Carys Weldon Blog

Friday, September 22, 2006

What to do, what to do?

I spent 14 hours at the computer yesterday, finishing final edits (I hope) on Pack Taboo--which I thought was done and ready to go a year ago, but came back to me for another go-through. Let's hope that's all it needed. I did lengthen it to a full length novel, so you may like that even better now.

I feel great about getting through the edits.

And this morning, I'm looking at what I have unfinished and trying to decide what I should write. You know, complete something already started or go for something new.

Any thoughts on what type of books you'd like to see more of? Are any of you into sf? Just wanna see more werewolves? Vampires? Or would you like to see a regular contemporary story without shapeshifts? I have a dragonkin thing started. A guy who sprouts wings and is, well, part dragon. Does that sound cool?

I'm taking all suggestions.

While you're thinking on that, take a look at this set-up to a story. Tell me if you think it's boring or not, k? I'm toying with doing this as another book in the werewolf series. But, if you're not entertained and hooked, I may set it aside. This book would probably be called PACKage, and it came to me when I was thinking about the frog prince and kick ass heroine thing...so, even though the heroine isn't kickass at the start, you can bet she'll come into her own before the book is done.

Anyhow, here it is. Tell me what you think:

Hannah got raped. She fought like the little girl she was. Only seventeen, she had no skills to defend herself from her prom date. What she had hoped would be the neatest night of her life turned out to be pure hell.

But, she recovered. Years passed. She didn’t date. She didn’t look men in the eye. And she wasn’t looking for intimacy ever again.

As a garou (shapeshifting werewolf) female, she had learned her lesson. Eye to eye contact was a direct challenge for power. She had no intention of making that mistake again.

She paid her bills by doing reception work in one of the lower offices of Wolf Enterprises. Since it was the accounting department, most of her time was spent in transferring calls. That was fine with her. It required very little person to person contact.

People came in, and said, “Hi, Hannah.”

Her response was always, “Hello,” nothing more.

And when they left, they said, “Bye, Hannah,” but that was the extent of things. She had no social life, nor did she want one. Her wounds had gone deep, and her feeling of security had deserted her completely. She scurried from her job at closing so she could get into her car quickly and home before dark.

Frank, a short and balding accountant, wore polyester suits and bow ties. He wasn’t that much older than her, but he seemed completely out of place in the modern world. Hannah worked with him day after day for two years and barely noticed him at all—except to think he seemed a bit odd. He was quiet and unassuming. He stayed in his office most of the time. And he gave her a wide circle—which she appreciated tremendously.

She answered phones for a large firm and might not have noticed him at all if it weren’t for the fact that he got a really intriguing visitor one day.

Mark Wolf, CEO of Wolf Enterprises, showed up in front of Hannah’s desk and demanded, “Point me to Frank Shearer’s office.”

Blinking owlishly, Hannah stuttered. “It’s uh…” She licked her lips. She could wave a blind hand toward the many offices behind her or…

Mark Wolf was a woman’s wet dream. Everything about him screamed power. And nothing suggested he was on a leash. Raw sex appeal commanded the room. Several people paused to look at him, or listen to what he had to say. He scared her to death.

Without any effort on her part, a vision of him reaching out, yanking her over the desk and having his way with her came to her mind. Of course, it crossed the lines of fantasy and sick fear and she began to tremble.
Behind the doors of garou firms, things like that did happen.

He looked her up and down, obviously appreciated her 5’4” super curves, and smiled roguishly. “Where…?” His voice led her expectantly.

“Uh, behind me.” On impulse, Hannah popped out of her seat and said, “I’ll show you.” Glad to be moving, and staying out of his reach, she wiggled her butt pretty quick.

He followed. She could feel his presence shadowing her. She didn’t waste any time on reaching Frank’s office. She rapped once, and told Mr. Wolf, “I know he’s in there. I saw him go in.”

“Keeping an eye on him, eh? That’s good. Somebody needs to.”

When Frank didn’t respond, Mark reached passed her and thumped the door. “Frank! It’s Mark. I don’t have all day.”

Frank was on first name basis with the big CEO? That surprised Hannah for some reason. Maybe because she didn’t know anything about Frank, but he didn’t seem to be connected to high places.

“Coming! Just a sec.”

Mark wickedly asked Hannah, “You think he is?”

“What?”

“Coming.”

The tone of his voice had her thinking dirty. She blushed. She stammered, “I…I’m sure he is.”

“Let’s see.” Mark didn’t wait any longer. He turned the handle and pushed the door. At the same time, he put a hand to Hannah’s elbow and propelled her into Frank’s office.

Since they were garou, their noses went up. Yes, the scent of sexual body fluid was in the air.

Frank was in the inner office bathroom with the door open, his back to them. He glanced their way and said, “Shit. I told you I was coming.”

Normally, Hannah would have backed out as unobtrusively as possible and pretended she hadn’t caught the man masturbating, or never have entered in the first place, but Mark Wolf had a hold of her. It wasn’t like she could see anything…except Frank’s reflection in the mirror. It appeared that his tool was remarkably notable. That made her wince. She remembered the pain of her first and only sexual encounter. The gauche boy hadn’t been half as well endowed, but he’d hurt her tremendously. Frozen to the spot, she stared in a bit of horror.

Wiping himself with a hand towel, Frank’s gaze found hers in the glass. His light brown eyes darkened as hers widened.

“If you’ll excuse me,” she said, thinking to back out of the room.

Mark Wolf towered over her, and crowded her, and didn’t give her an inch to move, his grip tightened on her. “No. I’d like you to stay.”

Hannah tipped her head back, eyeing his chin, and asked, “Why? You want me to answer his phone if he gets a call? It won’t get transferred if I’m not at my desk.”

He actually chuckled at her. Then he leaned closer and said, “Because I said I’d like you to stay.”

His magnetism coupled with the pressure on her elbow and the firm hold he had on her was such that Hannah couldn’t have denied his request. She gulped, “Okay. Whatever you want.” But, all she really wanted was to get out.

Frank washed his hands. She listened to the sounds of running water, and the soap dispenser clicking.

Mark steered her into a chair then sat across from her. She didn’t meet his eyes. Feeling distinctly like pray, she wondered what was going on. Why had he picked her? What did he want?

He propped an elbow on the arm of his chair and put his chin in his hand, watching her body language, which she knew completely gave her away.

“You’re afraid of me,” he said quietly.

She didn’t respond. What was the point? He had already surmised the truth.

“I don’t hurt women.”

Before becoming CEO of Wolf Enterprises, he’d been a bagman for the garou mafia. Everyone knew that. It was the precise reason he was the perfect man for his present job. No one would cross him. He’d gain control of a faltering company and all their people would find his confidence comforting.

“I don’t think you came here to hurt me.” One of the things she’d learned in therapy was that all men were not out “to get her.” Even if inside she believed that to be a false statement, she repeated it as a mantra all the time. It helped her to get her breath.

Frank entered the room. Without preamble, he asked, “What do you need, Mark?” But his eyes were on Hannah.

Immediately, she felt his distrust. As always, she kept her eyes averted. It wasn’t her idea to be in there!

Adjusting his glasses, and then checking that his shirt was tucked into his pants, Frank turned on Mark. “What’s she doing in here?”

“I need you to do something for me, and I think she’ll be perfect.”

“Perfect for what?” Frank postured.

It surprised Hannah. Frank always seemed so mild-mannered, and here he was confronting the CEO like they were equals. She glanced around wildly, thinking about making a run for the door. If they squabbled wolf-like, she didn’t want to be anywhere near. She didn’t want anyone to think it could be over her.

Placating the both of them, Mark eased, “Relax, both of you.” To Frank, he said, “You don’t need to get your hackles up.”

Frank rolled his shoulders in an obvious attempt to let the tension go. “This is my office. I’m not used to you barging in here.”

“Your space is your space, Frank.”

Hannah got the definite impression that Mark found something about the situation funny—but she wasn’t seeing it, and neither, apparently, was Frank.

“She doesn’t mind-talk,” Mark said.

“I know.”

The fact that they were talking about her in front of her annoyed Hannah. Even more so when she realized what they were saying. Both of them had tried to connect with her psychically? Satisfaction crossed her features. If one thing, therapy had given her the guard wall in her brain.

“I want you to go on a trip with her, deliver a package for me.”

“No,” Frank said. “Pick someone else.”

Go on a trip? She wasn’t going anywhere with any man—let alone to deliver a package from Mark Wolf. Panic set in. What if they made her? What kind of package would he be sending? Oh, Gaia. A finger in a box? A heart? Some other body part?

Frank glanced her way. “You can smell her fear.”

“Which is why she’ll be perfect. It’ll look like a safe little working trip. No one will suspect you’re fooling around with her.”

“You investigated her before you came down, didn’t you?”

The accusation horrified Hannah. Mark Wolf and Frank both knew about her history? Was there anything these people didn’t keep track of?

Standing abruptly, Hannah said, “I cannot go on a trip with him, or anyone. It’s not in my job description. You can’t make me.” She sped toward the door, planning on a hasty exit.

Mark Wolf beat her to it. One hand on the door above her, he pushed it shut just as she pulled it an inch. “I’m not asking.”

She closed her eyes. The threat made her tremble. Calling upon years of therapy, she held her ground. “I quit. You don’t own me.”

Like a nightmare she’d had way too many times, he reached out, put a hand on her neck and yanked her against him. A kiss or a squeeze, either would be her death.

“Wrong,” he said.

Suddenly, Frank was between them, prying her free, insinuating himself, pulling her behind his back, calmly stating, “Mark, you really need to ease up. Your people skills are sadly lacking.”

He put a hand to Mark’s chest and then backed up himself—which forced Hannah to move, too, putting distance where it needed to be. His other hand reached behind, steadying her, comforting her. It was the first time in forever that Hannah had been touched by a man and not felt threatened. His protective stance actually gave her courage. She peeked over his shoulder and looked at Mark Wolf’s face.

The man was savagely handsome. He oozed anger, though.

“I do own her. I own everyone in this building.” He seethed, “I make and break them every day.”

“Shh,” Frank said. “Deep breath, buddy.”

Mark’s hand covered Frank’s and he said, “Let go.”

“I don’t think so.”

That’s when Hannah realized that Frank was holding Mark against the door. Any second, the two of them could go ape-shit on each other.

She closed her eyes and whispered, “Let him go. He won’t hurt me.” Tears escaped. She felt them streaming down her cheeks but she couldn’t open her eyes to save her life. “He doesn’t hurt women.”

Frank’s hand moved. It squeezed reassuringly.

The silence stretched.

Mark got a grip and said, “She’s right. I’m good. Let go.”

No one moved for several more seconds. Frank finally pushed Hannah back, not letting go, and he stepped with her, releasing Mark.

“You can’t do that, Mark.”

Adjusting his tie, Mark said, “I know. I’m working on it.” Glancing around Frank, he apologized. “Forgive me, please. Things are a little…tense…these days.”

Hannah knew that Mark referred to his missing brother, implied company embezzlement, and the ongoing war with the bastets (cat shapeshifters).

“It’s all right.” It wasn’t an excuse for him to take it out on her, but what else could she say?

“You work it out with her,” Mark said. “But she’s the one. I want you on a plane tomorrow, early.”

He left without another word. Hannah put one arm around her own waist, and her other hand cupped her throat, where he had gotten his hold. She sniffed, trying not to let herself go into the crying jag that begged to be set free. Could she be any more of a coward?

She had claws. She had fangs. Why hadn’t she fought back? She hated being a victim!

“It’s all right. He’s gone.”

Hannah forced her eyes open. The tears were still escaping. She trembled all over.

Frank tipped his head. “Shh.”

The small comfort released more of her anguish. She admitted, “He could have killed me.”

He pulled her into his arms, wrapping himself around her, tucking her head to his chest, letting her cry. There was nothing sexual in it. Like a father, he whispered, “It’s all right, Hannah. Nobody’s gonna hurt you. You’re safe here.”

Desperately needing a shoulder to cry on, strong arms around her, and a confidante, she gave in to her emotions. It didn’t last long before she realized that she was being held by a man. Something inside her clawed its way up, and she pulled herself free.

Frank let her, but he kept his hands on her—just lightly at her elbows. She skewered his chest with her gaze and pouted. Why had she let him touch her? With the first knuckle on her right hand, she wiped her nose.

He put a hand to her chin and lifted. “Look at me, Hannah.”

She allowed her eyes to rise to lips.

“At my eyes,” he insisted.

That was something she couldn’t do. She shook her head slightly. “No.”

“We aren’t all monsters,” he said.

Hannah looked him in the eye, then. “Wrong.” Eye to eye contact lasted about two seconds.

“I’m not going to argue the point.”

He let go of her. Turning his back, he paced with one hand to his nape.

One eye to the door, Hannah eased herself in that direction. He let her get all the way to it before he said, “Let me take you to dinner.”

“No thanks.”

The pacing came to an end. He dropped his hand, extending it to her. “I promise I won’t bite.”

“I didn’t think you would,” she lied. “But I’ve lost my appetite.”

Truth was, she didn’t remember having an appetite—for anything—since she’d been raped. She ate…because it was something to do, but she didn’t crave food, or company, or anything except to be left alone.

“Mark doesn’t take no for an answer, you know.”

She considered suicide. It was a quick and stupid thought, and she knew it, but it still came to her mind.

“What are you thinking?”

“That I won’t be around to care what Mark Wolf wants.” Stubbornly, she said, “He doesn’t own me. He can’t make me go somewhere I don’t want to go.”

“You are your own person,” Frank agreed. “You make your own choices.”

She didn’t trust his support. She turned the handle on the door.

“I’ll bring dinner to you. You don’t have to go out.”

“What?”

“You don’t want to go to a nice restaurant like civilized people, I’ll come to you.”

“No. I said no.”

“Hannah,” he used that soothing tone on her—the same one he’d used on Mark. “It’s all right. Nothing bad is going to happen if you let me buy you dinner.”

“I don’t…do that.”

“What?”

“Date.”

“This isn’t a date. Consider it a business meeting. We’ll discuss your place in the company. Nothing personal.”

“I don’t want to go.” Not on the trip. Not to dinner. Not anywhere.

“It’s just dinner.”

His coaxing tone lulled her, confused her senses.

“Do you like Chinese?”

“Yes, but—I don't eat dog.”

"You mean, you don't want the real thing."

"Just what I said. Don't...don't think I want anything...or that I'll give you anything, if you show up."

“Go back to your desk, Hannah. I'll see you at eight.”

Feeling a bit like she’d been hypnotized, Hannah left him. She went back to work, and went through the motions all day long—not letting her mind go over the scene in Frank’s office, or the dinner plans, or the decree Mark had made.

A zombie, she went to her car. Once home, she wondered, Had she said goodbye to everyone as they left, like she usually did? Had Frank come out of his office?

She couldn’t remember.

Posted by CarysWeldonblog :: 7:06 AM :: 2 Comments:

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2 Comments:

My main computer crashed so I'm behind in blogs.

I think you set up an intriguing premise here.

By Blogger Rinda Elliott, at 7:38 AM  

I read this earlier then had to go get a haircut so I didn't reply then. But...

I wanna see more! :)

But that's just me. *S*

By Blogger Jen, at 6:14 PM  

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