onto her stomach, the side of her face laying on the flat surface of her latest manuscript, neatly put together with a large clip and a note stuck to it. Elle had been drooling in her sleep, dampening some of the paper all the way down to the mattress as she sat up on her elbows, blurry sleep-crusted eyelids forcing themselves to stay open as she looked around the dark and abandoned bedroom. How long was she out for?
Elle questioned this as she reached for the lamp and turned it on, groaning softly from the sudden shock of the light to her dark adjusted pupils. Holding her head down for a few seconds she sniffed, cleared her throat and opened her eyes again, scanning over the sheets on the bed before blurrily looking at the note stuck to the front of her manuscript.
“The best yet.”
Apparently Alice must have read the entire thing while she was asleep. Sitting up her body felt stiff from staying in the same position for so long. Rubbing her head she could feel the beginnings of a migraine coming on already. Twenty-four hours pushing caffeine on herself and then sleeping for nearly an equal amount of time was pushing it a little far and she knew she was going to pay for it in the form of a major headache. Elle needed food in her belly, nicotine, and yes more coffee. Oddly nicotine and caffeine helped stop headaches.
Swinging her legs over the side of the bed she padded down the hallway into the kitchen, finding all of the lights off in the house she felt along the wall until she found the switch, flipping the overhead on before grabbing a clean cup from the cabinet.
This could only be described as the joys of being your own boss. Elle didn’t need to worry about being late for the job that put the food on the table and kept her bank account from bleeding dry; she often looked back on those days with a small smile. It was hard but with enough drive she’d met with the day when writing was no longer a hobby, it wasn’t the part time job that most told her was a pipe dream and no matter how good the book was it might never make it to publishing. Placing her coffee cup in the microwave for a minute she reveled in the fact that those days were over.
There were three new voice mails on her cell phone which was in need of charging so while she waited for that she took her coffee into her bedroom once more, checking her e-mails to see if she’d heard anything back from her publicist, the message had been opened but no response. Julie was probably still reading and she would get back to her by tomorrow at the latest. It was her usual pattern, Julie would read her manuscripts up one side and down the other, three shades from Sunday to make sure that it was absolutely perfect - it’s what Elle paid her to do.
Checking her messages two were from her ex boyfriend who turned out to be really big into the bear scene after three years together and one was a questionnaire asking if she was happy with her phone carrier. That last one made her roll her eyes softly as she finished her first cup of coffee and went for another before looking inside of the fridge to see what she could eat - finding nothing of real interest she opted for ordering out after soaking in a nice hot bath, at this point Elle couldn’t remember the last time she’d bathed and that was never a good thing. Sometimes she got so caught up in her work she forgot how to do everything except breathe.
When she first bought this house one of the things that she had fallen in love with was the claw-foot bath tube, but now a year and a half later it was safe to say that her love affair with that tube was over. It was to much work moving the shower curtains around when you wanted to take a bath and then fixing them back inside of the tube if you needed to jump in for a quick shower. As the basin filled she was considering a bathroom remodel, maybe she would have an extra bathroom added to the house since there was only one, then she would have this one remodeled that way she wasn’t forced to stay somewhere else or use someone else’s bathroom when she needed to cleanse herself of the dirt of the day. Elle didn’t know much about renovations aside from what she saw on home improvement shows and they usually made it all look easy. Any project that big couldn’t possibly be so easy.
Lighting a candle and grabbing her cigarettes she stripped before sinking into the hot water, releasing the drain on the tube as she turned off the cold water altogether. Leaning back her cigarette bobbed from her lips for a moment as she watched the steam rise up from her body as the water rose.
As a full time writer this was the part that she never liked, the period of time after you finish a big project. When you’ve spent months pouring your blood, sweat and tears into something to make it absolutely perfect when in actuality it’s impossible to make it perfect, there will always be a flaw in the design but eventually you have to let the bird out of the nest and see whether or not it’s going to crash and burn or soar into the heavens. It is your obsession for months on end and when it is finished you don’t know exactly what to do with yourself for a little while. It’s like having a favorite show or a series of books when it all ends you’re left sitting on your hands questioning, ‘Well, now what do I do?’ Elle once considered going on vacation, get some new experiences to put into her books but she never liked traveling, it was exhausting and once she reached her destination she couldn’t enjoy it because she suddenly began to think of all the things that she could have been doing at home.
Certainly she had plenty of other projects she could work on but her head was still in another game right now. It would take a few weeks before she could concentrate on anything else.
Rinsing her wash cloth out in the water she squeezed the excess out before folding it and laying it over her eyes. Elle wasn’t sleepy anymore; the twelve hour nap took care of that which meant she was probably going to be awake the rest of the night. Employing a meditation technique she breathed in to the count of four, exhaled eight. She needed to relax and stop the wheels in her head from spinning eighty miles per hour.
For whatever reason after each book was finished she went through a series of mild panic attacks afraid that the last book would literally be the last book. In high school she dreamed of becoming a writer but life has a tendency for getting in the way. After high school she went straight to work in retail and never seemed to have the time to sit down and finish a project then she caught a break. Elle found time to write, to buckle down and actually finish something and while those first few books never reached the public it was still thanks to them that she had the courage to write well and long. Then to her great surprise after the release of her first book she found out there was actually a market for what she was selling and the devoted fans started pouring in, publishers sought her out, throwing ridiculously large sums of money at her to sign with them. Now three years later she had authored two series and five stand alone novels with the potential of becoming a series or at least having certain characters cross over.
Elle had to remind herself that she wasn’t drying up; the creative pool was still swelling with ideas. So many people told her that she would never make it and perhaps with the end of each book she feared her own literary mortality creeping up on her. Of course one day she might retire but she didn’t see why that had to be a reality, at this point in her life she was devoting her entire self to her career with no room for anything or anyone else but who was to say that one day that might still be so?
She was beautiful; artic blues memorized each curve and line of her features that he could see while his mind made up the rest of the details for him. The picture his private detective brought him was battered between his thumb and index fingers but it mattered very little as he ran a calloused digit down the middle of the glossy photo. Gaerik Chalicemen had never been denied anything in his life, much less the company of a beautiful woman - any woman that he chose if he was being honest with himself and he prided himself on never lying about his physical prowess.
Twelve months ago he had achieved success in one of his lesser conquests, his brother’s beloved secretary JoAnn. Of course after their tryst he reported her to human resources, they were after all both employees of the company and she’d ignored company policy when she spread her legs for him but JoAnn wasn’t what mattered here. While at her apartment he noticed she had a lot of books from one author in particular, LRR Hood. One battered copy was laying face down on the coffee table holding her place and the title had made him curious.
Since then Gaerik was obsessed with finding out who this woman was who seemed to understand so much about his people.
Obviously her real name wasn’t Little Red Riding Hood that would have been a little too on the nose so it took some digging trying to find out this woman’s true identity and it had finally paid off. Six months prior one of his contacts came in with a name and Gaerik had been watching Elle Marshal ever since with the plans of one day making her his.