For five years Renaud Brunet has worked for his uncle as a deputy in Xavier Parish, far away from the ballet world of New York, London, Moscow, Australia—all of it.
He’s also avoided feminine entanglements, in spite of a very lusty female werewolf on his tail.
Word Count: 31,378
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Amber Moon, May 2008
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
Twenty-two year old, Cili Kozma, sat huddled in the bleachers of the ice skating rink steeping in her own misery. She didn’t hear her best friend and mentor come and sit beside her. When she felt Lorelei Allemande Martine’s arm go around her, Cili turned to her and burst into tears.
The two women were the same height at five feet and one inch, and had the same delicate build. Both were very attractive, but that’s where their physical similarities ended. Rory Martine had short, golden blonde hair with moss green eyes and pale features. She had a straight little nose and a generous mouth.
Cili had dark brown hair that swung past her shoulders, dark brown eyes, and a round, child-like face. Her eyes were wide and innocent, her nose was pert and perfect and she had a bow-shaped mouth with a full lower lip. Cili often wished she looked more like Rory.
“What’s the matter, Honey?” Rory asked her, soothingly.
“I’m tired of this life and these people, Rory.” In a lower voice, she said, “Roger Grainger wouldn’t take no for an answer last night. He hurt me.”
“You better tell me what happened, CeeCee,” demanded a deep Southern voice. Cili wondered how Rory’s husband always heard the bad stuff over the sound of the children squealing and everything else.
She’d been working with Rory for eight years now—whenever the thirty-one year old agreed to dance professionally. Cili had become close friends with the family and had a good relationship with their two children, nine-year-old Paul, and six-year-old Ivanna. Paul had been a baby when Lorelei came back to the ballet company. Cili had been in awe of her and in love with the baby. War had decided that the thirteen year old needed parents and had stepped into the role of father instantly.
“Don’t worry, DW, he didn’t get anywhere, he only hit me.” She fought to keep the tears at bay. She talked low so that he couldn’t hear how hoarse her voice was.
“Let me see!” War growled, confidant in his paternal authority.
Cili couldn’t disobey Warrick Martine–he was the father she’d never had. Just like Ivanna would have done, she reluctantly turned her head so that her swollen cheek was plainly visible. She didn’t realize that there were also clear, finger-shaped bruises on her throat. That became obvious to her when War began swearing in both English and Cajun.
War moved up beside her, taking her into his arms and patting her back soothingly. Rory sat on her other side and hugged her, as well. Soon, the entire Martine family was hugging her and reassuring her.
Finally, Rory shooed everyone away and took Cili by the hand. They both stepped onto the ice, skating and talking at the same time.
“Cili, I think I have a solution for you if you’re interested.” Rory looked at her intently. Cili waited. “Warrick and I have been considering having someone, like a nanny, stay with the kids in Louisiana this season while I tour.”
“Okay,” Cili said, carefully.
“If you’re interested, you’d be perfect because you’re family anyway.” Lorelei smiled and squeezed Cili’s shoulder. “You could open the ballet school again, if you want. Or go back to school or work on your designs .... ”
“Oh, Lorelei, that sounds so great! I would love that so much! Are you sure you’d really want to trust me with your children?” Cili was afraid to hope this could be real.
“Of course, silly. I’d feel so much better with you instead of a stranger. And, if you needed help, my brother will be there. Ren has a little apartment in the house and, of course, the kids love him. He’ll be working a lot so he shouldn’t be underfoot.”
“When can I start?” Cili asked with a grin.
“You can go whenever. In fact, go right away and get a head start. We’re going to take the kids and visit my uncle in Connecticut. After that, we’ll fly the kids home so they won’t miss any school, okay?”
“What about the ballet company?” she worried. Would she be able to get a leave of absence? Would they come after her?
“Don’t worry, Honey. Warrick and I will take care of it, okay?” Lorelei promised her.
Cili left for Louisiana that very evening.