Shifters of Silver Peak(3)

By: Georgette St. Clair



She’d put up with him for the last three years, though. She’d moved around the country with his company, to different areas where they developed and built new luxury condominiums and resort hotels. They’d been in Silver Peak for about six months now. More than just his secretary, she acted as his brand ambassador, smoothing over disputes and soothing hurt feelings.

Apparently, though, she’d finally had it with him. She’d told Eileen that this was going to be her last Christmas with him. He just didn’t know it yet.

“So, about that shanty-town Christmas Village…” Valerie said to Morgan.

“As long as it’s after hours and on your own time, do what you want.” Morgan caught her look and shook his head. “No, I’m not coming to help out. And I sure as hell am not going to be Santa.”

“Fine.” Valerie bit the word off a little too sharply.

“Come on, Valerie, it’s really for the best,” Eileen said.

“Thank you.” Morgan’s tone was laced with annoyance.

“I mean, this is Morgan,” Eileen said. “He’d tell the kids that if they wanted presents, they shouldn’t have had poor parents, or he’d give them lumps of coal. Morgan doesn’t belong in a Santa suit. Isn’t that right, Arthur?”

“Yep, I expect so.” Arthur stood there placidly, holding a cardboard tube of construction plans.

Morgan, not the least bit offended that Eileen had just identified him as Ebenezer Scrooge, looked out the window.

“What’s everyone so damn happy about?” he asked, scowling.

Valerie gave a contented sigh. “Well, most people can actually afford Christmas this year, thanks to the mineral springs, and they have jobs, and they don’t have to hunt their food, and everyone loves the new Alpha, and—”

“That was pretty much a rhetorical question,” Morgan interrupted her. “Wait, are those carolers coming our way?” That came out in a growl of dismay.

“Oh no,” Valerie said in a bored tone. “Happy singing children. And cubs. Run away, run away. By the way, Chelsea might stop by later. With her cubs.”

“Omigod, they are so adorable,” Eileen rhapsodized. “With their little matching twin outfits? You should hear their little howls.”

Chelsea, the mate of the Kincaid Pack Alpha, had recently given birth to twin boys, Jesse and James. Her mate, Roman, was a former outlaw, and still nothing to mess with – but now that he was a father he’d turned into a big pussycat as far as his cubs were concerned. He even carried them in a baby sling – and heaven help anyone who even looked at him funny for it.

“Does nobody understand the concept of a work day?” Morgan said. “Christmas is two weeks away. Oh God, the carolers are moving closer. If they come here, just give them money and make them go away without singing, won’t you?”

He turned and stomped off to his office, hurrying down the long hallway. Arthur followed.

“I know the drill!” Valerie yelled after them as Arthur shut the door.

“So you haven’t told him yet?” Eileen asked.

Valerie winced. “No, not yet. I know I need to give him a decent amount of notice, it’s just…” She sighed. “I don’t want to tell him right before Christmas. I know he pretends he hates the holidays, but still, telling him that I quit right now seems unnecessarily harsh. Also it would put him in a bad mood, and then he’d be a jerk to his employees all through the Christmas month.” At Eileen’s look she added, “More than usual.”

“Okay. Trying to imagine him being more of a jerk.” Eileen frowned in concentration. “Failing.”

When Eileen had first arrived in Silver Peak six months ago, Valerie had gotten her hired on as a marketing intern. Eileen had tried to put up with Morgan’s moodiness and irritability, mostly because she really liked Valerie, but she could only take it for so long.

Her mate had come into an enormous amount of money, so she didn’t need the paycheck anymore, and Marcus needed her to be with him. She had a calming effect on him. She worked with him, helping him to promote and manage his hand-carved furniture business.

“Also I was really hoping that I could convince him to be Santa at the Christmas Village,” Valerie said. “And if I tell him that I’ve quit, there’s no chance of that happening.”

“You want him to do that even though you know he’d be terrible at it?” Eileen looked at her skeptically.

“I think it would be good for him. He’s so wrapped up in work all the time, from the minute he wakes up in the morning until he leaves the office late at night, and then he usually sends me work emails or calls me about work stuff after he’s gone home. Before I leave, I’d like to show him that there’s more to life than work.”

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