I stared out at the night, the pull of the waxing moon yanking hard. Taking a gulp of my Dalmore 62, the finest single malt whisky ever produced, I raked a hand through my hair. The need to run free was building, growing stronger by the hour. I ached to let the clean, dry desert wind blow everything else away.
Blame it on the blood moon, an ominous portent to all my wild forbearers, scheduled to rise over Las Vegas’s towering skyline in a matter of days. All my billions couldn’t stop that trickster from wreaking havoc on my kind. Not that I would trade places with any otherworldly creature. Nothing beats being a werewolf. Nothing. Especially being a billionaire werewolf, with more money and possessions than any other wolf—and most humans—on the planet.
I savored the final gulp of the fragrant whisky with its drumroll and smooth finish. It would prove amusing to see what my rivals at the House of Ribelle had planned during the event, necessitating me showing those mongrels their low rank in the pecking order. My wolf bristled at the very idea, prepared to strike.
I dropped my glass onto the proofs of the recent interview I’d done for Business Leader Quarterly. The founding of the Royal Bank of Luceres and the recent expansion of our casino enterprises into several new countries was the stuff of legend and warranted a huge center spread in the magazine. Amusing really, humans being unable to see even that which what was right in front of their noses. My photo stared from the piece, all GQ to the public, but the slick surface hid a beast, one ready to burst forth at a moment’s notice.
And that beast, bored and weary at the sameness of the days, needed a change. Where was the excitement? The new challenge? Having gathered all the riches the world had to offer didn’t fill the deep void of longing, growing stronger by the day, of wanting something more. Only to myself would I admit that my life was lacking, that surrounded by so many, I was lonely.
Maybe it was time to choose a mate? Even if she wasn’t the famed Forever Mate so valued by the pack, at least I would have company at night. Someone to share my victories with. No. I wanted the real thing. A true mate at my side, anointed as being the chosen one of destiny. I raised my head and closed my eyes, catching a sense of change on the wind. Something was coming…
My office door slammed wide open, causing a low growl of warning to escape my throat before I caught sight of the intruder who’d broken my concentration. Ah, Lucius. My identical twin. He’d come bearing dubious gifts, by the look of it.
Two frightened young women preceded my brother inside the penthouse offices of the Glitter Palace casino. They should be scared. Lucius might have been named for the light, but his heart was filled with darkness.
“I caught this pair skulking about, asking the dealers questions about our operation and generally making a nuisance of themselves. I intervened when they bribed one of our staff into letting them into the restricted area…bribed with the promise of a free blow job.”
“That’s not fair,” the taller of the pair objected. They were beautiful women, tall and blonde and done up in the stock-in-trade of those looking for a good time. Or to provide one. I raised a sardonic eyebrow at her as she continued her protest.
“I’m just a student of hotel management, trying to get some pointers from those working in the real world. My friend Brandi only came along for company. I’m Jill, by the way.”
Even from twenty feet away I could smell the smoking lie that scented her skin. Normally I would tell them both to strip, to prove themselves innocent. Today, I found the idea abhorrent. Lucius gave me a strange look, waiting for my reaction. I nodded at him. You want this, go ahead.
They both stared at Lucius with huge doe-like eyes.
“What?” Jill asked, her gaze flitting back and forth between me and Lucius.
“You heard me. If you’re innocent, strip,” Lucius said.
“I’m not wearing a wire.”
“Prove it. I’ll let you leave if you’re clean.”
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