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Blood and Roses by Becky Rock
Blood and Roses by Becky Rock
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Jason leaned against the wall of the Chief‘s office near the door, listening to the Chief with growing irritation. They were going to the Interpol Conference in Myrtle Beach, North Carolina, whether they wanted to or not.

The Chief had received an invitation to give a presentation on Interpol’s part in the war against Spectra and had agreed to not only do that, but to attend the whole conference as well. The conference was from Tuesday through Friday. Director Kane had insisted the team accompany him as bodyguards.

“All of you have been working so hard, I thought it might be nice to take a few extras days for a family vacation,” the Chief had added.

Family vacation? Jason was twenty-two.  He was too old for family vacations. His idea of a vacation was a chance to rebuild his stock car’s engine and spend a few days testing it to get it tuned in.

Keyop and Princess had loved the idea. Tiny and Mark had been indifferent. Don had been outright hostile.

“I have three experiments going right now.  I can’t possibly leave them,” he whined.

Jason rolled eyes. “So we just leave you behind if Spectra attacks?” he asked. Don turned his hostile glare from the Chief to him.

“Of course not. But a conference?  Yes.”

“It won’t hurt for you to stay here,” the Chief said, gathering several files lying about his desk.

Don smiled triumphantly and Jason scowled, but he knew better than to try and argue his case.

The Chief said he had already made reservations for them at a resort in southern most edge of North Myrtle Beach called the Seawatch. They would leave Friday night.

Jason left the office, disgusted.  He spent enough time with his siblings, as far as he was concerned.  They had been so busy on patrols and fighting attacks ever since sending Spectra packing in St. Louis that he hadn’t had more than ten minutes to himself, except for sleeping.

“Hey Jason.”

Jason stopped and turned, finding Don on his heels. “Going to rub it in?” he asked, working his jaw with annoyance.

“I wanted to ask you something.”  Don looked around nervously.

“What?” Jason crossed his arms.

Don looked around again. Jason followed his example.  The Chief had stayed in his office and the others had moved down the hall towards the living room and kitchen.

“Do you know the Rain Forest Bar?”

“No. Why?”

“It’s a were club.”

“So?”

“I thought you knew all the were clubs.”

Jason looked at his oldest brother indignantly. “Why would I know all the were clubs?”

“You hung out at them in St. Louis.” Don sounded as if he was accusing him of something.

“No I didn’t.  I went to the clubs a few times with my housemates, but that‘s it.” Don pursed his lips and shuffled his feet.  He was nervous and Jason frowned. “Why are you asking?”

“I’ve got date tonight and she wants to go there.”

Jason’s eyes bugged.  “You’re dating a were?” He was astonished. The Chief had always been adamant his children have nothing to do with the preternatural beings in their world. He had instilled wariness that Jason had taken with him to attend the University of St. Louis’ Engineering School. As irony would have it, his freshman roommate had been a werewolf and he had ended up living in a house full of them from his sophomore year to his senior year up until Spectra’s first attack. He had even dated a werewolf for several months before the attack. The Chief hadn’t been happy once he’d learned.

Don shook his head vigorously. “No. She’s human.” His embarrassment quickly turned to anger. “I wouldn’t date a monster.”

Jason’s hand snapped up and he pointed a finger into Don’s face.  Don recoiled. “Watch it. Kendra isn’t a monster.” He couldn’t believe Don would say such a thing.

“That’s up to you.” Don leaned back away from Jason’s finger but then had to step back to do it.

“Why are you going to a were club?” Jason wanted to know.

Don shrugged.  “She wants to go to one, see what it’s like.”

Jason sighed heavily and shook his head.  He had to remember Don might have an IQ over 200, but he had no idea what real life was like.

“Don, only three kinds of humans go to were clubs. Humans accompanying their were friends, humans who want to live precariously, and humans who want to be bitten and changed.” Jason regarded him. “Which one is she?”

“She’s not like that,” Don snapped defensively.

Jason laughed lightly. “Are you sure she’s not a were?”

“We went out last full moon.”

Jason nodded. Every were had to change to their animal form on the night of the full moon.  They didn‘t have a choice. Newer weres even changed the day before. “So, how long have you been dating?”

Don started to relax and stuffed his hands into his slacks pockets. “A few weeks.”

“Does the Chief know?” Jason watched Don’s face turn red. “You’d better tell him. You know how he is about security.”

“It’s none of his business. You didn’t tell him about Kendra,” Don accused, his brown eyes narrowed.

“We weren’t fighting the war yet,” Jason reminded him, “and I knew as soon as it started, I wouldn’t have time for dating anymore, and we‘re not talking about me.” He stared hard at Don and Don began to squirm again.

“If I tell him, he’ll do a background check on her.”

“That’s normal procedure,” Jason reminded him.

Don shook his head. “Olivia is a private person. She’d really get mad if that happened.”

“Does she have something to hide? Maybe you need to know more about her.”

Don’s face twisted into a sneer. “You’re just saying that because you’re jealous I’m dating someone right now and you’re not.”

Jason laughed.  He couldn’t help it. Jealous of Don? “You’re not staying up here for your experiments. You’re staying up here to get laid.” He shook his head as he laughed and walked away, ignoring the glare of Don’s liquid brown eyes following him.

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