Friday, 24 January 2014

Yielding to the Wolves

"Yielding to the Wolves" (MFM) "Werewolf Brides" book 3

Okapi Cooper and Tedros Cooper know one of the mail-order brides, Keisha Robinson, is the perfect woman for them. But not until things go wrong is she prepared to seriously consider their request. And now she has the terrible fear that it might be too late for all of them to find happiness. Someone is targeting the werewolf shape-shifter community at Cooper’s Farm, but why? And are they really dangerous or is it all just a misunderstanding?

Learning a new job and proving she is worthy of trust and respect so she can rebuild her life is Keisha’s focus right now. Okapi is more interested in securing her as his mate. And Tedros won’t rest until the other two are both his partners. Okapi and Tedros won’t be content until she is mated to them and under their protection, but it’s not Keisha whose life is endangered.

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She’d stocked shelves in a hardware store. She’d been a checkout chick in a grocery store. She’d had a few casual short-term positions in an office as a very junior junior. But she’d never ever had a real job. And for the last two years, ever since she’d turned twenty-one, that had been the most damning thing of all when she sent in job applications.

In her neighborhood girls worked in shops or brothels. There really wasn’t much else to choose from. Which was why she’d left and come here as a mail-order bride. But today she’d proven to herself she could do proper office work. Well, as long as it was relatively simple, anyway.

The sound of a man clearing his throat had her looking up at the door and there stood Okapi and Tedros. Okapi looked exactly the same as he’d looked this morning. Crisp white shirt, dark pants, and shiny black shoes. Tedros looked as if he’d just gotten out of the shower. His dark brown hair appeared to be damp, and his navy jeans and blue T-shirt looked freshly ironed. But likely she was just imagining that.

Keisha wanted to ask, “Why are you here?” She knew what she wanted the answer to be, that they wanted to date her. But she couldn’t imagine that’s why there were here in her brand new workplace on her very first day. So instead she asked as blandly as she could manage, “Can I help you?”

Teddy looked at her with those enormous eyes. It was almost as if he were pleading with her to do something, but she had no idea what that could be. She’d scarcely spoken to him and he’d never even hinted that he wanted her to agree to do something for him. And as for Okapi, he’d been completely businesslike with never a hint of anything personal in any of his requests. She kept her helpful look on her face and waited.

“Do you know anything about chess?” asked Okapi.

“Chess? Like, the board game?” Keisha was confused. She’d heard of it, of course. In fact, she’d even known a couple kids who played the game back in high school, or maybe it was middle school.

“Some people play it on computers, too. These days, the computer often wins, but when computers first started to play people who were very good, they always lost,” added Tedros.

Keisha nodded but she had no idea where the conversation was going.

“On Saturday there’s going to be a huge chess display in Coopersville, including a match played with life-size pieces. The game is going to be a reenactment of a famous contest. A match that’s unusual because it was played very offensively where most players prefer to play defensively. So it should be a lot more exciting to watch than a regular game,” explained Okapi.

“You said life-size pieces. However do they move them then?” asked Keisha.

“Oh, they’re people in costumes who move themselves as directed by the two payers, on a huge board. A chess board has sixty-four squares, eight wide and eight long. The chessboard here is laid out on the ground with different colored squares for the people to stand on so it’s twenty-four feet wide and twenty-four feet long. Spectators sit on bleachers like at a baseball game so they can see everything properly,” explained Okapi.

“That does sound like fun,” she said.

“I have tickets for the chess match and the display hall as well. Would you like to come with us?”

Keisha was surprised at how hesitant Okapi sounded. Almost as if he expected her to say no. But she meant what she’d said. It did sound like fun. “Yes, I would, thank you. I’ve never seen anything like that before.”

Tedros smiled hugely and she was glad she’d said yes. He seemed so happy.

“Is eleven all right? That’ll give us time to look at the displays and eat lunch before the chess match begins.”

“Yes, of course. Thanks.”

“Great.” Tedros was still smiling at her and she couldn’t help but smile back at him.

“Right. Well, I’ll see you here tomorrow at nine then. Is everything okay with the data entry?” asked Okapi.

“Yes. I don’t have any questions for you. I hope I’m not going too slowly.”

“Take as long as you need. Call me if you don’t understand something.” Okapi nodded at her and he and Teddy left, Teddy smiling back over his shoulder at her.

A date. Okapi and Tedros had asked her out. She’d better Google chess tonight to make sure she understood what was happening. Oh, and the display, too? What would that be? Like chess sets or something? Perhaps she’d better Google that as well. Keisha shivered with excitement. Finally, finally, finally! A date with Teddy and Okapi. Hell yes!

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