Purr For The AlphaBy: Georgette St. Clair
Timber Valley Pack 2: Purr For The Alpha
Timber Valley, Colorado (Don’t bother to look for it, because it doesn’t exist on any human maps)
Some days it didn’t pay to get out bed, Karen Padfoot thought as she pulled into a parking place in front of the Battle family’s office building. Today was definitely one of those days.
She’d been prepared to face down Vince Battle, the stern and formidable Alpha of the Timber Valley pack. She’d been ready to negotiate, wheedle, cajole, whatever it took to get her father out of jail – again. She was even ready to trot out her “I’m a tough lawyer” act if necessary, even though she was really all purr and no claw.
What she had not been prepared for was the presence of Vince’s nephew Ty Battle, the arrogant bastard who’d been a thorn in her paw since high school. Why was he even there? He didn’t work for his uncle. He lived on the outskirts of the pack’s property, several miles away. And yet, as she climbed out of her car she saw his big shiny pickup truck parked prominently out front, and now her nerves were shot to hell.
Never mind, she told herself firmly, her hands balling into fists. She could handle anything that they threw at her. She’d spent her life bailing her father out of trouble; this was nothing new.
She was wearing her negotiating suit, a tailored two piece outfit with a three button navy blazer and matching skirt, and sensible, low heeled pumps. Her blonde hair had been tamed with a flat-iron and was pulled back into a chignon secured with a tortoiseshell barrette. When she’d looked in her mirror that morning, she’d been satisfied with her appearance. There was no frill, no excess, no sex appeal. Everything about her said “This kitty means business.”
To ensure that she was on time, she’d left her home in Crystal Falls an hour and a half earlier, as the sun peeked over the treetops. Unfortunately, she hadn’t taken the weather into account. Now the sun was blazing in the sky, and as soon as she stepped out of the car she was hit by the full furnace-blast heat of an August morning. She felt her collar wilt and her hair start to frizz. Her silk shell stuck to her back. Beads of sweat popped up on her forehead. Was her makeup running? Undoubtedly.
Gamely, she climbed up the front steps of the sprawling log cabin style building.
Once she swung open the front door she was met with a rush of cool air; they had the AC cranked on high, thank God. Of course, the heat had already done its damage. Without even looking into a mirror, she knew that her suit was wrinkling, her hair frizzing, and her mascara and eyeliner were half melted off.
She stepped in and glanced around the office. The curtains were hand-sewn white cotton with lace eyelet scalloped edging. The furniture was handmade oak. It had undoubtedly been made on the Battle compound. They had a number of businesses there, including a furniture shop and a tannery. Their leather goods were so highly prized, in fact, that her father Ellwood had been unable to resist the temptation to help himself to some of it. Fortunately she’d found out, and swiped his stash, before he was actually able to fence it.
She forced a smile on her face as the secretary looked up. The secretary was a heavyset wolf shifter in her fifties, Ida Battle, if Karen recalled correctly.
“Hello, Ms. Padfoot. I’ll let Mr. Battle know that you’re here,” Ida said. “Can I get you a cup of coffee?”
“Oh, no thank you,” Karen said, settling onto a wooden bench that faced Ida’s desk. Ida left the office and disappeared through a door in the back of the office.
Karen wanted to scream after her “Which Mr. Battle?” but she’d know soon enough. Surely it wasn’t Ty Battle, she thought. Her father had broken into Vince Battle’s warehouse. Ty had nothing to do with this disaster; he owned a nightclub called the Zoo, a nightclub that Karen had avoided since Ty had thoroughly humiliated her there a year ago.
Her mind flashed back to that night, just as it had many times before.
She’d been wearing a tank top and a leather skirt, blond hair in a ponytail, and wobbling in high heeled shoes borrowed from her friend Isadora.
Isadora, a fellow lynx shifter, had insisted on dragging her there because she was bored with all the nightclubs in Crystal Falls. The Zoo was a singles bar for shifters of all species to gather and get freaky. A new owner had taken over it recently and completely renovated it. Once it had been a rundown honky-tonk. Now the theme was heavy on the sex, with hot go-go dancers in cages, and raised stages where shifters gyrated in skimpy outfits. “Talk Dirty To Me” blared through speakers suspended from the ceiling, and the air smelled of sweat and pheromones.