Cassie’s not having a good week. She’s tired of dealing with the mixed signals from her boyfriend and she’s attacked by a large dog. Then it gets worse. Said boyfriend is keeping secrets and possibly using her for his own ends and the dog that attacked her? Yeah, that was a werewolf and now she’s going to be howling at the next full moon.
Not only does she have to deal with a deranged werewolf, intent on killing her but she’s got her boyfriend’s father pushing them to mate. Did she mention her boyfriend was a werewolf too? It’s going to take all she’s got to handle these alpha men and get what she wants too. Things can only get better. Right?
Fury churned in his stomach as he watched the dark haired man step forward to greet the young blonde. He knew the name of his enemy. Alexander Waters. The symbol of everything he’d never had. Everything he should have had. It would be his soon, though. He’d make sure of that.
The couple went into the restaurant and he crept closer. A few moments later, he watched the maitre d’ sit them at a table near the front windows. Perfect. He could watch them without being obvious about it.
Stepping back into the shadows of the alley, he peered around the corner of the building. Sure that nothing impeded his view, he settled into place. Alex leaned toward the woman and said something that made her laugh. She was pretty, he’d give that to his enemy. This was the third date he’d they’d had since he’d located Alex. Could he have feelings for this woman? Could she be Alex’s mate?
If so, she would be the perfect tool for destroying the man that stood his way. And destroy Alex Waters is exactly what he wanted to do. Annihilation was too good for the bastard. Or non-bastard as the case may be. That thought sent the rage running through his veins anew.
Two hours later, the couple exited the restaurant. He shifted against the brick wall he’d used for cover and watched as his enemy stood with his date, talking quietly. Beneath the bitterness, a twinge of envy bubbled to the surface. Waters led a charmed life and finding his mate was one more example of that. Thrusting those weak feelings back down, he forced his mind back on task. After a few moments, a taxi pulled up and Alex gave his date a chaste kiss on the lips before handing her into the vehicle. As the yellow car slid into the stream of traffic, Alex stared until it made a turn.
The next time Alex met with her, he’d follow her home instead of his enemy. He’d discover everything he could about the woman and then use her to bring the man down. Unfortunate for the young lady, but collateral damage was a part of war. And this was war. Alex Waters and his little blonde mate would receive no mercy from him.
Cassidy took a deep breath and pushed the door open, making her way inside the restaurant. Tonight was the night. She would push the envelope and seduce Alex. She gave her name to the maitre d' and followed him to the table. Perfect. Alex had chosen one of the more intimate booths along the side of the room toward the back. The high-backed seats with rich tapestry curtains caught at the side gave the illusion of being the only table in the place, the u-shaped seat allowed patrons to get cozy. Nerves fluttered like hummingbirds in her stomach, but the possible pay-off from her plan sent excitement zinging through her.
Alex saw her approach and stood with a smile. Always the gentleman. Sometimes too much so. His goodnight kisses consisted of chaste pecks, but that one time he’d let himself go…. She’d tasted his desire and wanted more. As they reached him, the maitre d' stepped aside and Alex took her hands in his and bussed her cheek. His lips barely brushed her skin before they were gone, but the glitter in his eyes gave her hope her plan would succeed. If so, she’d be one step closer to her greatest wish.
“You look lovely as ever, Cass.” The appreciation in his eyes was genuine and she couldn’t help but smile back at him.
“Thank you, Alex. You’re suave as ever.”
Alex chuckled softly and helped seat her across the table. The waiter joined their table, dispensing menus and pouring water into the goblets at both place settings. The server left after obtaining their drink orders and Cassidy brought her attention back to her date.
He looked scrumptious as ever. A lock of hair flopped across his brow, and she had the urge to smooth it back. Laughter shone in his melted chocolate eyes, along with something else. Could it be desire?
Flustered, Cass looked down at her menu. “So, can you recommend something? I’ve never eaten here.” She glanced up in time to see him smile.
“Well, the chicken piccata is always a good choice or the grilled salmon.” His amusement was evident in his voice though he had schooled his features into a serious expression. How was she going to seduce him if she got rattled every time he showed some interest?
She squared her shoulders and sat up straight. Hopefully the warmth flooding her cheeks was the only sign of her discomfort. “Hmm, salmon sounds good. I’ll go with that.”
The waiter silently approached their table with the drinks and took their order. After he left as quietly as he’d come, Cass took a breath, calming those hummingbirds, and slid around the seat until she was next to Alex. She saw his surprise and grinned to herself. She could do this. If they were to have the relationship she knew they were capable of, she needed to do this.
Alex cleared his throat. “Thanks for meeting me at the restaurant. My appointment ran late.”
“No problem. I had to work late as well.” Now or never. She laid her hand over his thigh. He jumped and his leg tensed under her palm. His muscles were rock hard and warm through the tailored suit pants. This man could really put out the heat. Tingles raced up her arms and started little flutters in her belly.
“Uh, well, it worked out well then.” Alex swayed closer to her before shaking his head. He quickly leaned back. Cassie, thrilled to know she’d knocked him off his game, slid her fingers down and squeezed his knee.
Alex took her hand in his and kissed it softly. “Cassidy, I think we need to talk before we take our relationship any further.”
Cass pulled her hand away and scooted away from him. A loud roar filled her ears, and she realized it was the blood rushing to her face.
“Cass…” The sound of a phone ringing broke through the awkwardness. Alex glanced at the caller ID and grimaced. “Sorry, Cass. I have to get this.”
“Sure. Go ahead.” She sat there numbly, picking at her napkin. She was aware of Alex talking next to her, but his words didn’t register.
Alex laid his hand over hers, stopping her from totally shredding the cloth. “I’m sorry. I have to go, Cass. There’s been an emergency, and I need to be there.”
She focused her gaze over his shoulder to avoid looking him in the face. “I understand. Don’t worry about me. Do what you need to do.”
Alex sighed. “Cass, I don’t want to go, but I have to.”
“I understand, Alex. It’s all right. Go.”
“Damn it!” Alex ran his hands through his hair. “Okay, I’m going, but we need to talk. I’ll call you tomorrow and we’ll straighten everything out.”
“Sure. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” Sure they would talk. She’d be lucky to ever hear from him again and her heart cracked at the thought. Sure that Alex had been Mr. Right despite his reluctance to move their relationship to the next level, she felt her dream sliding farther away.
Alex shook his head slightly and leaned in to kiss her. She turned her face away at the last minute, and he grazed her cheek. After a soft growl, he was gone.
The clinking of silverware against porcelain grated against her nerves. The sounds were normal enough and under other circumstances, she wouldn’t have noticed. Her face still flamed, the curse of a true blonde. Alex had been very sweet in deflecting her attentions, but the fact he wasn’t interested hurt. Thank God he got called away. She didn’t think she could have endured an entire dinner after her mortifying mistake. How could she have misread the situation so completely? Why did he pursue her if he wasn’t interested?
The waiter appeared at her side. “Can you cancel our order, please? My companion had to leave suddenly and I’d like to go.” Her face warmed even more. She felt like everyone knew Alex didn’t want her.
“Of course, madam. Will there be anything else?” He waited patiently as she tried to pull herself together.
“No, thank you. I’m fine.” She smiled until the waiter left.
She gulped down several deep breaths and waited for her hands to stop shaking. Her eyes burned with unshed tears, tears she held back by sheer force of will. She had to get out of here. She couldn’t break down in the middle of the restaurant. She slid out of the booth and walked toward to the door. She was almost there.
The cool night air brushed against her heated skin and she closed her eyes, trapping the moisture there. She stood up straight, determined to be strong. After hailing a cab and settling into the seat, a tear slipped down her cheek. It didn’t matter if Alex didn’t want her. She’d find someone who did. She would never give up her dream of family, a place to belong.
Damn it, damn it, damn it. Alex slammed both fists against the steering wheel and then leaned back in his seat. This meeting couldn’t have come at a worse time. The memory of Cass’ stricken face and hurt eyes stayed with him. He hadn’t wanted to thwart her advances, but she’d never forgive him if he didn’t come clean before they went any further. God, it was so hard sitting there, smelling her delicious lilac and honey scent and not making her his in every way. The beast inside him clawed to get to her. He couldn’t hold back much longer.
He sighed and started the car. He’d find out what this rogue situation was about then he’d see Cass and make everything all right. He’d explain everything and hopefully she would understand and accept him. She had to because now that he’d found her, he couldn’t live without her. Not ever again.
Please return on July 20th for Chapter 2 of Power Play.
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Copyright © 2011 Riley Quinn
All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. No portion of this work may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the author.