Written in Red Page 104

She looked like she wanted to tear his throat out, and at that moment, he had no trouble picturing her ripping a bunny apart.

“I don’t want anything from you.” She strode out of the store.

He hoped that was true. He hoped she’d have sex with Darrell and stop sniffing around him.

He stared at the gaggle of college girls who were standing nearby with their mouths open, watching the drama. “What about you? Are you interested in buying books?”

Many assurances that they were there to buy books. They fled to the shelves that would take them out of sight. He cocked his head, listening to John talk to the girls as he came back from the stockroom, catching the tone but not the words.

The girls had gotten what they came for. They would buy a few books as payment for being able to relate to their friends that they had seen, for real, a Wolf sniff a woman’s crotch in public.

Sighing, he pulled the stack of book orders from beneath the counter. Before, he hadn’t had enough to occupy his mind. Now he had too much.

Despite her blatant efforts to flirt with him, Asia was rubbing against Darrell, a human who worked at the consulate. Elliot had voiced no complaints about the man, which meant Darrell was a good worker, but he wasn’t the kind of male Simon would have expected Asia to run after. He seemed too ordinary for a female who wanted to walk on the wild side.

Simon growled in frustration. He was missing something. He didn’t think like a human, so he was missing something.

Unfortunately, he didn’t trust any humans enough to ask one what it was about Asia’s interest in Darrell that wasn’t right.

* * *

Freaking Wolf! He used to let her flirt with him. Now he treated her like a rattlesnake he wanted to stomp under his boot. And now that she thought about it, Simon Wolfgard had started being mean to her around the same time the new Liaison showed up.

But he couldn’t be humping that no-looks feeb! From what Darrell had told her—in confidence, of course—Simon Wolfgard hadn’t entertained a female guest since his sister was killed. When Asia had learned that, his refusal to respond to her invitations made more sense. But the way he brought all the wrong kinds of attention to her now could turn into a professional f**kup. And, damn it, she didn’t want to settle for Darrell because Meg was somehow screwing up her chances with Simon.

As Asia reached her car, she glanced toward the street and saw a white van drive by. And she smiled.

* * *

Meg looked at the empty dog bed, then looked away and told herself to focus on sorting the mail. She’d already had to go through a couple of stacks twice when she realized she had put some of the mail for the Chambers in with the mail for the Crowgard. If that mail had gone to the Corvine Complex, the odds of the Sanguinati getting it back unopened . . . Well, there really weren’t odds sufficient for that.

Sam needed to socialize with his own kind, needed to spend time with the other Wolf pups. He’d already lost two years, and she had the impression that there weren’t many youngsters his age in the Courtyard, regardless of species. So he needed to be with Wolves, and she was happy to work alone without interruptions.

Sure she was.

She hadn’t known him a couple of weeks ago. How could she feel their—his!—absence when she’d known him for so short a time?

Pay attention, she scolded herself. The ponies will be here soon, and they’ll expect you to have mail for them to deliver.

She focused on the work and tried to ignore the silence even the chatter on the radio couldn’t hide.

* * *

Simon glanced at the wall clock behind the checkout counter and tried not to snap at Vlad for being late.

The Sanguinati studied the Wolf. “Something wrong?”

Simon shook his head. “Just have something that needs to be done.”

Vlad looked around. “Are we providing shelter, or are the humans actually buying books?”

“Little of both. Sales have been pretty good today. Heather campaigned for some books that I normally wouldn’t have in the store because it gives humans too many wrong ideas.”

Vlad looked amused. “You mean the kinds of stories where the Wolf doesn’t eat the female after he has sex with her?”

“After Asia and I snapped at each other this morning, and Ferus shoved his nose into her privates, we sold out all the Wolf-as-lover books. If you drink one of the customers pale, we should sell out the stack of vampire-as-lover stories.”

“Heather should know better,” Vlad muttered.

Simon slipped past Vlad and said nothing. There would be a spike in the number of girls who went out for a walk in the woods and were never heard from again. There always were when stories came out portraying the terra indigene as furry humans who just wanted to be loved.

Most of the terra indigene didn’t want to love humans; they wanted to eat them. Why did humans have such a hard time understanding that?

“Are you going to come back?” Vlad asked.

He hesitated. “Not sure.”

A lot was going to depend on how Meg responded to seeing a full-grown Wolf.

* * *

Almost time to close for the midday break. According to the grapevine—which, in the Courtyard, meant Jenni Crowgard and her sisters—the new library books would be available today. Since tomorrow was Earthday, Meg expected to have a lot of time on her hands, so she wanted to pick up a couple of books. Maybe she would also stop at Music and Movies for a movie. And she needed to pick up a few things at the grocery store on her way home. Maybe she would call Hot Crust and have a pizza delivered to the office before she left for the day.

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