Thursday, 3 April 2014
Dangerously Attracted (MFM) Werewolves of Hanson Mall book 3
To prove Jackson Hamilton’s well-being center is kidnapping people, including werewolf shape-shifters, security guard Dakota Rutherford contacts him pretending her grandmother needs care and accommodation. Lewis Bowen, who escaped from the center, and Andreas Llewelyn, who loves Dakota, are horrified by her risky actions. But she refuses to listen to them or accept their protection.
Lewis is still trying to adjust to life in the city after growing up in uninhabited mountains. But Dakota means more to him than his own safety. Andreas has loved Dakota for a long time but she won’t listen to him either, and now he sees the adoration in Lewis’s eyes when he gazes at her.
Maybe together they can convince her to let them help her and between them manage to keep her safe from harm. But will she listen to them? And will Hamilton recapture Lewis anyway?
A couple of mall staff heading home after closing time found a Dumpster overturned out back of the mall, so Berian who was on shift again with Dakota, went to supervise a cleanup crew dealing with that, while Dakota did the standard check of all the stores. She rattled metal gates, tried to turn door handles, and stomped on electronic door openers, making sure everything was still locked up tightly.
“And to think I assumed I had the easy job. This is taking ten times longer than normal,” she grumbled to herself as she peered in yet another window and rattled yet another gate. Of course with two of them, they generally leapfrogged each other from store to store, whereas now she had to do everything herself. “I could be leaning against a wall, watching other people work.”
She was surprised to see Lewis sitting at the reception desk beside Andreas when she got to the gym. They must be becoming really good friends. That’s nice. It’s good Lewis is getting to know people. The door was locked but she swiped it open to say hello.
“Where’s your partner? The person on duty with you?” asked Lewis.
She hid her smile at the way he’d blushed when he said “partner.”
“Berian’s supervising a cleaning crew in the parking lot.”
“I’ll walk around with you,” said Lewis, jumping to his feet.
“I will, too. We’re finished here for the night anyway.” Andreas followed them to the door, turning off the lights and locking the door.
In her security role, Dakota checked the door was properly locked and kept walking around the fourth floor.
The men soon got into the rhythm of her patrol with her, taking turns to check every store as they walked around. But once they were in the stairwell walking between floors she noticed they both pushed her between them as if they expected danger to leap out at them. It was kind of cute, she thought, and so typical of male werewolves who seemed to be genetically predisposed to protect females. Not that she was a wolf. Or perhaps they were even more protective of humans than of wolves.
“There really isn’t any danger here, you know. It’s more that kids planning to cause trouble see the security guards patrolling the mall and go off and do their mischief somewhere else,” she explained.
“Do kids really do that? Go around looking to cause trouble?” asked Lewis.
“Not very many of them, but there’s always a few. We had a group throwing pumpkins off the top level of the parking lot a little while back.” Andreas laughed and even Lewis, who’d been frowning, smiled.
“I agree, it’s a totally harmless thing to do, but squashed pumpkin on the ground is a yucky mess and someone has to clean it up. In that case Maelor caught the kids in the act and he made them scrub the sidewalk themselves. So not dangerous, just annoying.”
Dakota led them around all five levels of the parking lot, and then into the lowest level of the mall again. She sighed as she began checking the windows and doors. Now the men did the checking for her as she walked with them.
“How many times do you do this a night?” asked Andreas.
“After the stores are all closed, usually we get right around the mall in an hour, but since I’ve been by myself I’m a lot slower. That’s why I didn’t walk right around the outside of the mall and through all the external roadways. It’s more important to ensure the inside is secure than that there’s no troublemakers outside. The CCTVs will pick them up anyway when we look through it.”
“You really like your job don’t you?” asked Andreas.
Dakota nodded. “Oh yes I do. I could never just sit at a desk all day. I’d go insane really quickly.”
All the time she was talking she was still looking around her, always alert for that one thing out of place. That was the key with security. The one thing that itched at a guard’s brain or seemed “wrong.” If she kept checking for that she’d always be on top of her job.
“When is your next day off, Dakota?” asked Andreas.
“Huh?” She hadn’t been expecting that question. Basically they’d been talking about the mall and work. Well I suppose that is about work. Sort of.
“We work four days on and one day off, constantly rotating so it always changes. I have tomorrow on this four to midnight shift again and then a day off and I come back to the eight to four shift.”
“Don’t you find all the changes confusing?” asked Lewis.
“At first, maybe, but it’s easy to get used to. These days there’s a lot of people who don’t work Monday to Friday nine-to-five anymore.”
“I guess so. In the mountains every day was the same, but we only ever worked dawn to dusk.”
“Which meant you worked a pretty short day in the middle of winter,” said Andreas.
“And a long one midsummer,” added Dakota.
“So it evens out over the year. I suppose weekends don’t make much difference to you either, Andreas.”
“Sundays are a bit quieter. The usual regulars are there first thing in the morning, and the wolves still tend to come during the day, but there’s not so many middle-of-the-day people coming by. But actually, Dakota, why I was asking about your roster was because Lewis and I were hoping you’d spend your day off with us.”
Dakota stopped dead and stared at them. That was a surprise. She hadn’t expected him to say anything like that.