Their club was still closed due to repairs thanks to Crimson’s last little raid. It seemed as if Skinner was trying to punish them for his own bad decisions.  Her brother was out probably fucking his mystery gal. So that left Mira on her own, which was dangerous in and of itself. Twice as dangerous when she was as bored as she was right now. With nothing much to do but get herself into trouble, the succubi made her way to the other side of town where there was another smaller bar run by supernatural beings. They weren’t direct competition. This bar was more or less not as high class as Dante’s Inferno. She also knew it kept a very specific clientele. One of those clientele was someone she had gotten used to seeing around and she hoped to see him out here.

The “Full Moon” was a lycan bar that was frequented by two or three different Packs that roamed the city. Most mundanes assumed it was a biker bar and steered clear. Mira, on the other hand, walked right in like she belonged there. Her gaze moved around the place as she made her way to the bar and slid onto a bar stool. Dressed in jeans, boots and a plaid shirt – she thought that she would fit right in. All she was missing was the hat and pigtails, right? Instead her brunette hair was loose in waves down her back. She waved the bartender over with well manicured nails, “Beer.” She put down a five and smiled.

While there were a few humans in the bar, the lycans were predominant in numbers and they all stopped to look at her as if she had taken a wrong turn. None could believe the demon had balls enough to stroll into their place as she had.

“I think you’re in the wrong place, sweetheart.” Jasmine said as she set the beer down and picked up the five. The female lycan had moved to fill the order before the bartender Axel could. As Axel’s mate she would rip this pretty one in two for making eyes at her man. So she thought she’d save her man that clean up.

There was a slow smile on Mira’s pretty red glossed lips as she lifted the bottle and took a nice drink from it. She settled the drink back down on the countertop and replied, “No I’m not sweetheart but thanks for the concern.”

With a shrug Jaz turned to walk off while calling out, “Your funeral not mine. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya.”

“Warning noted.” The succubi took another drink and then turned on the bar stool to eye the pool table. She was tempted to play a few rounds.

“Don’t fuck with me, tonight, Sketch.” the gruff voice cut over the country music playing in the background of voices. It was a voice she recognized from the Inferno. Those at the pool table were too busy to give a damn about any drama at the bar.  There were people gathered around the table, and there were only three balls left in the match besides the lovely pearl white ball being hit hard by the scruffy looking man in jeans and a leather vest. He sunk the 5.  

“I ain’t fuckin’ with ya, Derek. I’m gonna take yer money. That’s not fuckin’ with ya. I don’t swing that way, no-how.” He chuckled as he lined up the next shot.  

The tall blonde with his hair braided down the side and pulled back with a handkerchief growled a low frustrated growl. He’d lost a twenty already. This one was about to take twenty more.  He knew he shouldn’t have had the whiskey before playing. But he’d been bored.

Of all the lycans what were the odds that it would it be this lycan and this bar? Slipping from her stool, Mira carried her beer with her as she made her way to the table to place her own twenty down on the side of it. Standing as she was the succubi leaned on the table and gave the shooter a nice shot of cleavage as he went for the winning shot.

Sketch looked up at the wrong time. He saw the perfect breasts and he was already mid thrust with the cue. His hand jerked just enough that the chalk hit the ball to the wrong side. It ricocheted off one side and then ended up near the 8 ball.  

“Ha!” Derek laughed at the other male, who was growling.

“No fair! You’re cheatin’ usin’ her ta unnerve a fella!” Sketch held his stick out for the nearest of his gang members to take.

“Are you sayin’ you’re dick was playin’ and not you?” Derek asked, his eyes shifting to the female growling behind her man.

Sketch swallowed and let his eyes move slightly to the side. He had to recover and quick.  Otherwise, his soon to be mate may take a nice chunk out of him.

“You know her kind is outta place, here,” Sketch tried as a recovery.

Derek turned his attention to Mira for a few seconds, then looked over the table to Sketch.  

“I don’t see no rules sayin’ anybody has ta leave the bar, Sketch.  If she’s got the guts to come here, she oughtta be allowed ta stay and have fun. Her money spends just as well as ours.” Derek placed his hand on the table, his eyes becoming intense. His next words were spoken without the dialect, just to remind them of who they were dealing with. “Now, I’ll allow you to redeem yourself with this shot, or you can concede the turn to me. I don’t mind either way. But let’s get on with it. The lady’s claimed the next set. We’re in her way.”


“Now now fellas let’s all play nice.” Mira swiped her twenty up and moved to Sketch’s woman. With everyone around the table watching her actions, Mira used her fingernail to pull the blonde’s blouse forward just enough so that she could tuck the twenty into her much smaller cleavage. As she tucked the bill in her nail grazed the skin just a little as she whispered, “Now show your man here a good time on me pretty one.”

The suggestion sunk in and the pretty lycan grabbed Sketch’s ass and whispered to him. He huffed and turned to get a nice big kiss.

“Looks like this round is over. You did well enough.” Derek nodded to the pot. He was conceding. There were groans from around them. That was fine. They’d get over it.

Mira looked Sketch up and down before turning to walk around the table as her nails drug across the green felt fabric that covered it. She stopped beside Derek and leaned her hip on the edge closest to him. “So is there something you are better at than pool? Because you kind of suck at it.” Her nose wrinkled and she smiled as the music started up again. “How about dancing? Or Darts? Pinball? Pick one and we’ll see how you do.”

“Well, I don’t know how ta dance like humans. And I don’t know that my hands are good n a pinball machine, I know I’m no good at darts. So what other ideas you got for me, Trouble?” Derek asked as he tossed the pool cue over to another man.  He turned to place his hand on the small of Mira’s back, urging her forward and away from the room.

“Trouble?” Mira gave a small husky little laugh. “I’m not the one that was about to fight over a game of pool.” She walked with him.

“Oh, it’d just be a couple of bored lycan doing what they do best. No harm in it. We’d wind up shaking hands in the end. We just don’t get to cut loose enough around this world, is all.”  

“So no dancing, no darts and no pinball.” She looked up at him and sighed softly, “I’m not sure what that leaves us with sexy. So what do you do well?”

“Well, things that aren’t available in a run down old country bar. I surf like you wouldn’t believe. “I know how ta run a business, and can pour a mean drink, and I’m willin’ to learn more. Why?”  He stepped to the bar and motioned for Axel to get them two beers. “What kind you want? Same as you had?”

“Same is fine. There isn’t much I won’t drink.” Mira watched the bartender walk away and was appreciative of the view even as the redheaded female at the other end glared daggers her way. She just smiled wickedly at that and giggled before she gave Derek her full attention, “I’ve never surfed, I currently run a few businesses, pour drinks nightly and can teach a lot of things to those willing to learn.” As their beers were brought to them, Mira paid and then tucked a ten in Axel’s shirt as a tip. She swore she could hear that woman growling at her in response which normally would have only spurred her on to more wickedness. In this moment she was interested in Derek, though.

He was watching her – not in the normal lascivious way most males looked. He was genuinely amused. He even chuckled and shook his head before taking another drink. Then he tipped the top of the bottle toward her and asked, “I called it right. You’re given name might be Mira, but you’re nickname should be T.R.O.U.B.L.E.”

“Mmmm… maybe.”

“You got your own bar, so why come out here? Get bored of brother dear constantly tellin’ you what to do?” He took another drink. He knew who she was, he’d been to Dante’s Inferno a few times, now. He’d heard what she had to say, but he was constantly being taught something. He was beginning to wonder when his damn brain would explode.  Learning was fine, but being reminded you were still learning sucked. So why not turn the tables and ask her questions?

“Oh twenty questions, I always loved this game. Or is it more like truth or dare?” Mira shrugged and took a sip as she turned to face him and crossed one leg over the other. “Bar’s in renovation mode so no fun being had there right now. Dante’s off doing his own thing and I was tired of sitting at home sewing blankets for the poor and needy.” Her lashes fluttered as she poured on the sarcasm before smiling and taking another drink.

“I’m sure the poor and needy are at a loss,” Derek chuckled before taking another drink. She was funny, actually.  He liked sarcasm. It went over most lycan’s heads or they didn’t choose to accept it.

“Besides I like lycans and in most cases they really like me.” She noticed that he wasn’t staring at her breasts or drooling over the tight fit of her clothes. His gaze stayed on her own as he spoke to her not at her which was different than most men and women for that matter. “Do continue this is fun.” She smiled for him letting him know she really was finding this entertaining. No one ever wanted to know her. Fuck her yes. But not know her.

“Unless they’re female.” He winked at her. “You forgot that part.”  He nodded but took another drink.  

“Depends on the female.” Mira added even as she giggled and shook her bottle at him. “Some females really, really like me.” Her eyes sparkled as she licked her lips.

“Heh, I get that,” he smirked. Okay. If she wanted him to continue asking questions, he definitely could. He’d been curious about her for some time. “You’re usually all dressed up, but I’m assuming that’s for show. Just like you dressed like this for this particular bar and group of people, right?” Derek asked.

“All about presentation.” She waved one hand at herself, “Give the audience what they want.”

“So why not just dress like you’d want to? What’s that style?” He looked down at himself and added, “I’m wearing jeans, but nothing too biker-ish. I’m not a biker like most of these fellas. I didn’t try to fit in.”  

“Because no make-up, yoga pants and a big t-shirt isn’t really that attractive.” Her gaze moved over him and she winked, “But see that look works for you. I’d take you home and show you a good time in it.” Finishing off her beer Mira set the bottle down and blew a kiss to the female at the end of the bar that still had her bitch face going on.

“You drive here or, you know… poof?” Derek asked so he knew what to ask next.  

Swirling her hand in the air and wiggling her fingers Mira repeated in response, “Poofed.” She shook her head, “I shadowed here. Why do you ask sexy?”

“I also drive pretty well. Want to go for a ride?” he asked. Besides, it would get her out of there before someone came at her.

She shrugged.

He put down the money for his tab and made his way toward the door with Mira at his side.  He knew she wouldn’t be able to resist doing something else. He just hoped they could get out before Jaz got a good start.

Mira couldn’t resist giving Jasmine a pretty little wave as she was escorted towards the door by one of their lycan males. She knew it was salt in the wound for a non-lycan to make off with one of their men, even worse that she was demon.

As they neared the door Axel’s redhead was suddenly there and as Mira made eye contact with her, the female tossed her drink on her. Lucky for Mira the woman’s aim sucked and all she did was get a wet shirt out of it. Laughing, she was out the door with Derek right after that.

Dare moved quickly to the big Jeep at the outskirts of the bar parking lot. The thing was midnight blue with silver scrolling symbols painted all down the side. He cranked it up and waited for Mira to get in the other side before he stomped the gas to get them out of there.

“Like I said, T.R.O.U.B.L.E.,” he laughed before howling up into the air on their way out of the parking lot.

As Derek spun out Mira was all giggles while holding to the roll bar. Swiping her fingers across the bare skin just above her cleavage she licked her fingers, “Mmmm jack and coke… good choice.” Turning to sit sideways in the seat she pulled her knees up into the seat.  She watched him as her head tipped back and her hair was flowing out the window. “So where you taking me surfer boy?”

“Up in the hills ahead of us. There’s a great outlook point. I go there to think since I don’t have access to a beach close by. Besides, I’ve got duty tomorrow.” He said it loud enough for her to hear. He looked over at her and couldn’t help but enjoy the view. It wasn’t so much sexual as it was just… she was so wild and free. The exuberance she had was something he liked.  “Can’t go too far!”

“I can’t wait to see it. But if you’d wanted a beach I could have taken you to one ya know.” Not minding that he was watching, Mira stripped off the plaid button up and dropped it in his floorboard. The black spaghetti strap undershirt and her lace bra stayed in place.

“Maybe when I’ve brought my board with me. I wasn’t prepared for that tonight.” He watched the road, but also looked over when he could.

She caught his gaze and smiled, “I promise I won’t take nothing else off. The plaid was wet though and made me smell like a bar or a soda fountain take your pick.” Holding on to the roll bar with both hands Mira swung partially out the window and back as the enjoyed the night air along with the company.  

“It’s okay. If you need something to cover your arms, I always keep a spare bag of clothes in the back floorboard. Of course, it might make you smell like me. That might not be what you’re looking for either.

Turning in her seat, Mira reached to the bag not caring that her denim clad butt was in the air as she dug through his spare clothes for the promised piece. She only came back up after finding a t-shirt that was tugged on. “Smelling like you isn’t such a bad thing sexy.” She tugged her hair out and became comfortable in the seat again as he drove on. Mira just watched him from his strong hands gripping the wheel and gliding it left and right with the curves in the road, to his muscled arms flexing, his chest moving with each breath and the way his thighs bunched with the pressing of the pedals. He was breathtaking though she doubted somehow that he’d agree with her.

They drove on for just a little bit longer and then Derek turned onto a dirt road that lead upward through the moonlit night. When he pulled to the side of the road and cut the engine, the young man got out and walked around to help Mira down.  

The shirt was three times her size and yet she didn’t complain at all while taking Derek’s arm to climb out of the jeep. Tying a knot in one side to make it fit a bit better she smiled as he led the way.

“It’s up here,” he walked ahead of her, making sure the trail was safe. At the end of it, Mira found herself on a large parcel of boulder that hung over the side of a small cliff – overlooking Whitley.  

Derek walked further out and then sat down on the boulder and just enjoyed the view. He undid his hair so the wind could blow through it.  

Taking off her boots Mira dropped them behind the boulder and walked out to join him. “It’s a beautiful sight, thank you for sharing it with me.” She leaned forward to look below them and smiled without any reservation. There was no fear or worry as she sat there just enjoying the moment with him.

“You’re welcome,” he replied quietly. He took a deep cleansing breath before letting his gaze move upward to the clouds moving across the waxing moon.  

Closing her eyes Mira took in a deep breath and smiled as his scent crept up along her neck to tease her. For the longest time she didn’t say anything; instead choosing to simply feel and relax in the moment she was given.

“Makes you feel like you’re the only one in the world right here doesn’t it?” Her voice was soft as she spoke the words and her face was tipped up towards the half moon above as if drinking in the light itself.

“Yeah. But I don’t always like that.  I prefer the idea of knowing that everybody out there is under the same moon I’m sitting under. We’re connected, even though we’re not and don’t always know each other.”  He leaned backward to lay down on his elbows and continue to look up at the moonlit night. “My name’s Derek, by the way. In case you didn’t remember it. Though, Sexy’s not so bad, I guess. Just kind of generic is all.”

“Is it now? Well I could come up with at least a dozen others.” Mira laughed softly as she laid back and rolled to one side to face him. Propping herself up on one palm she looked him over, “Like Beefcake, Stud muffin..” There was a soft little laugh that showed her two sets of upper fangs as she relaxed and took a deep breath, “But I like Derek though Dare suits you better. “I’m Miranda though everyone calls me Mira.”

“I like that. Dare… sounds, daring…” he chuckled, his eyes finally in hers. “Mira. I mean, if you like it, then it’s perfect, right?” Derek let his voice move into the deeper range he could reach when he was fully lycan and drew out the syllables, nearly rolling the R, “Meerah…”

“Mmm I like the way you say my name.” Mira shifted positions and stretched out on her back beside him with her arms crossed beneath her head. Staring up at the stars she explained, “Miranda is my given or demonic name. Mira is what I’ve chosen to go by and it suits me. Besides it’s much better than some of the other names I’ve gone by over the years.”

“Oh? I’ve only had the one name. I admit, sometimes friends do and have called me Dare. So that feels natural. What other names did you have – if you don’t mind me asking?” He turned slightly to his side and put his head in his hand while watching her next to him.  

“In the orphanage I remember being called Miranda by the nuns, after that in the workshop I was simply “girl”. Within the cat houses and bordellos of London the clients called me Gypsy or Silkie, their wives on the other hand called me ‘whore’.  When I took over as Madam everyone called me Mistress. My brother found me while I was running one – and I’ve been simply Mira to him. I’ve gone by many names through the years like Tasha, Marie, Joan, Alexis and at least a dozen or so more. I like changing my name every few decades. It’s fun.” There was no shame or embarrassment in her tone or words as she answered him straightforward and honest. She even smiled as she looked at him, “My father calls me his veershana. That means beautiful child in demonic. He says I will always be his veershana no matter how many human names I take.”

“That’s nice. It sounds good off the tongue, like Mira does. So you know your father, then?” Derek was intrigued.

“Yes, I know him.”

“I overheard that he’s pretty powerful where he comes from. But that he can’t come here. Do you and your brother visit him?”

Her gaze changed with the questions regarding her father. She was not as forth coming as before. It wouldn’t be the first time that someone had tried to use her to get to either her father or her brother. Most that asked such did so with a motive. Mira’s gaze moved over him in that quiet leering way.

Derek saw the look of silent suspicion and quickly assured, “I’m not gathering information, if that’s what you think. I was just curious. My father died in the last war we had. My mother is…uh…crazy. So I’ve been taken under Eva and Dev’s wings. I was just curious about your family. I don’t know how demons do… family?”

Mira relaxed again with the explanation. “My father loves us. He was banished by my mother’s family before we were born. It was said she died of a broken heart after our births. Knowing what our birthing takes we probably killed her. Normally we would have been raised on the demonic realm. Instead we were raised here on this one.” She smiled at Derek, “We can travel to see him. I do quite often but my brother doesn’t. They don’t get along. One day my father will be able to come and go again as he pleases, though.”

“You look forward to that, I can tell. Your brother, probably not so much, huh?” Devon understood such division. He’d known family drama within his own family and pack. “Me and my father didn’t always see eye to eye. And now, I feel like Devon’s holding me back from things. He’s really big into the Pack and family. I’m just not there.”

“I didn’t know him until I was full grown. At least you had and still have ones that care and look out for you.” Mira reached to grab a strand of his recently freed hair to twirl around her finger. “We only have each other and our father.”

“You’re still here. You’re still showing people who’s boss, even outside the club. I know it was probably rough, but you’re a strong, intelligent, independent woman because you had to be.” He smiled, “I mean, I guess I like making people see the silver lining. Sorry if you didn’t want that.” He actually scrunched his nose a bit as he continued to look at her. He didn’t mind her touching his hair. It felt good.

“There’s nothing wrong with some silver lining, suga.” She laughed softly and added,”Thank you for that, though these days Dante seems to forget I was on my own a long time before he came along.” Mira took a deep breath as her mind trailed for just a moment.

Derek just watched her and took in a deep breath so he could take in her scent. She smelled heavenly and then had the added liquor and smoke from the bar. He could do without that, truth be told.

Shaking the moment off she went on, “Tell me what happened with your parents.” Mira was listening without being judgemental. She really wanted to know more about him.

“We don’t speak of the dead. It might draw them back from the Golden Fields where they can enjoy their eternity. But the other? Mama’s complicated. From what I understood, she started having trouble with reality after my sister was born. And then, there was trouble with how my father was toward her coming home from war. I remember he spent more time with me and Gar and Dev than at home. They didn’t get along too well. And mama took it bad. She threw something at him last time he left the house. Then I came home from my first war without him. She… she just lost it after that. I placed my sister with a good family. I still had a lot to handle. And then, well, part of the pack came over through the portal.” Derek shrugged. It was more than he’d told anybody else, that was for sure.

Mira wasn’t as upset because she knew how the other races were and knew what to expect. Her fingers smoothed through his hair and she swayed with him. “As a child I’d play all around the shops and hide where no one could reach me. I would vanish for hours and just imagine like any child does.” Her voice was soft as she shared with him what few had ever heard from her, but then none had showed interest in the true Miranda like he had. “I thought I was simply human back then, you see. So I’d imagine being rescued from the slums by a knight in shining armor. I’d pretend I was a beautiful princess in a ball and I’d twirl myself away with the broom as if it were my dancing partner.” She laughed softly and laid her cheek on his chest to listen to his heartbeat.

“Being human would be nice. I think that sometimes,” Derek admitted. “No super senses to make things bad. You could travel and not have to worry about the wolf coming out accidentally.” They continued to dance.

“Humans are too fragile and easily breakable.” Mira smiled and reveled in his warmth and scent as it surrounded her. He was turned on but in control, she could feel it and taste it from him.

Derek kissed the top of her head. “Yeah. And if I were human, then I wouldn’t smell how wonderful you smell, so I guess that’s no good.” He continued to sway with her gently. “When did you realize you weren’t human?” he asked.

“When I hit puberty at thirteen years old. I was a servant girl in a bordello then. I’d been there since I was eleven. My life changed a few weeks after that. ” Until then she’d been whole and happy just cleaning and seeing to the needs of the madam and the whores.

The lycan pulled back so he could see her face. “No…” He figured he knew what she was about to say. His concern was evident. He’d been to cities in the other world where brothels were normal. He knew people’s evil.  

“Derek, hey don’t worry about it.” She was touched that he was so concerned for her. “It was a very, very long time ago. I took control of my life a few years later and became madam. So it’s okay really.” She stepped on  his toes as he missed a step and she laughed softly, “Look… worry for the past got you injured
in the now. The past is the past and we cannot change it, but we can avoid such in the future.” She almost stepped on his foot again and giggled as he proved her right by moving it.

“I don’t like people who take advantage like that. I’m not naive. I know slavery exists. I know people profit from it. I know indentured servitude exists. I know it’s sometimes a symbiotic relationship. But, I’d prefer to find alternatives. Especially where children are concerned.” He continued to move steadily at
the pace they had set. “There’s plenty of profit to be made without the use of slavery.”  He moved his hand from her so he could brush some of her hair back and just feel it in his fingertips.  “I know it made you who you are. But it shouldn’t have happened that way. Just my opinion.”  

“Everyone is entitled to one and generally has one.” She had opinions on several things herself, but in this Derek was very passionate which made his eyes light up with it though she doubted he knew it. So she felt mentioning that Dante traded in everything wouldn’t go over well, though she had to admit that her brother drew the line at the trade of children.

“Have you been able to take some energy from me? Or am I doing the opposite and boring you to death, leaving you hungry?” he asked because he knew how she lived Derek just didn’t know the logistics.

Mira stepped back a pace and pulled her hands from him, “I didn’t come with you to feed from you Derek.” She turned and walked several steps away and stepped down off of the boulder. Reaching down for her boots the succubi sat down to tug them on. The way he’d put it made her feel cheap as if the only reason she’d be here sharing with him and listening to him was to leech off of him.

“Wait! I didn’t mean to offend you, Mira,” he slid himself down from the boulder to the softer ground.  “I just don’t know much about that part of you. I didn’t know if you needed more. I don’t want the night to end like this. I didn’t bring you out here thinking you’d feed off me.”

With one boot on Mira stopped to listen to what Derek said. She hadn’t been too suspicious before but now she wondered. “That part of me lures men and women to bed. It feeds while we fuck.” Slipping her other boot on Mira stood up and then stepped back onto the boulder so that she was eye to eye with him. “So if not to feed me then why bring me here?” She pushed him to hear the truth.

“I brought you out here because you’re more attractive to me than all the lycan gals I’ve ever met in my entire life. Not just physically, but in everything else, too.” He huffed, “I’ve seen you at the Inferno and talked to you and I had no idea if you really noticed me or just, you know – did what bar tenders sometimes do. When I saw the chance, I wanted to get to know you away from the Inferno, away from those lycan at the other bar, away from everywhere that we have to wear masks, ya know? So I could be me and you could be you. No show.”  

Mira’s whole demeanor changed at his words. He wanted to get to know her. Not use her, bed her or parade her around. “No shows or masks between us, Dare.” She kissed his lips and brushed her cheek against his so that Derek could feel the soft pull against his energy. When she leaned back her eyes were glowing like molten amber  jewels and when she kissed him the next time it was just as soft but she flooded him with that energy as she returned it.

His chest rumbled with warning and desire as his wolf fought the true man for control. Was this supposed to happen? He’d been told all his life what was supposed to happen, how he was supposed to feel when it happened. How he felt right now was what he wanted, what he craved. The way she could move his energy and then return it intrigued him. This was why he had asked – because he was curious. Because he wanted to know her.  His hands were around her waist by the time the kiss ended, and he was loathe to let her go.

As the kiss eased off Mira still had her arms around Derek’s neck and she was smiling at him. “Now take me home before I break my word and do really naughty things to you.” It would be the first time that Mira could ever recall enjoying time with someone where it didn’t end up with them naked.

“Yes ma’am,” he whispered before nuzzling her at the side of her face, his braids tickling her nose. “Thank you for spending time with me.”  He pulled back, but took her hand in his to walk her back to the truck.

“Next time, I’ll bring my board and supplies. I’ll take you up on that offer to go to the beach. I’d love to teach you to surf.” He opened the door for her.

Climbing inside the jeep Mira let him close the door and waited for him to join her. As he walked around she smiled, “”I’d love to take you to the beaches. Pick one and bring your stuff. I’ll get us there.”

“California and Australia, sometimes New Zealand have the best waves. But it also depends on the current and the weather the day we go.” He hopped up into the driver’s seat and closed his door.  “And my favorite is California because – sushi.”  Cranking the truck, he got them going back down the winding road toward the main highway.  

“Sushi hm?” Mira watched him as her hand propped her head up in the window. She smoothed her hair back out of her face as it whipped around her.

“Oh, damn, the sushi there is made by Japanese Americans. It’s for real the best I’ve ever had. You should see their faces when I put it away.”  He fluttered his eyes and gave her the angelic look he gave to Eva all the time.  

She laughed and just shook her head knowing that look had probably gotten him anything with others when he wanted it.

“Would your brother let you go for a weekend without fussing too much?” he asked. He knew she was her own woman, but he also knew Mira probably didn’t want to cause trouble.

“Not sure but if he fussed I’d just go to my father’s and then slip off anyways.” Mira pulled her knees up, “So where would you want to take me for a weekend?” She was curious now and it showed.

“If we’re talkin’ just the weekend and not a big trip like California, The Outer Banks. Kittyhawk is great this time of year for mild surfing. And it’s not as crowded as other places. Plus, there’s a great night life. Not to mention, just laying on the beach at night can be what you want after a long day in the sun and surf.” He got them on the main highway soon enough, though he hated that the night had to end.  “You should come into business with me someday. With your bartending skills and my teaching surfing, we could make a killing.”  

“It’s my dream. I know Devon’s sick of hearing about it. I’m just not as pack loving as he is.”  

“Why not? I see a great Alpha in you one day Derek.” Mira didn’t have to be psychic to see that he was a natural born leader. “But I wouldn’t mind starting up a business with you. Of course it’d be strictly between you and me, I don’t need your Pack snarling at me anymore than you need my brother snarling at you.”

He moved his right hand off the wheel and the left took it. He held his arm out for her to shake. “Deal. But I don’t believe the stuff about being a good Alpha. Not when all I want to do is find a way out lately.” Derek couldn’t for the life of him see being an Alpha. He figured it wasn’t in his stars, nor did he want it to be.

Shaking his hand, Mira let it go and winked at him, “I didn’t say right now surfer boy. I said future leader. You have a lot more experience to gain before telling others what to do.”

“Experience like I’ve been getting in keeping my eyes on your brother?”

That made her head tilt to the side as she lifted her perfect shaped brows high in question. “Spying on Dante? So if you are supposed to be watching my brother how do you know so much about me?”

“I came to the Inferno for a reason and I guess I slipped in my duties because I started coming more to see and talk to you than to keep up with him, truth be told.” Derek was nothing if not honest with her. He didn’t like there to be secrets. And the information he was giving didn’t incriminate any one person. “I know your brother doesn’t like seein’ me hang out here. Or you talk to the same guy every few nights. But I don’t know if that’s all about you or about your business. Is it both? I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t interested in the business, too. Though, I suppose as you can tell, I’m mostly interested in you.”

“I can tell but honestly, why so much interest in my brother?” Mira

“Me and my contacts are worried about the portals and the business flowing through them. Some of my business has been lacking since the doppelganger incident – more than I thought it would be,” he offered up that much. Why not? It wouldn’t cost him anything. “You wouldn’t happen to know anything about it, would you? You don’t have to go into any kind of detail that would get you into trouble, you know I don’t want that, Mira.” He hoped she wasn’t going to be too mad at him for bringing up business.

“Maybe..” She hugged herself and thought over all that he had told her. She should be furious, but for some reason she just wasn’t. “I know a few things but you have to promise that my brother won’t get hurt in all of this.”

“Dante has so many ways out of anything, he’s like a fuckin’ pretzel. I couldn’t harm him, even if I wanted to. I just play at a little trade on the side here and there. But some of the pack members miss some of the goodies I used to could bring across, ya know?” He smiled and looked over at her, “Remy swears there’s nothing like the Moon Wine from the other side. And Larien swears by the wool of the Sugloo Sheep and can’t stand using the wool from this world’s sheep.” His eyes were back on the road.  “Those commodities can’t always come through the main portal. But they’re getting difficult to barter and bargain for anywhere else, too. Both should come through packs on the other side to here… but lately? Nothing.”  

Mira had serious information from her brother in turn she had felt the need to pass it on to Derek since he was lycan. She knew that his Alpha would find it useful and maybe they’d cut her some slack where Dare was concerned in the future. Wait, was she actually considering the future when it came to a romantic interest? Yes. Was it bribery? Yes. Was it worth it? She seemed to think so at least in the short run.

“My brother spoke of something the other day. He said the wars are beginning again and the Packs are scattered right now. Even Crimson is having a hard time keeping track of it. Seems something big is happening at least with your people on the other side. That may be why you’ve not heard as much from the other side when it comes to your own business ventures.”

“Are you sure this isn’t bullshit? I mean, we are talking about Dante…” Derek’s brows raised.

“My brother doesn’t lie to me, Dare. He may lie to others, but not me. Not to mention we weren’t really discussing lycan at the time. We were discussing business and trade through the portal. See, since the mess with the doppelgangers, Crimson has been real hard at the portals and inspection has been tight. It makes it tough for certain trade. Since you brought up the problem with trade – I thought you should know. Also, maybe this is something your Alpha might need to know. I have no ill will toward him. He seems an honorable man.”

“He is…” Derek whispered. His mother and sister were still over there. A good portion of Devon’s pack was still there – including family.  “My business contacts didn’t tell me. But they had reason not to. They wouldn’t want me to shift my business interests. Or…” Derek kept his eyes on the road as he considered the implications.

Mira watched his expression and listened  to what he was saying. It was obvious his mind was whirling with some ideas on the issue. “Or what Dare?”

“Or it might involve my own packs. I belong to two. Warring between packs isn’t unheard of. I just… I had hoped maybe the peace was still being kept.” Derek didn’t like hearing this at all. He had crossed over without his mother and sister. He needed to check on them. Devon needed to check on his family.

“Dante didn’t speak any names, but it seemed like it was a pretty serious conflict going on. I know it must be really dangerous to have my brother holding all trade right now across the portals.” Mira started for the jeep. “We need to start heading back because if you keep me out too long my brother will get the wrong impression and you don’t want that.”

“No, I don’t want that to happen.” He held his hand out again, hoping she’d hold it. “Thank you for letting me know, Mira.” Derek couldn’t help but be quiet for the remainder of the trip. His mind kept going back over losing his dad and thinking… what if he lost his sister?

When they reached the top of the parking garage Mira was actually sad to see the evening come to an end. Opening her door, she climbed out and closed it before she could change her mind. Leaning in the window she smiled at him, “I’m keeping your shirt as ransom. You can get it back the next time I see you.”

“You look better in it than I do,” he grinned.  When she stepped back, he remained, watching her. “Get to that door. I’m not leavin’ til I know you’re safe, Mira.”

“As you wish, but I know you just want to watch my ass as I walk away. It’s okay you can admit it, because I know I have a great ass to look at.” Mira blew him a kiss as she turned and swayed her way to the elevator. Once inside she pressed the right combo of buttons and as the doors closed she held his gaze and smiled one last time for him.

Derek chuckled and shook his head before putting the Jeep in gear to go. He had a short night and Devon had already told him to be ready for a busy morning. He wondered if the sleep would be worth it.

Maybe for the dreams?


~  Rachel Diane Adams and Dawn McClellan © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2017