Friday, 15 November 2013
Two Wolves and a Cook OUT NOW!
Where can an IT geek take two chefs on a date? Ion Varga is a werewolf and a Dom. Evan Huber is also a wolf, but Anastasia Golubev is human. Apart from that, they start work insanely early each day and work a seven-day week. By the time Ion solves that riddle, trouble has broken out in the Castle Kitchens.
It’s the height of the tourist season at Werewolf Castle, Anastasia has three big, bossy, older brothers, the new banquets are creating an enormous amount of work, and Evan thinks Lev is spying on them all. Ion worries Lev wants Anastasia for himself. Anastasia just wants them to take her down into the dungeons for some nice relaxing BDSM scenes. Lucky for her, Ion knows exactly how to please her and teach her and Evan some new games. But can his IT skills help solve their problems? Or will Lev’s people succeed?
Ion Varga was a geek. He almost never wore medieval costume. He stayed in a nice quiet office, tucked away behind various security doors in the east wing, and did geeky stuff with mathematical models, statistical analysis, and computer programs the average tourist didn’t even know existed. There was a lot more to running a successful tourist attraction than sweeping the courtyard and having a few pretty girls dotted around to redirect lost tourists. He got to do the fun stuff without having to face the crowds and be nice to overweight, overtired paying customers.
Unfortunately, he was one of the few wolves who knew how to joust with a medieval sword and make it look exciting and dramatic, without actually hurting anyone. When his fellow geek, Grigori, had told him about the plans for the banquets, he’d thought it sounded like a great way for tourists to spend more money and have an added adventure without making an inordinate amount of extra work for the castle wolves. When Grigori had mentioned having some entertainment during the banquet, he’d agreed happily. When he found out that extra entertainment included him having a sword fight with someone else, he’d even thought it might be fun. Until he’d figured out just how much practice it took to make the moves look fluid and unexpected.
The practices had been long, and draining, and then he’d had to rearrange some of what he’d planned to do, as the banquet rooms were fairly narrow. However, they’d had their final rehearsals in the rooms themselves and he was fairly sure the customers would enjoy the show. Damask played a lute and Tatiana a wooden pipe similar to an early flute and they both sang an old medieval-style ballad about the wolves of Werewolf Castle. Then he explained a little about the swords he and Grigori would use.
Finally they had their fight, and apart from Grigori almost falling over at one stage, it went as planned. Actually the almost-fall just made it look even more realistic but he wouldn’t suggest they add it into their choreography in case one of them really did slip in the future. They bowed and left the room, walking the few steps to the identical room next door and doing at all again, minus the slip. After that, he took the second sword from Grigori and returned to his nice quiet office.
But seeing Damask there with Jairus and Grigori just reminded him of how badly he wanted to get to know Anastasia better. She’d been working here in the castle for years now, and he’d scarcely progressed beyond “hi” with her. Oh, he was a geek so he knew all about her human mother and werewolf father, her three older brothers—two wolves, one human—her home in the mountains, and the wild nature of her father and brothers. He knew she’d done very well at the specialist cooking school she’d attended, and he also knew she was single. All of that he’d gotten from the records in the castle computer files. He had access to all sorts of things other wolves knew nothing about.
What he didn’t have access to was her mind and her heart. Was she interested in forming a relationship with a couple of wolves? Was she ready for some dungeon play? Being from a wolf family she’d know all about BDSM but that didn’t mean she wanted to be involved in it and wanted that lifestyle herself. Maybe she was more like her human mother.
Then there was the matter of the second man to be included in the relationship. Watching her, Ion thought she was attracted to Evan. That was natural. She worked with him all day long and he was a talented man, an expert in the field she’d chosen. But did Evan like her? Ion had no idea at all.
The obvious way to find out was to invite her out on a date. But her first question, quite reasonably, would be, who is the other man? And if Evan wasn’t interested in joining them he was in big trouble. He’d be in even bigger trouble if she specifically wanted Evan and he wasn’t prepared to join them. Ion cringed at the kinds of disaster that could be.
Besides where could he take a couple of cooks out for dinner? The nearby town had a range of eateries, but whereas a bowl of Hungarian goulash or a burger would suit him just fine, they were not likely to be what Anastasia and Evan were looking for. There was a much bigger town an hour away which likely would offer better dining choices but he knew they started work very early in the morning. Cooking all the food for so many people was a huge job. Plus they made a lot of the treats sold by the Village Traders, as well. All of which meant it couldn’t be a late night out or they’d be tired the next morning. So an hour road trip each way would be a no.
Dammit. This was going to be more difficult than he’d thought. How was he supposed to get to know Anastasia? Was he going to have to wait until winter when Werewolf Castle only opened weekends and holidays?