Over the next two weeks Jacques daydreamed about the gorgeous vampire he had run into. He buried the smidgen of guilt he had over meeting Nevio. His father had gone to great lengths to make sure he didn’t make the vampire’s acquaintance but it wasn’t like he had done it one purpose. Running into the car had been a fluke and he would definitely use that when the Alpha learned what happened. He didn’t doubt his adopted father would discover Jacques encounter, Alpha Caldera found out everything.
A knock on his bedroom door sent a foreboding chill of premonition down his spine. Shaking off the odd sensation Jacques went to see who was visiting.
“Hey kid, Alpha wants to see you.” Bradford Stewell, the pack beta, eyed Jacques as if trying to determine his crime by intense examination.
“Do you know why?” Jacques probed.
“Do I look like a messenger pup?”
“Well, you are delivering a message.” Jacques laughed and ducked Bradford’s playful swat.
“Funny guy, get going. Your dad’s in his office.”
“Will do.” Jacques carefully moved around the beta but yelped when a hard swat smacked his ass. “Ouch.”
“You deserved that,” Bradford grinned.
“Maybe.” Jacques rubbed the sore spot and scampered out of reach. He wouldn’t put it past the beta to try again.
“You come find me when you’re done and we’ll do a workout. It’s been too long since I’ve put you through your paces,” Bradford called after him.
“Oh joy,” Jacques muttered. The beta trained the pack on defensive and offensive fighting. Jacques would complain more but he knew he was lucky that Bradford was willing to take time out of his day to train him. Jacques learned different techniques because the larger difference between his human size and his lion one. Using the weight of his lion form he could take down prey quicker than the wolves and Bradford liked to train him using any advantage.
Musing over what his father could want Jacques made it to the office door. He tapped tentatively on the wood surface half hoping the Alpha would be elsewhere.
“Crap,” Jacques whispered.
He pushed open the door and entered, promptly closing it behind him. Under his father’s stern gaze he offered a quick smile. “Hey, Bradford said you wanted to see me.”
“Have a seat.”
Oh, this couldn’t be good. A quick scolding didn’t need seating. This could only be an in-depth discussion. Holding in a sigh, Jacques sat in the chair indicated and waited with ill patience for his father to speak.
“I have heard troubling things?”
Jacques cleared his throat. “Um, really? What kind of things?” Best get to the heart of the matter right away.
“That my son was flirting with a vampire.” The Alpha’s hard gaze made Jacques wince.
“I wouldn’t say flirting. I merely objected to him kidnapping me then ran off.” There surely he couldn’t get into trouble for that.”
The expression on his dad’s face told him otherwise. “Really? Then why did I just get a phone call from the vampire leader Nevio to negotiate a blood treaty with my son Jacques. Strange how he knew your name.”
Jacques scratched the itchy patch of skin on his forehead. “I’m sure he could’ve heard it somewhere.”
“And it says here that you are a lion shifter. I’m sure we didn’t let that information get out anywhere.”
He rubbed a little harder. “I might have met him as he was driving off the territory but it was purely accidental.”
If eyes could emit lasers Jacques would be a pile of dust.
“So you’re saying after I tried so hard to keep you away from the vampire sucking your blood you happened to run into him.”
“Yes. Um. That’s what I’m saying.” He ran a finger beneath his tshirt collar. He hadn’t noticed how stuffy the room had gotten. His father really should open a window.
“Jacques.” The sadness in his father’s eyes was his undoing.
“I’m sorry. I really didn’t do it on purpose.”
His father rubbed his eyes. “I know. These things just happen to you.”
“Exactly!” Jacques raised his hands. “I don’t know why but they do.”
“What do you want to do?”
Silence fell between them while Jacques ran back over his father’s words. “You mean about the contract?”
“Yes. It’s a good one for that sort of thing. He offers you a nice salary, a place to live and it says specifically that any sexual contact between parties is not contractual.”
He could tell his father was trying to give him the positive. “And the bad parts.”
“You would have to live with him. He could stop you from coming onto pack land or seeing the family.” The alpha’s gaze scanned the contract. “Here. Take this with you and look it over. You don’t have to decide today. Think it over.”
Jacques stood and awkwardly accepted the paper. “What do you think?”
“I think that it is your decision. You let him meet you. You donated the blood. As you keep telling me you are old enough to make these kinds of life decisions and I won’t stand in your way if you want this. I just want you to think it over.”
He choked a bit on his desert dry throat. “Okay, thanks.”
Some days he really hated being an adult.