Authors: Ambrielle Kirk
In a world where humans and shifters live side-by-side, two lives come together…
Dane Magnus fought for and won the position of Pack Alpha, but to legally inherit the land left by his late human mother, the outlaw shifter needs to marry a human.
Trina Daniels needs six figures to pay for her dad’s surgery. Money she doesn’t have. She's willing to do whatever it takes, even if it means pursuing drastic measures, such as the ruthless womanizing Dane.
But when outside sources begin to threaten their chances as well as their lives, they only have each other to rely on.
eBooks are not transferable. They cannot be sold, shared or given away as it is an infringement of the copyright of this work.
Bad Boys Series
Copyright © 2014 AMBRIELLE KIRK
Cover art by Amanda Kelsey
Edited by Trinity Scott
All Romance eBooks, LLC Palm Harbor, Florida 34684 www.allromanceebooks.com
This is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or business establishments, events, or locales is coincidental.
All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever with out written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
First All Romance eBooks publication: May 2014
“Ms. Daniels, I’m calling to tell you that we won’t be able to ship your last order to you,” the representative said.
“What?” Trina’s eyes widened and her mouth fell open. “Hold on a second.” She dropped a set of keys and handbag on the counter and took shallow breaths in an attempt to calm the escalating pulse in her veins. “There’s a large convention in town all next week. I need those supplies
to run my business.” She pressed the cell phone to her ear to make sure she was hearing correctly. “Did you just say that you’re
shipping my order?”
“Yes, ma’am.” The sound of the representative typing on the keyboard came through loud and clear. “We tried to process your credit card for payment three times. Your bank declined the transaction. Do you have another form of payment?”
Trina’s heart dropped to her stomach. “You’re kidding me, right?” There was money in her checking account. She’d just deposited the business earnings last week. How could the bank decline her purchase?
“I’m sorry, Ms. Daniels. Maybe there’s a misunderstanding. You should call your bank. We can hold your order for three business days so you can get this straightened out.”
She sighed in resignation, disconnecting the call quickly without another word. Her laptop was in the back of the store and she rushed to it with avid determination. The operating system couldn’t power up quick enough and she drummed her fingers on the desk in the little back office as the CPU hummed to life.
This was ridiculous.
Last month she’d sat down with her accountant and they’d forecasted every single expense for the upcoming month. She’d gone completely broke before due to lack of budgeting and she promised herself that it would never happen again.
However, once Trina was logged onto her bank account she realized her mistake. Her bank balance was lower than it was supposed to be. How could she have forgotten that she’d purchased emergency medication for her dad two days ago?
Money was tight these days and Trina and her father had been living from paycheck to paycheck for the last few months. As soon as earnings from the dry cleaning business rolled in, they rolled right out. Up until now, she’d succeeded in staying out of the red. It hadn’t always been this way.
Just last year, her dad was involved in a car accident that resulted in both of his legs being amputated. Without health insurance or adequate savings, the medical bills skyrocketed as a result of his recovery and the surgery. Trina’s refusal to place her parent in long-term care led her to make the life-altering decision to quit a six-figure job to help him through recovery.
The physical therapy, medications, and top-of-the-line prosthetics were expensive. The dry cleaning business kept a roof over their head and food on the table, but month after month she pinched from her own retirement savings after all their credit cards were maxed out to pay for his care.
Trina picked up the purchase order for the overhead supplies for next week and compared it to her bank balance. She was a little over one hundred dollars short, which was enough reason for the bank to decline the charge.
She sat back in her chair and released an exasperated sigh. Something had to be done—fast. There was another ten days left until the end of this month and judging from the amount of money in her account, it was barely enough to get by
run a business.
The bell chimed over the entry door to the store. The first customer for the day. She should have been delighted to start the week off with the boost in earnings local businesses expected to bring in during the big convention coming to their small town, but this morning’s news had already put a damper on her spirit.
“Hello,” the customer called out.
Trina rose from her chair and went to greet the customer, a middle-aged women with a pile of dresses in her arms. “Good morning. How may I help you?”
“I need these dresses cleaned and I’d like to pick them up in two days.”
“No problem.” Trina zoned out as she wrote up the order.
The woman looked around the shop nervously as Trina keyed the information into the system.
“How will you be paying today?”
There was a spark of gold around the woman’s irises. It wasn’t a natural reaction, but Trina had witnessed this type of response before. Her non-human customers were always very wary of their surroundings, just like the woman standing here. Before Trina could stare anymore, the woman averted her gaze, looked down at the counter, and held out her credit card. “Credit, please.”
On the card was an emblem in the corner unique to the non-human population in America, which confirmed Trina’s suspicions. The woman was a shifter.
Trina didn’t play favorites when it came to customers. Money was money, and it didn’t matter between which hands it was exchanged. But not everyone in the country had the same beliefs and formed their own opinions about shifters.
Thirty years had passed since it had been discovered that shifters lived among them.
To this day, no one could determine if the discovery of two wolf pups and a human-like baby left inside a bassinet outside of a church was by accident or intentional. Many concluded that some poor mother couldn’t care for her child, so left the responsibility with the church. At the time, no explanation as to why the wolf pups were in the bassinet with the baby—except to keep it warm—was given.
The wolf pups were released to a wild life conservation center, but the baby was taken into the custody of Child Protective Services. When doctors investigated her DNA in an effort to find the parents, the results revealed some not-so-human qualities. The information was leaked by a scientist and the government had no choice but to reveal that non-humans lived among us.
Just like the woman standing in Trina’s dry cleaning store.
The woman cleared her throat and thrust the card toward Trina again. “Don’t you still accept our payments?”
“Sorry, yes I do.”
Trina completed the transaction at the cash register.
When the shifter left the store, she grabbed her cell phone and thumbed through the phone log in search of the number to her retirement fund servicer. The last time, she’d told herself she wouldn’t take another distribution, but if she didn’t do something she and her father could end up living on the streets.
Dane Magnus slid into a booth the moment it became empty and picked up the menu. Breakfast and lunch had been missed courtesy of the lengthy business he’d had to tend to at the bank. His stomach had growled the whole time he was there scanning through pages and pages of documents. Although he was tired as hell, sleeping on an empty stomach never did him any good.
He scanned the various entrees listed on the menu and tried to drown out the sounds of the quaint little diner situated on the outer edge of town. Not only were the kitchen staff working furiously in the background trying to keep up with all the orders being shouted at them by the waiters, the place was jam-packed and the noise level was high. On any other day the crowd would have been an unusual occurrence but for this time of night, which was nearly midnight, both the city and town had received plenty of guests courtesy of the big business convention held here every year.
The Hot Spot Diner catered to all, both human and shifter alike, so there was a mix of bodies in the place tonight. His belly rumbled on, reminding him that he wasn’t here to check out the scenery.
“Magnus.” Sharon, the waitress, appeared by his side and set a glass of ice cold water down on a coaster. “I haven’t seen you in a while.”
Sharon Stetson was born and raised a small-town girl—a small-town shifter for that matter. Her uncle had owned the diner before he’d handed it over to the eldest son. From what he’d learned, Sharon had been working here since her fifteenth birthday, bussing tables and dishing out friendly smiles even to the most hostile customers.
Dane regarded her with a nod. “That’s probably because I’ve been cross country for the past two months on business. I only just came back two weeks ago.”
“Hmm, that’s why your boys haven’t been behaving themselves.” She crossed her arms over her chest. “Brock, Raoulf, and Garrett have had several run-ins with the law. They’ve been in the news more times than I can count on one hand and the human police have been in here several times asking questions about their dealings.”
He sat back and ran the pad of his thumb along his jawline. “You know how folks these days bend rumors. Don’t worry about my brothers. If they’ve gotten themselves into any mess, I’m sure they can get themselves out of it.”
She nudged him on the shoulder. “It’s you I’m worried about. I don’t want your brothers giving you a bad reputation with the humans. It’s time they settled down. Speaking of settling down…that Meredith chick was boasting about your skills in bed at Haney’s party last night.”
Dane flexed his jaw muscles in irritation. People liked to spin tales out of rumors these days. “Not true. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been with Meredith. At least three months.”
Sharon and him and were cool like that, and being a woman, she always seemed to have all the latest gossip in their small community.
“There’s talk in the village that you’re looking for a mate,” Sharon said in a teasing voice, quirking her eyebrows at him.
“Like I thought, rumors get bent.”
“It would be so much easier on you if you had a woman to go home to tonight, don’t you think?” She winked. “After a hard day’s work…you wouldn’t have to come to this nosy place anymore. I’d be sad about that, though…but I know just the woman for you.”
He gave her a knowing look. “Who?”
“Cindy Porter. The judge’s daughter. She came in here trying to sell us some fancy computerized order-taking system and had nearly every man in here drooling at the mouth. I have to admit, she’s a cutie. Little innocent thang too.”
He knew exactly who Sharon was referring to. He didn’t want to bust her bubble by telling her that Cindy wasn’t that innocent after all. He knew three shifter males by name who had already bedded the chick, including his oldest brother, Garrett.
“Too young.” Dane shook his head. “Stop trying to set me up.”
Sharon had been trying to hook him up for months. Everyone in the pack knew he was mate-less. Of course, this fact didn’t agree with many of his followers given the fact that he was the Alpha and leader of the pack.
An Alpha with no mate.
He smiled inwardly. Heck, he’d take the title. After all, he’d been known to stir things up in and out of the shifter community.
“Well, the next time you stop by I’ll have another candidate for you. Are you into cougars these days by any chance?”
He glared at her pointedly. “I’m a wolf. What would I need with a cougar?”
She put a hand on her hip. “I meant an older woman, Magnus.”
“I know what you meant, but I don’t like getting set up.”
“Fine.” She shrugged and dug a pad and pen out of her apron. “I’ve got eight tables to serve so I’ll have to chat with you later. The usual?”
“Yeah. The usual.” Dane’s stomach rumbled once again just thinking about the T-bone steak with a healthy side of potatoes and cheddar-covered broccoli.
As he waited, he pulled a small envelope from the inside of his jacket pocket. He swallowed in apprehension as he peeled back the broken seal and slipped the letter out. The words were already engrained in his short-term memory, but he read the note again.
Mr. Dane Magnus,
You are hereby called to appear before Judge Henry Wright at Tellevue County Court on October fifteenth at noon to settle the matter involving the property deeded to Debra Smyth Magnus located off 1806 Cedar Loop Trail. Failure to appear will result in all properties deemed abandoned and expropriated by the County. Failure to present proof of rights to claim the property by this date will result in it being expropriated by the County…