( Photo by fPat on Foter.com / CC BY )

Just when it looks like things at the day-job will settle down, they don’t. I’ve just finished two consecutive 50+ hour weeks at the day-job, and my brain is tired. We also had a big schedule change for mid-September, which means things will be insane again right through the day before my vacation starts. I’m kind of glad we aren’t going away for the whole week now, because all I’m going to want to do the first day is recuperate.

I have been sneaking in a little writing time, though, on days when I manage a lunch break, or before I dive into the work in the mornings again, so I’m making a little progress on this novella I’ve committed to for next year. (I’m also glad it is for next year, not this fall!) Since I worked again yesterday, then came home to dinner with all my guys for a change (yay!), today is about chores and catch-up, and when I get to that point, a little reading time and some writing, before I go to bed so I can start all over again tomorrow.

I hope you have all been finding more down-time than I’ve managed in the past two weeks. I know it’s back-to-school season, too, so there are plenty of things to accomplish for that successful transition. I kind of miss those days.

Before I go wrap up the last of my chores for the weekend, I have a little snippet of tiger shifter #4 to share with you today.

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“Just wondering how you’ve gone so long without them catching up before now.” He brushed his thumb at the side of her neck.

She finished chewing the briny olive slower than she needed to, debating with herself. Finally she swallowed and reached for another. “I’ve moved around a lot,” she said at last. “And evidently Edwin hired actual professionals this time, instead of sending pack-mates again.” When she slid a quick glance up, she could see Anton was pondering her words and judging her honesty.

“He’s already sent pack-mates after you?”

“Several times.” She lifted one shoulder. “I’m not dumb, but I haven’t made it that hard either, by using a fake name or anything.”

He didn’t speak, his green gaze too sharp.

She ate the second olive, wondering if he was thinking how stupid could one woman be.

“How many times before now?” he asked after several moments.

Laney counted in her head. Vegas, Tulsa, Cleveland, Indy, Williamsburg… “Six.” She smiled a little, thinking about Baltimore.

“What happened?”

She slid a sidelong glance at him, still smiling. “I don’t know what you mean.

Unexpectedly, he grinned, and her breath caught.

Wow. And she’d thought he was attractive before. This, though…

“What did you do to them?” His thumb rubbed a little circle against her skin. “I know you did something, from the look on your face.”

Laney took a shallow breath. The tiger wasn’t just smart and dangerous, he was gorgeous. “I might have sent gifts to his room while I disabled his car.”

“What kind of gifts?”

“Pizza and then a hooker, followed a little later by the cops.”

He laughed, and goose bumps rose on her skin. “I like it. Devious and clever. You should come work with me.”

She didn’t care how strong the wine was, her mouth was dry. She took a sip. “I have a job, thanks,” she murmured, her gaze stuck on his smile, which faded after her words.

“He probably found you that way.”

She nodded once, her own smile fading. “Probably.” And if Edwin had resorted to a pro, he would be able to find her that way again, no matter where she went, dammit. She wasn’t sure how much a fake identity would cost, but she had a feeling it would do more than dent her stash of emergency funds. Shit.

Anton picked up another salami roll. “Open.”

Automatically, she obeyed, though she wondered now how she could stay under the radar without having to spend a fortune on a new identity.

Until his thumb brushed her mouth. Heat flashed through her.

Her gaze shot to his face. His expression hadn’t changed, but she noticed his eyes were shadowed. She made herself concentrate on chewing, though she couldn’t look away. Finally, when she’d swallowed the last of the appetizer, she cleared her throat. “Why are you looking at me like that?”

His lips curved a little, but the smile didn’t come close to reaching his eyes. “When was the last time you were on a date?”

She blushed, finally forcing her gaze away. “A long time ago,” she murmured. “And he didn’t look at me like that.” Like she was the appetizer, main course, and dessert.

Anton chuckled as he picked up his glass. “Not a good date, then.”

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I hadn’t originally planned a story for Anton, but I discovered as I was writing the first two stories in the series that he needed one, too.  What do you think?

Now I’m off to finish the chores–ie, making my giant batch of salad so I have lunch and/or dinner for work the next few days, and the rest of the laundry, before I can do a little relaxing.

How are you winding down your summer? Relaxing, or super-busy?

( Photo by Tambako the Jaguar on Foter.com / CC BY-ND )

 

 

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