Fierce Obsessions


Page 5




"I promised myself that same thing twenty minutes ago," said Riley, shaking her head when Makenna offered her some toast; her stomach protested the idea of food. Turning to the only female enforcer, she griped, "It's not fair that you look so fresh."
Roni buttered her toast. "It's only because I didn't drink as much as you did."
"You were more interested in the cake," said Jaime.
Roni frowned at Jaime. "I'm mated to Marcus. If you don't get to the cake fast, you don't get cake." Marcus smiled, eyes dancing with amusement.
Jaime raised a hand. "Girls, I say we make a pact here and now never to even touch a bottle of tequila ever again."
Makenna nodded. "It would be for our own good." Ryan grunted at his mate in what might have been agreement-Riley didn't know. Mostly mute, he often communicated with grunts that only Makenna seemed able to fully translate.
"Don't kid yourselves into thinking you won't break that pact," said Trey. Unlike his mate, he was powerfully built. The two Alphas might be very different in size, but they were both equally crazy, in Riley's opinion.
"Dexter, you can't!" said Kye.
Riley turned her attention to the cheetah cub, who was stuffing food in his pockets again, and groaned. "Dexter, please don't do that." She smiled in approval when he put the bacon back on the plate. "Thank you." Of course, she knew he'd slip it into his pocket the moment she looked away.
Zac pushed away from the table. "The smell of food is killing me. I need a dark, quiet room so I can die in peace." As he left the room, he passed Trick-another enforcer, who happened to be more deliberately annoying than even Riley-and bumped fists with him as he entered.
Seating himself at the table, Trick looked around, and his mouth quirked. "You all look like extras from Dawn of the Dead."
Taryn glared at him. "Why don't you have a hangover?"
Trick shrugged. "I rarely ever have them."
"Lucky bastard," said Riley, raking a hand through her hair. "I wish I could say I look rougher than I feel, but I don't."
"You don't look rough," insisted Dominic with a mischievous grin. "You look beautiful. You make me think of fast food-I want to take you out and then eat you in my car."
Jaime chuckled, Tao growled, and the others groaned.
Dominic had an idiotic habit of dishing out cheesy pickup lines, and often used them on females who were either mated or dating; that aggravated their partners, given that shifters were very possessive. All that aside, Riley thought the cute blond enforcer was pretty funny.
When Dominic opened his mouth to speak again, Tao snarled, "Dom, don't."
Surprised at the vehemence in his tone, Riley met Tao's gaze. "Cheer up, Fenris," she said, knowing he hated that she'd nicknamed him after the wolf from Narnia. Exasperation glittered in his eyes, which tickled her raven something fierce.
"You're a pain in my ass, Porter," he growled.
Riley just smiled.
"Don't tolerate that behavior, Tao," said Greta. The woman didn't dislike Riley just because she was a raven. It was also because Riley was unmated. Greta didn't like unmated females around her "boys"-Trey, Dante, Tao, and the four male enforcers-and did her best to scare them off. Tao, Trick, and Dominic were unmated, so Greta wanted her long gone.
"She's a raven, she shouldn't be here," complained Greta. "She's rude and disrespectful, just like those three hussies," she added, pointing at Taryn, Jaime, and Makenna. She was as rude to them now as she had been when they were unmated. Roni had somehow tricked Greta into liking and accepting her, which most of the pack found plain hilarious .
Riley took another sip of her coffee. "I would have thought you'd be in a better mood these days now that you have yourself a boyfriend."
Greta gasped. "Allen is not my . . . my . . . boyfriend," she insisted, stumbling over the word. "He and I just enjoy each other's company."
"Right," drawled Riley, winking at her. Allen was Cam's uncle and, for some unknown reason, thought the sun rose and set with Greta. Riley struggled to understand how the guy could be attracted to Greta, but to each their own.
Mouth tightening, Greta narrowed her eyes. "Don't think I don't know you were the one who first suggested he take me for a meal."
Riley's mouth curved. "Like I told him, I just want you to be happy." What she wanted was to make Greta feel awkward as revenge for her being so awful toward Savannah. The little girl had bitten her once-once-and she hadn't even pierced the skin, but Greta persistently whined about it to make Savannah feel bad. Having Allen around, flirting and trying to charm her, wasn't something that Greta was very good at handling without blushing like crazy-probably because she was a terrible prude.
"You might have him fooled, but I see you for what you are," sneered Greta. "Common through and through."
Riley put down her cup. "Look, Gretchen-"
"It's Greta."
"I don't care."
As Greta proceeded to rant, Makenna leaned into Riley and asked, "Will you ever refer to her by her real name?"
"It's unlikely," replied Riley. Not when not doing so was the easiest way to annoy the old crone.
Savannah hissed at Greta, which made the other kids laugh.
Greta dramatically put a protective hand to her throat and turned to Riley. "Do you have no control over that child? She's vicious."
Riley sighed. "Are we back to this again?"
"I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by her behavior since she has you for a role model," sniped Greta. "I mean, look at you. You're supposed to be taking care of them, but you were drinking all night like you're not responsible for anyone but yourself."
Riley snickered. "Lady, you have hair sticking out your nostrils-you don't get to judge me."
Taryn nearly choked on whatever she was eating, and Greta instantly turned all that bitchiness onto the Alpha female, calling her one name after another.
"Good one." Makenna smiled at Riley. "But she still hates me more than she hates you."
"Really? Bummer." Noticing Tao leave the room, Riley leaned into Makenna and asked, "Is there any chance you could watch over the kids for me for a couple of hours? I need to get a few things done." She didn't add that she was leaving pack territory; Makenna would insist that she take someone along for protection, and she wanted to have her meeting in private.
"Of course," Makenna agreed easily. "I love spending time with them. And they love climbing Ryan like he's a fence post."
Yeah, they sure did, but he didn't complain. Nope, the poor guy often just stood there, quiet and stoic . . . which was pretty much how Ryan always looked, really.
Once she was done with her breakfast, Riley told the kids to be good for Makenna and Ryan and then headed through the network of tunnels. Out of the mountain, she jogged down the steps carved into the cliff face and into the concealed parking lot. There were several pack vehicles for everyone to use at their leisure. Riley headed for the nearest SUV . . . only to find Tao leaning against it.





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