“This free story is dedicated to all the fans of the Blue-Collar Werewolves.
Length: Short Story
Word Count: 6,356
Genre: Paranormal/Werewolf Romance
Available formats: PDF, RTF, HTML
© Cover Art by Jenny Dixon
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.Dedication and Forward
This story is dedicated to all the fans of the Blue-Collar Werewolves. Finding this stuck in an old file was a fun surprise. This piece was written just after Weremones came out. I wrote several scenes with the intention of a book about Diana’s adventures as she establishes herself as the alpha female of the Anderson County Pack.
I’ve edited it up just for you guys.
- Buffi BeCraft
The furry jerk was in the house somewhere. Diana Ridley knew it. A combination of her empathic abilities and the new metaphysical connection she now possessed, gave her a lot of insight to the local werewolf pack. That and the scent of coffee she had not brewed wafted from the kitchen. Besides, where else would a werewolf pack hang out, but at her house? Never mind that they hated to be referred to as werewolves. They were wolven, more powerful and among and socially superior to their werecousins.
At least, that was Adam Weis’s stand on the matter. Furry elitist jerk.
Diana stormed down the hallway leading to the kitchen. Her bare feet slapped against the hardwood floor, announcing her entry and her churning emotions. Her scent probably preceded her. By whatever means, the three men, muscled prime beefcake material were forwarned and watched her entrance in various states of wariness. Ha! She thought. They should be more than wary. Letting themselves into her house. Sucking down her good mail-order coffee.
Diana ignored the golden blond god and the African-American version of Adonis and slapped the crumbled letter in front of the alpha leader of the pack, the Canis Pater, Adam Weis. A sexy dimple emerged with his killer smile and Adam held out a mug. His pale blue, husky colored eyes met hers with a special warmth reserved especially for her. Her fingers itched to touch the white blond strands of hair that escaped the tie at the back of his neck and fell across a high cheekbone. Oooo. He was good and he knew it. The man was sexy. Diana tried unsuccessfully to smother the heat that unfurled in her belly. She narrowed her gaze and met his without flinching.
“Coffee, my sweet?”
“Don’t try to butter me up.” Adam grinned at her comeback, full of suggestion. Amusement danced in his eyes. She knew exactly where his male, one track mind was heading and headed him off before he tried to weasel his way out of this mess. “I mean it buster. You knew everyone thought we’d done that mate thing.”
Diana slapped a hand on the paper and glared harder at him. He grasped her wrist and slid the paper away from her abuse. Gently he smoothed the sheet with both hands, glancing over the formal gold lettering. His expression was inscrutable while he considered the contents. When he looked up all trace of amusement was gone. In its place was a look of profound patience. That irritated her more. Her sound of frustration was not a growl. Humans didn’t growl at their boyfriends. Still the other two slouched into their seats with the most non-threatening posture, bordering on sloppy, that they’d ever had and buried their noses in their coffee cups.
“Sweetheart, you are the Matra Canis. Pack Mother.” Adam practically sighed. “We’re dating. Of course the other packs are going to think you are my mate. Usually, the two go hand in hand.”
“Or paw in paw.” Chase was the only one laughing at his humor. He cleared his throat and slunk to the coffee pot to suck down more of her gourmet beans.
Diana crossed her hands under her breasts and tried not to feel defensive because she’d refused him. She had become Pack Mother, not because she wanted to, or because Adam had wanted her to, but because the pack chose her. Her sweet, needy boys.
The pack originally consisted of five teenagers that Adam had rescued from abuse. For some reason the boys had latched on to her. The other two sexy men at the table were Adam’s new wardens and pack members. As wardens, golden Chase and dark elegant Tank, were like the pack bodyguards. Adam had even defied convention and made Karen, Diana’s daughter and another male, both human psychics like Diana official members of the pack. Then, there was Tamara, the bubbly wolven female that Diana never quite knew what to say around. If Tamara wasn’t so freaking nice and blond, Diana might have had a reason to dislike her. As it was, the other woman had latched on to her just like one of the boys.
And she was going out with Adam. Dating and the best sex she’d ever had in her life. But she hadn’t made the last commitment he’d been pushing for the last several months. It was a decision she planned to make very carefully. Mating was serious magical ju-ju with no back-out clause. There could be no divorce to save her from a second marital mistake.
Adam folded the paper with neat, precise creases and laid it down on her worn kitchen table. A lot more worn and scratched with the pack’s regular use. He pinned her with a steady gaze.
“Look honey, Even without taking the mate’s bond, you are still alpha female. It’s only an invitation to a baby shower. You don’t have to go.” He was as clueless as the rest of the male species. Diana wanted to slap the long-suffering attitude right out of his chauvinistic werewolf mug.
“Nooo,” She drew the word out. Two could play at this game. “It’s not just a baby shower. I have to go. It’s your nephew. In your old pack.”
The idiot just blinked. Diana growled at him and snatched the invitation back. “I am not going to blow off an invitation from your parents. Who just happen to run one of the biggest packs in Texas.”
“Mara’s more like a stepmother and there’s only about ten territories in the state.” Adam calmly held out his cup for a refill.
“Arrggh!” Diana stormed off. Let his lackeys refill his cup. She wasn’t going to let him get to her, or guilt her into making a commitment she wasn’t ready to make. And someone owed her some freaking expensive coffee. Adam sighed and took a swig of the coffee refill. God, the woman had some amazing coffee. He could never find stuff like it on the store shelf. On either side of him, the tension began to slide from Chase and Tank. He gave his wardens a faint smile and a shrug.
What was a guy to do when his woman kept saying no?
“Don’t worry boss. She’ll come around.” Chase stood up and slugged down the rest of his coffee. The extra long braid slapped at his tee shirt covered back, telling Adam that his new wardens planned to ride their bikes in today.
“C’mon Tank. Time to hit the road if we’re going to keep working.” The blond wolven male stretched, cup hanging from his fingertip. Adam snatched the mug before it dropped. There were enough broken things around this house and his own with the boys running around.
“Where are you guys crashing tonight?”
“Here.” Tank, the larger of the two, gathered up breakfast dishes and carried them to the sink with the ease of someone who felt right at home. Within moments, he had the dishwasher loaded and humming through its first cycle.
It was a valid question. The two wardens may have found a job at a local bike shop, motorcycles not bicycles, but they hadn’t settled yet in any one place. Adam’s house was full to bursting with the most of the boys and Tamara staying there until she found a place. Some nights ,Chase and Tank settled on Diana’s living room floor, content as two pups. No, three. Adam spied the wolf slinking into the kitchen for a drink out of bowls sitting in the raised trays by the sliding glass door. Brandon rarely took human form or left his Alpha Matra’s residence. Adam shook off his would-be mate’s commitment issues and his pack’s nomadic tendencies and got to his feet. He had a plan to fix the last issue at least and a lot of work yet to finish.
The wolf’s feet skittered in four different directions. The ripe smell of fear spiked in the room as Brandon nearly knocked over his water bowl. Head ducked, the wolf glanced up at Adam. His tail was so low, that it might have been tucked underneath. Serious and solemn, his eyes were more animal than human in the brown and gray patterned face. Adam detested his failure to stop the boy’s regression. He didn’t know how to get through to the boy inside the animal, but kept trying. “I’m heading out to a job site. You want to ride along? Your tools are in the back of the truck.”
The wolf cocked his head to the side. He considered Adam’s offer. As the Pater Canis, Adam’s link to the pack allowed him to feel some of the turmoil inside the wolf. The boy, buried inside the wolf, was tempted. Brandon liked working on the construction site, working with his hands and body, the feeling of accomplishment in a job well done. The wolf was afraid. The wolf won. He whined and slunk back out of the room.
Adam sighed. It was shaping up to be another perfect day.
Diana felt horrible. She’d behaved like a harpy, thrown a tantrum and retreated back to her room. The large oval standing mirror in the corner drew her. Diana stared at her reflection and wondered at the woman staring back at her. She hardly recognized herself anymore. She didn’t know what was eating at her, but she’d better figure it out soon and stop snapping at everyone around her.
She looked back down at the expensive vellum invitation and opened it so that the gold lettering was visible. It was Saturday and she had eight hours to find a gift for a brand new baby werewolf, er wolven, and find the right attitude to meet her boyfriend’s family. No problem.
Diana jumped and jerked around at a thump on her bedroom door. She winced at a crash in the hallway. The door opened and two furry figures tumbled into her bedroom. Ferocious growls and snarls came from the combatants. There was no blood…yet.
“Mark. Seth. Stop it.”
Diana punctuated her words with a hot flash of her psychic abilities. A neat little trick she had recently figured out how to do, either because her own abilities were growing or because of her new status as the female pack alpha, she didn’t know. Whatever the reason, the heat and sting had he desired result. The fur separated into two distinct boy sized colors. Tan, covered in a bright red tee shirt bearing the words, SKATE OR DIE and a dark brown form in a plain green tee. Their jeans were ripped and stained though their high dollar tennis shoes were in pristine condition. Their eyes were wide in fuzzy faces. Both fang filled mouths, designed for ripping and tearing, were dropped in surprise. Sharp claws tipped their hands and probably their toes too. Diana couldn’t imagine ever being frightened of the boys. To her they were more cuddly than fearsome. She dropped her hands to her hips.
“What do you two think you’re doing?”
Mark’s pronounced muzzle stretched into a half-boy half wolf grin. He leaned heavily on his darker colored pack brother. Seth didn’t seem to mind. His body went slack, signaling his surrender and let the more dominant boy take the lead. Mark absently scratched at Seth’s back with his sharp claws. “Adam said we’re supposed to stay with you today.”
Diana turned a hard eye on the boys. “Uh-huh. Why is that? What happened?” It was Saturday, supposedly chore day at the Weis household.
Mark shrugged. “Stupid lawnmower broke and he’s got to go to work. He didn’t have time to look at it.” Diana crossed her arms and stared down hard until Mark began to fidget. That didn’t take much. The boy was always on the move. She didn’t blame Adam for not wanting to leave them alone. Mark and Seth were the youngest of the pack and Mark was very accident-prone. Not to himself, but to everything around them. “It wasn’t me.” The bright blue eyes blinked in introspection, then Mark shrugged. “But the oil could have been supposed to go in the other hole.”
Diana sighed and waved her hands at them. “Shoo. Get cleaned up. I’m not dragging a bunch of raggedy werewolves around all day.”
That got them up. Indignation raised Seth’s dark brown muzzle. “Adam says we’re wolven. Not werewolf monster movie trash.”
Diana suppressed a smile. For all their supposed distrust, the boys quoted their leader a lot. They didn’t even know how attached to Adam they were. “Okay. Get your wolven rears in gear. I’ve got to go shopping. Look in the laundry room. Clean clothes and no excess body hair.”
“Shop-ping!” Moans and groans of pain followed them out. Maybe a day tagging around behind her in the uncool parts of the store would make them think twice about sabotaging the lawnmower next time. Outside her door, there was a bump and several growls. The loud thumping of running feet. Diana walked to the door and stuck her head out. “No dogfights in the house. You hear me?” Diana closed her eyes against the sound of a yelp and the bumpity-bump of someone tumbling down the steps.
“We’re not dogs!”
“Yeah! We’re not dogs!”
Their voices warbled up the stairwell. Thank goodness no one was hurt and even if they were, a supernatural’s constitution was amazing. Their bodies held off sickness and disease efficiently. Bruises and lacerations healed nearly overnight. Broken bones mended in a week. Their blood was a miracle-healing agent.
“Keep it up and one of you is going to wind up with a broken neck. How long do you think that will take to heal?” Diana called back down. She waited to hear retreating footsteps before closing the door.
“Hi, Mom. Are you going somewhere?” Karen poked her head into the bedroom. Her daughter’s precognition were a little unnerving sometimes, but this time, Diana had the feeling a little eavesdropping had been going on.
“Want to go to a baby shower?”
Karen’s face was bright and animated. Her brown eyes glowed. She was one hundred percent cheerleader.
“No. Bradley is taking me to Saturday practice. We’ll grab something to eat while we’re out.”
A flash of unease went through Diana. “Karen.”
A frown marred Karen’s pretty clean features. “Mom. Get a grip. Bradley and I are dating. That’s it.” She bit her bottom lip and slipped into the room, shutting the door behind. Her voice was low. She cut her eyes at the door as if one of the boys were outside listening. “Mom, I know you have reservations… about everything.” Karen shifted her feet back and forth. Her nervous gesture transmitted to Diana.
“Hon, What are you trying to tell me?” Her daughter hesitated, then reached underneath the back of her shirt. She pulled out a large envelope. Her hands gripped the grayish paper so hard her knuckles were white. Diana took the envelope with the same delicacy as if she were handling a snake. The words of her chosen university were typed in the top left hand corner. She looked up at her daughter.
“It’s from a college in Houston. There’s a program I qualify for. With that, a student loan, and a partial scholarship from my cheerleading, I can take care of my expenses myself.”
“I see.” Diana felt her heart squeeze. Houston was hours away. Her last baby was making plans to leave the nest. It seemed all her fears of not being needed anymore were finally coming to fruition. Diana mustered a smile. “You can do anything you set your mind to. Do you know yet what you want to study?”
Diana had tried, unsuccessfully, before to find out what Karen’s interests were. Mostly, her daughter was interested in animals, sports, and music. Very general terms that didn’t translate into any particular career goal. Karen laughed. Her eyes filled with tears that she wiped away with the back of her hand. Diana felt her daughter take hold of her fear and uncertainty. An exotic animals vet.”
“Wow. That’s big.” Diana crossed her arms, tucking the envelope under. She raised her eyebrows high. “Any particular reason why?”
Karen’s laugh was less strained this time. She sobered fast. “Oh, Mom. Bradley’s going to have a fit. He hates when I go out of the territory.” Oh drat. This was going to turn into one of those mother-daughter talks. Diana took her daughter’s hand and led her to the bed. She sat, pulling Karen to sit beside her. “Honey, I hate to point out the obvious, but I’m going to. You aren’t married.”
A sudden horrifying thought crossed Diana’s brain. “You and he have’t… done that mate thing have you?”
“Oh, Mom.” Karen rolled her eyes. Diana pushed down the irritation at the gesture.
“We haven’t done anything. For so long we were just trying to keep the younger ones safe.” It amazed Diana how her daughter had led such a double life so early and so successfully. Bradley and her daughter had managed to keep the old pack alpha away from the younger three boys. Poor Brandon, Bradley’s twin, had gotten the brunt of Garrick’s foul attention. Brandon’s emotional scars ran so deep, he hardly came out of wolf form these days. He’d missed so much school with little hope of going back anytime soon, that Adam had pulled Brandon out and told everyone that the boy had decided to home-school.
“Okay. So you haven’t made that kind of commitment to him. If you want to go away to college, then go.” The words hurt, but Diana forced them out anyway. She’d learned the hard way with her son Matt that she couldn’t hold them here.
“But, the pack…”
“Will be fine.”
“But I’ve never been so far away on my own.”
Diana squeezed her daughter’s hand. “I get the idea that you are more worried about how Bradley will fare than the others.”
Karen pulled her hand away. She turned her head away, picked at the blue flowers on Diana’s comforter, then smoothed over the satin finish. “What if… what if he finds someone else while I’m gone.”
Karen turned to face her mother. Tears pooled in her eyes. Diana leaned in and captured her daughter’s face between her hands. “Then you will have to deal with some very grown up heartache. You’re sixteen—“
Diana let go and leaned back on her hands. “Okay. Seventeen. Just don’t let your fear keep you from achieving your dreams.”
Diana’s advice to her daughter ran through her head while she drove to the Supercenter for a present for Adam’s new nephew. Beside her, Brandon, in human form, stared out the window, lost in his own world. That was a new rule. Nobody furry went to the store with Diana.
“Keep on your own side butt-face.”
“I’m not on your side. You’re taking up my side. Move over.”
Diana let Mark and Seth’s arguing from the backseat roll over her for now. She’d overcome some of her relationships fear by letting the pack into her life. She was dating Adam wasn’t she? Not that she had any problems dating a hunky guy that literally panted after her.
It was the commitment, the thought of being trapped in another disastrous marriage that frightened the spit out of her. And she wasn’t stupid, becoming Adam’s mate would be the ultimate commitment. It was some kind of magical, permanent, binding. No divorce option.
At the store, Brandon crowded close and fell into step beside her. His shoulders slumped while he kept a silent and vigil eye on the parking lot.
“Can we go to the video games?” Seth bumped into Diana’s other side. His dark face turned up, excitement bright in his eyes.
“Yeah!” Mark ran ahead and turned around, jogging backwards in front of Diana. “Do you think Adam’s mom and dad will come back for Christmas? They’re awesome.”
Diana hadn’t met Cheryl and William Weis last summer after Grady Dobbs had tried to kill her and Karen. She’d been too busy with work and trying to get through to a traumatized Brandon while Adam cleared the werecoyotes out of his territory. She’d heard all about the wonderful and extraordinary Gramma Cheryl and Grampa Will from Karen and the boys. That didn’t make her any more eager to meet Adam’s relatives.
“Can we go to the video games? We don’t want to look at stupid baby stuff.” Mark dodged a grocery cart with the same agile grace that all the wolven pack possessed. Seth’s hand found Diana’s sweater sleeve and he hung on. Diana didn’t mind the touchie feelie nature of the pack. She felt and understood their need to touch and be touched. At least she did now. At first the tingles from the constant brushes and small touches weirded her out. She finally realized that the tingles were the result of tiny magical energy exchanges. Somehow the energy exchanges were necessary for pack’s wellbeing.
“Can we get something to eat? I’m hungry. Aren’t you hungry too, Brandon?” Brandon glanced over and shrugged off Seth’s question, then returned to whatever thoughts consumed his mind these days. In his human form, Diana could see that he’d lost even more weight. His clothes already hung on him and he could ill afford to lose more. She worried for his mental and physical state.
Diana stopped and freed her arm enough to look at her watch. She sighed and pulled her purse around enough to dig for her wallet. “Okay guys, here’s some money to get something to eat. Don’t get into trouble.” Diana suppressed the urge to wince as she handed Brandon a twenty. Adam was sooo going to take up the slack in her finances that feeding the constantly hungry wolven teens took.
“All right!” Mark pumped a fist into the air. “You rock!” The blond boy spun around and darted to the sliding double doors.
“I’m going to page you when I’m ready!”
With an assortment of baby supplies in her basket, Diana took a moment to smell the flowers. Under the shaded canopy of the garden center, Diana bent to admire the late blooming flowers.
“Nice view.”She jerked around, grinning at the short statured man behind her.
“Jax.” Jaxeramilix the gnome gave her a friendly leer. His expensively cut white hair lay against the collar of his pale blue name brand button up shirt. A white close trimmed beard and mustache gave his pointed features respectability and set off the odd marine quality color of his aqua colored eyes.
“In town on business?” Diana couldn’t imagine anything short of a financial emergency bringing the gnome into wolven territory. Jax had told her often enough to stay far away from the super powered supernaturals.
On the other side of the aisle of bright purple, pink, and blue petunias, beside the display of plastic garden gnomes, turtles, and other small critters, Xena, warrior princess paused in her perusal of the little people. Power unlike she’d ever experienced radiated from the woman.
Diana blinked. Xena even had a sword buckled over her leather costume. There had been a time that Diana would have assumed Xena in a Supercenter meant a publicity thing. Now it meant a potentially dangerous thing that could get her hurt. At least no one had threatened to eat her yet. Already her day was looking up.
Jax bowed from the waist, completely at ease. He reached only a couple of inches higher than her waist. His gaze shifted up from her breasts to her face. The lascivious twinkle faded from his eyes, replaced by concern. “My lady, I’ve come to check up on my favorite girl. I’ve been hearing some interesting things about your… ah, activities.”
Diana straightened and looked down at her friend. She could never read Jax as correctly as humans. Usually, he was amused at everything and lusting after every female that crossed his eyes. Now, all she could determine was calm. A deep well of calm that didn’t feel like Jax at all.
Diana crossed her arms. She tried not to stare at the warrior woman. That would be rude, and the lady had a sword. A really big, glowy, Conan the Barbarian type sword. “Excuse me?”
“Your association with the local Canis Pater.” A part of her felt threatened. Okay, she felt a lot threatened. Diana took the couple of steps to her basket. Retreat and make your stand. It always amazed her how security or the police were never around when the freaky people started making moves in her direction. Her tone turned cool.
“You know Jax, I don’t think that my personal life is any of your business.”
“See? I told you that humans can be so unreasonable.” A fluttery burst of action drew Diana’s attention. Xena the leather clad dominatix barely glanced at the intrusion.
Glitter shimmered around the form of a Barbie doll sized woman. Perfect almond shaped eyes. Perfect beach bunny boobs. And a tiny-tiny waspish waist over flared hips. Her perfect heart shaped mouth pouted. Her iridescent wings hummed in the air like a humming birds, creating a breeze that fluttered the trailing edges of her orange toga style wrap around dress. Just once, Diana wanted to meet a supernatural woman that didn’t look so darned perfect. She was starting to get a complex. Fairy Barbie’s dress started orange like her hair, graduating to bright yellow. The fairy lady’s feet were bare.
The small woman rotated in the air until she faced Jax. Her high pitched voice was testy. “No Jaxeramilix, You have not finished my introduction to the Canis Matra of the Anderson pack. Do not allow your male parts to rule your judgment.” Nidia shifted back around to Diana, a diminutive queen gracing the commoners with her presence. Though Diana had to admit, having been around Tank all summer, the aristocratic mien didn’t awe her much anymore.
And since she’d finally passed the phase of going all drooly and hormonal over the men in the pack, Diana saved most of her fantasy moments for illicit dreams of Adam. Apparently, drinking all that wolven blood after her two attacks had affected her human body. For awhile she’d wanted to jump all her sexy new grown up pack mates.
Poor Adam had been on pins and needles, growling and casting territorial glares everywhere. Then Tank had had mercy and told her that one of the side effects, one of the changes since she’d never actually Change, was that she’d gone into heat. Diana still wasn’t sure whether to be disgusted or alarmed. She’d definitely gone and refilled her birth control prescription though. She been delighted with weight loss of her slightly boosted metabolism. She still wasn’t model material, just not so seriously pudgy. Apparently, wolven had a thing for soft, plump females. Especially one really tall, seriously buff alpha wolf. For the longest she couldn’t understand what Adam saw in her. Because she felt every hot lustful possessive emotion he had toward her, she accepted that he apparently wanted her. And she wanted him. Even when irked at Fido for not telling her there was more to this den mother thing than riding herd on five teenage wolven and her daughter.
Now she was scheduled to do politics tonight with his family, not to mention Fairy Barbie here holding court in the Wal-Mart garden center.
“Gnomes rarely make decent servants.” Her tiny orange head tilted to study Diana. “I had heard rumors of a human Canis Matra, but had dismissed them as the fanciful imaginings of the ill favored.”
“I’m pretty sure I’m the first. I wasn’t aware that the fairies kept up with wolven politics.” Diana tried to keep her eye on Xena during the conversation, but her gaze kept slipping away, until she finally forgot about the possible threat the woman posed, then the woman herself.
The fairy claimed the majority of her attention. “It’s just as well anyway.” Fairy Barbie studied the tips of her dainty fingers. Diana thought she could see tiny dots of color. Nidia looked through her lashes. She smiled, a slow curve of her lips that would be put to better use aimed at a male. “ He who claims the wood cannot treaty with you anyway.”
Diana tried pasting a pleasant smile on her face and tilted her head to one side while she tried to keep up with the conversation. Some habits were just catching. “Sorry. I’m not sure I’m following you. What do you mean by he who claims the wood?” It wasn’t like she was making international decisions with a lumberjack or anything.
Nidia looked as irritated as one of Mark’s teachers.
Maybe Diana needed to get one of the guys to give her a better job description. Was she supposed to be involved in the political stuff. Because whatever Tinker-slut here was chiming about felt political to her. Diana liked Nidia less and less and wanted to end the conversation soon.
The fairy flew to Diana, hovering head height. One glamorous eyebrow arched expectantly. Diana decided that all that flying might be tiring. She raised her hand palm up and hoped it wasn’t an insult. Apparently, it wasn’t. Nidia sank into her hand and stretched her legs out over Diana’s wrist letting the fabric of her dress fall where it may. The fairy lounged back against Diana’s fingers. For a doll sized creature, Nidia weighed less than Diana would have guessed.
Her gemlike eyes fracture and sparkled with color. With all the colors of the spectrum, and more. Diana felt dazed, pulled into the colors. Nidia’s voice pulsed pleasantly in tune with the vibrant colors. “You and I are going to be such fabulous friends.”
There was something she should remember about fairies. Had Adam said anything about them? Just thinking about him caused her attention to redirect to the pack. She to just go with it. Her well ordered house had collapsed around her ears last summer when the pack adopted her. Diana shrugged, careful not to dislodge the fairy. She didn’t remember what the fairy said and the colors were beginning to give her a bit of a headache. Diana looked away. Wasn’t there someone else in the garden center? She glanced a Jax. Oh, yeah. The fairy and Jax were friends.
Nidia’s arrogant irritation hummed in the air like a swarm of bees.
“Diana.” Jax interrupted. Concern radiated from the lines in his face.
“Silence gnome.” Nidia looked down her nose at Jax.
Diana pushed at the sluggish energy that had taken up residence in her mind. She noticed that Nidia was beginning to glow. Jax reached for Diana and was suddenly knocked bay by the lean frame of an incensed wolven male. The fairy tumbled out of Diana’s hand.
Brandon growled at the gnome. Possessive anger roiled inside of boys. Brandon’s emotions burned hot as a star. The others were meteors streaking to her side. Brandon’s eyes tracked the gnome. In that moment, she saw the promise of death of retribution in their brown depths.
“Dude. Keep your freaky little hands to yourself.” Mark materialized beside her. Rick on the other side. A high pitched sound escaped from the fairy as a sinking feeling started in Diana’s belly. She sang like a bottle rocket and glowed twice as bright. This couldn’t be good.
Diana didn’t see Jax anymore. She was staring at the fairy as she changed colors. She floated in place at chest height and sparkled all the colors in the spectrum. Bright blues, even more brilliant orange and yellow. Fairy sparkles swirled and jetted.
Pushing the boys behind her, Diana stepped back several paces. “Man, she’s gonna blow like the fourth of July,” Rick ducked a head around her, forcing her to push him back again.
Nidia’s voice was at the same high pitched whine of a bottle rocket. “Aaaiii! This insult shall not go unpaid. Aaaiii!” She streaked up. A roman candle flying over the fern and ivy baskets hanging from the garden center canopy. “Tit for tat, human!” The fireworks shot straight up and through the dark screen, burning a small hole in the canopy. “Tit for tat! Tat-tat-tat!”
“Wicked.” Mark’s jaw hung open to his chest. His eyes were awestruck blue orbs? “Did we just piss off the fairy hordes?”
Diana blinked and looked down at Mark. He stared after the fairy with wide eyes amazement. She shook her head. She didn’t really have it in her to call down his language. They might have pissed off the fairy hordes after all. Another low, threatening growl caught her attention. Brandon hovered over where Jax was cornered underneath a tall soda shop style patio set. A stainless steel monster of a culinary barbeque grill blocked his exit. “Ahem!” Called the gnome. “a little help here.” She considered Jaxermilix the gnome for a moment. It was the little rat’s fault after all. His voice rose a little, holding what he could to his dignity. “Do you think you can call your watchdog off?”
Ungoly glee lit Rick and Mark’s eyes. “He thinks we’re watchdogs.”
“Watchwolves maybe. Watch this.”
Diana didn’t let it get any further. “Enough boys.”
She focused on Brandon, who steadily blocked Jax’s escape. For the moment, there was nothing shy or frightened about him. He looked as dangerous as any of them when provoked. “Brandon. Come. Here. Now.” She prodded at him mentally and he took a step back. Another step and he glanced at Diana before finally folding back into himself. The fangs and fur faded away. The aggression and personality drained back away into the private place he hid. Like a ghost, Brandon glided to her side. The boys gave him berth, the same distance one gives to the mentally unstable and the diseased.
Diana let it go, watching Jaxermilix the gnome ease out from under the table. He dusted off his slacks, they looked expensive and probably were considering that the gnome would have to have them custom made or suffer the embarrassment of shopping in the boys department. He retucked his shirt and passed a hand over his white. He turned an aquamarine glance at the boys before settling the full force of his glare on Diana. “Keep your hounds on a leash, will you dear?”
The boys growled. Diana settled a hand on her hip. She raised her eyebrows. “What’s up with the ballistic fairy, Jax? I thought hell would pass out popsicles before you came in a pack territory.” She waited a beat to watch the normally collected gnome fidgit. The sense that she’d forgotten something important nagged at her. “Or so you’ve said every time I invited you to visit.”
Jax regained his composure and his sculpted cheeks pulled into a leer. He ran a thumb and forefinger over his mustache emphasizing the precise jawline cut of his white beard. “Well my dear, Nidia insisted on visiting the local flora and fauna. You know how the dimitae-fairies are.” He gave an offhand motion, dismissing her ignorance. “At any rate, as her companion I could hardly let her come alone. When we noticed you, Nidia was excited about meeting you. So, being the gentleman that I am, I offered an introduction.”
“You’re not a gentleman, Jax. Manners are just a tool to get under every female’s skirt, no matter the species.” She snapped her mouth shut, appalled at her own blunt rudeness. She wouldn’t apologize though. The whole encounter just felt...hinky.
Jax’s face reddened and he pressed a hand to his chest. He may be short, but he was well formed and his chest belonged to that of a semi-serious bodybuilder. “I am crushed that you think so little of me, my dear. Species does matter.” His lips firmed into a disapproving line and the white brows came down over the aqua depths of his eyes.
Her lips twitched. She turned back to her shopping basket, settling her hands on the handle. The boys were hovering close so she had no fear about them not following while she rounded up Seth from the video games.
“Diana?” She turned back. Something indecipherable filtered across Jax’s face. She didn’t try to read his emotional state. He settled on a friendly smile, or so it looked friendly enough. “Be careful. Fairykind have a tendency to blow slights somewhat out of proportion.”
“So I do I have to watch out for a tiny winged hitman or is just the garden variety fairy fit?”
The joke went right over Jax’s head. His eyes widened and he cast a startled look up at the canopy. “Nidia wouldn’t...”
“I was just joking, Jax.” Diana couldn’t finish her wolven baby gift shopping and head home fast enough.
The End…for now.
Buffi BeCraft lives close to the East Texas woods that her werewolves roam. Still, she admits to being much more the hotel staying kind of girl, rather than the camping in a tent sort. Juggling a pack of her own filled with family, friends, and an ever-changing menagerie of pets, Buffi is working on another book.
‘The Blue-Collar Books’