Caged Heat (Black Meadow Pack)

By: Milly Taiden

Chapter One

Sam walked into the hotel in a rush. Her trainers squeaked on the pristine marble floor. She’d been delayed for the reading of her late grandmother’s will. The hotel was one of the better ones in the city, with its large, open lobby, gleaming walls, and colorful furniture. She winced at her jeans and T-shirt. After traveling for almost twenty-four hours, all she wanted to do was find a bed and crash. Unfortunately, that was the last thing she’d be able to do since the lawyer was waiting on her before he could get started. Carajo!

A couple moved toward the elevators. It was the daughter of one of her grandmother’s old friends. She waved but didn’t have time to stop and chat.

At the front desk she asked for the location to the meeting room. The desk clerk pointed her in the direction of the elevators, where she entered the cab and hit the button for the third floor. Jonas Carson had made things easy for everyone and had arranged the meeting at the hotel where most of the out-of-town family was staying. Hauling her luggage behind her, she headed for the door she’d been instructed to.

Frustrated with the long, dark tendrils escaping her plait, she brushed the hair behind her ear and focused on the task at hand. Her gut clenched with waves of anxiety. She wanted to turn the other way, but her Grandma Ginny hadn’t raised a sissy. With her shoulders squared, she turned the handle and stepped into the conference room.

Conversation stopped as all eyes turned to glare at her. She lifted a haughty brow in response. A tall, lanky, older man in a suit stood and smiled at her. Ah, yes. The lawyer. He was probably the only person who didn’t actually want to send her right back to the disease-ridden jungles of Brazil.

“Ms. Suarez.” He offered a wrinkly hand for a shake. “I’m Jonas Carson. Please have a seat. I know you’ve had a really long day, but if you could just bear with us for a moment, we’ll make this quick.”

“Thank you, Mr. Carson.”

“Oh, no. Jonas, please. Ginny was a good friend and spoke highly of you. I feel like I’ve known you for the longest.” After he patted her hand, he pointed her toward a group of chairs away from the relatives from hell.

“Finally. I still don’t know why we had to wait on her,” an older woman complained and fanned herself with a dainty, frilly piece of silk.

Why, it was dear old Aunt Maggie Danitelli. The woman was the ultimate sourpuss and had a face to match. Sam was struck by the urge to stick her tongue out at the miserable old biddy, but she held back. She wasn’t trying to start trouble, and she wasn’t five years old anymore. All she wanted was for the will to be read. Then a nice, long, two-day nap sounded perfect.

Noise broke out, and complaints started to rise for her having made them wait for so long. Not that she would argue with any of them. She’d been in the jungle, had traveled by every mode of transportation known to man, and was ready to chew on bark from starvation. Dios mio. Did any of those people actually think she cared what they thought? She rolled her eyes at their narcissistic behavior.

“Ladies and gentlemen.” Jonas spoke over the loud complaints. “If you’ll just give me a second I’m going to pull out the past three versions of Mrs. Suarez’s will and a video will she made. She wanted to ensure no one would fight her final wishes.”

Her ass hurt so badly all she wanted was a massage. She used a small table that stood next to her chair as an armrest. Jonas passed copies of the will to all the people in the room.

When he reached her, Jonas handed her a paper bag and gave her a conspiratorial wink. She lifted her brows and opened the bag. Oh, yes. Jonas was in the lead to be her new best friend. Inside the bag was a chicken salad sandwich, a bottle of water, and something else. Was that…? Oh god it was! A chocolate chip cookie. She almost cried from happiness. She’d died and gone to food heaven. She pulled the food out of the bag and ate while everyone was reading the details of the will.

“As you can see from Mrs. Suarez’s will, it’s really all very simple…” Jonas’s voice, along with all other conversation, shut off the minute Sam started to eat.

When she glanced up mid-bite, everyone had even more hatefulness to their wrinkled older faces than usual.