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    WolfM
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Higher Education - 8. Higher 8

“Trevor.” Tanner rested his hand on the muscular shoulder, causing his coworker to look up. “Time to break for lunch. Save what you’re working on and let’s blow this joint.”

“Give me a second to finish this trace. I think I might have found four million dollars.” He rubbed his eyes while squinting at the monitor. “If I stop now I may not…” He typed a few commands and scrolled back and forth through row after row of numbers. “Yep, there it is. I knew I saw something.”

“Sidney, hold up. Wonder Boy’s onto something big.”

The woman was nearly out the door when she reversed course and glanced over Trevor’s shoulder. “Is this the search I gave you this morning?”

“No, Ma’am.” Trevor clicked his mouse a few more times while rubbing his chin with the other hand. “I finished that and passed it to Tanner to verify. Something on one of the documents from that stuck out so I went back to try and see if I could find it again.”

“Bring it up on the projection monitor, please.” Returning to the front of the room, she inspected multiple information windows Trevor had opened. “Several of us reviewed those earlier statements, and while the other transactions were obvious, this one escaped our scrutiny. I’ll have Tanner run through this with you to verify everything. Once it’s confirmed, the recovery team can begin repatriating those funds as early as this afternoon.” The stoic woman transformed with the brilliant smile. “Nicely done, Trevor.”

“Thank you, Sidney.” Trevor hit save and locked his workstation.

“Come on, Trev. After that, I’m buying lunch today.” Tanner guided the younger man out the door. “Are you coming with us, Sid?”

“I can’t today. I’ve got a Zoom meeting with the home office shortly.”

******

Trevor and Tanner grabbed a table at the café they picked for lunch. It was busy with the noon-time crowda mix of townspeople, truck drivers, and tourists. Several of their coworkers had also come to the same restaurant but engaged in their own conversations at another table.

“How long have you been doing forensic accounting and fraud examination?” Trevor bit into his sandwich. He enjoyed working with Tanner. The man was good at what he did and was always happy to share tips on how to better accomplish their task.

“Almost ten years now. I started in corporate accounting straight out of college. Eventually, I moved into audit then got recruited by the FBI.” Tanner stirred his iced tea with the straw to cool it faster. “It sounded like a cool career move but the pay really sucked compared to the corporate world. Sidney found me languishing in a small cubicle across the river from DC.” Swiping a french fry through ranch dressing, he popped it in his mouth. “She had me transferred to her unit and over the next couple months taught me all I know.” He paused for a moment to eat. “When the administration changed a couple years ago and after the director was firedby the way, he deserved it for screwing up things for Hillary just before the electionwe could see the writing on the wall. Who wants fraud and financial crimes investigators in the agency when the big boss would be the likely target to review?” He chuckled. “Sidney arranged to take us private along with others who felt the same as us. We continue to consult for the government, but on our terms. Since then, we’ve branched out to work with organizations like Pit River Industries. There’s a special satisfaction in helping our own kind. While things are done a little differently on this job, once we’ve recovered as much as we can, the financial crimes guys will take over.”

Trevor kept his voice low so people surrounding them could not easily hear. “Wait. There’ll be prosecutions from what we’re doing? I was under the impression this was strictly a search and recovery operation.”

“Yes and no. You’d have heard about it eventually. Especially with how quickly you’ve picked up how we do things. While the way we retrieve the pack’s money wouldn’t fly in the human world, it’s allowed under our laws. Likewise, we use some of our people in the US Attorney’s Office to review evidence, and they’ll be handed the case if there’s one. It could go through the regular courts but would likely be handled in-house by the Council courts. Still, the people we can prove something against might end up seeing the inside of a prison cell one way or the other. That is, the ones who don’t accidentally fall into a wood chipper and had a will leaving everything to the pack.”

“Gotta say, I’ve been around since all this came to a head. You know, just after the last alpha was assassinated. It wasn’t fun seeing a bunch of the companies going under when that family ran off with all the cash. The looks on people’s faces when they lost their job and home before anyone could stop it were heartbreakingly sad.” Trevor’s eyes dropped to his plate while pushing a french fry around with his fork. “Or the worry of others they could face the same fate’s something I’ll remember for a long time. Most of this territory’s rural and not quite in tune with the fortunes found in the rest of the state.” Trevor took a sip of his iced tea to give him a moment to gather his thoughts. “I like numbers and figured I’d end up at some big accounting or investment firm, at least for a while. I’ll need practical experience if I’m going to help Aiden with whatever he oversees. Based on what I’ve done since arriving, I really like the forensic accounting side of the field.”

“Good. I hope you keep feeling like that. From what I’ve seen, especially today, you’re good at it. Unless you have a job already lined up, I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t have an offer by the end of summer.” Tanner smiled. “For after you finish grad school of course.”

“Any decision I make would have to be in conjunction with Aiden and Ethan. There are two betas to help them with Pit River, but I’m still beta to him as alpha designate of Parker Valley. I knew I wanted to get my MBA even before Ethan got the position here or Aiden became the A.D. back home. Still, this is a side of finance and business I hadn’t given any thought to.”

“Hopefully you’ll have plenty of time to experience life and do what you enjoy before fully assuming the responsibilities of your role. Only you can make that decision though. The work you do this summer will definitely help people.” Tanner pushed his plate away after his last bite. “And we just might keep the pack itself out of bankruptcy.” He smiled and rubbed his stomach. “You know? For a small town, they’ve got some great food here.”

******

“Sidney couldn’t stop talking about you this afternoon.” Thad seasoned three chicken breasts he planned to barbeque that evening.

“Oh?” Trevor glanced up from his tablet intent on playing dumb.

“Yeah. She apologized for any hesitation she had about you working on her team. Interns apparently don’t get assigned to her. At least not to do more than bring coffee or file paperwork. That four million you found should be coming in just when we needed it most.”

“Oh, that.”

“Yes, that.” Thad momentarily stopped his food prep. “You know the pack’s struggled since Dorian was killed. It’s never easy to lose an alpha to assassination. A close friend for that matter, even if we’d had a major falling out.” He let out a sigh. “The McKinney family taking off with so much was a double gut-punch, even if not a surprise.”

“I’ve helped Aiden and Ethan understand the reports you send to them, so I’ve made sure I’m familiar with as much of the pack’s finances as I can be. Plus, the lawyers and accountants talking to them helps, even if Aiden’s eyes glaze over frequently.” Trevor chuckled at the thought of his friend trying to remain attentive during those meetings. “I know it hasn’t been easy loosing an alpha and friend, but you and Wade are doing a great job. Even though you don’t hold the title, no one could do better at succeeding Dorian than you two.” He hoped like hell his scent did not give away anything at the mention of the former alpha. “You’re acting alpha the majority of the time, and I’m well aware of how happy the guys are with the way you handle things.” He turned away for a moment. “I’m just glad I spotted the anomaly.”

“You’ve been here for three weeks and your presence’s making a difference. I’m not just talking about the money either. You’re an involved member at the pack meetings and make sure Wade and I know you have our backs. But I’ll add everyone who knows about the four million’s grateful to you.” Thad glanced up as he finished what he was doing. “This has been my home since Pit River and Modoc merged”the two packs coming together was ancient history“and my family moved to Burney. Wade was born here. It’s why he and I came back.” He fell silent for a few moments.

“Ethan and Aiden have been extremely helpful to us, and them holding the alphaship has protected us while we rebuild. Some of the territories Dorian forced to join us voted to leave, but most stayed in hopes things would improve. Wade and I would have liked to assume the leadership of the pack outright, and if we hadn’t been required by Levi to give up our membership when we left, we would have jointly sought the role.” A growl started and soon stopped. “Still, this is the best solution, and Dorian’s last wish was the correct one.” Thad moved over to the sink and leaned heavily on it, staring out the window. “I don’t want to see this pack fail after everything it’s been through. Every dollar the financial team claws back saves a job, lets us buy back a company, or allows us to reclaim assets we thought were gone for good.”

“Tanner gave me the run down on their group today at lunch. He might have been trying to recruit me for after graduation. I know I got placed here because I’m beta to Aiden, but I can’t think of a better summer job to have. What they’re teaching me will help me in my classes next year. The bonus’ been getting to be around you and Wade. Learning more about you guys and this pack makes me like this place all the more.”

“And it doesn’t hurt you met Cassidy and get to spend a bunch of time with her.” Wade walked into the room wearing boxer shorts.

“No, that definitely doesn’t hurt.” Trevor’s grin was infectious. “I think after the way Shannon and I ended things, a little summer fling’s what I needed. Nothing serious, simply mutual fun.”

“Just make sure you don’t lead her on. She could see you as a way out of this town. Latching onto a big city university guy who’s obviously going to make it big in the world.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence in my career. Yeah, I’ve kept that in mind. Hell, my wolf’s made it clear this is about taking care of a primal need rather than romance. It’s also one of the reasons I’ve made sure not to hook up with any she-wolves.”

“We’ve already heard a complaint or two about that. Several have been sniffing around, hoping to catch your attention.” Wade moved to the refrigerator and pulled out a drink. “Or maybe it was just catch you.”

“I’m sure of that. I see the hunger in their eyes at the meetings and almost feel like prey. I figure since Cassy’s human, it means I’m not showing favoritism to one pack member over another. Ultimately, I hope the person I imprint on, or if I find my mate, is a wolf. I’d have no issue with other species, but a human just presents all kinds of problems explaining about us and turning. In a way, it makes me glad things turned out the way they did with Shannon. Still, Cassidy’s fun for now, and we’re clear with each other it’s only friends with benefits.”

“Are you two doing anything this weekend?”

“She mentioned something about a party at Lake Britton with some of her friends. Jet skis will be involved.”

“Ah, to be young and carefree again instead of an old married couple like us.”

Thad threw a dish towel at his mate. “Hey, we’re not old. Just for that, you get bread and water for dinner. Trev and I can split your share.”

“I’ll go hunting later. Who ever heard of a wolf eating a salad with grilled chicken anyways? Damn rabbit food.” Wade moved in behind Thad and wrapped his arms around the man. “Maybe I’ll just nibble here.”

******

It was already warm by the time Trevor and Cassidy arrived at the lake. They had taken his SUV, and she guided them to the Jamo Point boat ramp near the Stand by Me bridge. There was a group of people getting watercraft into the lake while others watched.

Cassidy waved at her friends. “Are we gonna hang out here or go to the picnic area at the other end of the road?”

“Cassy. You made it.” One of the women squealed with joy as a small group of them gathered. “Oh, and you brought him.”

“Hannah, hush. He’ll hear you. So where we gonna hang out?”

“Once they get everything in the water, we’re going to the picnic area. They can beach the Sea-Doos there.” The brunette leaned in close to Cassidy’s ear. “He’s even hotter than you said.”

“Nice catch, girl.” One of the other women commented as her eyes raked over Trevor.

“I know, right?”

“Even with his shorts loose, I can see you weren’t exaggerating.” The other woman continued to ogle Trevor. “So, are you gonna share him?”

“We’ll see.” The two giggled like school girls.

Trevor tried not to smile, having heard every word.

“Come on, big guy. We’re in the wrong spot.” She jumped back in Trevor’s Chevy Tahoe. “Just follow the road to the parking lot at the other end. I’ll introduce you when they’re all there.”

“Looks like a fun crowd.”

“I grew up around most of them. A couple are transplants who work for PG and E. That’s the power company. They really are great people.”

Once parked by the picnic area, Trevor pulled his shirt off, opting to go with just his board shorts and shoes. He tried to maintain a neutral expression as most of the women’s eyes dropped below his waist. Since he was going commando, he knew things moved around freely with every step he took. Cassidy likewise removed her t-shirt to reveal the top of a two piece bikini while her Daisy Duke shorts mostly covered the bottom half.

Ice chests filled with beer and other drinks were stacked on tables while others held food. Six people rode the watercraft from the ramp to their meeting spot while the group had grown in size to about twenty.

Cassidy stood on one of the picnic tables. “Hey, everyone, this is my friend, Trevor.” She pointed down at him. “He’s working in Burney for the summer. I’m sure you’ll be seeing him around a lot. Be nice and make him feel welcome.” There was a round of hellos from people. “I’m not gonna bother introducing everyone. You can do it one-on-one when you talk to him.”

Scanning the crowd, Trevor noticed a few of those gathered, both male and female, subtly bared their neck. He had caught the scent of shifters on the breeze, but had not identified who until that moment. His nod acknowledged each one.

It did not take long for people to don life vests and take out the water toys. Most went in pairs. Trevor and Cassidy stayed on shore chatting with her friends until it was their turn.

“So what brought you to Burney?”

“An internship. I’m working with a local company for the summer.” He thought the woman’s name was Hannah.

“I can’t imagine getting stuck someplace like this for the summer. That must really suck.”

“It’s a little bigger than the town I grew up in, so I’m actually enjoying it. Plus, I’m meeting a bunch of cool people.”

“Cass and I had big dreams of getting out of here. That didn’t work out as planned. At least we both got a job at the same place.”

“And I for one am glad you didn’t leave.” A tall, broad-chested guy with brown hair and a thick five o’clock shadow adjusted his Ford baseball cap. He was also shirtless and in board shorts like Trevor. The facial scruff worked with his rugged features and the nicely muscled body filled out his approximately six foot two inch frame well. Likely the result of hard work instead of time at a gym. The guy wrapped an arm around Hannah. “Last thing we need is all the women leaving. Hey, I’m Randy.”

Hannah whacked Randy’s hand when it brushed over her butt. “You certainly are randy. And handsy. And too many other things to say in front of Trevor.”

“Like you ever minded what I did, or held back from saying it to anyone around town.” He turned and bumped fists with Trevor while eyeing him up and down. “I figured if we keep ’em happy and satisfied, they’ll stay in town. Hell, I might even marry one of them someday.”

“Fat chance of that. Would mean you’d have to settle down to sleeping with just one woman.” Cassidy’s smirk made Trevor think she was not holding the implied promiscuity against the man.

“You already know I’m not sleeping when I’m with any of them. ‘Cept maybe Hannah, once in a while.” Randy kissed the woman’s neck, but his eyes never left Trevor.

“Lot of beautiful options today from what I’ve seen so far, these two especially.”

“See Randy. That’s how you compliment a woman.” Hannah slapped his hand away from just under her breast and lowered her voice. “Save that for later.”

“You said you’re here for an internship? Some kind of school thing?” Randy appeared curious as he sized up the competition.

“Yeah. My work here counts towards credits for graduating and gives me some real world work experience. Kind of like a class outside of school.”

Randy stroked his finger along his chin. “Never saw much need for more school after we graduated from Burney High, but more power to ya if you can do it. I work at one of the lumber mills and like what I do. Of course, maybe I could have gotten a job with the power company or someday moved up into management if I’d gone to college. Kinda seems like more hassle than it’s worth.”

“It’s a big expense and not everyone needs college for whatever they decide to do. You can live perfectly happy without it. I got lucky with football scholarships to cover most of what the first four years cost.” He took a sip of his beer. “Seems like a lot of people look down on the ones who don’t go. To me it’s a personal decision. You gotta live your own life and not what others think it should be.”

“Damn, Cassy. College boy here’s pretty damn cool.” Randy once again fist-bumped Trevor. “Would you be willing to repeat that to my mother? She’s still pissed I didn’t go.”

A couple of the jet skis pulled in and were gassed up, waiting for the next group to take them out.

“Come on, Trev. It’s our turn.” Cassidy grabbed his hand as they rushed to the water’s edge.

Pulling on life vests they got seated on one of the available watercraft while Randy and Hannah grabbed another one. In no time they were racing across the water sending out large rooster tails with every turn. Other boaters were out, some for pleasure, and some fishing for trout or bass. The latter group sounded annoyed by the ruckus the group of fun lovers caused.

“Wow, the lake’s bigger than I thought.” Trevor had slowed down and gently circled to look around.

Lake Britton, originally known as Pit 3 Reservoir, was nearly two and three quarter miles long from the Highway 89 Bridge to its western edge. It was created by the power company, Pacific Gas and Electric, as part of their Pit River hydroelectric project. Completed in 1925, the Pit 3 Dam is at the southwestern edge of the lake where the Pit River flows west towards Lake Shasta. It is a 130 foot tall and 494 long curved, concrete gravity dam. An intake structure at the dam diverts water into a nineteen foot diameter tunnel, or penstock, running approximately four miles to the three turbines at the Pit 3 hydroelectric plant. The reservoir also provides a constant flow of water for several downstream power plants. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, which runs from nearly the Mexican border in the south to just over the Canadian border in the north, crosses the bridge over the dam.

“There’s a nice little cove over there.” Cassidy pointed off to their right.

“And what would you like to do when we get there?”

“The same thing everyone else is while they’re out on a jet ski.” She giggled and held him tight while one hand went to his crotch.

A while later, after taking a dip in the water to wash up, Trevor slipped his board shorts back on while Cassidy did the same with her bikini. He fired up the engine and they rode back across the lake to where their group was. Two more watercraft approached from the state park side of the lake. Trevor figured it was people from their group, but when they came closer he did not recognize them. On the first, a twinkish blond sat in the front while his olive complected companion held on to the bar behind the seat.

“Hey, Cassy.” The blond yelled over the sound of the engines. “Find a new guy to try and knock you up?”

“Go fuck yourself with a chainsaw dildo.” Her voice dripped with disdain.

“I would, but you said I couldn’t borrow yours again.” The blond steered away as he laughed and was followed by the second jet ski.

“Friend of yours?” Trevor could not hide the chuckle.

“Not on your life. That was my little brother.”

“Dildo jokes? Is he gay?”

“Oh god, no. He’s just a pain like any little brother or sister.” Her scent betrayed the denial, and she seemed to attempt a distraction by wrapping an arm around Trevor’s chest while the other slid onto his crotch. “Let’s get back. Our time’s almost up and the next group’s gonna want the Sea-Doo.”

******

Wade and Thad were curled up on the couch watching a movie when Trevor walked in. “We didn’t expect you home tonight.”

“I thought we agreed you’d hang a sock on the door handle if you wanted private time.” Trevor crossed his arms and tapped his foot.

“Asshole.”

“Wade, sweetie, you’ve been calling people that more and more since you started reading those Carlos Hazday books.”

“Who’s that? I haven’t heard of him before.” Trevor cocked his head. “Oh, and Cassy’s having a girls’ night with her friends. I guess after a day on the lake with everyone, they need some time to themselves. Not sure I want to know what happens at an adult woman’s sleepover. Pretty sure I’ll be a topic of conversation. Or they’re going to compare the size of each guy they used for stud services today. I’ll win.” He blew on his fingers and buffed them on his chest as a cocky smile spread across his lips. “I got invited to hang out with some of the guys for more beer, but declined. There’s a certain point it’s difficult to fake having a buzz or getting drunk.”

“Slut. Way to go.” Thad gave him a thumbs up. “Mr. Hazday’s one of Wade’s favorite writers on a site called Gay Authors. Him and some guy named WolfM. I have to admit, that Carlos guy’s actually pretty good. I’ve tried to read the stuff by Wolf, but howler stories are too much like reading about my own life.” He kissed his mate’s neck. “How was the lake? You have fun?”

“You’re the second person to mention WolfM. Brandon in SoCal said something about him. I’ll have to check him out and the other guy you said.” Trevor knew his expression telegraphed his enjoyment. “It was a blast. Got to meet a bunch of cool people. A couple were pack, and they were fun to get to know. My wolf really wanted to come out for a run, but I talked him down.”

“Tell ya what, let me call our bodyguards and a couple friends, and we’ll get furry.” Thad picked up his phone.

“Guys, I’ve already disturbed your date night enough. I’ll head to my room so you can finish your movie.”

“You already had the same effect on our wolves as a human asking their dog if they wanna go for a walk.” Wade got off the couch. “So, if our detail’s available on short notice, we’re getting into our fur.”

“They’ll be over in fifteen minutes.” Thad smiled. “We’re all a bunch of home bodies around here since the town practically rolls up the sidewalks at dusk. They jumped at the offer to get out.”

“See, Trev? Once again you’ve made a bunch of people happy. Seems you do that a lot.”

About twenty-five minutes later, the silvery/black wolf trotted alongside his friends. He had met most of those around the beta pair either in the office or at the house.

The head of the security detail woofed out, “Where to?”

“Burney Falls or Mount Burney. Trevor, you get to pick.” Wade looked to the younger wolf. “One’s a twenty mile round trip run on mostly flat land and the other’s ten with a nearly 4700 foot climb.”

“Let’s go to the falls.”

“Thank the lunar gods.” Most of the group chuffed at the prime guard’s comment as they took off. “What? I know a couple of you didn’t want to make the climb either.”

“It’s not that bad running up a mountain, JT. Come on guys. We need to show Trevor the jewel of the area.” Thad, with Wade at his side, started moving north as the six wolves assigned to guard them spread out. Five more of the beta’s friends rounded out the group.

“I can’t believe you’ve been here a couple weeks and haven’t gone yet.”

Trevor could not remember the name of the guy talking.

“Give him a break.” Wade chuffed. “He’s been busy with work or going out on dates. A lot of dates.”

“Thanks, Wade. I’d have gotten there eventually.” Trevor increased his speed to come alongside his friends. “The woman I’ve been seeing and I have gone someplace each weekend since we met. Last week was hiking around the Stand By Me bridge and the Subway Caves.”

“Today he was out at Lake Britton with some of her friends, playing on jet skis.” Thad gave a little howl.

“My nephew mentioned that. Scared the piss out of him when he first saw the visiting beta, but calmed down pretty quick. Think he was in awe of you.”

“Hey, I’m just a college student visiting on a summer internship. Nothing special here.”

“Mmhmm. Sure.”

Making their way into the state park, the security team kept a careful watch, constantly scenting the air and peering into the darkness. A warning growl from one brought everyone to a halt. Even Trevor moved into a defensive position.

“It’s just me, JT. I picked up your scent on the breeze and came to say hi.”

“You could’ve given a woof at least, Johnny.”

“I did, but you guys were jabbering away too much to hear me. The falls are clear if that’s where you’re heading. Just made my rounds. There’s no humans skinny dipping in the pool tonight.”

Johnny turned his attention towards Trevor. “I’ve seen you at some of the meetings, but never had a chance to say hi. I’m Johnny. I work for the state’s Parks Department.”

“Nice to meet you. I’m Trevor.”

“Yeah, I know. Beta to Alphas Tucker and Jacobs. Follow me. This way to the falls.”

The sound kept building and the temperature dropped the closer they came to the fall

“Wow. This is beautiful.” Trevor was bedazzled by the sight before him, lit by a three-quarter moon, the water twinkled as it cascaded over the cliff.

“Our former alpha’s favorite spot in the entire territory.” All the wolves bowed their heads for a moment. Dorian was missed.

Copyright © 2023 WolfM; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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