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  1. On Monday, CJ arrived at the embassy a little earlier than usual. He wanted to prepare the contact report for the previous day and get his meeting with Jimmy Chen over with before Stephen Northman could complain too much. His luck faltered. He had just completed the paperwork, and sent Northman a message explaining he had a meeting first thing in the morning, when the man once again surprised him with a stealthy approach. “What’s the meeting about, Mr. Abelló?” Northman stood at the entran
    93 points
  2. “Thank you, Felicia.” Owen placed the potted orchid on the console against the entryway’s narrow wall and double kissed their neighbor. “Where’s Andrés?” The journalist had arrived sans husband. “Monterrey. He left this morning.” The woman finger brushed a strand of hair away from her face. “But he complained business prevented him from being here. He was looking forward to tasting your family’s wines.” “We owe you guys.” Owen and CJ had become frequent dinner visitors at the penthou
    90 points
  3. “What the hell are you doing, boy?” Brett was sufficiently loud to startle CJ. Chuckling, Liebe tumbled off her father’s back when his hand slipped and he collapsed on the rug. CJ was glad the balcony doors were closed so neighbors could not hear. “Pushups! I help Ceej.” Instead of being upset, the girl acted as if falling was part of their routine. She rushed to scramble atop her father again. “Morning, Dads. If you look outside, you may notice the deluge. No running this mor
    85 points
  4. “After last weekend, I was scared to serve wine tonight.” Shrugging, the woman handed CJ and Owen stemless glasses. “Since I couldn’t sample our options, I had to rely on the hubby. He swore this one and the red we’ll have with dinner were good.” Six days after the wine tasting at their apartment, CJ and Owen were at Elijah and Natalie Sinclair’s home for dinner. “I’ll assume it’s from New Zealand.” Owen gently twirled the glass, brought it to his nose, and inhaled. “Passion fruit and
    84 points
  5. On his back, with Owen hovering over him, CJ failed to notice they were no longer alone. The dumbbells’ actual weight was not an issue but the bulkiness was. Stone and wooden plates were larger than iron ones, demanding a spotter to help maintain proper equilibrium. “İQue linda eres! ¿Como te llamas?” “Liebe.” By the time CJ dropped the weights and raised his torso, Owen was scooping their daughter from the sand. An unknown voice calling her pretty and asking her name had put t
    83 points
  6. “We didn’t make the front page.” CJ dropped the newspaper on the kitchen counter. His sarcastic tone reinforced what everyone knew: he did not care about such things. “But we show up on the local section.” “Not good enough for you?” Brett snatched the paper before César could, tossed the front section aside, and smiled at the picture on the subsequent one. “I likey.” “Gutiérrez Müller Inaugura Centro Tecnológico.” César did not look pleased with the headline. “That’s it? The first lady
    77 points
  7. In the blink of an eye, Sebastian stood in front of Rosalie and Donovan, oblivious to his lack of clothing. Within seconds, Hunter and Kellan stood naked as well. Everyone winced as Reilly’s transformation dragged on for several long seconds, bones cracking and snapping. Then, he too, was standing naked. Sebastian focused his gaze on Rosalie. “What is real?” he demanded. “Get dressed and let’s go into the living room. It’s not a simple explanation,” she replied, turning to lead
    71 points
  8. A day after returning from Tulum, CJ and Owen sat on their balcony enjoying the early evening breeze and CJ’s first attempt at replicating the Jalapeño Margaritas they had sampled over the weekend. A skewered pepper and a few drops of the tequila they had soaked in overnight gave the cocktail an extra kick. Owen smacked his lips. “That’s good, mate. If you flake out as a diplomat, you have a career as a mixologist.” “Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.” The year CJ spent at State
    71 points
  9. Zev woke to a loud cracking sound followed by an even louder “FUCK!” His eyes shot open and as his vision came into focus all he saw was Ben arching his back as his bones started to contort. Shit. It was finally time for Ben’s wolf to make an appearance. The previous day had started with a call from one of Logan’s contacts. The man thought he had seen a pup that had gone missing from a pack in northern California. He wasn’t positive, but he was able to give a decent description of the man
    69 points
  10. Ben hummed as he worked, wiping down a table that had just been vacated. He had opened the diner as a favor to Sandi and was waiting for her to relieve him. Zev was picking him up soon and had only told Ben that he had something fun planned. Glancing at the clock, he was surprised to see how early it still was. The past several weeks had been enlightening. The shifters in town were more open with him and he enjoyed getting to know the ones who came into the diner on a regular basis. He was
    69 points
  11. As soon as Sebastian opened the door it was apparent that the other two couples had also made good use of their limited time alone with each other. All six wolves were content for the moment, and hopefully would behave during the upcoming meeting. Needing to get down to business, Sebastian addressed Ben first. “So tell us what you saw, Ben.” He knew Ben was used to fading into the background and observing. This afternoon’s lunch had been no different. “Councilman Albert’s wolf
    68 points
  12. Ben was stretched out on Zev’s bed, thinking hard. They had another hour to kill after showering, complete with a couple of intense orgasms, and before dinner would be ready. “Zev? How do shifters police each other? I mean, I know that within each pack the enforcers are sort of like human law enforcement right? But what about from pack to pack, how does that work?” The bed dipped as Zev dropped down next to Ben. “Well, it’s rare that there’s any crimes, so to speak, between packs. The
    67 points
  13. Sebastian woke before Reilly, having slept fitfully for a few hours, not really getting much rest. His mate was nestled in close, tucked into his embrace. He still had a hard time wrapping his mind around the fact that in a few short days, Reilly had become such an important part of Sebastian’s very existence. He couldn’t imagine not having Reilly in his life. It was early, the sky barely starting to lose its grip on the night. Instead of inky blackness outside his windows, it was a dark g
    67 points
  14. "What do you mean Mollik is not here?" asked Haycock, after proceedings had just begun and the name check of his witnesses had been met with a simple reply from the audience. "Where is he? The man is a key witness. Your lordship, he was stationed near the door of accused's chamber—one of the guards on beacon watch—on the night the chamberlain went missing and will confirm that the apprentice never returned to his quarters that night." "I also need to question Mollik," said Marietta, as conf
    66 points
  15. “Locked, I wonder what is on the other side?” the second teenager said. “Hop onto my shoulders and I will lift you up, then you can stand on my shoulders to look over the top,” the first boy said. “You do that and you will get a face full of high pressure water, so don’t even try it boys,” I growled in a deep voice, to sound much older than I am, and to disguise that I was probably the same age as them. “Oh shit,” I heard one of the boys say as there was rustling and footsteps leaving the f
    66 points
  16. It was the quietness of the predawn hour that woke Kellan. Sometimes the absence of sound made the loudest noise in one’s mind. As his eyes adjusted to the dimness, he slowly became aware of the soft puffs of air that came from Hunter as he slept. The room held a certain chilliness that could never be quite banished from the ancient stone walls, no matter how much updating the structure went through. It didn’t bother Kellan in the slightest, his wolf’s higher metabolism helped to keep him warm a
    65 points
  17. Reilly stretched and opened his eyes. Sebastian was still sleeping, so Reilly took advantage of the opportunity to study his mate. Even in slumber, his features betrayed the stress he was under. There was a slight tension around his eyes and in the set of his mouth that was only apparent this close up. His eyelids twitched occasionally, hiding whatever dreams were spinning through his subconscious. Reilly had a feeling they weren’t good. Sebastian’s nostrils flared in a steady cycle, match
    65 points
  18. Once inside, four of Marcus’s class mates closed and locked the door, and stood guard, as Marcus, George and I approached the front counter, where the Deputy Principal was in discussion with one of the admin staff. “Mr Patterson, what can I do for you, and who are these two strangers?” the Deputy Principal asked Marcus. “Sir, one of these boys is not a stranger to this school, may I introduce Austin Kimbolton, a former student and older brother to current student Oscar Kimbolton and this is
    64 points
  19. Sebastian’s wolf whined when the plane’s door shut and locked. Most wolves weren’t comfortable with being confined to a big metal tube hurtling through the sky. They preferred the sky to be over their heads, all four paws planted solidly on terra firma. Sebastian mentally shushed him. He huffed back in indignation and settled down, albeit reluctantly. The wolf had been on edge for the past few days, so much had happened in a very short amount of time. Early Thursday morning had heralded th
    63 points
  20. “I guess being Autistic, something in his mind also remembered that day, and when he had developed the skills to do painting, he did this as a reminder of that happy day,” I said to my friend. “Wow, that is so… weird,” George said as he struggled to explain how he felt about all of this news about me having another brother. I had a very unsettling night of rest, waking in the morning, feeling very tired and groggy, I was about to jump into the shower to get ready for school, when I remember
    61 points
  21. It’s frustrating as hell having to count the change drawer for the third time. My own fault, of course, because the coins keep bouncing off the counter while I angrily utter the growing balance. The closing time of my little flower shop was nearly half an hour ago. Due to unfortunate acquired information, I can’t keep my mind on my work. Any other day I would have had the cash drawer counted and put in the safe by now. Micah Knowles, my assistant? No, he’s more than that. My employee? Ew, way t
    61 points
  22. Brathay felt as though his skin had begun to catch fire. A fury so intense erupted from within that he started to lose control again. He felt the blood draining from his face and a tremor beginning beneath the surface of his skin, centring in and around his chest. For a long moment, he did not breathe, not until his lungs began to ache. And then the combined voices of his father and Brokerman sounded loud and resolute in his mind. Breathe, Brathay, breathe. Do not give yourself away. P
    59 points
  23. Brathay and Marietta emerged from the Great Hall with the last of the crowd. Someone was ringing the hour bell repeatedly and urgently while soldiers and house staff ran frantically around amid the chaos trying to get a fire under control. Whatever had been launched at the keep had either been aflame or had started a fire upon impact. The wooden outer structure of part of the kitchens burned hungrily, flames licking the upper floor. Two bodies had been laid outside in the courtyard safely away f
    57 points
  24. Chapter Eleven - Cock Fight Jonathan felt like he was being suffocated by how angry he felt. The only explanation was that Maddox had somehow thought of Ray being the competition or something along those lines. That, however, gave him no right to put some girl up to seduce Ray and who knew what else. Hanna appeared to be an honest albeit aloof girl, and according to her declarations, she liked Ray for real, but that still didn’t make things right. Maddox Kingsley, Mad Dawg or not, woul
    57 points
  25. Brathay woke with a pounding headache and only slowly became aware of the familiar icy coldness enveloping his skin and a putrid stench he would rather have forgotten. At first, he believed he had lost his sight—the darkness all-consuming—until his eyes picked out a faint orange glow of torchlight from outside reflected on the damp wall of his cell. He touched the painful spot at the back of his skull and felt caked blood. This time, at least, someone had furnished him with a blanket that p
    55 points
  26. Over the next few months, we settled into a routine of spending weekends at the Castalia house, with both of my brothers, as well as going out on picnics. Edgar had returned to doing painting again, which he had stopped doing after the death of our parents, and he even entered one of his newest paintings to the local art competition, where he received third place for his oil painting titled “Brothers Together” and second place for his oldest painting titled “Family”. The newest painting was
    53 points
  27. The rest of the week I felt a small bit of anticipation fluttering in my stomach about the feature. True to his word, Gabe didn’t bother me anymore. I looked for him between classes, through the faces I didn’t really know because I didn’t care to. I doubted I really gave him anything to use for the feature and when they hit the wire baskets in the hallway for us to pick up, I grimaced when I saw me in full uniform on the front cover. It was an official team picture, so I had my safety glasses on
    53 points
  28. Heading back home, we dropped Rich off at the paper, and then we went to Mom and Dad’s. Walking into the house, we headed for the kitchen, and Mom and Dad had already eaten, so it would have to be leftovers for us. Moms have incredible hearing, opening the fridge door, she heard it and was next to me in a second. “Go and sit down. I’ll warm up supper for you and Stephen.” I fixed a coffee for us, “Mom, where’s Dad?” “In the garage.” Taking our coffee, Stephen and I headed for
    53 points
  29. Chapter Three - Cole My friend Rush and I slid onto stools side by side at the bar at the club, ‘McGee’s.’ Only a few people know where the name comes from. Tommy’s very secretive about it. When the question is raised he always blushes before deeming something needs his urgent attention and runs off. The club is actually named after his one and only love, a rescue dog he got when we first met our friend Raj. In college, Raj volunteered at an animal shelter by the name of ‘Fur-babies.’
    52 points
  30. Reilly knew Sebastian hadn’t been kidding when he said everyone would be busy. Zev and Ben had sort of adopted Elijah as their new best friend. They made sure he felt welcomed and that he found his way around and got to wherever he needed to be. It took a couple of days before Donovan figured out how to work with Elijah’s unique DNA, so there were a lot of visits to the makeshift office/lab he was working out of. Donovan had commandeered the smaller of the two kitchen areas at the lodge as
    51 points
  31. The sun was still far beyond the eastern horizon when the charter plane’s wheels left the ground and ascended into the starry sky. Reilly was proud of how Sebastian reacted when he told Alberts they had to return to Montana right after the banquet. Alberts had smugly informed them that the Council’s plane wasn’t available until Sunday, as originally planned. Sebastian had promptly arranged for a private charter to fly them home, courtesy of Council funds of course. The banquet hadn’t been
    51 points
  32. Rich was waiting for us, and we didn’t even come to a complete stop before he opened the back door and jumped in. “Anxious, are we?” “Yes, I spoke to Robert. He said if this story is what he thinks it is, it’ll be a blockbuster.” “I am not interested in it being a blockbuster. I’m more concerned about justice being served. If we are successful, this type of behavior will be frowned on, and the people in power will step up to the plate and make changes. It’s hard for me to believe
    51 points
  33. Rich phoned me at work. “Tim, all hell has broken loose here. The DA has issued an arrest warrant for Bruce, and they have identified you as the individual that has led to the arrest warrant. There is a line of Bruce supporters surrounding your home, and the DA has sent the police to protect your home and your parents.” “Rich, are you able to make contact with my dad?” “Yes, I can get a message to him.” “Tell him to pack enough clothes for several weeks and to come to my home. He
    50 points
  34. We walked to our car and headed to the hospital. When we arrived, Mom and Dad were in Ann Marie's room talking to her. We went and met with her doctor. "Doctor, when do you think Ann Marie would be able to travel to my parent's home?" "It will be a few months." "Could you accompany her? I may need her testimony." "Why don't we wait until you need her? Then I'll consider it. Your sister has made a remarkable improvement, and I need to think about taking her back to the town th
    50 points
  35. When I pulled into the driveway I sat staring at the aged brick and concrete pillars that framed a small front porch. I could only make out the other houses in the hazy blue of the early sunrise when I looked out the window. Some people were already up and stirring, heading into work on a weekend shift somewhere. Yawning, I killed the engine and slid out of the car, closing the door gently behind me. The curtain moving in the window caught my attention and told me Mom was already awake. She woul
    50 points
  36. Mom and Dad arrived early Friday afternoon, and Dad had two copies of the newspaper for us. We rode in Dad’s car, reading Rich’s article. “Dad, has there been any feedback on this article?” “There was a rumor that the school board was thinking of suing the newspaper for printing that story.” “I wonder what they will say when I file my lawsuit.” “When are you going to do that?” “We have one more witness to interview, which we hope to do soon.” “Tim, are you planning on sh
    50 points
  37. Realizing what I had just done my eyes shot open, but when I tried to pull my hand away from his shirt, he gripped it harder and grabbed hold of my other arm with his other hand. He pulled me back and I grunted as my weight shifted uncomfortably into the console between us. When his lips started moving against mine, that was forgotten and I closed my eyes again. Then he abruptly broke the kiss, gently pushing me away. “That was,” he breathed, “can we go somewhere else so we can do that some
    50 points
  38. Dinner reminded me of the past at home. People were talking, enjoying the food and company. I saw Alex, Ann Marie’s doctor, occasionally squeeze her hand, smiling at her. I knew it wouldn’t be long before Ann Marie was discharged from the hospital, and I needed to think about her next move. I told Stephen that I would drive Ann Marie and Alex back to the hospital. Walking to the parking lot, “Tim, may I come back?” “Absolutely, let me know when you want to visit, and I’ll come and pic
    48 points
  39. The following day I called Judge Howard’s office, and he agreed to meet me for lunch at the Southern Bell Hotel near the Court House. That night Donnie visited.” Tim, Judge Howard is on your side. Tom must move back home, and his parents would like him home. His dad is prepared to protect him.” I woke up. “Stephen, we must contact Tom. He needs to move back home.” “Donnie?” “Yes,” then I fell asleep again. In the morning, sitting at the breakfast table, Dad announced he was
    48 points
  40. Two days later, Dad called. “I think you may have started a ball rolling downhill. The headlines in today’s paper have started a riot.” “Dad, what was the headline?” “District Attorney’s office refuses to handle gay man’s injustice. There is a call for his resignation and an article about the rape of a man, and I’ll bring a copy when we come up.” “Bring several copies.” “Stephen, let’s call Rich.” “And we need to call Tom.” “Let’s wait until we get a copy of the new
    48 points
  41. Arriving at Mom and Dad’s place, “Dad, I need to talk with Rich. I’m ready to file a criminal suit against Bruce, and I’ll need his help.” Mom made a pot of coffee then went upstairs to their bedroom. She knew Dad would tell her what we said. Sitting at the dining room table, I showed Rich the indictment. “Tim, this is over 20 years old.” “Stephen, did you find it?” “Yes, Tom was right. The last entry was just before Tom left for Pennsylvania. Do you remember when Bruce
    48 points
  42. Sitting around the breakfast table, “Tom, if you would like to go after Bruce, you’ll need a lawyer. For statuary rape, the law allows prosecution within 20 years. When was the last time you saw Bruce?” “The week before he left town. Benny told him someone was checking the newspapers when we were in high school. About two weeks later, he left.” “And that was the last time he accosted you?” “Yes” “How would you like to see him behind bars?” “What do I need to do?” “F
    48 points
  43. Tom came down from his bedroom. “Are you hungry?” Stephen set the table then poured the coffee. I had made a thick soup and fresh-baked bread. We had found frozen bread at our grocer, and all I had to do was bake it. Sitting down, Stephen poured the coffee, “Dig in, Tom.” He must have been hungry, and he had two servings of soup. He started to relax, “Are you two married?” For the next hour, We talked about how we met, our marriage, work, and Ann Marie. He told us about Bruce,
    48 points
  44. By the time Stephen got back, I had dinner well underway. Mom and Dad arrived at six, and Mom had a pie with her. Dinner was like I remembered before Ann Marie arrived at their home. We chatted about what was happening, and it went like this, “Do you remember so and so? They lived across from Mrs. Livingston. You remember her” Stephen said it was local gossip, but for me, it meant life was returning to normal. Monday morning, breakfast was ready when we arrived in the kitchen. Habits a
    48 points
  45. Practice went as expected. Some of the passes from Reed and Matt stung my hands, but after they saw I handled them easily enough it stopped. They still hated that I was being featured for homecoming. Over the years we had gradually gotten better, some of the guys grew taller, some of them were replaced by better underclassmen. We had a winning season last year and this season we had only lost a handful of games. We were favorites going into the postseason district championship tournament. So the
    48 points
  46. Morning came, and it was as if dinner never ended. Stephen was a little sleepy. Eva Marie woke up for a 2 am feeding. Eva wanted to do it, but Stephen wouldn’t let her. I slept through it all, but I knew Stephen would wake up if Eva Marie made any noise. My usual seat was occupied, so I had to sit next to him and watch him as he fed Eva Marie. “John, I think we have lost our daughter.” I looked at Stephen. He blushed. “He is going to spoil our children, and I’m going to become num
    47 points
  47. With Franklin now in his junior year at HSMSE, living in a dorm during the week, and with Henry and me in school as well and busy with our studies, the only time we could all get together was on the weekends. Not all of my weekends were free thanks to the demands of the corporate world, but as much as possible, we made it a point to get together. Franklin took pleasure at showing us all the places in New York that he thought were the coolest. Of course, there were multiple trips to the Metropoli
    47 points
  48. The following day I told Mom and Dad what happened at the Courthouse. While eating breakfast, Rich arrived with a copy of his write-up for the paper. I took his write-up, “I’ll read this on the way home.” We left for home, stopping at the farm for a bushel of vegetables, and we had to have a cup of coffee with Aunt Clara. While Stephen drove, I read Rich’s paper. “Stephen, Rich said that one person was hurt sufficiently to require surgery, and there were several treated for minor cuts
    47 points
  49. Tuesday, we flew to Philadelphia and rented a car to drive to Tom’s school. We arrived mid-afternoon and hoping to catch him after classes. “Tim, do you know what he looks like?” “No, except he was tall. Let’s go and check in with the school’s administration.” Entering the school, Stephen asked one of the girls where the Administration office was located, and she offered to show us. As we passed the girls in the hall, they would look and giggle, and I just smiled. Arriving at the
    47 points
  50. The clock in the classroom above Mrs Reigor’s desk took an age to reach two-thirty, but when it did, I was the first to rise and head for the door. It was Friday the first of April, and I was on a mission, walking as fast as I dared without running to make it to my locker before the corridors filled with excited kids. I nailed it! After exchanging my English folder for my backpack, homework, and coat, I closed my locker, snapped the lock, and was gone. It was as slick as any Formula One pitstop,
    47 points
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