Spider Monkey’s POV
I walked into the lawyer’s office, taking in the cheap furniture in the waiting room and the smell of the clientele. Walking up to the buxom redhead, I had to tap on her phone to get her attention. She must have been hired for her tits, not for her ability as a receptionist. “Excuse me? I have a ten o’clock with Mr. Caldwell.”
“Have a seat,” she replied as she went back to watching the video on her phone.
I turned and looked for somewhere relatively clean to sit, and picked a wooden chair along the wall. I didn’t have a phone along as I wanted no electronic record of this trip. I had driven down from the Bay Area to Phoenix, using an alias to stay in a hotel last night. I read a little of my latest obsession, Steamyhot’s “The Change,” on my Kindle Fire as I waited. I’d dreamed of finding my own Alpha Ned, and now I had my Vic.
I heard a door open; a woman walked out in the company of a man in a dark blue three-piece suit. He was in his fifties, a toupee covering his head looking like a badger died on it. He led her to the door and turned around. “Miss Kim?”
“Yes,” I said as I stood up and shook his hand. “Mariko Kim.”
“Jerry Caldwell. This way, please.” He walked me back through a hallway to an office with a big desk and cheap furnishings. I refused his offer of water and sat on the edge of the leather chair as he sat behind his desk. “How may I help you, Miss Kim?”
“I need legal assistance. What is your normal retainer?”
“Five thousand, more or less.”
I opened my purse and pulled out a bundle of cash, the brown label wrapping a stack of $50 bills. “I need a receipt, of course, now that I’m your client.” He was eager to do so, and I could tell he liked doing business in cash. If he was hiding income, he was more likely to go for what I wanted.
He handed the form over, having signed the bottom. I folded it and put it in my bag. “How may I help you?”
“You are also the lawyer for Susan Lamper, currently incarcerated in the Women’s Federal Correctional Institution at Tucson.”
“I cannot speak of my other clients, I have ironclad confidentiality when it comes to them,” I said.
“I have a proposal for Miss Lamper, one that I cannot make in person because of the surveillance visitors and mail are under in the system. However, you can present it to her and secure her agreement in the room reserved for lawyers and their clients.”
He sat back, thinking about it. “It would be unethical for me to do something that was against her best interests,” he said carefully. An ethical lawyer would be showing me to the door right now.
“It’s a proposal I think she will be interested in accepting. Her husband is dead, killed in the raid on the Sons of Tezcatlipoca clubhouse in Phoenix. Her two-year-old daughter is living with her aunt in a rat-infested apartment. Miss Lamper was caught smuggling drugs across the border, and sentenced under the RICO statutes for that and five other drug felonies. Chances of appeal are slim, and it will be forty years before she is eligible for parole.”
“I’m aware of her situation,” he said carefully.
“She also owes you fourteen thousand, two hundred and fifteen dollars for legal services. The Sons no longer exist, and she has no money.” He just nodded, knowing better than to say anything. “I want you to bring her this proposal. The five thousand is yours if you relay the offer; if she accepts and follows through, I will pay her legal fees in cash.”
He took the envelope, reading through carefully. His eyes raised as he saw the offer. A substantial trust fund would provide money for Susan’s daughter. $100 a month would be deposited into her canteen fund at the prison as long as she remained incarcerated. Finally, a subsidized apartment in a better neighborhood would be made available to her aunt. “She confesses and accepts a plea deal for this, and this is guaranteed?”
I handed him a card. “The funds and directions are already in Mr. Jones’ control. If she accepts, the accounts and direct deposits kick in, courtesy of a mystery relative. You broker a deal with the District Attorney in Orlando, and she confesses and signs the plea deal. I’m sure you can arrange for a concurrent sentence, so she’s out nothing. She even gets the prison cred for assaulting a police officer, even if it was with a laced cup of coffee.” I handed him a copy of the officer’s statement and a flash drive with the hospital video. “She’ll have to be credible enough to fake this. Her face and body are close enough, and I don’t think the police will question her in detail if she’s confessing.”
“She’s an accomplished liar,” he said as he looked through the folder. “How do I get in touch with you?”
“You don’t. Mr. Jones will hear of the plea agreement, and Mr. Jones will do his part to release the funds once she has done yours. I was never here.”
He stood up as I did, leaning across to shake my hand. “And it was a pleasure not meeting you.” I walked out through the lobby and back to my car, glad to be done with it. Driving north, I waited until I was in California to text Vic. “Made offer waiting”
“Thank you I love you will fly out soon”
I turned off the phone tossed it into my handbag, seeing it land near the positive pregnancy test in the baggie I was saving to show him. I smiled as I pulled back onto the interstate, thinking through ways I could tell him. I was shocked to be pregnant but thrilled to be starting a family with him. I’d only confided in Teri that I was pregnant. She assured me that Vic would be thrilled with the news. I just needed to tell him in person that he was going to be a father again.
I was glad I was so busy with the condo sale and closing up my Bay Area life, plus the cleanup I was doing with the Sons. I wanted my Vic back in my life and my bed. As soon as this big conference was over, I was taking him to a resort near Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. I’d already talked to the hotel and set up a beach wedding, barefoot and in my white bikini. I’d already sent Vic’s daughter Celeste and her husband Ted plane tickets. They were arriving the day after us, and I’d paid for them to have a week down there on their own.
Our honeymoon would be in a secluded cove with a private beach, thousands of miles from the cold of Minnesota winters.
I wasn’t packing many clothes, and I wouldn’t need them.
Greg Barks’ POV
Beloretsk Pack, Russia
My wolf shoved my will aside as the instinctual pull to find and claim my mate took over. He was howling for her in my head, our nose up and filled with the scent of gardenias and cedar. People moved away as I stalked through the main floor of the sprawling four-story log mansion. Men and women scattered in front of me as I moved to a stairway, heading upstairs and down a hallway towards the office wing. “остановить это альфа крыло (Stop, this is the Alpha wing),” a warrior said as he stepped in front of me.
“MATE,” my wolf growled. His eyes got big, and he moved turned and ran down the hall. All wolves knew of the power of the mating pull, and interfering with mates was a crime. He ran ahead to an ornate set of carved double doors, probably the Alpha’s quarters. The scent led behind another door on the right, closer to the hallway; she was in there, and she wasn’t alone. I wrested control back and pleaded for him to cooperate before we scared our mate.
I took a deep breath, letting my nose fill with her delicate scent until I was firmly in control again. I knocked on the door as warriors filled the hall behind me, the guard having called reinforcements. I heard footsteps, heavy ones from more than one person, and the door opened.
I moved my hands behind my back and stood tall, unwilling to be intimidated by the huge men who stood together. Both men were built like bears, and together they blocked my view of the room. I looked at the older one, the younger his son. “Good evening, sir. My name is Greg Barks, a Warrior in the Arrowhead Pack in the United States. My mate is in the room, may I please see her.”
The younger man spoke in Russian, translating for his father. When he stopped talking, her father was glaring at me. The father spoke for a while before the son looked at me. “I am Timur Vasiliev, and this is my father, Vasili Petrovsky. He greets your arrival with a heavy heart. Tatiana is his only daughter, and she is not of age for another two moons.” He moved his hand over, the big paw gripping it tightly. “Tatiana Vasililovna has felt the pull since you arrived. Neither of you will act on it until you have my father’s permission, and she is of age.” He moved aside, and my heart exploded at the sight of my mate, standing next to her mother. She was a vision, with curly blonde locks cascading down her back and an athletic figure in the dress that my wolf instantly loved. She was staring at me, eyes open wide, as she tried to get my scent. Her mother held her in place.
I looked back at her father. “I understand and accept your terms. I request your permission to meet her now, and to spend time with Tatiana while I am here, under the supervision of your family.” The son translated while I thought about how much this was like Michael Corleone talking to Appolonia’s father and brothers in Sicily through the translator. In both cases, the Sicilian proverb was true. Women were more dangerous than guns.
Her father’s face softened as the Russian translation flowed. With a smile, he stepped aside and motioned me into his home. “Ekatarina! Tatiana! Vodka!” That needed no translation. The two guided me over to the kitchen table, where I sat in the chair next to the big man.
Sitting caused my jeans to raise up, exposing the titanium alloy of my artificial leg and catching Timur’s eye. Sitting next to me, he spoke in Russian to his father before turning back to me. “You are the three-legged wolf we were expecting,” he said.
“I lost my foot and lower leg in a rockslide. I am fully capable of my duties with this leg,” I assured him. He translated as the ladies came in with a bottle of vodka, three glasses, and some caviar and crackers. Tatiana moved around, setting the glasses before us. I smiled and took the vodka glass from her hand. As soon as our fingers touched, a pleasurable shock traveled up my arm and to my chest. I gazed into her sky-blue eyes as she froze, and the sensation moved to my groin.
Her face flushed, and the unmistakable scent of arousal came from her core. “Татьяна держи себя в руках (Tatiana, control yourself),” her father said. She jolted herself into moving again, setting down the rest of the glasses before taking a seat across from me. I pushed my wolf down, smiling at her as her father toasted something. I swallowed the vodka, feeling the burn, and remembering the warning not to try and out-drink a Russian.
“How do you function as a wolf? We spend much time in the mountains in training.”
“I have an artificial leg for my wolf as well. I assure you I can keep up, and I will be able to protect my mate and our pups when the time comes.” The night passed quickly as her family interrogated me on my background and intentions, and I slowly learned more about my mate. We had maintained contact the whole time, my leg extended to touch her ankle, and that calmed my wolf.
Tatiana was not just the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen; she was intelligent and driven. She had graduated from the equivalent of our high schools at sixteen and was starting her sophomore year of college on a pre-med track. Her voice was as beautiful as she was, though she spoke words I couldn’t understand. I watched her face and eyes instead. “She says that as the daughter of a Head Warrior, she would serve the Pack better as a Doctor than a fighter,” Timur translated. “She wishes she had taken classes in English like her big brother suggested.”
“Both of us will need help learning another language,” I said as I reached my hand over the table, taking her fingers gently in mine. “Our love will require no translation. I will work hard and prove myself to you and your family. When we mate, I will bring you home and provide a good life for you. My Alphas would welcome a young Doctor, as his duties prevent him from doing that full-time.” She melted at my look and at the words her brother translated.
Her father said something, and she pulled her hand back into her lap. “Prove yourself first, you have two months,” her brother translated for me. “Now come, you must check into the student quarters. You can see her in two weeks when the survival training is over.”
That sounded fun. We stood, and I held my hand out to her Vasili. “Thank you for your welcome. Your daughter will be safe and happy with me.” He shook it, his grip almost breaking my hand. I kissed his mother on the cheek and was allowed a brief hug with Tatiana, and then I was escorted to the door.
Two weeks. I had two weeks until I could see her again.
Timur led me to my quarters where my bag was on one of the beds. “Congratulations,” my roommate said. He was a Beta’s son from a German pack. “The whole Pack knows of the mating.”
“I need to tell my family,” I said.
“Good luck. This place has no internet and mail once a week in the winter. You can write a letter, can you believe that?”
I sat at the desk that night and wrote a letter to Heather. I thought I was in love, but I had no idea what love was until I saw Tatiana. My wolf had fallen hard for her, and I was too. Heather was nothing to me now that I had found my mate. Vic was right; I shouldn’t have led her on. She was young and would get over it.
I pulled out a piece of paper and started to write. “Dear Heather,” I began. I knew I was breaking her heart, so I’d do it quickly.