To find a soul with common ground,
Primate traits mixed up with hound,
Confronting evil, and compulsive feast,
To capture, curb and love the beast.
He saw her the moment she came onto the floor. Homing in on her like that wasn’t normal. Usually, he tried to tune out extraneous noise and activity and concentrate on his phone caller. Not today.
She was holding some papers, and scanning the cubicles. Charlie couldn’t help himself—he was holding his breath. Please be
looking for me. Please be looking for me. There was a chance, slim maybe, that she’d recognized him, too.
Her hazel eyes alighted on him, fixed, held. She smiled, but it was tremulous, nervous. Charlie had been acting on instinct up till now—only the instincts weren’t the ones he’d been born with. They’d been acquired under a full moon, some years back. It was time to dig up the appropriate human responses to deal with this situation. At the moment, though, his mind felt abnormally blank. What now?
Oh my God. Verity stood there, feeling foolish in the extreme, well aware that any moment one of the team leaders would be coming over to help her out. If they asked who she was looking for, or what she needed…
I got nothin’. I don’t even know his name.
And it was too late to pretend she hadn’t seen him. There was only one thing to do…
Straighten up. Confidence first. Play the part.
Oh, hell. She couldn’t believe she was doing this.
She headed his way, her eyes focused lightly on her surroundings, doing her best now to avoid his eyes. Her brain was working frantically on a reason to approach him. It was work time. If she hit him up for a coffee date, would that be harassment?
Oh, shit. It was. It is. Because it’s not like he can turn me down. She was management, and as much as she liked to belittle any differences between their jobs, those differences would seem a lot more glaring to him than they did to her. She knew, because it hadn’t been so very long ago that she’d been in his position.
Crap. Crap. Crap.
Crap. Crap. Crap. And damn.
This is it. The moment. In his dreams, during his howling soliloquies under the full moon, he’d had it sussed. He’d known exactly what to say and how to woo her. All that longing, translated into a passionate night, of…what? Doggie style interaction? And that mating for life thing? Were they still subject to that? Being on the cusp of the moon the way they were?
Shit! Charlie blushed, bright and red. He hadn’t had a response like this in years, and leave it to the Wolf Girl to bring it on. Resentment rose as he realized that some of his co-workers not only noticed her attention, but that she was now headed his way. Add that to his baboon-butt red face, and there’ll be enough yack to sustain the team for weeks.
Good move at a time when I—when both of us—should be keeping a low profile.
He stiffened, his eyes narrowing. She’s got to be the vector—the one who infected me. He could easily picture himself getting close to her—close enough for her to bite him. Why had she come down here, anyway? To find other victims? In his heart, he knew it was stupid, but the irritation and traces of bad temper he’d been fighting all morning resurfaced. When she reached his cubicle, Charlie let her have it. In a rumbly voice that would have better suited a growl, Charlie held out a small dish of snacks he kept in his drawer.
He noticed her hand shook a little as he poured them into her palm. She put them in her mouth and her eyes widened. She was really enjoying them.
Charlie, in contrast, was beginning to feel decidedly evil, especially when she exclaimed, “Delicious! What are they?”
He sighed, then gave her a humorless toothy grin. There’s no backing out now. He tugged open the drawer all the way, and showed her the box of Tender Treats. “On days like this? I just can’t get enough of ’em.”