Thursday, 15 May 2014
Extravagantly Loved: The Book of My Heart
I know that "real" authors aren't supposed to have a favorite book, but "Extravagantly Loved" is very special to me. Janet and Malcolm are real people. When I was looking for a fitting way to end the very special "Werewolves of Hanson Mall" series, it occcurred to me that Janet deserved to find her own happy ending. That someone ought to deal with Malcolm appropriately.
And "Extravagantly Loved" came into being.
To the original Janet.
I know you’ll never let Malcolm defeat you, so hang in there, hon.
Besides, all the readers and I have got your back!
Janet Young’s brother, Malcolm, has threatened to kill her if she tries to retrieve all the money he stole from their father. She contacts Cadfael Hanson, Alpha of the Hanson Mall werewolf pack, and asks to hire a couple of his biggest, toughest security guards until the case comes to court.
Berian Davies, a trained security guard, and Hal Rowe from the Simon pack are determined to protect her. Berian thinks a farm boy will be useless. Hal doesn’t even know what a CFO is. But they’re both determined no one will harm Janet.
Unfortunately Malcolm is manipulative, cunning, and vindictive and he hasn’t gotten that memo. Somehow the two werewolves are going to have to learn how to cooperate with each other, keep Janet out of danger, avoid Malcolm and his attacks, and still get Janet to her meetings. It isn’t going to be easy. It might not even be possible to keep her alive, far less unharmed.
“I’m the firstborn. I’m the son. You are nothing. Second born and a worthless female as well. Everything belongs to me and I’m going to take it. If you get in my way and get hurt that’s your problem. Father’s property is mine and only mine. Stay out of my business or accept the consequences, you fat cunt!”
Janet Young stared at her cell phone in distaste. Malcolm might be ranting and crazy but he wasn’t insane. In a court of law it was likely he could manage to convince a jury he was playacting, not even threatening her. She sighed and saved the call onto a memory stick, which she then inserted into her iPad, and e-mailed to herself in another e-mail account.
That done she tapped her fingers on her desk thoughtfully. “He’s fucking serious. He’s always been a selfish shit. I can’t assume he’ll grow a brain any time soon.” Picking up her cell phone again she scrolled through several screens until she found what she wanted. Cadfael Hanson’s number. Cadfael was the managing director of Hanson Mall, but more importantly, the Alpha of the Hanson Mall Werewolf pack. He had a passel of mountainous security guards. She needed to hire a few of them right away. Her brother was a typical bully, which meant he was also a coward. But to avoid him hitting her over the head with a baseball bat one dark night she needed someone to watch her back, and there’d be no one better than a nice big werewolf.
“This is Janet Young, Mr. Hanson. I don’t know if you remember me, but—”
“I do remember you. You worked with Georgia on the family history project and brought us some information on the well-being center. How can I help you?”
“While I was working interstate temporarily my brother Malcolm stole all our father’s assets. The judge has ordered him to present a complete accounting of his and my father’s finances to the court by next month and it’s sent him batshit crazy. He’s threatened everyone who opposes him.”
“Georgia mentioned that. The security staff here at the mall is alert for any potential trouble.”
Janet winced. The shape-shifters had helped her and inadvertently she might have brought trouble to them. “I’m sorry about that. It never occurred to me he’d be angry with anyone other than me.”
“You aren’t to blame for another person’s actions.”
She was aware he was a very busy man with a lot of responsibilities so she hurried on with her question. “I was hoping you could direct me to some of your part-time security guards or former security guards who are interested in a short-term position as my bodyguard. Malcolm is not happy with me and he’s a very vindictive person. I was hoping to hire two or three of the largest, toughest-looking men you know who could be my bodyguards until the case comes to court in a few months.”
Janet could hear the smile in his voice as he replied. “The biggest ones I can find, huh? Very well. I should be able to get back to you by the end of the day. You’ll be paying the standard rates, I assume?”
“If they are big and tough looking I’m happy to pay ten percent over the usual rate, or fifteen percent if they have extra skills.”
“Good. I’ll talk to you later.”
Janet hated the thought of having to put herself under the control of a couple of men who she didn’t even know, but a lifetime association with her brother had taught her not to trust him. He was extremely vindictive and very likely to take his anger out on anyone less powerful than himself. For the first eighteen years of her life that had far too often been her. He’d stolen or destroyed all her favorite possessions, looking angelically innocent when she told her parents, who always believed him when he said she was lying. She’d never bought a car in high school, knowing that it would be just one more thing he’d take from her. She’d even come to believe him when he constantly claimed she was fat, stupid, and worthless. Certainly she’d never gotten good marks on any assignments at school, mainly because he either destroyed them, or hid anything she needed to complete them properly, including all her textbooks.
But once she got to college—in a different state from the one he was attending—her marks suddenly improved enormously. Possibly because the stress of always having to hide everything from him, and even from her parents, had passed.
Janet shook her head at herself. She had no doubt her folks had loved her, but they’d always believed Malcolm rather than her. Now her mother was dead and her father, Norm, had early stage dementia. Certainly Norm couldn’t be left alone and needed to be somewhere people could care for him, but he didn’t deserve having Malcolm steal all his possessions and money. Right now Janet was paying all his bills. She didn’t begrudge the money to her father. He’d cared for her for the first eighteen years of her life after all. But she also didn’t see why Malcolm should take her father’s assets when the old man needed them himself.
Janet gave herself a little shake. It was time to forget about Malcolm and get on with the work her bosses expected her to be doing.